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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

Waterfowl numbers at SNWR less than 2013

Ruddy Ducks, Mike Peters. USFWS, Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex
By Frank Galusha
09/02/14 – Last month’s mid-August’s waterfowl survey at the Sacramento Wildlife Refuge Complex showed less than 10,000 ducks and geese, fewer than August of 2013, had been counted, according to Mike Carpenter... Full Story

Doves on the move for opener

08/31/14 -- Mourning doves as well as Eurasian collared doves seem to be plentiful in Northern California but they are moving in large flocks from place to place, according to Daniel Vaca at Kittle’s Outdoor and Sport... Full Story

Kittle's open; hunting film set for Sept. 13

Hunting Film Tour, Kittles Outdoor and Sport Co., Colusa, California
08/30/14 -- Kittle's Outdoor & Sport Company in Colusa will be open Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Monday September 1 from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. "Now is a good time to load up or re-load for that big 15-bird limit and while you are... Full Story

Anti-hunting/shooting bill dies in Senate

By Bill Gaines
08/30/14 – Hunters and shooters received a major victory today when SB 53 (De Leon) died on the Assembly Floor early this morning -- falling six votes short of the 41 votes needed to pass. The bill was first brought up... Full Story

Sky Lakes Wilderness 790 fire update

08/29/14 -- The 790 Fire is currently reported at 2,260 acres. Crews continue to hold in check the fire’s eastern flank. It is a high priority to limit the eastern spread of the fire. Additional firefighting resources are being... Full Story

Fire near John Day, OR 96% contained

South Fork Fire Map
08/29/14 -- Firefighters are holding the line during flare ups within the South Fork Complex fire, which is 20 southeast of John Day, Oregon. As a result the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Grant County... Full Story

Mule deer head found in jeep, 5 charged

Mule Deer head in back of jeep, OSP
08/2714 -- Five people are facing wildlife-related charges following an investigation that led to the discovery of the head of a freshly killed mule deer in a vehicle about 9 miles southwest of Pendleton near the Umatilla... Full Story

Boone & Crockett welcomes new leaders

08/25/14 -- Thirty-six conservation pros from across the U.S. are about to embark on a training odyssey described as "one of the most far-reaching professional development initiatives ever undertaken" in natural resource... Full Story

2014 Modoc Big Buck Contest

Modoc Big Buck Contest flyer
Article by Lorissa Soriano
08/23/14 -- Attention all Buck Hunters!! The 2014 Modoc Big Buck Contest is currently underway. It’s not too late to register for the event as long as you have an unused California deer tag and have not harvested... 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

CWA comments on BDCP

08/17/14 -- In late July, California Waterfowl submitted comments on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. The BDCP is the Habitat Conservation Plan that would provide Endangered Species Act permits for building... Full Story

Kids get their shot at pheasants

Duanne Dungannon photo, bow with shotgun and retriever with duck
By Tyler Dungannon
08/14/14 --  [Story printed with permission from OHA] Young Oregon hunters can take advantage of extraordinary opportunities to enjoy a day or two of pheasant hunting in September, perhaps even with a guide... Full Story

​Kruger Farms/CWA free duck hunt raffle

08/14/14 -- Less Than a Month to go! Kruger Farms and California Waterfowl are offering a FREE duck hunt for two at Kruger Farms Gear Testing farm in western Minnesota during the 2014-15 season! Airfare, lodging, meals... 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

CA waterfowl/dove hunting regs approved

08/07/14 -- California Waterfowl reports the waterfowl and dove hunting regulations for the 2014-15 hunting season have been approved by the California Fish and Game Commission – and overall the situation looks good... Full Story

Oregon Antelope Outlook

lone antelope lying in field, photo by Tyler Dungannon
By Tyler Dungannon
08/06/14 -- Antelope face some dry conditions on the range this year in southeast Oregon. When antelope endure drought, they tend to cluster together, which may make hunting difficult. According to ODFW biologists... Full Story

Oregon bird/fish regs on governor’s desk

08/05/14 -- The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission today approved a $357 million budget proposal for the Department of Fish and Wildlife for the 2015-17 biennium that includes a combination of program cuts... Full Story

Enter Big R Big Buck Contest now

Numerous Big Game Mounts. Photo taken at Daniken’s Taxidermy in Gold Hills, Oregon, by Jason Haley
07/30/14 -- Pre-Registration is open now for the Top of Form43rd Annual “Big Buck,” “Lucky Buck,” or “No Buck” Contest at the Big R stores in White City, Klamath Falls and Redmond. Bow hunters’ last day to register is August... Full Story

CDFW waterfowl hunting clinic in Redding

07/27/14 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Advanced Hunter Education Program and California Waterfowl Association are sponsoring a waterfowl hunting clinic in Redding on Saturday, Sept. 20... 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

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

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

Francisco Garcia, Outdoorman's Diary, bad hunting story 08/28/12 -- 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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