The Time to Hunt Sheds!
By Jed NInefeldt
February, as well as January, are the time of the year to get out and look for sheds. If you’re lucky the snow won’t be deep and the temperatures will be milder. Shed hunting offers a great opportunity to get out with temperatures rising, cabin fever setting in, and a chance to work those hunting dogs that have been laid off for a couple of months.
There are some supplies you’ll need along, such as: a comfortable backpack; bottled water; compass or GPS; lighter or waterproof matches; and a piece of blaze orange clothing (for safety until small game season is over). Lastly, let someone know where you’re going and when you’re expected back.
Most outdoor enthusiasts know where at least one deer wintering area is near them. On milder years like this, anywhere where deer bed is the best place to start looking. Most bucks will be back in a bachelor group, but there will be the occasional loner out there. Start by looking in bedding areas and yarding/wintering areas. From there work out and travel your major trails to and from these areas. Another good place to hunt are the perimeters of food sources such as farms, hay bales on the edge of fields, and the transitions between food sources. Bringing a dog along may increase your odds, especially if trained to find sheds. Even untrained hunting dogs will generally pause a little while at a relatively fresh shed.
Not only is hunting sheds great exercise, but chances are you‘ll find some rubs you missed before or during deer season. This will give you greater insight into deer movement, keeping in mind that patterns change slightly at different points of the year. A well warn path in the snow at this time of year shows the increased chance that the deer use it year round. While shed hunting is a great relief from the doldrums of winter there can also be some decent money in finding and selling them, particularly for knife handles, coat hangers, etc.