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Try these tips for shed hunting for antlers

While deer hunting in Minnesota has come to a close, searching for dropped antlers, called shed hunting, can be an extremely fun way to keep yourself outdoors. White-tailed deer begin to shed their antlers in winter, typically January through February, and the next set of antlers begin to grow shortly after.

The first step in shed hunting is to locate good deer sign, such as heavily used trails, tree rubs and scrapes. These signs indicate higher deer activity which will increase your chances of finding sheds. Look for good bedding in these areas, especially on southern facing slopes that receive a good amount of sun and are preferred areas for bucks to bed.

Finding areas with good food and water sources is also key when looking for sheds. A quality late season food source will keep bucks around, so look for fresh sign and trails between bedding areas and food sources. Keep these things in mind when going out shed hunting this winter and be prepared to cover a lot of ground while searching. Lastly, shed hunting is a great way to scout for next year’s hunting season, especially the late hunting season.

Keep in mind it is illegal to remove sheds from National Parks, Minnesota State Parks, and Scientific and Natural Areas. Additionally, while shed hunting is a great winter activity, it can also cause stress to deer, elk and moose during a particularly difficult time of the year when nutritional resources are limited. Some of the best areas to find sheds are also some of the most critical areas for deer, elk and moose in the winter. Some best-practice guidelines to keep in mind: Limit disturbance or visits to the same locations, especially in late winter or before spring green up. Respect private property. Do not push animals — if you see them try to back off or limit their stress. And if you are using a dog for shed hunting make sure your dog is under control at all times.

~ Courtesy of Minnesota

Department of Natural