One day last week while discussing advertising with a customer at
his house, his wife came in carrying an antler that a deer had recently
dropped. She found it in their back yard, so they knew it had been lost in
the last day or so. I have seen several bucks in the last few days still
carrying their racks, so I know shedding the antlers is not a widespread
phenomenon yet, but they are starting.
When I told my wife, she was excited. She loves to look for shed
antlers or at least loves a good excuse to go walking in the woods. Finding
sheds is a good enough excuse. Saturday morning, she was ready to go on the
great treasure hunt. It was cold and overcast, but the wind was not howling.
A day with wind chill above zero is a good winter day. We bundled up and
headed into the timber.
The dogs thought it was a wonderful adventure. We would drive around
until we found a well-used deer trail, get out, and go with them on a walk.
They were hunting everything, except deer antlers. If they would only
cooperate, I am sure we could be much more successful. We had not been on
the hunt for too long when my wife spotted half of a nice ten-point rack in
the pasture next to some timber. That was all the encouragement we needed.
If we found one, there had to be more. We searched diligently in that area
hoping to find the other half of the one we found. We showed the dogs what
we had and told them to go find some. With great enthusiasm and not a clue
to what they were hunting, they took off with noses to the ground. They did
manage to scare up a rabbit and chased it until they lost the trail. They
came back, well pleased with their efforts and still not looking for
On the opposite side of the timber, in the middle of a well-used
deer trail, I spotted another antler. Sometimes deer will drop their antlers
at the same time and are easy to determine they are a set from one deer.
Other times, the second antler will not drop off for a day or two. In this
case, it could be any distance from the first. The only way to guess if the
second antler was the mate to the first is by comparing size and shape.
Though the one I found was a considerable distance from my wife’s, I am
fairly certain they are both from the same buck. The set he grows next year
will be larger and should be quite impressive.
Over the next few hours, we covered many miles of trails and paths.
I followed one trail down a steep cliff, across the creek, and into a
clearing in a group of thorn trees. The ground looked as though fifty sheep
had been grazing in there. The grass was nipped off close to the ground and
what has been called deer raisins littered the area in abundance. Thinking
this would be a great place to bow hunt next year, I looked around for a
nice tree on which to hang a stand. The whole clearing was ringed with thorn
trees, and I do not climb thorn trees. The deer have found themselves a
fortress in the woods. It may not be a good spot to bow hunt, but I will be
back there looking for antlers.
By the time my wife and I decided to give up the hunt, our legs were
burning, and the dogs were tired enough to want a ride home. We only found
the two antlers, but we considered it a good day with time well spent.