January 2, 2012

Season Kick-Off - Shed Hunting 2012

whitetail deer shed antler

I received an email from my friend, asking me if while shed hunting this year, I could keep an eye out for a left side shed antler. This shed would be from a buck that he shot that day on a drive with a few other hunters. The buck had half of a rack and would have been a ten pointer if fully intact. Being on the verge of shedding season, while dragging the deer in, the right side antler popped off. My friend told me where he shot this buck, and I instantly realized that in that area the year before, I found the right antler from a ten pointer (and also a nice side from an eight point, and two spikes).

When I saw the right antler from his buck, I had no doubt that it was from the same deer whose shed I found the previous year. Having been immensely excited for the up-coming shed hunting season, I told my friend that I would take a look around the area with him, to try to locate the other antler.

We first began our search in between where the first and second hunters stood. The first hunter shot the deer as it ran by, but wounded it low in the brisket. He believed that the buck had two antlers at that time, but the second hunter knew for sure that it only had one as it passed him. We then began to theorize that in the heat of the moment, the first hunter must have been mistaken and that the deer probably only had one antler at the time of the first shot.

This led us to look closer to where the deer was initially pushed from, an extremely dense field...the same field where I found two spike antlers the year before, and close to where I had also found the five point shed. The field was just as it was the previous year, riddled with deer sign - tracks, rubs, scat, trails etc.

We searched and searched, crawling through thickets and cutting our way through brush. My friend was about thirty yards ahead of me, when I stopped to plan my next maneuver through the heavy cover. Suddenly I looked down, and there it was...the bottom half of the left side of my friend's buck.

whitetail deer shed antlers

We concluded that when the buck was driven from the thick cover of the field, he knocked off his left side. Had he only knocked off his right side close to the same time, he most likely would have made it for another year. We are talking a matter of minutes. His right antler detached quite easily from the pedicle when attempted to be dragged away.

whitetail deer shed antlesr

It is very interesting to see the growth of this buck over the course of one year. He grew quite significantly, nearly 30 inches. If his left side was fully intact, factoring in a 17 inch spread and an equal main beam and g4 length, this deer would have gross scored close to 130 inches.

whitetail deer shed antlers