Dog Days of Summer by Scott Haugen
Shed Antler Hunting Dogs – For hard-core whitetail hunters, there is no off-season. In fact, if you really want to gain insight to the caliber of bucks in your hunting area, there’s still time. Late spring and early summer can be a good time to delve into areas where migratory whitetails have fled. Why now? Because they’ve retreated to summering grounds and their shed antlers have been left behind.
As for resident, non-migratory bucks, they’re well into their antler growth cycle; lightly poking around on their turf won’t harm them. However, if you choose to use a shed antler hunting dog in these habitats, make sure they’re well trained or on a leash.
If it’s too late—hot and dry—to shed hunt with a dog, maybe now is the time to consider getting a dog and training it for next season. There are several options to consider.
Hunting for shed antlers has been a common pastime and continues to grow in popularity across the West. As with hunting the animals themselves, looking for whitetail antlers is a true challenge.
The key to remember, is that shed antlers are a resource for the hunter, and must be properly understood and utilized in order to be effective. For instance, if you hold an early season deer tag, knowing where sheds are found each winter won’t do much good unless you’re hunting lower elevation, home-body bucks. If, however, the area you hunt late in the season holds migratory deer, then time needs to be spent searching for sheds amid their wintering grounds. Correlating the time of season you intend to hunt with the places bucks are during the time they shed their antlers, is crucial.
For some hunters, it’s an accomplishment to find a few sheds a year. For others, the dynamics of shed hunting is changing, and they’re finding up to two dozen sheds a day, sometimes more. Some are doing it through hard work, on foot. Others are discovering… shed antler hunting dogs.