5 Shed Hunting Tips to Find More Sheds
It’s that time of the year again when the temperatures are heating up, snow is melting, and most hunters are suffering from a little bit of cabin fever. Shed hunting is a perfect way to get outdoors and learn about the critters we all love to chase. Like our hunting trips in the fall, you don’t necessarily need to find a shed to make shed hunting enjoyable, but it certainly doesn’t hurt! Here are five tips to consider before you head out on your next shed hunting trip.
1.) Don’t Forget About Your Trail Cameras
Leavingin the woods throughout the year is becoming a more common practice and can give you valuable information on your next shed hunting trip. For instance, placing cameras in known feeding areas will help give you sense of what deer are using that area. Are you seeing mostly bucks or does? If you’re only seeing a few small bucks on camera in a certain food plot, then that might be a good sign to focus your shed hunting efforts on other areas first. Similarly, if you’re getting several bucks hitting another food plot, it still does you no good to shed hunt that area if those bucks are still holding on to their antlers. Identifying what food plots are being used by the most bucks and knowing when those bucks are dropping their antlers will help increase your chances of finding sheds.
2.) Where Are They Feeding?
Almost everybody knows the common food sources for this time of year. Picked or standing corn and soy bean fields can provide a high energy food source during winter and spring. A little bit of scouting in the spring will help you identify what fields and/or food plots are being used the most. Also, don’t forget about woody browse. Depending on what part of the country you find yourself in, woody browse (buds and twigs) can be an during the winter and spring. Identifying areas with woody browse can give you another area to focus your efforts.
3.) Where Are They Bedding?
Identifying where bedding areas are can greatly increase your chances of finding sheds and taking the opportunity to locate bedding areas on a new property is one of the best pieces of information you can learn while shed hunting. Using an aerial photo can help you refine where you’re searching if you find yourself on a new property. Focus on ridge tops and southern and eastern facing slopes. Deer will often times bed in areas that receive the most sunlight throughout the day. You can also focus on areas of newly harvested timber where tree tops and new growth can provide excellent cover. Creating bedding cover through techniques such as hinge cutting or making small clear cuts will also give you specific areas to check for sheds. Remember, don’t worry too much about bumping deer from their beds this time of year as those deer will come back. Locating bedding areas now will increase your chances of finding sheds and also give you valuable information for the upcoming deer season.
4.) Travel Corridors
There are several similarities between hunting for sheds in the spring and hunting for those same bucks in the fall. Once you’ve identified where those deer are bedding and feeding, the next step is to locate their travel corridors. Although you may be more likely to find sheds in bedding and feeding areas given the amount of time bucks are using those areas, don’t discount their travel corridors. Often times, bucks may jump an old property line fence and in doing so, the force of the landing might be enough to make the antlers fall off.
5.) Concentrate Your Efforts!
Unfortunately, most of us find ourselves short on time. If so, this likely means you’ll have less time to be in the deer woods looking for sheds but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be successful in finding sheds. Having previous knowledge of the main feeding and bedding areas coupled with using your trail cams to know when most bucks have already shed their antlers means that you can focus your efforts on certain areas and maximize the probability of being able to find sheds when time is short.