Kips Adams from QDMA (Quality Deer Management Association) shares his expertise on shed antlers, which are a treat for hunters to pick up during the spring and summer months. There’s a lot we can learn about the deer herd just by finding them.
Watch the video here.
Determine A Deer’s Age
First of all, by finding shed antlers, we can tell the relative age (whether he’s young or old) of the deer that dropped them though we may not be able to pinpoint his exact date of birth. There’s too much overlap in size and diameter of the antlers across age classes, but we can certainly tell buck’s maturity.
Who Survived Winter
We can also get an idea of how many deer survived the hunting season. If you chased a buck all fall and weren’t able to connect with him in hunting season, it’s great to be able to pick up those sheds and know he survived and will likely be there the following hunting season.
Another helpful thing we can learn from shed antlers is what habitat or cover types deer are using at that time of year. If you see that deer are dropping their antlers in a particular part of the property, be sure you're providing a good habitat for them so that they have a better chance of survival in the winter months. And secondly, take a look at how those deer are using the land and resources to get a better understanding of their travel and movement patterns. Maybe you’ll even pick up the tip you need to entice him to walk by your tree stand next year.
Get Others Involved In the Outdoors
Searching for antlers is a tremendous opportunity to get kids and others involved in the outdoors. It’s a lot better than hunting for an Easter egg. If you want a great way to get more involved and do some productive scouting on your property in a time of year when you don’t have to worry about pushing the herd out, get your family and friends and get out shed hunting. You’ll learn more about the property, and maybe, just maybe, put the odds in your favor when it comes to hunting season next year.