4 Necessities of Elk Antler Shed Looking

Each spring 1000’s of outside lovers head into the mountains in quest of bull elk antler sheds. Most people choose up 2 or Three each season after spending hours combing the forest and mountains for sheds. I’ve lived within the jap White Mountains of Arizona because the early 1990’s and have been searching antler sheds each spring. I typically choose up 30-50 sheds a season and common one about each 2 half hours. Listed here are some tips about how one can enhance your odds of discovering bull elk antler sheds.


Mountain climate might be inclimate and alter with little or no discover. You’ll need to arrange your self upfront by carrying the correct outerwear. First off, it is advisable to be carrying a very good pair of trainers. The terrain is steep and the footing is free. Mountain climbing sneakers simply will not do the job. Mountain climbing boots are higher, however your greatest wager is an effective leather-based Gore-Tex searching boot. I desire Danner Boots, they’re comfy and durable. Subsequent is a daily pair of denim blue denims. You’re consistently going by way of brush, butt sliding, kneeling and infrequently slipping and falling. Nylon pants get tore up fairly quick. For a high layer, a wick dry tee-shirt together with a technical nylon or fleece high will work very nicely. You need to keep heat, however permit the sweat to be depraved away. It is also a good suggestion to put on a vibrant colour on high particularly in case you’re shed searching with a associate, you want to have the ability to see one another from a distance. Camo is mostly not a good suggestion. A very good baseball model hat can also be important to maintain the solar out of your eyes. I put on a protracted invoice hat from my spouse’s fly fishing information enterprise. That is primarily as a result of you’ll not be carrying sun shades, sun shades tint the pure surrounding and you’ll not see the antlers laying on the bottom until they’re previous white chalks. Sun shades additionally make it troublesome to make use of binoculars successfully.


There are three important gadgets that it is best to carry with you always if you’re shed searching. The primary is an effective pair of binoculars. I exploit a pair of 12×50’s that may be bought for round $100-150. You additionally need to buy the over the shoulder straps for the bino’s ($15). These will maintain the glasses near your chest and hold them from banging on rocks and hanging up within the brush. Subsequent is a sidearm, if allowed in your state. You may be mountain climbing into prime mountain lion nation. I carry a.45 titanium revolver and it has saved my life twice by firing warning photographs above charging lions. I’ve by no means killed one. (Maybe a future story?) I merely is not going to go deep into the mountains with no sidearm and won’t permit searching companions to take action both. Lastly you have to a 2000-3000 cu.in. backpack with straps that may clip and unclip the antlers onto the again of the pack. Ideally, additionally a bladder reservoir with a chew tube for hydration.

Bear in mind, the factors all the time are packed away from you and relying on the dimensions of the antler, the button could level up or down….strive to not let the factors dig into your butt, or bang towards your head. I can carry (3-4) antlers on this method, then one in every hand if I discover a actual honey gap. Your pack ought to embrace: further hardshell, in case of inclimate climate, radios, if touring with a couple of individual (important), headlamp, matches, map, GPS (optionally available) first assist package, utility instrument like a Leatherman, sunscreen, bathroom paper, further liter of water and your lunch. In some areas, such because the Blue Wilderness, I carry a light-weight climbing harness, a few carabiners, rappel system and a 100′ size of static rappelling rope for getting myself out of tough conditions.


Now that you have assembled your entire outerwear and equipment, it is nearly time to go elk antler shed searching. Nevertheless, to forestall you from wandering from mountain to canyon with out function, you have to a great map of the world. The most effective are USGS topo maps out there on-line – we prefer to laminate ours. I additionally prefer to make the most of Google Maps and Google Earth. Nationwide Forest maps are additionally helpful for locating roads for entry into distant areas, however most the facet roads are unmarked. The principle factor is to have a “search plan” and keep on with the plan. Your plan ought to mirror the 4 necessities talked about under. All the time let another person know the place you are going and if you’ll be again. A be aware on the kitchen counter to my spouse often works for me. You additionally could need to carry a GPS and mark the situation of your car earlier than you go trotting right into a distant space.

As you propose your elk antler shed searching journey you ought to be serious about 4 important gadgets: Safety, Entry, Situations and Terrain. Any profitable shed searching journey would require all 4 of this stuff to be current. If just one important factor is lacking, you’ll have little or no luck discovering sheds and certain be skunked. All we’re doing is growing the chance of discovering an elk antler shed in a given space.


I consider that elk antlers are painful earlier than they fall off. There isn’t any scientific proof that I’m conscious of to help my perception, however nonetheless I firmly consider this to be a real reality. The extent of ache could also be completely different for every bull elk, from a minor toothache to an abscessed tooth. The extent of ache may additionally differ with age. So, take a minute and contemplate the way you personally really feel if you’re sick with a toothache, say possibly a root canal. Typically, you need to loosen up as a lot as potential, keep heat and cozy, little or no social contact, have water and meals close-by, possibly sleep just a little greater than ordinary. Most of all, you actually do not need to be bothered. You simply need to get this over with and get on along with your life. My rivalry is that’s precisely how a bull elk feels when these massive antlers begin to loosen up. They need to be protected and safe.

So, the place would a bull elk really feel protected and safe? The query might be higher requested the place they would not really feel protected and safe. Effectively, to be sincere, positively not round their lady mates, the cow elk. If I see hundreds and a great deal of contemporary cow elk scat, I am most likely not in a great space for locating sheds. The bulls generally collect into smaller teams of 4-Eight when they’re about to drop, however more often than not it is a solitary occasion when it really occurs. In addition they don’t need to be chilly, they typically prefer to be as heat and cozy as potential. I typically don’t discover elk sheds on north dealing with slopes until I am working a big mountain with deep spine kind ridges…even then, odds are far better on the sunny sided slopes. This subsequent one is essential, in addition they are likely to keep away from deep thick brushy areas, that are prevalent on north dealing with mountains. Bear in mind, in case you purchase into my perception, these antlers damage. They don’t want them to be knocking towards timber and bushes…kinda like stubbing a toe that you have already stubbed. Nevertheless, the areas could also be quick and brushy, like a live oak forest with the peak of the oak round 5′. This permits them to maneuver round and carry the antlers above the comb, however have the power to lie down in between them to hunt safety.

The astute shed hunter would most likely say, “Yea okay, however I’ve discovered just a few sheds in broad open meadows”. My reply could be, “Positive, they’re touring to and from their water supply and feeding space from a safe space”. Elk don’t get delivered pizza when they’re sick. As well as, you’ll sometimes discover just one facet in a meadow…they’ve already dropped the opposite one of their safe space. Lastly, there’s one final essential level to be made about safety – mountain lions. When a bull elk beds down, it is often not in a spot the place it may be simply attacked. They prefer to have good visual view, which implies very often they prefer it greater up on the mountain. Overhanging rock ledges that they will tuck beneath are additionally locations that all the time have to be searched. Take into consideration if you had been younger and about to go to mattress, however you might have a tooth coming lose, you may’t sleep. Your dad and mom would come into your bed room and pull the free tooth out – I all the time howled after the doorknob and the string trick! If a bull elk is bedding down and people antlers are hurting simply sufficient that they can not sleep, they are going to knock each of them off the place they’re bedding down. A matched bull elk antler set is nearly the absolute best discover…subsequent to a winterkill.

Good examples of safe areas are drainages and just under ridgelines. Please take into accout, these areas might be fairly giant, generally a sq. mile.


That is the simplest of the important parts and the one wherein I see essentially the most errors. Environmental situations have an amazing impact on the place a bull elk could drop an antler shed. The principle situation is climate and the opposite is the time of the 12 months. I’m going to make one other daring assumption that isn’t based mostly on scientific reality, however I do know this to be true. A bull elk is not going to drop antlers in snow. Nevertheless, they really like being near snow, particularly the snow line on a mountain. In the event you can decide the place the snow line is on a mountain on the time of 12 months when the antler dropped, you might have saved your self an amazing quantity of searching within the incorrect locations (commonest error). Usually, after I discover a contemporary brown antler shed the very first thing I take a look at is my wristwatch altimeter and decide the elevation wherein I picked up the shed. (A very good cause to hold a GPS as nicely) More often than not, there isn’t any snow the place I picked up the shed. I’m making an attempt to find out the snow line on the mountain on the time of the drop. From that time ahead, the very best chance of discovering one other shed is both 150′ above or under the place you discovered the primary shed. This implies you might be zig-zagging up and down the mountain. Nevertheless, if you discover your second shed on the identical mountain, you at the moment are including to your database of information to additional refine your elevation search space. Within the jap White Mountains of Arizona and west Central New Mexico nearly all of my sheds are discovered between 8300-9500.’ You’ll need to find out the common in your space in accordance with the snow line.

The opposite half of the equation is time of 12 months. Bull elk typically drop their antlers over a 6-Eight week interval. In our area that is early March to late April. Nevertheless, there’s all the time a 10 day or so interval when the bulk drop their antlers. Giant elk drop their antlers first. I contemplate a big elk something over a 50″ fundamental beam – often a 6X. The medium-sized ones are subsequent, round 36″ fundamental beam after which the small 3X are final. Many shed hunters make the error of going out too early. Our space is full of shed hunters early within the season, few are discovered. My early season adventures are often on a sunny ridge line with 12×50 binoculars and a lunch. I am watching the migration patterns and by the way in which, choosing out the largest racks.

Attempt to restrict your search to areas a pair hundred toes under the snowline, utilizing a zig-zag sample in the course of the time of 12 months when they’re really shedding their antlers.


I’ve to incorporate entry as a vital factor since it is a considerably aggressive journey. If there are numerous people within the space wherein you propose to hunt for sheds, you’ll possible not achieve success. This can be a main violation of the important safety factor. Nevertheless, it can be crucial sufficient to warrant its personal class. You might even see bull elk in areas populated by people, however they actually don’t prefer to shed their antlers until they’re touring to and from a safe space. Give it some thought this manner…if an ATV can get into your space, it isn’t a great place to hunt for sheds. Bull elk don’t like roaring ATV engines or diesel vehicles for that matter. They prefer it safe, comfy and quiet.

I generally make the most of an ATV to get near an space that I will be searching sheds. However that ATV is often parked not less than a mile away from my goal space. You do not need to spook them away in the event that they have not dropped but. You actually do have to go in on foot, disturb as little of the world as potential and go away along with your bounty. I’ve witnessed prime areas ruined by careless people.

This can be a aggressive journey. If there are numerous people going into your space. It could be picked clear yearly. If the entry is straightforward, the lots will present as much as hunt antlers. If the entry is troublesome, you most likely have your individual non-public searching floor. Here is one other normal rule of thumb, if a rancher is grazing cattle in your space, it is most likely not a great place to hunt sheds. Cowboys trip fence traces each spring as soon as the snow is gone, they know their cattle allotment part just like the again of their hand. Principally, you’ve got had consultants in your space for years choosing up sheds.

The extra distant and inaccessible by any kind of auto together with horses, the upper the chance of discovering elk antler sheds.


Elk can drop their antlers nearly wherever, we’re solely within the areas in which there’s the very best chance of a “drop zone”. Very often, that is the place a bull elk will mattress down. It additionally could also be the place they journey too and from a safe space. Nevertheless, it’s all the time an space wherein they’re acquainted. After I go into a brand new space to “develop” I’m in search of a particular kind of terrain to match my different important parts. I am additionally in search of bull elk scat and tree rubs. Hey, wait a minute!! Bull elk rub the velvet off their antlers nicely after they shed. I agree, however in addition they are likely to gravitate in direction of areas of familiarity. So, as I take a look at the bottom and the rubbings on the timber, I am additionally scanning the horizons with my binoculars…as a result of I am all the time in search of a particular kind of terrain.

The very best terrain is directional and prioritized on this order, south, southwest, west, southeast and east dealing with slopes. North dealing with slopes as talked about earlier are nearly all the time a no go, until it’s a giant mountain with steep ridgelines which have sun-washed facet canyons. As one more normal rule of thumb, grassy slopes are higher than rocky slopes. If the slope is all rock, it is most likely not a great space. It has to have some grass with the rock…all grass with just a few rocks is greatest.

A few of my mates child me about have legs like a T-Rex. That is most likely resulting from the truth that many of the sheds that I discover are positioned on slopes between 30 and 50 levels. In the event you’re unfamiliar with levels of slope angle, a 12/12 pitch roof is 45 levels. Quite a lot of church buildings have steep roof traces much like the terrain wherein elk antler sheds are discovered. Clearly it takes numerous willpower to work your manner up a steep slope searching an antler shed. Nevertheless, that is typically a safe space, with numerous visibility and infrequently close to a water supply under in a canyon. The excellent news is, you get to cease each 50′ or so, take a break and scan the world along with your binoculars.

A typical search sample on a steep south-facing grassy slope would go one thing like this…First cross is the ridgeline itself, taking your time to look down into the slope after which again simply off the ridgeline. The following cross could also be 20-40′ under the ridgeline and often not less than one or two extra passes even decrease. Nevertheless, in case you’re simply going to make one cross, it is advisable to make the most of a zig-zag sample to cowl as a lot space as potential. The entire time, your serious about safety points for the elk, environmental situations within the space in the course of the time the snow line was current and entry regarding the remoteness of the world.


Please don’t get discouraged in case you learn all of this info and don’t instantly discover an elk antler shed though all 4 important parts are current. That is meant to be a enjoyable information to extend your possibilities of discovering shed antlers. From the outset, it is best to contemplate your mission to develop areas the place you understand that they are going to be dropping. I’ve discovered tons of and tons of of elk sheds, 70% of them come from a dozen areas that took me years to discover and develop. I’m going into these areas thrice every – early, mid and late season.

I don’t promote any of my antler sheds. They’re both presents to household and mates or they find yourself in my workshop changing into lamps, finish tables or candle holders. 100 or so adorn the gateway to our mountain residence.


The jap White Mountains of Arizona embrace the communities of Alpine, Nutrioso and Greer. The 538,000 acre Wallow Hearth (Summer season 2010) burned over 850 sq. miles of this lovely space. We misplaced our residence for 15 years together with two companies as a result of irresponsibility and negligence of the Apache Nationwide Forest Administration Group. We presently reside 300 miles away on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.