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Get ready for shed season

Article and photos by Jason Haley
Shed horns will be hitting the ground pretty soon. Maybe they already are where you live? Hunting for sheds has become quite the rage in recent years. What started out as a springtime hobby for antler lovers, and has probably always been around in some form, has become a craze that now requires state regulation in some places.

If you’re a hunter like me, you understand the strange attraction to horns that many of us have. They’re fun to hold, feel, examine, compare, wonder about and, most of all, talk about. Some folks like high horns, some wide, some heavy, some non-typical and many like the ones that score high. Besides the horn admiration/fascination factor and the pre-season scouting benefits, looking for sheds can be good springtime outdoor exercise. Your mind is busy so it doesn’t realize your body is tired while you pull hills and cross creeks. The entire family can get involved too.

I’ve never actively looked for them, but I used to stumble upon deer horns in the spring turkey woods or quail hunting in the oaks. I’d often wonder. Did it drop right here or did a coyote carry it here only to drop it for something better? Is this buck still alive or did he get taken by a hunter or a cougar or was he hit by a car? Maybe he’s in the shade watching me right now. Where is the other horn? It seems like the sun-bleached antlers often end up in pack rat nests.

My own shed horn interest peaked a few years ago after finding a beautiful matched set only four feet apart while deer hunting. I also saw a display at last year’s outdoor show in Medford that was remarkable. One collector had trophy blacktail sheds from Southern Oregon and he had over five season’s worth of matched sets from a single buck. It was a great study in age-class.

Now people have a new reason to collect sheds; they’re valuable. There are antler buyers, distributors, wholesalers, importers, and exporters. Deer and elk sheds are normally sold by the pound, but unique or trophy antlers can garner much more at auction. People are training and breeding dogs, usually Labradors, to find and retrieve sheds. Over-exuberant shed hunters have harassed big game herds on their winter ranges, sometimes following them for days waiting for the second horn to drop or chasing them on quads causing antlers to drop prematurely. Some are selling horns to supplement their incomes. This has led states like Utah and Wyoming to regulate the activity. For example, in some cases collectors can’t enter the winter ranges until late spring and ethics courses are mandatory prior to searching. Shed hunting is unregulated in California and Oregon, so enjoy it for what it is and be sure to educate yourself on the legalities and ethical considerations before entering the field.

I found my prize set of sheds in Siskiyou County, but the buck undoubtedly summered in Jackson County, which is known for trophy blacktails. The horns now belong to a friend.  He already had a nice shed collection and enjoys the hobby. He had also put me onto a great archery elk spot a few years earlier. This made the decision to part with them a bit easier.

More Hunting News

Modoc/NWAs slow for duck/goose hunters

Butte Valley NWA, photo courtesy of USFWS
11/27/14 -- Modoc National Wildlife Refuge near Alturas is not set to get much wind from the approaching storm but rain is expected from Friday through Monday and it may get cold enough to provide a little snow. Averages there were... Full Story

Klamath Basin NWR hunting improves

Lower Klamath NWR, Photo courtesy of USFWS
11/26/14 -- Total waterfowl counts on the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Complex were also down from about 377,000 in October to about 290,000, according to the aerial surveys provided on the Complex website. Harvest results... Full Story

Sacramento NW refuge birds on the move

Sacramento NWR, photo courtesy of USFWS
11/25/14 -- Waterfowl counts on the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex are up on the order of 20 percent over 2013 but down about the same percentage from a month ago, according to the Mid-November SNWRC waterfowl... Full Story

Are Ducks In Heaven?

Don Webster, Illustration by Everett D. Wilson
By Don E. Webster
11/24/14 -- [Author’s Note: Inevitably, this time of year causes me to reminisce about the many great experiences I've had in the outdoors, many of which were spent in the marshes with friends. I'd like to share a chapter from... Full Story

Buying a firearm ‘in time for Christmas’

By Gary Heffley
11/24/14 -- Every year someone is disappointed and mad at the wrong people because they could not pick up their gun purchase in time for Christmas. Some don’t pay attention to the retailer’s hours on Christmas Eve and some don’t... Full Story

Bucks & Bulls contest gaining momentum

Elk antlers, Jason Haley
By Jason Haley
11/19/14 -- It’s taken a while, but the annual Bucks and Bulls contest at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Medford is finally taking shape. I stopped by a few days ago and there are now 11 bull elk, 11 blacktail bucks... Full Story

Through the rear view mirror

Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, 2014 Stearns Unit #4, Frank Galusha
By Frank Galusha
11/19/14 -- To paraphrase Lewis Carroll, "The time has come," the Walrus said, "To talk of many things: Of draughts -- and books -- and artifacts -- Of bandages -- and flings -- And why the flag is upside down -- And whether men... Full Story

My Best Friend Always Wears a Fur Coat

Don Webster author badge, myoutdoorbuddy.com, The oudoor edge
11/17/14 -- Like many waterfowlers, I’ve been around hunting dogs as long as I can remember. More than likely, when I came home from the hospital as a newborn, there was a hunting dog of some sort riding with me and my mother in the... Full Story

For the turkey hunter in your life

By Frank Galusha
11/17/14 -- Successful Turkey Hunting by John Higley with contributions from J. J. Reich should be in every experienced or would-be turkey hunter’s reading and re-reading list. This book covers all the basics but within every... Full Story

Win! 16 Oregon guided youth deer hunts

11/08/14 -- Sixteen youth deer hunters will get the chance to go on a guided deer hunt on the 9,500-acre C2 Ranch near Medford this year. To be eligible, youth must have drawn the 630T Rogue Unit Youth Deer controlled hunt tag... Full Story

Connecting with Fall Turkeys

Fall flock of turkeys, John Higley, myoutdoorbuddy.com
By John Higley
11/08/14 -- Judging from the number of wild turkeys I’ve seen recently in my travels around Shasta County I’d say fall hunting will be fair, if not outstanding, this year. It all depends on the number of turkeys in the area where you’re hunting... Full Story

Pheasant season opens Saturday

Kona, Chocolate Labrador Retriever, Alturas photo courtesy of Dan Ryan
11/05/14 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is providing several pheasant hunting opportunities at Northern California Type A wildlife areas for 2014. The general pheasant season opens on Nov. 8...  Full Story

Umpqua NF resets travel mgmt. meetings

By Frank Galusha
11/03/14 -- The Umpqua Chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association has put out an alert regarding upcoming travel management plan meetings set previously by Umpqua National Forest officials. According to the alert the... Full Story

Duck hunt gone awry

Unit 4 at the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, photo by Frank galusha
Article and photos by Frank Galusha
11/03/14 -- As I reported yesterday in my article about fishing the Upper Klamath, last week’s weather forecast was as fickle as any I’ve seen. Wednesday was to be a calm day with maybe a sprinkle in Siskiyou County... Full Story

Waterfowl face drought/disease in CV

By Frank Galusha
10/26/14 – My father often spoke of seeing waterfowl blacken the skies in the Central Valley wetlands back in the 1940’s. Construction of Friant Dam on the San Joaquin River was destined to change that as it was part of the... Full Story

Eden Landing ER hunts to be allowed

Waterfowl hunting at sunrise photo courtesy of CA DFW
10/23/14 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering fall waterfowl hunting opportunities at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve (ELER) in Hayward. The reserve includes former salt ponds now managed by... Full Story

Remembering the Jordan Buck

Boone and Crockett Club, James Jordan and his whitetail tale became a legend
10/20/14 -- Ninety-nine deer seasons have passed since James Jordan pulled the trigger on a gargantuan whitetail that would become one of the best-known trophies of all time - and still stands as the biggest... Full Story

Waterfowl hunt regs on Liberty Island

10/14/14 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is reminding hunters that new land regulations have gone into effect at Liberty Island Ecological Reserve. On Aug. 11, 2014, regulation... Full Story

C Zone Blacktail

By Dusty Clement
10/03/14 -- This hunt started last year when I discovered an out-of-the-way public piece of property which is very difficult to access taking a boat and a fair amount of hiking through the Sacramento River jungle to reach... Full Story

Don’t forget waterfowl hunt regs!

By Frank Galusha
09/19/19 -- As usual, our waterfowl hunting regulations are complex and the dates are hard to remember. Be safe and carry a regulation booklet with you at all times. Or print out the regulations directly from the CA... Full Story

Many ducks expected; need farmers help

 09/19/14 -- California Waterfowl and Ducks Unlimited have released a joint statement encouraging rice farmers to think of wintering waterfowl during this historic drought. The breeding duck survey this past spring... Full Story

Fall general hunting seasons open soon

09/17/14 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) would like to remind hunters that California’s fall general big game hunting seasons are right around the corner. The upcoming California... Full Story

Vintage Waterfowler

old black and white photo of a skiff loaded with ducks and a man with his shotgun, courtesy of Don Webster
By Don E. Webster
09/16/14 --Having been pursuing waterfowl for over 60 years, I was exposed to its history as a mere child by my grandfather, Wilbur S. Pechin. He hunted ducks and geese along the Platte River in Nebraska in the late 19th... Full Story

Water shortage hurts pheasant outlook

09/10/14 -- [Updated 09/11/14] -- Pheasant season is less than two months away and this morning Pheasants Forever confirmed what most California hunters have suspected. The severe drought plaguing our state is crippling our pheasant... Full Story

Feral pig hunting to start on the SRNWR

08/19/14 -- Beginning September 1, 2014, the Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge (SRNWR) will allow feral pig hunting in authorized areas. This decision will improve consistency of the refuge hunt plan... Full Story

The buck we didn’t get and two we did

Tyler Low with his 3x4 buck shot at 100 yards with a Weatherby Vanguard .300 Winchester Magnum. Photo by Kyler Olson
By Tyler Low
08/10/14 -- “Can you see him? He is just below the sky line to the left of the big live oak.” The respectable three-point stood only 500 yards away, but my hunting partner, Kyler Olson, couldn’t quite get an eye on him... Full Story

Oregon program takes disabled youths afield

Ashley Jensen in wheel chair in front of blind used when she hunts.
By Jason Haley
07/06/14 -- It began decades ago with a prayer and a broken-winged raven, struggling to move across the beach in the Cook Inlet of Alaska. As former pastor, Ken Coreson watched this scene play out: seagulls... Full Story

John M. Browning

By Don E. Webster
02/05/14 -- One has to wonder how differently the history of not only America, but the entire world would have been if John Moses Browning (January 23, 1855 – November 26, 1926) had not been born... Full Story

Where Are All the Pheasants?

Sacramento Valley Pheasant, Steven T. Callan, Where Have All the Pheasants Gone
On Patrol by Steven T. Callan
The other day a neighbor stopped by my house after two days of hunting pheasants in the Orland area. He said that he and his golden retriever, Milo, had probably walked ten miles and only flushed three birds. Knowingthat I had grown up... Full Story

Ham on the Hoof

Article and photos by Gary Lewis
12/17/13 -- We were climbing a steep gravel ranch road in Charlie’s Toyota when we saw it, as big as a full-grown bear and on a dead run. Charlie hit the brakes and switched off the engine. There was no time to load the rifle. The shaggy, gray... Full Story

Back to the Start

heritage, history of hunting, hunting as a family, Jason Haley, Mt. Shasta, Mount Shasta
Article and photos by Jason Haley
10/18/13 -- I got tipped-off about a bachelor group of bucks from an archer I trust. That never hurts. And after spending opening day in the area, glimpsing two good bucks and seeing how the terrain lays out, I knew exactly... Full Story

Never say never

Never say never, rifle buk, Francisco Garcia, MyOutdoorBuddy.com
By Francisco Garcia
Most of you have heard the saying, patience is a virtue, and I would say persistence is a virtue. If you want to fill your deer tag each season you have to put your time in. If you don’t give in and hunt hard you should be... Full Story

Me and my shadow

Twin melanistic fawns with doe, Me and my shadow, Jean Bilodeaux, MyOutdoorBuddy.com Article and photos by Jean Bilodeaux
10/06/12 -- It’s always amazing to see the huge bucks reappear in the fields in Surprise Valley right after deer season. Many times locals breathe a sigh of relief as the big bucks that disappeared a month earlier now reappear... Full Story

Hunting trip gone bad

Deer holding tight in cover during times of heavy hunting pressure as I was about to find out. Francisco Garcia hunting story. MyOutdoorBuddy.com
By Francisco Garcia
If you asked me what I’d rather be doing, most of the time I would emphatically say, deer hunting. For me nothing gets the juices flowing and the imagination spinning like the arrival of bow or rifle season for deer. When... Full Story

The Mudhen King

Mid-Eighties. I’m writing screenplays. They invite me down to Hollywood, and things look promising, but they want the horse in my story to be green. By that, I mean they actually want a green horse. Green in color. Don’t laugh... Full Story

 

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Website Design Photo Credits: MyOutdoorBuddy.com thanks the following individuals for contributing photographs for use on our Home and Section pages: Anders Tomlinson of Tule-Lake.com, Amber Galusha of Nature-Drunk.com, Casey Allen of Bayside, CA; Jason Haley of Medford, OR; Steve Breth of Burney, CA; Tracy McCormack of Eureka, CA; Grant Thompson of Grand Junction, CO; Richard Bott of Shingletown, CA; Ron Loftus of Yreka, CA; Scott Caldwell of Montague, CA; Lorissa Soriano of Alturas, CA and the late Dave Menke, formerly with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

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