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Question for Deer experts

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When do bucks shed their antlers?  I’m in the Metrowest area (hopkinton).  My 6yr old is dying to look for some sheds.  Figured that would be a good activity to get outside and stay away from people.

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I’ve heard late December or early January. I’ve never found drops, but asked around. A local professor told me  that southwest facing hill sides were the places they spent time at that time of year. He had large boxes full of antlers as proof of this, and was kind enough to give me a few. He had  found in early winter on those hillsides. Maybe try getting a topo map out and looking for southwest facing hills and ridges? 

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18 mins ago, Running Ape said:

I’ve heard late December or early January. I’ve never found drops, but asked around. A local professor told me  that southwest facing hill sides were the places they spent time at that time of year. He had large boxes full of antlers as proof of this, and was kind enough to give me a few. He had  found in early winter on those hillsides. Maybe try getting a topo map out and looking for southwest facing hills and ridges? 

Thanks Ape!  Good stuff.  I have a big SW facing hill in the woods behind my house.  I know we have bucks in the area because I have seen them coming and going fishing at night.

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Depends on their condition and nutrition. I live next door and they can be found in ML season and into March some years. It is not “easy” to find them, but effort can be rewarded. 

 

I would suggest any place that hunting isnt allowed. I find most of my shed while hunting deer :)

 

I found a matching set from a nice 8 while hunting this season. 

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Now is a great time to go searching before the woods green up and the bugs start. I’m up to 11 sheds/dead head So far this season. I’m finding mostly older ones this year for some reason so don’t think if bucks are still holding you won’t find any.

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Some begin dropping in December; some hold on until early April. The majority in my experience seem to drop by mid to late March. I have found fresh drops in dec-Jan-Feb-mar-April..May..  then usually fish more during the summer 

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I have found fresh sheds as early as the second week of December (my biggest was dropped just hours before I found it while shotgun hunting)

A friend of mine shot a huge buck on New Years Even thinking it was a big doe, but it was a buck he had been targeting that had already dropped.

(he is still a little upset about it.)

 

At my old house, I had a honey hole where I would find fresh sheds each year.  I'd find them by tracking bucks in fresh snow in February usually.  That's when I believe most start to drop.

As of a couple weeks ago however, I have been hearing stories of guys getting bucks on game cameras still wearing their headgear.  I take such stories with a grain of salt however.

 

Anyhow in my honey hole, it was an area close to houses but with several large swamps.  I would find most of the sheds in the upland areas between the swamps and the houses.   I think the bucks would bed near the swamps and visit the houses at night to eat the shrubs.    During the winter they also eat the mosses that grow in the cedar swamp.

 

Antlers often drop shortly after a buck gets up from its bed they say.   Find a winter bedding area and start making increasingly wider circles sorta like you're looking for a lost blood trail.

 

I concur with  hillside in the woods with a south facing slope, they don't have to be very large hills either.  Just enough for it to be a good place to catch early morning sunlight with a little cover and a good escape route (over the hill ususally)

 

Be sure to check your kid for ticks really good afterwards!  It's been so wet recently, the ticks are going to be out in force!

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28 mins ago, CcCstriper89 said:

Now is a great time to go searching before the woods green up and the bugs start. I’m up to 11 sheds/dead head So far this season. I’m finding mostly older ones this year for some reason so don’t think if bucks are still holding you won’t find any.

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80F3AAAB-C657-45D2-9487-0C10BFA1CB39.jpeg

6DFF1AE0-EC2C-498E-A49A-981F951393BE.jpeg

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How many miles do you think you cover for each shed?  I never see any in my travels hiking and mountain biking. 

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My buddy in RI was really into shed hunting. He has found RI bucks that Are quite impressive. 

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5 mins ago, z-man said:

How many miles do you think you cover for each shed?  I never see any in my travels hiking and mountain biking. 

 

You will almost never find them hiking or biking.  Bucks don't typically use the trails that we hike and bike on, and we go too fast.   
Finding sheds is like looking at those old 3d pictures you stare at until the thing in the picture pops out at you.   Or you kick it up out of the leaves when trudging up a hill and it stabs you in the shin.

 

But just like deer hunting, if they ain't there, you can walk a lot of miles till you see one.

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11 mins ago, ged said:

My buddy in RI was really into shed hunting. He has found RI bucks that Are quite impressive. 

C9C29C93-D25C-455C-AB8F-7238A99C7F15.jpeg

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I have always wanted to go moose shed hunting.   

 

One of those looks like a woodland caribou!!  (that would be illegal!! :airquote:)

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16 mins ago, z-man said:

How many miles do you think you cover for each shed?  I never see any in my travels hiking and mountain biking. 

Some days I get lucky and find them quickly but usually not. I bet 5-6 miles on average. I pay attention to time more so than mileage. If I can spend 5 hours in a section of woods consecutively I tend to find at least one. When I only get an hour or two i don’t get them as often. I rarely find them where you could see them from a bike trail; but they definitely can drop there. Odds are somebody else has found those easy ones before me though. 

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Those are some he found at his place in NH. The deer sheds are mostly RI. Some properties that don’t allow hunting. 

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I mix my shed hunting between places you can’t hunt and places you can.. probably about 60-70 percent places I can; and 30-40 places I can’t in hopes of finding giants. My biggest set came a couple seasons ago from a place I could hunt though. Never saw him of course.

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