Yes It is once again time for shed antler hunting in your neck of the woods. So get out there
and start spending valuable time preparing for the upcoming season this fall. Over the years,
we have gotten allot of questions about finding shed antlers and we are always here to help
hunters (both Beginner and/or highly Experienced) to have the best success possible. So we
will share with you all of the things that we keep in mind each year while trying to be a
successful whitetail hunter & shed hunter.
                  Know & Understand When to Go & When NOT to Go"
At the season ends, when no addicted whitetail hunter is ready for it to end, lol. We all know
that obsessed hunters are always looking to jump right into starting the next season. What a
better way to do that than getting out to find some shed antlers right. Looking for shed antlers
allows one to deeply scout into their hunting spots next year, prep new & old sites for this
years stands & trail cams. But one things allot of hunters either don't know or just simply over
look? Is that "Getting in too Big of a Hurry to Go Could Potentially RUN YOUR SHEDS OFF". So
try looking at it like the actual deer hunting/breeding season. In the beginning, the bucks
sightings are low n slow but as the rut increases, so do the buck sightings. And it's the exact
same with shed antler hunting. VERY FEW bucks will actually drop sheds early. Some reasons
for early shedding could be the deer was a heavy traveler during the rut, is fending off
wounds/poor health conditions or that is just how mother nature has that specific deer
programed to operate. Another factor to an early drop could simply be that this buck was born
very early as a fawn. So beings this buck was born a month early, he may simply be
programmed by nature to shed his horns a month early. As well you can plug that same
thought process into a buck that proves to be "A Late Dropper" each year (born late & sheds
So as to what I will assume to be the normal everywhere. There is always a SLOW Beginning to
bucks dropping antlers. But again, much like the hunting season when buck sightings
increase/peak. So will the period for the majority of bucks dropping antlers peak out as well.
Then again, just as bucks sightings slow as the hunting season ends. So will finding shed
antlers as there are less bucks carrying a antler to be dropped. But because I've personally
seen the occasional NICE Mature buck still sporting a full Rack In early April while Turkey
hunting. Keep in mind that you can't just go out one time and expect to find all the antlers in
the woods in one trip. To be successful at shed hunting, one has to be as consistent at looking
for antlers as they are with spending time in the stand looking for a whitetail. So just keep that
in mind that what you didn't find today, still has great potential for being found tomorrow, next
week or even next month. Here in the mid west state of Illinois. I feel that our "PEAK SHEDDING
PERIOD" begins at the end of February and goes thru the 1st couple weeks of March. The
PEAK shedding periods will vary from east to west coast and from north to the south. Best way
to try to figure out the time line for your area is to keep a record of dates for when you started
finding sheds and when found the most sheds in one trip. Also be watching & listening for
when & how others are finding sheds and plug that into your play book. Then you can get a
better idea of peak shedding times in your areas and where guys are finding them so you will
"Know When & Where to Go".
 "Every place is Different for everyone"
A few things that some hunters don't consider is that "Every location is different and Every
Year can be Different". Therefore, each year can produce different results with filling the trunk
with shed antlers.
Seasonal Weather: Different winter weather conditions can change whether or not a deer
yards up for the winter or returns to their home range early due to a warm/mild winter. It's my
belief that deer yard up for the protection from extreme cold winter elements. So if one has
access to an area where deer will yard up during a year with extreme cold temps and/or snow.
Then that person has great potential for finding quite a few sheds. But if the winter is a warm &
mild season? Then there is no need for deer to visit winter yarding areas. Thus, they go back
to home ranges earlier than normal and you will hear your buddies saying things like "Man i
found a monster set of sheds this year and I never find sheds on my place". So bottom line
there is consider the type of winter that you are having and is your area a winter yarding area
or just a summer home range.
Terrain: Once again, the terrain is not the exact same in/on any giving individual farm or area
and it can & will have a impact on whether or not you'll be finding sheds. Just because there
are deer their in the spring, summer and fall doesn't mean they will be there in the winter. Again
deer yard during extreme winter conditions. So bottom line there is if your farm location &
terrain doesn't provide the needed shelters for extreme cold winter condition? Then odds are
there won't be many (if any) deer there for the winter. Thus...., No Deer... No Antlers, lol. But
again, don't forget about the one exception to that rule. If the winter is warm, the deer won't
yard and will return to home ranges early. So if you always see and/or get bucks on camera in
the late spring & summer? You may want to spend a little extra time looking for sheds this year.

Whats Next: So now that you have a good idea of what weeks/time of year that the majority
of bucks will be shedding their antlers. 1st thing is
. Yeah I know ya are eager to find Whitetail Gold. But if you go
blowing into the woods during the start of the shedding season? The only thing you are
probably going to accomplish is agitating the deer out of the area and off into another. Then
you will hear of your neighbors finding more sheds than you. I know hunters worry about
neighbors sneaking in to find the sheds first, squirrels & coyotes using em as chew toys. But
the reality is....if the deer have not dropped yet then they aren't being picked up or eaten.
Bottom line there is that ya just gonna have to quit letting those kind of thoughts ruin your
having a good time when the time is right. Simply wait until you KNOW its the peak of the
shedding period to start getting in deep.

If Ya "Just Can't Wait": If you are one that just simply can't take not looking at all? Then
slowly start with a peek onto the farm/area by ONLY hitting the outer edges and grab some trail
cam cards placed on the outer edges. Try use the information from your trail cams to help
confirm that ya are seeing the majority of the bucks without their head gear before invading the
centers of the farm. And if the bucks have already left their head gear behind, then it wont
matter much when you are seeing their behinds, lol.  

"Where are the best places to look & find sheds"
Well my answer to that is "ALL PLACES". There is no set place where an antler is required to
fall off. It can happen while feeding, bedding or during simple travel. Remember that deer love
area's where they can soak up the sunlight during the day while temps are still cold. So
Definitely Check ALL Southerly Facing Hillsides/Bedding Areas. Check ALL area's that facing
South, Southeast and Southwest".
If you are lucky enough to have food plots strategically
planted right next to those very southerly facing hillsides? You can probably start cleaning up
pretty quick on a few sheds in those locations. Allot of whitetails recovering from rut travel will
bed close to food sources in effort to limit burning any fat reserves needed to survive &
recover. That is one thing to keep in mind when deciding on where to put your winter plots
each year and remember that not all food plots should be planted for the purpose of shooting a
deer. Planting winter plots also need to be done for the sole purpose of helping bucks to regain
their strength & body condition during the harsh winter months. So consider planting a few
small winter hardy food plots in the area's where bucks won't have to travel far so you can
hopefully expect to pick up a few shed antlers there next spring.
Other places to look: ALL PLACES!!! Check all area's/fields where deer concentrate to feed.
Walk all trails from one end to the other and be sure the check all creek and fence crossings.
Don't leave out looking along small & large hedge/wind rows or tree Lines. Allot of times mature
bucks will bed out in those wide open area's with cover.
Yes that is allot of walking, So always
be packing a set of binoculars along to glass fields, other sides of creeks & fence lines, open
timber hillsides, etc. Just remember that "There Is No One Specific Time and/or Spot" as to
where the antler of any on specific deer are required to fall onto the ground. So Check Back
Frequently in as many of the same places as you can. Remember that you don't always see a
buck your first time in the stand. So just like deer "Hunting", SHED Hunting is the exact same.
Ya have to go multiple times in order to be successful at consistently finding shed antlers.
Lastly: ALWAYS MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TRIPS!! Take advantage of the situation by
scouting at the same time. We always make notes of any old and/or new Rub Lines. Especially
take note and mark the sites of all social licking branches.

Especially those licking branches with large, multiple or heavy ground scrapes as these are
"excellent places to place trail cams".So always carry a pare of pruners & hand saw along in
order to be able to trim back these areas in preparation for placing trail cams at a later date. As
well, Look for potential stand sites to trim back & prepare for stand placement if needed.
Always take the time to OVER TRIM shooting lanes at your current stand sites. Doing this
ahead of time prevents drawing a whitetails attention to that fresh sap smell coming from a tree
limb you just cut.
Backwoods Whitetails
P.O. Box 372
240 West Main St.
Ipava, IL 61441
Phone: 309-224-2853
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