Deer season has been over for weeks, but that does not mean you have to sit in the house and wait for next September. Shed hunting is growing in popularity, and is a great way to get a jump start of scouting for next deer season. This winter not only has been easy to wildlife, but also on shed hunters.
Snowfall has been well below average (only 15.9” in Eau Claire). Most places in Western Wisconsin have very little if any snow on the ground, and most south-facing hills have no snow. Last winter we had over 45” of snow by early February, which could very easily hide antlers in the snow. Here are a few tips:
#1. Southern exposure, such as south-facing hills is a great spot to start. South-facing hills receive the most sunlight in winter. Deer bed here to warm up, very similar to your cat or dog, lying in a window. Even the low sun angle in January and February will reduce snow depths, making it easier for deer to bed, travel and find food.
#2. Look down; it is easy to look at birds, deer, and other things that might catch your eye. Focus on the ground, with the lack of snow this year a white color rack will stick out easier. Travel routes under or over fences are great spots to look. I have great success looking around old barb wire fences. Also check until evergreen trees. Great spot to deer to seek cover during storms and cold snaps.
#3. Cover a lot of ground. I always enjoy taking my dog Dixie(.5lab .5 golden) for walks in the woods. I’m also trying to train her to find sheds, but she is always up for an afternoon walk in the woods. Shed hunting is great exercise, and something to do during the dark cold days of winter.
Grab a good pair of boots, gloves, coat, maybe your favorite dog and head to the woods. Additional snowfall is not looking likely though Valentine's Day. Good luck. If you happen to find a great shed, send me a pic.
Remember a bad day in the woods, is better than a great day at work :)