MEASURING A SHED
FUN AND EASY IF YOU USE THE FOLLOWING 4 STEPS
01 Start with the main beam. Beginning at the burr, measure around the outside of the main beam to the tip. Record the measurement to the nearest 1/8 inch.
02 Scribe a pencil mark across the base of each tine where it joins the top of the main beam. Staying in the center, measure the distance from the tip of the points to the pencil mark, and record the measurements.
03 Circumference measurements are taken in 4 places; between the burr and brow tine, between the brow and second point, between the second and third point, and between the third and forth point. Record the smallest circumference from each location.
04 Add up all the measurements to get the total gross score of the antler.
Note: You can go to the NASHC website (www.shedantlers. org) to download a score sheet. You can also find an official measurer for entering the shed in the record book if you choose to
Transition trails from food to bedding are also good places to keep an eye peeled, especially those pocked with old rubs. Also, keep your eyes peeled near fence and ditch crossings. You might not find the mother lode, but when a buck jumps and lands, the jolt is sometimes enough to jar an antler loose.
When I’m shed hunting, I’m also scouting. By the time I’ve finished combing a piece of ground, I know the location of old rubs, rub lines, scrapes, transition trails, food sources, bedding areas, and natural funnels. At this point, I find it's beneficial to map out the information on an aerial photo of the property. It helps me identify potential stand sites the next fall.
The Game Plan
Early summer, begin laying out a game plan that not only takes into account the shed locations, but also the other telltale sign you mapped out. Map out the location where each antler found. Review the aerial photo and place trail cameras in key locations where the biggest sheds were found. If you get pictures of a specific deer of interest, locate an ambush site for intercepting the buck. Determine the best wind condition to hunt the area, then locate or hang a stand on the downwind side of where you expect the deer to approach from. Be sure to trim your shooting lanes at the same time.
I’ve written enough big deer stories to realize that nearly half of the giant deer killed each year were first discovered through their sheds. Take for example the huge non-typical that Scott Moeller arrowed back in 2014. Moeller had been hunting the buck for three years, but shortly after shedding velvet he would disappear. Moeller got lucky and found the sheds in the spring of 2014. After measuring the sheds, Scott felt the 24 point would easily surpass the infamous 200-inch barrier. He setup a stand in the general vicinity that summer. As good luck would have it, Moeller arrowed the giant the first time hunting the new stand.
Shed hunting is a great way to spend time in the outdoors, and one of the best means of low impact post season scouting. The sheds you find are a fair indicator of the bucks you'll have to hunt during the upcoming season. Should you identify a mature buck for hit list, learn where he beds, feeds and travels to put yourself a leap ahead of those who don’t.
Although people in general hunt sheds for a variety of reasons, hunters use this post-season activity as a means to identify the bucks that survived the hunting seasons.