Here are a few things to avoid while shed hunting.
Searching for fallen antlers is a fun, but a challenging way to spend time outdoors during the spring after deer season. Every year I hear people say, “I just can’t find any!”
So, why do so many people struggle to find shed antlers? There are a variety of reasons, most of which are nothing more than bad habits. By eliminating these, you’ll increase your odds finding more sheds significantly.
Walking too fast
I see this one all the time and it’s a common mistake. You want to cover a lot of ground as quickly as you can, but speed and shed hunting often don’t mix. In my experience, it often leads to missed antlers. It amazes me every year how many antlers I find on a second or even a third pass through a spot.
If you never find anything, it may be time to re-evaluate how fast you’re walking and slow things down significantly. Every person is different, so you just have to be willing to put in the time and effort to find a speed that works for you.
It’s always amazing how many antlers I don’t see until I’m standing right on top of them. My second antler this year was a 4-point side I didn’t see until I nearly stepped on it. In my experience, this is how I find the majority of my antlers—within a 10-15 foot circle of where I’m standing.
One thing I did that helped me stop looking too far ahead was deciding to leave my binoculars at home until I developed a little more discipline. It forced me to search the area immediately at my feet instead of constantly glassing 40-50 yards out.
Also, don’t forget to stop and look behind you as often as possible. Sometimes it just takes a different angle or lighting to reveal a well-hidden antler.
Going out in poor conditions
My success rate has gone up since I started focusing on cloudy or overcast days that cut down the contrast. Even better is a rainy day because it mats down the vegetation and leaf litter and makes the antlers stand out better. Wet antlers also have a sheen to them that’s like nothing else in the woods.
Not looking in the right place
Your shed hunting and deer hunting approaches are going to be different. Those rub lines and scrapes the deer were all over during the season aren’t necessarily where the sheds are going to be.
A buck is concerned with two things after the rut: food sources and recovering from the stress of breeding season. Your main focus should be feeding areas, bedding areas and the trails that connect the two.
In a way, you have to scout the deer all over again for sheds. The easiest way to do that is by utilizing your trail cameras to determine where the bucks are hanging out in the late season when the rut is over and then focus your search there.
Not having a plan
You have to know what areas you’re searching and you have to make the effort to search them methodically and thoroughly. I’ve spent hours searching just one field before. Figure out the spot you want to search before you head out and then take the time to grid-search it properly.
Not putting in the time and effort
This last one is big. You can’t just go for one or two hikes a year and hope to be a master shed hunter. It’s a lot like hunting the deer itself, you have to put in the time and effort. That means countless hours and miles of hiking. It means wearing out your boots and being incredibly patient.
I’ll admit, though, some people are just born naturals. But for most of us, it’s usually a long, difficult learning process.
Shed hunting is a fun and rewarding way to spend each spring in the outdoors. Hopefully these tips on things to avoid will help you have more success this spring. Happy hiking!
NEXT: 7 SHED HUNTING TIPS FOR THOSE WHO JUST CAN’T SEEM TO FIND THEM
The post These 6 Shed Hunting Mistakes Might Explain Why You Never Find Anything appeared first on Wide Open Spaces.