Shed Hunting Tips and Mapping Your Observations
Shed hunting and post season scouting mirror each other so closely that many would consider them the same. Naturally, you can’t do one without the other in the timeframe of January through March. Both involve combing of food sources, travel corridors, and bedding areas. They both create observations useful to the next hunting season. And they both, in some way or another, produce deer sheds. However, there is one stark difference. For the most part, shed hunting is time spent with friends and family meant to be fun… “fun” being one thing lacking for many hunters when actively scouting in the post season. The action of taking note of the observations in a detailed fashion is what limits “how fun” post season scouting can actually be. Fortunately for hunters, there is a free hunting app that can assist with both shed hunting and post season scouting simultaneously.
Shed Hunting Tips
The why, when, and where of shed hunting are relatively simple. Sure there are outliers, but for the most part, sheds will be dropped anywhere from late January until early March. They drop as deer finish the casting process, reabsorbing calcium and other minerals from antlers due to lowering testosterone cued by photoperiod. Once this process is complete the antler will separate from the pedicle and drop. These freshly dropped trophies are typically found in food sources, travel corridors, and bedding areas.
Where to find sheds is simple enough, but success when shed hunting often only comes down to one standard tip…cover a lot of ground! Covering every single acre of a property to find sheds not only produces more antlers, but takes the uncertainty of potentially missing one. This is where one feature of the app makes the job of shed hunting much easier.
Tracking Your Shed Hunt
Making sure no stone is left unturned is often the only way to ensure you find every shed on a property. This usually means a finely orchestrated shed hunting group grid searching areas, or a shed hunting dog if one is available. In any case, without actually mapping out the process of searching it can be hard to locate areas that were missed. However, given the line tracking feature and the group shared hunting maps, you can track the progress of your own shed hunt or the entire group’s progress.
Simply select trace a line feature, and select start. The app will track your progress as you walk through the search area. Once you have completed the search in that area save and select what type of line you want to trace (path or trail for shed hunting). Once you sync your map, the other hunters in your group will be able to see that trail once logged in.
For shed hunting, go ahead and assume each person has a 10-15 yard buffer zone of coverage. So for every line, assume that person was able to spot a shed within 10-15 yards on either side of the path traced. Once overlapped, this can create a clear area of coverage and what has been missed.
Mapping Observations and Sheds
Mapping not only your shed hunting progress, but each shed find and other property features and observations will draw a clear picture for next year’s hunting season. Hunting maps should always have the most relevant and most recent information for the next hunt. During the off-season, this means the latest information as it’s received when shed hunting. History of deer movements, past observations, old harvests, and any other old data is always significant but the most recent data is always more useful. Food plots, water sources, bedding areas, trail camera locations and other property staple features should be mapped ahead of time. Where active mapping comes in is when the most recent information is presented through observations made while shed hunting.
When Observations Create Useful Information
As an illustration of why you should track your observations, a real situation and recent shed hunt will be given as an example. The shed found in this photo shoot was dropped by a buck that happened to be caught on camera days before losing that antler. Given the time and location of a recent trail camera photo in late February, and location of the shed in a bedding area, it can be assumed that this deer was traveling through the majority of the property and food plots (center of phone) to feed in larger food sources off to the east side of the property (right side of phone. However, his core bedding area was located in the west side of the property (left side of phone). If this buck was placed on the hit-list next year, this information could be vital in locating late season bedding, the area that the buck will be feeding, and his travel routes between the two (the center food plots between the bedding and trail camera location).
Using the app to track shed hunting progress and shed finds are just one aspect of having the hunting map app at your fingertip while shed hunting. Remember to also use it to note key post season observations such as mock scrapes, rubs, actual bed locations, woody browse food sources, major runs, funnels, pinch points, and other map features you may notice while combing the property for antlers. There is no point to ignore these signs and features on your property as you discover them while shed hunting. In mere seconds you can record these findings, sync them with other hunters, and use them for next year!
If you plan on hitting the woods soon for sheds, or for post season scouting, be sure to take the HuntStand App along with you!