Because food is limited in winter, deer tend to feed aggressively and bucks often jar their antlers loose in the process. Male deer lose their antlers once a year to grow new, larger antlers. The northern regions of the whitetails range experience shedding earlier than the Midwest, so around January. Select it and click on the button to choose it. One buck shed his antlers within 2 days of February 25 every year, regardless of conditions! For most of us, that means the time to shed hunt is early February to March. Great! In the past 4 years I have found 45 shed antlers. SHED HUNTING - By Joe Shead A GUIDE TO FINDING WHITE-TAILED DEER ANTLERS. Rodent chewing: Now as important as it is to not shed hunt too much before antlers drop, it’s equally important not to shed hunt too long AFTER they drop. If you bump a big deer from his bed, even at this time of year, he may vacate the area if he feels threatened. Interesting Facts: Male white-tailed deer grow and shed antlers annually. Most deer will shed their antlers pretty soon after the rutting season is over. Look in areas where deer spend most of their time. A Bonnier Corporation Company. Understanding where to look and what you are looking for will result in more found sheds. The deer antler shed will take two to three week before full completion. As the connective tissue dissolves, the bucks' antlers become loose and fall off. These were hard-horn antlers from last year, and Steve wondered how unusual it was for a buck to still be packing that late in the year. The first book dedicated entirely to shed hunting. When you start searching in these high-priority locations first, you can eliminate huge areas that have very little potential. The good news is that the largest bucks are often the first to drop their antlers. The good nutrition helps maintain a deer’s testosterone levels for longer. The first book dedicated entirely to shed hunting. Look for woods or fields that you know bucks frequent. Deer in the wild will live in conditions that will vary from year to year. Use a game camera to ensure most bucks have shed. Start too early in the season and you’ll find nothing. Nice deer antlers can be found just laying on the forest floor or in the middle of a field, especially February through March. Some of the nicest antlers are those found by hunters when a buck sheds them after the deer hunting season. Moose and other deer relatives shed their antlers every year, and the process is thought to be painless, says Samuel. I've known several guys who've kept captive deer over the years, and they all note that when bucks shed can be a highly individual deal. Click the button and find the photo on your computer. The first thing you will need to do is find land for shed antler hunting. And of course feel free to share antler-shedding tales and antler growth progress in your area. Figure 7. —Weather, snow depth, altitude and particularly food availability and nutritional value can influence when antler loss takes place. Hunting for deer antler sheds has become a big event in recent years. Select it and click on the button to choose it.Then click on the link if you want to upload up to 3 more images. Though most bucks have shed by late March across whitetail range, there are plenty of exceptions. In the past 4 years I have found 45 shed antlers. Easy winters and plentiful food result in unstressed bucks that tend to hold antlers longer. The Ohio Wildlife Council received regulation proposals for fishing and white-tailed deer processing at its regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday, July 8, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. But all is not lost. Click here to see the rest of the form and complete your submission. Start looking for sheds at preferred food sources early in the year. One interesting thing about antlers is that if a antler is injured during the developing stage or velvet stage the antlers will show a deformity for years after … Early Spring is the prime time to hunt for shed antlers. That said, the key is to leave your property alone, as much as possible, until you know there is a good probability that most deer have lost their antlers. Field & Stream may receive financial compensation for products purchased through this site. Click here to upload more images (optional). Heavy snow will concentrate deer and the antlers they shed. But even when the winter is tough, some bucks are just late shedders. Good luck! and recieve our upcoming newsletters and other site info. Finding shed antlers (especially both sides) allows the you to rough-score the bucks to get a good idea of current and future quality. Understanding where to look and what you are looking for will result in more found sheds. With a long five months until deer season, I am in need of another big deer story fix! Copyright © 2021 Field & Stream. This means antlers may begin developing late, depending on when summer sets in. They grow bigger antlers every year until they are about 6 years old. At times, bucks shed their antlers earlier depending on three factors: age, health, and location of the deer. Just like velvet development, the rut, fawn drop, and most things in a deer’s life, photoperiod tells a buck when they should drop their antlers. 2. As the winter months pass and spring looms upon us, many people head for the hills in search of the antlers deer and elk have dropped in preparation for … So what do … Contrastingly, deer in areas with poor nutrition tend to shed their antlers earlier in mid-December. Send us a photo of the shed antlers you have found. Male white-tailed deer with antlers in the velvet stage. Deer shed their antlers anywhere between January and April, sometimes earlier or later depending on the age of the deer, the … Click the button and find the photo on your computer. Although you can find sheds year-round, this is the best time, the bucks have usually dropped both antlers by now. Find the food, find the sheds. Figure 6. On a Kansas turkey hunt two weeks ago, I saw a buck sprouting nubs already! The animal is called an eight-point buck for its eight antlers, according to the Noble Research Institute, an agriculture research organization. People hunt for shed antlers for various reasons and some are not even hunters. It happens during the first quarter of the year. Also, finding numerous shed antlers over years on a particular piece of property allows you to gain knowledge regarding the areas that bucks are frequenting. Shed hunting is in peak season this time of year. This velvet is full of blood vessels and nutrients that helps stimulate the antler regrowth process. Written by Joe Shead, a former managing editor of Deer & Deer Hunting magazine and a passionate shed hunter. The majority of bucks in our area have shed both sides of their antlers. Shedding happens every year in between the months of January and April. The dropping of the antlers may take place within 24 to 48 hours, but the entire shedding process may take as long as two to three weeks before the antlers actually fall off. The first was from Steve Newcomb from Ohio, who reported seeing a buck with antlers in late March. It is referred to as shed hunting, so take a hunt-like approach to searching for them. This is a process that happens primarily in the late winter, making March and April a prime time for shed hunters. I have seen bucks that have shed their antlers in early December, and at the other extreme, I once observed a large 9-point still holding his antlers in early April. The 2020 shed hunting season is here in Illinois and thousands of antlers have hit the ground! If approved, these regulations will take effect Jan. 1, 2021. In the Northeast United States, deer may begin losing antlers in late December or January, while they may not start shedding until March or April in Southern states. Antler shedding typically begins with the older bucks. The Midwest bucks tend to keep their antlers on until February, while the southern deer might still be rutting depending on the region, dropping their antlers anywhere from February to late march. January 8, 2020- Shed Hunting Illinois Update- “Shed season is here in Illinois and the deer antlers are starting to drop! The 160-page book is an in-depth guide that teaches you how to find naturally shed white-tailed deer antlers. Several hours of searching for the match were fruitless. Many products featured on this site were editorially chosen. Speaking of nutrition, deer that roam the Midwestern farm counties, where nutrition is good to tend to shed antlers later on in mid-January. So far this winter has been very mild, however we are seeing several bucks on trail camera and glassing that only have one side. Worn down from the rigors of the November rut, mature bucks sometimes shed their antlers as early as mid-December. The antlers dropped by male deer are called "shed" antlers… Do be conscious, though, of animal stress, and avoid disturbing deeryards: the dense, evergreen forest stands in which they congregate. It can take as little as 24-48 hours for the antlers to actually fall off, but the shedding process takes between two to three weeks and then new antlers will regenerate throughout the summer. Written by Joe Shead, a former managing editor of Deer & Deer Hunting magazine and a passionate shed … After that age the antlers start to get smaller. If you don't have family or friends that have land you can use, it usually isn't hard to ask permission from a landowner (since you won't be hunting for animals and won't be carrying any weapons). Every year, whitetail deer, mule deer, elk and various other hoofed mammals shed their antlers. As the new year begins the whitetail bucks in Virginia start dropping their headgear in order to make room for hopefully something bigger and better. White-tailed deer may grow deformed antlers as a result of an injury. The Ultimate Guide to Hunting Snowshoe Hares, 5 Western Muzzleloader Hunts To Put On Your Calendar, How to Disassemble and Clean a Semi-Auto Shotgun. Another reader from New York wrote to ask if we knew about a giant whitetail shot last fall in Westchester County. Once you have found your land, you must know the best time of the year to search. Anyone have the scoop on this deer? SHED HUNTING - By Joe SheadA GUIDE TO FINDING WHITE-TAILED DEER ANTLERS. The 160-page book is an in-depth guide that teaches you how to find naturally shed white-tailed deer antlers. Keep an eye out for new hunting locations. Whitetail Deer Shed Antler Hunting. It’s not a universal given that all bucks will drop around the same time. I recommend keeping an eye on the deer herd or using your game camera to document when bucks are losing their head-gear in your area. There are … The why and when are simple, the timing is based on photoperiod. Click here find out more or to purchase the book. For deer, some drop in December and January, most drop in February, and some hold their antlers until March or April in much of the country. Leg, pedicle and velvet injuries can all lead to antler … By Nathan Stohosky - Idaho Department of Fish and Game Antler hunting, more commonly known as shed hunting, is a favorite pastime for those of us suffering from cabin fever. It’s important to know exactly when the deer in your area are shedding to have the best chance of finding and collecting antler sheds at their peak numbers and quality. Many of the Southern states like parts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and especially Florida are exceptions to the normal shedding dates. Great! Instead, backtrack the animals from their core yards towards adjacent hardwood feeding areas, and look for shed antlers … All rights reserved. Look in and around late-season food plots. Examine travel corridors and water sources. One buck shed his antlers within 2 days of February 25 every year, regardless of conditions! A few years ago, I had a discussion with a Michigan naturalist, who claimed that most whitetail bucks lose their antlers by mid- January. Do you have some pictures or graphics to add? Then it’s just a matter of getting out there and putting in some time. Be meticulous and systematic in order to increase your shed hunting success. The answer is an emphatic "kinda". In addition, finding a particular buck’s antlers can let you know if he’s made it through the winter or if he’s still in the area. Timing is of the greatest importance. Some want to find shed deer antlers to make various items …lamps, knives, etc. The antlers begin to grow … Here are a few tips to increase your chances of finding deer sheds. Once the antlers are shed, they will start growing a soft velvet before developing another full antler rack. We've received two letters from readers this week. In these environmental conditions the deer shed their antlers at the same time every year. Others are serious about finding shed antlers for management purposes. To receive credit as the author, enter your information below. It's one thing to to find shed antlers in the open fields of Iowa and Kansas, but quit another challenge to to find sheds in the hills and mountains of Virginia. The deer population continues to increase, as deer benefit from man’s land use activities, evidenced by their adaptation to manicured suburban environments and the clearing of forests for timber harvest and cordwood cutting. Do you have some pictures or graphics to add? Starting too late means antlers will either be partially or entirely eaten by small mammals and other rodents or vegetation will be well-grown making antlers even more difficult to find. The antlers primarily serve to allow bucks to spar over females during the breeding season and serve little purpose once their task is over. Your submission will appear on a Web page exactly the way you enter it here. The best places to find shed antlers are areas that hold deer during certain parts of their daily routine, which increases the likelihood of you finding antlers. The reality of anyone looking to find sheds is that the antlers are most likely to hit the ground between now and the end of the February. —Bucks drop their racks from late December in the North through March and April in the South. 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