As a Land Specialist for Whitetail Properties, I have an appreciation for every part of the year that Mother Nature provides.
One chapter ends, and a new one begins for both the wildlife and the hunter.
We’re now five months past the action-packed peak of the rut. Old Man Winter is nearing the end of his visit, and longer spring days are in sight. The majority of headgear that we chased last fall has now dropped, and it’s time to gather important intel by looking for them. Here are three overlooked places to find those shed antlers.
Spurs—also considered secondary ridges—seem to provide a favorite bedding feature for bucks. As he matures, a white-tailed buck distances himself from the everyday stress of doe families. Smaller “secondary ridges” make the perfect space to get away from the doe bedding of a “main ridge”, which is normally closest to main food sources. On a terrain map, look for small extending ridges that are perpendicular to a larger ridge. Hone in on the points of those spurs and you’ll find buck sign, bedding, and sheds.
Small secondary ridges or spurs have been a productive terrain feature for locating sheds on the Dark Hollow farm.
The majority of the sheds that I’ve found have been in sun-facing grass. A thick stand of grass keeps deer off the cold, wet soil and often offers midday snack sources during the winter. Grassy waterways next to solid grain fields (whether picked or standing) will give double-bonus odds in your favor of holding some shed antlers. South-facing waterways will three-X the chance because south-facing hills shield cold northerly winds, while providing deer the warmest temperatures during the day.
Last year’s #ShedRally was pretty unproductive heading west to east until we found the south-facing waterways on the north end of the Cottonwood National farm.
Like you and I, deer need to drink water every day. Although looking near food sources is the most common approach, don’t overlook ponds and puddles as a site to snag sheds. Not only are the areas on and around pond dams usually choice bedding locations, inside the pond is a sleeper spot for shed antlers. Whitetail Properties’ own Dan Perez, the Vertical Wolf himself, has raked sheds right out of his farm ponds knowing that water is essential to a buck’s daily life.
The best charge that we can get aside from a close-encounter in the fall is by searching and finding shed antlers. These awesome treasures hold stories of the 12 months that they rode on top of a buck’s head. One of those stories is where he likes to spend his time, which ultimately can be the most important information as you write your own stories as a proud deer hunter.