Just in case you may have somehow missed it, the current economic status of our country isn't exactly great. Terms like fiscal cliff, sequester, deficit and furlough have taken front page status in the news and there is no indication they are going anywhere in the near future.
With the economy in limbo it's no surprise that much of the talk around hunting these days involves the growing number of costs associated with the sport. Things like leases and the cost of out of state outfitter hunts are heavily discussed and debated here on Michigan Sportsman and even things like clothing and gear can be priced outside the reach of the average hunter. Many are convinced that the current trends will lead to hunting becoming a "rich mans sport" and while that topic isn't one I'm going to get into right now I can certainly understand the concerns of those who feel that way.
With all this concern over the growing cost of our sport its no surprise that one particular facet of the sport seems to be experiencing a rapid growth in popularity recently. Shed hunting is receiving more and more attention each and every spring and it doesn't take a whole lot of investigation to understand why. There is little to no cost associated with shed hunting, it can be done individually or as part of a group with family and friends, it doesn't take any special equipment or special skills and just about anyone can participate. All you need is a section of woods and some good boots and you can provide yourself with a spring full of entertainment for little to no financial investment.
Finding rubs while shed hunting can tip you off to good spots for stands come fall.
The last few years my intrest and participation in shed hunting has increased and I really look forward to shed season and can't wait to get out and start looking for those needle's in the haystack. My shed per mile walked ratio isn't very good but that lack of success has done little to dampen my enthusiasm for the search. The truth is that getting out into the woods this time of year is so enjoyable that not finding a shed doesn't make much of a difference in the end.
My shed hunting so far this year could be summed up in one word; sparce. I've only been out a few times so far and all of the search's have been pretty cursory in nature. I've walked our property a few different times but only have a combined total of a few hours under my belt out there so far. Usually the majority of my shed hunting time is spent walking the woodlots and parks around my house. Unfortunately this year my schedule and the weather haven't exactly seen eye to eye and many of my my planned walks have been put on hold due to snowcover. My limited time in the woods hasn't turned up any sheds as of yet but I still have some planned walks coming up and hopefully I can turn up an antler or two before it's all said and done.
Finding a shed from this buck, who we nicknamed Shadow and who we know survived hunting season, would be an awesome find.
One of the area's that we'll be focusing some time on is the area in and around our main food plot. The deer have been hammering the purple top turnips and on my last trip up there the plot was completely covered up with tracks and the runs leading to and from the plot were looking the same way. I'd have to believe that some of those tracks were left by a buck or two and hopefully they left something besides just those tracks behind.
Aside from the area immediately surrounding the plot, our bedding areas will get a thorough investigation as well. Many of those well used runs coming off the plot lead to those bedding areas and hopefully we can turn something up in there.
There are a few sheds in particular that we are really after and finding any of them would more than make our season. The buck that we were after last season, a buck we called Shadow, appears to have made it through the season and was reportedly spotted crossing the road near our property this winter. Another buck we were after, a buck we nicknamed Bob Marley, wasn't taken by anyone in our immediate area and finding confirmation that he survived would be really exciting. In addition to those two bucks we also received word of a "big 10" that was seen multiple times in our area this winter and we'll be carefully searching the area he was spotted in. Anyone of these sheds would be the biggest we've ever found and would also be the most meaningful and exciting as well.
Shed hunting can be enjoyed by folks of all ages. My son joined me for the first time last spring at the age of 2.
As for my local spots, my lack of time this year hasn't really given me much to go on but past years have shown me enough sign and activity to at least know where to start. The brief walk I took this year turned up a group of 10 does which made for good viewing as well as a lot of tracks, droppings and rut sign from last fall but no sheds. I have a few spots that I know hold pretty good bucks in a relatively small area so hopefully I can use my knowledge and a bit of luck to find the sheds that I know are there.
Unfortunately all the local areas I hit are open to the public and no matter how well you know the deer and how many hours you put in, there is always the chance that somebody beat you to the sheds you're looking for. That may be a big issue this year as I'm behind my normal schedule.
While I know this is a pretty lousy update on my shed season so far, I hope that I'll be able to share some success with you in an upcoming entry. While I may be a little behind my normal schedule I certainly haven't given up yet and I look forward to making up for lost time here in the upcoming weeks.
If you're sitting at home reading this and have gotten a bit of cabin fever at the end of this long winter, do yourself a favor and spend some time out shed hunting. It's cheap, easy and most of all its relaxing, refreshing and fun.
Take care, and thanks for reading!!