By Jeremy Flinn, Professional Deer Biologist
With deer season coming to a close across the country, most hunters will be packing away their gear, including trail cameras, until the summer. But for some, a new hunting season is about to kick off – shed hunting. More and more deer hunters are taking to the woods after hunting season in search of antlers cast by bucks they chased all season long. It’s crazy to think that for many of us, this will be the only time we ever lay hands on an antler from the bucks we pursue so much. But that’s hunting, and reality is that we rarely lay hands on the bucks captured with trail cameras or seen in the woods while hunting.
But what does a trail camera out this time of the year really tell you to become a better shed hunter? For starters, it clues you in on when bucks are dropping antlers in your area. If you are simply interested in one buck, then like hunting, you can pattern that deer and track when it drops its antlers before wasting hours afield searching for something that isn’t there, or worse pushing him off the property. If you are just interested in finding general antler sheds, then trail cameras allow you to monitor the amount of bucks that have shed. Why is this important?
Shed hunting success is all about coverage. The more acres you cover, the more antlers you are likely to come across. If only a few bucks have shed and you start walking, odds are you will want to come back and re-cover that same area again. Expand your search area by waiting until at least 50-70% of the bucks you are getting on trail camera are shed bucks. Then you know that the odds of an antler being in the area are much greater.
In fact, some of the latest trail camera technology from Moultrie, allows you to monitor your areas in real-time! The new Moultrie Mobile camera system uses cellular data to transmit pictures from the modem directly to your phone via the Moultrie Mobile App. The Moultrie Mobile Modem is compatible with almost all cameras produced in 2015 or later. So you don’t have to buy a new camera, you can simply use the Moultrie Gen2 trail cameras from last year. The mobile ability allows you to move your cellular capabilities around without removing the camera from the area.
So before you start stomping the woods for sheds, and likely getting discouraged with lack of success, think about getting some more trail cameras out to pattern and locate bucks. Then as more shed bucks show up, form a strategy to comb the area for sheds. It’s not only a great off season activity, but will help you learn a lot about the land, deer sign, and new hunting spots for next season.