With deer and moose season over and the winter coming into full swing, antler shed hunting has become a hobby for many hunters and non-hunters alike. I myself have never found any shed antlers except for the pair of moose antlers John and I found one spring. They were a couple years old and we weren’t even hunting for shed antlers; we just sort of came across one then deliberately looked for the other one and actually found it. They adorn my bedroom walls along with John’s moose mount, bear mount and rug, my turkey fan and my college diploma. John has found several pairs of shed moose antlers and some deer antlers too. Our new fireplace also has a beautiful five pound brown trout John caught in high school and it’s mounted to a shed antler he found.
Our son Zack found a freshly shed pair of antlers one sunny January day. We had a nice snowstorm so we took the kids sliding down the Bulldozed road as we call it. There right where we were sliding, John found a pair of newly shed antlers. The deer had dropped them right in the trail. The next day, Zack, who spent most of his childhood hiking the woods behind the house, came across a pair of 8-point sheds where one of my tree stands are now located. I’ve never seen a kid so excited! The following year, Zack found another pair that matched identically to the pair from the previous year. He never saw the deer in the woods but he always kept his treasured finds close at hand and hoped to find them again. He even found a shed so big that he made the Skull and Antler Club book for one of the largest sheds ever found in Maine that year. He still loves to shed hunt and does a lot in Downeast Maine.
Last year, I had a nice little buck coming and eating acorns where I have a tree stand. I had several pictures of him with his antlers. I never got a chance to shoot him, and only saw does all season. By chance, I left my game camera out longer than usual and when I finally went to retrieve it, I was delighted when I found all kinds of surprise pictures. My deer had been back so I put out some deer grain…and I managed to get the exact date he dropped his antlers…January 21, 2015.
So after seeing that my little buck survived last year’s long harsh winter and seeing how awful and skinny he looked, I set out some grain to help him and any other deer that might need it.
I didn’t use corn after I read that it’s too harsh for them to eat after a hard winter. Instead, I got deer grain with lots of nutrients and only put out a small pailful at a time so that they wouldn’t eat too much. Later in the spring, I got to see my little buck sprout his new antlers and watched him come back from time to time this fall looking for some acorns. Well, the acorn season was dismal and none of the deer hung around at all.
However, he did return this winter after the deer season was over…of course. John and I rigged up some chicken wire and sticks and carefully placed some grain around the edge of it in hopes my little buck who’s not so little anymore, will come back for some eats, get his antlers tangled in the wire, and drop his antlers. He was really skiddish at first but he’s finally stepping into the v-shaped chicken wire….and so for now I’m waiting patiently for the antlers to drop.