Antler Hunters by QDMA's Lindsay Thomas Jr.

Antler Hunters by QDMA's Lindsay Thomas Jr.

February 9, 2010 - Joel

Hunting shed antlers has become a sport
in its own right in the last few years. Some
people believe the spread of the Quality Deer
Management (QDM) philosophy has resulted
in balanced deer populations with more and
older bucks, leading to higher success rates for
shed hunters. Some people believe the reverse,
that the hope of boosting shed-hunting success
has led enthusiasts to QDM. Both are
probably accurate. Regardless, it is true that
hunting for sheds is an enhanced benefit of
QDM and that shed hunters are finding many
rewards beyond simply adding a new shed
antler to their collection.

Many different people are hunting for
shed antlers, some who are not even hunters.
And there are different levels of seriousness.
In Chester County, South Carolina,
QDMA member Vernon Peers has figured
out from several years of notes in his journal
that February 22 is the best day of the year
for him, his 15-year-old son and 12-year-old
daughter to find sheds on their 200-acre farm.
For the Peers, hunting sheds has become
an annual tradition and a good way to find
arrowheads, scout for the spring turkey season
and spend time together.

In Udall, Kansas, QDMA member Randy
Hoffman watches his trail cameras for bucks
missing antlers on his 200-acre property.
When the last antler has dropped, he begins
glassing fields of wheat stubble on windy days,
walking trails between food and cover, and
checking bedding areas — the one time of
year he enters them.

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