American Survival Guide - - AMERICAN PIONEER -

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.

Lessons Learned

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.

Find­ing Suc­cess

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.

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