If Shed Antlers Could Tell You Something by Bowhunt America’s Mark Kayser

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If Shed Antlers Could Tell You Something by Bowhunt America’s Mark Kayser

April 7, 2011 - Mathews Inc

The small five-point shed antler didn’t strike me as anything particularly interesting as I dug it out of the forest duff. Sure, the antler had a unique split brow point that curved backwards, but it still would barely crack 120 points if both sides matched. I hastily stowed the shed antler into my daypack as I raced ahead to find another antler on that breezy spring afternoon. I pick up hundreds of shed antlers each spring, and that antler soon disappeared into a barrel of other similarly sized shed whitetail racks quickly to be forgotten.

The story would have ended there save for the fact that I downed my best whitetail soon after, and while relishing the moment I recalled seeing an antler with a similar configuration in my antler bin.

I dug the small shed out and, although the buck had put on more than 50 inches since casting the shed as a 2 ½-year-old, it was from the same buck. I traded with another hunter to get the sheds from that same buck as a 3 ½-year-old. State biologist data dated the buck as 4 ½ years old when my arrow hit home. All sheds matched like fingerprints.

After the fact, I plotted the location of the buck’s sheds and matched that against where I tagged him. The information painted a picture of a buck that stayed true to a home corridor of less than 2 square miles. Today I try to paint that picture before meeting my bucks or bulls. Picking up shed antlers can simply be a fun exercise requiring little investment or preparation, but shed hunting can also be used to increase your archery success. Here’s how.

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