Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hunting Sheds

One activity that seems to be growing more popular the longer I read the hunting blogs-the search for the prominent adornments of the male Whitetail Deer.

I have taken  some time recently to search for the tine cast-offs of the bucks passing through. They are feeling the pain - taking it out on trees from less than an inch,ripping them totally off, to 4 + inches in diameter. The only thing now is to find those big antlers causing so many headaches.

Since starting my quest for the year I have found four singles; classifying them from good to best.

Sadie,Miss Kitty and me, were out February 2, and walked over a spike shed twice before realizing it was there underfoot. Sadie, was the one to draw my attention towards the ground - her action cued me to tell her to "drop it"! There wasn't anytime to get a picture of it, "as it lies".

After finding the spike , I led the animals back to the house, and went to the other side of the property on my own,  rambling about where a bunch of small trees were being coaxed into a sure death with a complete loss of bark.

February 2, 2012 4:57 p.m.
Spending another hour and a half wandering the trails I looked to my left...

AH YES! There on the ground by a shedding rub was a small four pointer at the end of the deer trail. I was headed out of the timber, resigned that I  wasn't going to find anything over here, when my surprise came.

The shed is laying about halfway between the two trees closest to the front of the picture. Make a triangle and you will find it at the top.

Can you see it?

February 9, 2012
Taking Sadie for a long walk, about a week from our last antler search ,I decided to follow the perimeter fence in a pasture.

Wandering for no more than 15 minutes that afternoon before this find came into view across the field.

Last year I found a small matched pair at the opposite end of this little pasture/crop field corridor.

So far the tally for this year is CDGardens - 3, Sadie - 1.

The active searches should take me into mid March, and passively looking will never end as things become uncovered over time.

Starting left to right -  1.)Third finding - pictured above on 2-9-12. 2.) Spike and small 4 pointer found 2-2-12. 3.) Far right antler was found late afternoon last Sunday, on a spur of the moment jaunt to exercise Sadie's nose and legs. I was glad she didn't see it first, it had already been gnawed by animals...small teeth marks scored the antler with the G2 tip becoming extremely thin and the G4 tip gone.

Are there any other methods to collect sheds other than the time consuming wandering some of  us choose to do?

A couple of ideas have come to mind in order to find some matched pairs of racks around here.

Wire Cages

The first option I might consider for upping my count are tall wire cages that I had initially placed in the middle of my small sampler deer food plots.

After getting the plots sprouted, the cages gave me a good showing of plant vigor. Everything outside the cage was eaten off.

Come winter 2009, on my chicory plus plot, before shed time,my cage got ripped out of the ground, and flattened by a mad buck. He had gotten caught too early...Sadly, no tines left behind.

Handy Gadget

Another idea that came to my attention through a recently received email from  Wildlife Obsession was this Rack Trap.

It looks like a great way to snag an antler or two! Less effort with a big benefit.

Here is what they say about this Bio-Logic product:

Collecting Shed antlers is one of the best ways to identify how many and which bucks on your property survived hunting season. When used correctly the rack trap is a easy way to attract deer and collect their antlers. This easy to install device includes heavy duty camo ratchet straps and can be attached to most trees.

Unlike other shed traps that entangle the deer's antlers causing potential harm,The Rack Trap Antler Trap is designed to simply and effectively apply pressure to the antlers, encouraging the natural shedding process as the deer is feeding.

Whether you decide to walk the deer grounds as I do, set up an antler trap of one kind, or another... Good Luck in your search !