Finding a shed antler is like a discovering a message in a bottle. Whether large or small, the castaway bone mass says that I outsmarted a host of hunters and I’ll be around another year. Of course a car strike or severe winter could end a deer’s life, but whitetail deer are amazing survival artists. One savvy deer hunter in suburban Maryland uses shed hunting to meet property owners as a way of introducing himself. Some suburbanites don’t understand shed antler; it’s a great way to get to know the homeowner and perhaps get permission to hunt. Bernie Berringer does a great job of covering the basics of shed antler hunting and includes a brief video on how to make a shed antler trap in this OutdoorHub post.

TX Deer 06 274These eight tips will help you find more shed antlers this year. And this video on building a shed antler trap is guaranteed to be a real eye-opener! I found my first whitetail shed antler purely by accident. I was setting fox traps along a brushy fencerow and there was a shed antler which had been lying there for the better part of a year. I picked it up and brought it home. Despite the fact that it was somewhat chewed up, it was clear this antler came from a big 10-point buck. I became fascinated by the amazing phenomenon of antlers.

Antlers are the fastest form of animal growth known to man; they can grow more than an inch a day. Every antler is different; like snowflakes, they all have unique characteristics. My fascination with antlers led me to become fascinated with the bucks that grew them. Over time I evolved from a bowhunter who wanted to just put some meat in the freezer to someone who appreciated the challenge of shooting a mature buck. Yet I found that the antlers themselves held a curious intrigue in and of themselves. Allow me to offer some tips from a lifetime of experience that will help you find and appreciate the amazing antler…

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Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.