This is the time of year in the Midwest when the weather tempts us to get outside. We’ve spent the last couple of months cooped up indoors, but with spring coming into season, us whitetail hunters start drifting into thoughts of next season. There’s no better way to come out of hibernation and kick-start that next season than getting out for some shed hunting. Below are some tips and strategies to think about before hitting the woods.
Tactics to find more sheds
It’s a game of timing. A lot of snow can make the hunt for sheds difficult, but if those antlers sit for too long, other critters or shed hunters might find them first. When out scouring the land, you want to focus your efforts on areas where deer frequent the most. This time of year, deer spend most of their time in bedding and feeding areas. Hit the edges of food plots and cut crops as well as thick bedding areas. When covering a lot of ground on foot, it’s important to hit the hot spots first where deer to tend to concentrate this time of year.
The aspect of the areas you target is also an important factor to consider when hitting the timber to shed hunt. You want to focus on pieces of land that face south and east. These aspects receive the most sunlight this time of year. As a result, deer spend the majority of their time hanging out in these sunny spots, which leads to a higher chance of finding sheds in areas that face south and east.
Lastly, as nice as it may sound, you’re not going to find sheds in your living room. In order to hit some pay dirt this time of year, you need to cover a lot of ground. The more ground you can cover, the better your chances are for bringing home some new hardware.
The benefits of shed hunting
I think one of the most important benefits to shed hunting is the easiest to explain. It’s just great to get outside this time of year and spend some time in the woods. After a long winter of hitting the brandy fireside, it feels great to get out and put some miles in. There’s nothing like working up a good sweat in the woods.
From a management perspective, a huge benefit to shed hunting is the ability to survey your hunting properties after the harsh winter season. This is a great opportunity to get out and check the status of the properties you hunt. Shed hunting also serves as a way to survey the herd, and hopefully answer some of those burning questions behind which deer made it through the winter. There are some serious benefits to getting out on your land this time of year to check in on things besides just a nice walk in the woods. (Side note: This is also a great time to start that list of projects you wan tot tackle in the upcoming off-season to improve the property for next season.)
What to pack for shed hunting
If you’re going to spend all day out in the woods, it’s important to pack the right gear to maximize your time scouring for sheds.
- Layers are critical to keep your body warm and cool throughout the day
- Solid pair of boots since you’ll be putting in the miles
- Binos will help you zero in on potential hot zones for sheds
- Enough food and water to get you through the day
- Six pack on ice in your truck. Nothing better than celebrating a good day in the woods
- TP for emergencies. For in times of need and will save you your sock
This is a great time of year to get out of the house and spend some time in the woods. With a little bit of prep, you can set yourself up for success this season and hopefully find some brown gold.