I got an email today from my good friend Marc Gustafson in Iowa with some pictures that I have to share. Marc has already been out looking for shed antlers, and judging from the looks of things, he is doing pretty well!
Here is what Marc had to say in the email:
"It has been tough-going shed hunting as I believe most of the antlers were shed between snow storms, and a good portion of them are buried under the snow. I have found most of them in the deer beds and a few in the standing corn. We had snow again last night, as it just keeps coming, which makes it hard to find the ones dropped not long ago. The matched set up close in the pictures measured around 135 inches and will be a dandy if he makes it through the winter."
I have only found three shed antlers in my life, so after seeing these pictures I wanted to pick Marc's brain and get his thoughts on shed hunting and see if he had some tips and techniques to use when looking for shed antlers.
Marc says his favorite spots to look for sheds is first the bedding areas, then trails leading to and from feeding areas, and then the feeding areas themselves. He says the harsh winter in Iowa this year has really caused the deer to congregate around food plots, and he hopes to find quite a few sheds around those feeding areas once some warmer weather arrives to melt some of the snow.
I also asked Marc how many antlers he will generally find in a year, and what was the biggest matched pair he has ever found. He said the matched set in the picture is the largest pair he has found to date and that he averages about 45 antlers a year. But this year he hopes to find 50 or 60 with the deer spending so much time around the food plots. He estimates that over 200 deer are wintering on one particular property he hunts, which makes shed hunting pretty good when there are that many deer congregated in an area that encompasses a couple hundred acres.
Maybe that is why I have so much trouble finding them! It sure makes it difficult when you are searching a 600-acre piece of property that might hold 50 or 60 deer, of which probably only about 15 are bucks. Also, the deer here in Texas usually don't start dropping their antlers until mid-March, after the vegetation begins to green up and grow over what antlers might be on the ground making them less visible. But regardless, I still plan to get out there and look. After all, you can't find any while sitting on the couch!
Thanks for the pictures and the information, Marc. That shed hunting sure looks like a lot of fun! I wish I could spend a weekend up there with you looking for them. Congratulations on finding all those trophies - looks like you have enough to make one heck of a chandelier!