How to Find More Sheds

posted on February 19, 2017

Hunting for shed antlers, particularly those from whitetails, has grown steadily in popularity over the last 10 years. In fact, Whitetail Properties, a real-estate company specializing in hunting properties, started an annual event a few years ago called #ShedRally. On the selected day, usually in early March, antler-hunting enthusiasts across the country head out as though it’s a holiday to add to their collections and document their finds on social media.

While there are no longer many secrets when it comes to successful shed hunting, here are a few tactics you can employ to not only increase your annual antler haul, but find the headgear of a particular buck, or bucks, you may be targeting as well.

Use a GPS Unit
As much as you think you might know the property you’re searching, it’s almost impossible to remember exactly what areas you’ve covered. Sheds are small and not easily seen in most cases unless you nearly step on one. A GPS unit’s track function will give you visual evidence of the areas you’ve already hit, helping you save time while also providing reassurance that you didn’t miss anything. Take extra batteries along because GPS units can burn through them quickly, and a shed-hunting outing can last for several hours.

Resist Pulling Trail Cameras
While most people use trail cameras primarily for scouting prior to and during the hunting season, do yourself a favor and leave them in place until early spring. In addition to helping you understand when most of the bucks have dropped their antlers, they can also help you home in on that buck you didn’t tag last fall.

During the winter months, especially in northern climates, deer shrink their home ranges significantly and often bed in virtually the same areas routinely if there is a reliable food source nearby. The better understanding you have of where your target buck may be bedding, the higher your odds of recovering his rack. I used this tactic to my advantage in 2014 when I found both sides of a 160-inch buck’s rack lying side-by-side in one of his beds. I had been hunting the deer for two years, and getting my hands on his shed antlers was about as exciting as hanging a tag on him.

Reduce Your Search Area
One of the biggest mistakes novice shed hunters make is trying to cover too much ground too quickly. After as little as an hour without having success, it’s human nature to get bored and begin feeling a sense of disappointment and urgency. A fast shed hunter is a bad shed hunter. You probably don’t want to know how many sheds you’ve already walked by because you were in a hurry.

Break your properties into smaller quadrants, and search only a couple of quadrants per day. This will help you avoid shed-hunting fatigue. Staying focused lessens the chance you’ll miss a shed.

Keep At It
There is no secret to finding more sheds: The most proven tactic is simply a will to work hard at it and put in the time. Good shed hunters are exhausted at the end of a search, and they never take shortcuts. To make your hunting experience more enjoyable and productive, wear comfortable boots and clothing, and have lots of snacks and drinks on hand.


Winchester 6.8 Western Copper Impact Ammo Lead
Winchester 6.8 Western Copper Impact Ammo Lead

First Look: Winchester 6.8 Western Copper Impact Ammo

Winchester’s new 6.8 Western 162-grain solid copper load sports their Copper Impact bullet, boasting a muzzle velocity of 2875 fps. It shoots accurately, hits hard and penetrates deeply.

Indiana Artist Wins California Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contest

A painting of mountain quail has been chosen by a panel of judges as the winning entry in the 2021-2022 California Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contest. The painting was created by Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Indiana.

First Look: FORLOH Hunting Apparel

FORLOH is on a mission to design, source and manufacture world-class hunting apparel right here in the USA. Engineered with a ‘no concessions’ approach, every piece of gear is backed by a lifetime guarantee. 

New for 2022: Savage 110 Magpul Hunter

A hybrid hunting/target rifle, the newest Savage 110 translates deadly range accuracy into notched tags and a full freezer.

Oregon: ODFW announces 2023 annual wildlife art contest

The winning artist in each contest receives a $2,000 award and winning artwork is used to produce collector's stamps and other promotional items with sale proceeds benefitting Oregon's fish, wildlife and their habitats.

Primos Releases New Trigger Stick Gun Mounted Bipods

Primos hunting has announced its new line of Trigger Stick Gun Mounted Bipods, which come in short, medium and tall heights.


Get the best of American Hunter delivered to your inbox.