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Midwest Bucks is the driving force behind my addiction to bow hunting, but not far behind is getting up close and personal with gobbling thunder chickens in spring.

Shed Head

Shed Head

IMG_2066I must admit before writing too much, I do not want anyone to think I have a lot of expertise or much clout when it comes to shed hunting.  I will however tell you that an addiction is forming and I am nurturing a new love affair with searching for freshly dropped bone! To be really honest this is the first year that I have actually spent any substantial time looking for sheds.  Today, I am writing an article not so much on the “how-to’s” of shed hunting, because I am still learning myself.  Rather today, I am going to write about what causes one to turn into a “Shed Head.”

I never quite understood value that some of my friends had for shed hunting.  In fact I thought some were converging on lunacy.  They would say things like “I’d rather find an eighty-inch shed than kill a 150 inch buck.”  To me that still does not make sense, but I am starting to understand what their enthusiasm is all about.  My understanding and forming love with shed hunting started with my first hunt of 2014.

I got out of my truck and stared searching through a heavy used trail that crosses through a small two-acre piece of timber.  As I came out of the opposite side that I entered, the glimmer of the sun striking the main beam of a beautiful five point side caught my eye.  My first official shed in Iowa!

IMG_2063My heart rate elevated as I approached the antler, my adrenaline started to rise as I bent over to pick up my new trophy and then it happened.  I touched the antler.  For those “shed-heads” out there, you know exactly what I am referring to.  There is something almost surreal about placing your hands on that shed for the first time.  Knowing that you were the first person ever to touch that particular antler is an incredible feeling.  I was in awe, and so thankful for that opportunity.  I was standing there saying, “Thank you Lord, this is awesome.”  Then I realized, that I was feeling almost the same way I do when I harvest a big buck.  It is really incredible, the similarities I was feeling.

IMG_2050My friend Scott and I went out the following weekend.  On this trip I truly began to understand that shed hunting can help put the pieces of the hunting puzzle together.  We were having a great day and had found four sheds already.  I picked up a three point side from a little buck I had close encounter with on a windy November afternoon.  It was nice being able to recognize and remember an encounter because the shed connected it all.  Up to this point, our day had been productive but we had yet to find a “good” shed antler.

That all changed as the day was winding down.  We were walking through some CRP, I was on a heavy trail and Scott was on the edge of the finger of timber that separates the picked bean field from the CRP.  “Got one!” he hollered.  I made my way over and sure enough, he had come across a very heavy five point side.  All we could hope for now was to find the match before our last pass through the property was complete.  Finally, the car was in sight and I was walking past one of our stand locations.  I walked over to check a very small island of timber and instantly, another small four point side grabbed my attention.  While walking to collect my prize, a long, heavy beam caught my glance.  Could it be? Is it? Yes, a match! Boom! Our first matching set of antlers picked up on our very own lease!

IMG_2071Arriving back to the car, Scott and I examined the buck’s antlers and we were just not sure if we knew the deer.  However, I knew back at my house I had a computer full of images from this small 40 acre tract.  Upon inspection I recognized this deer to be a three-and-a -half year old nine point that we had not paid much attention to, as we had older, higher scoring bucks on our “hit-list.”  But the puzzle had been completed and now next year as a four year old we will be looking to end the story on this buck and will hopefully have the video to share with you as we do it.

I’m still learning all the in’s and out’s, the tricks, and tactics of becoming a good shed hunter and I am having a blast doing it.  I still have another month to invest in finding some more bone to add to my collection.  I may not have reached the pinnacle of my shed hunting career yet, but I am definitely turning into a Shed Head.

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