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Monday, January 14, 2013

With deer season over, now is good time to hunt buck antler sheds

Hunting for buck deer sheds has become popular for multiple reasons.

Hunting seasons are winding down, and the cold keeps the fishing gear of most anglers in the closet, so what’s a person to do on these midwinter days?
Some weekends there are sports and travel shows. Then you can attempt to organize your tackle boxes, or you can head to the woods to look for shed deer antlers.
Yes, hunting shed antlers is becoming a popular pastime among both deer hunters and non-hunters.
There are several reasons for hunting for the shed antlers. They can provide a nice trophy for a “man cave”, they can provide valuable information for hunts next fall, and they can create winter outdoor fun and exercise. And when hunting for sheds, you may get a good view and perspective of the woods and wildlife you might not see during other times of the year.
Hunters know, but not everyone may be aware that whitetail deer bucks loose their antlers every winter, following the annual rut. 
Bucks grow antlers in the spring for use during the fall mating season. When the antlers begin to develop they are covered with a material often referred to as “velvet”. As the antlers mature, the bucks rub off the “velvet” on trees and bushes.
Once the mating season is over, the bucks no longer need the antlers as weapons against other bucks, and the antlers drop off during a period of several weeks. The timing depends on the location, but in this area, usually takes place sometime in January or February. It can happen earlier or later.
By spring it is unlikely antlers will be found. 
The antlers are composed of calcium, and when they are shed, mice rats and other small animals make quick work of them. They become tasty meals for many forest creatures.
Under normal conditions, bucks grow larger antler racks as they age. If you find a large rack, it indicates a big buck made it through hunting season. It may be a good place to consider locating a deer stand next fall.
Racks usually are found in locations where deer spend considerable time. Bedding and feeding areas, plus heavily traveled trails are good place to search. Places where deer jump at a creek or ravine are spots where sometimes the antlers are shaken loose.
Shed hunting can be fun and informative, and iis kid and family friendly. It is a good time to bundle up the family and head out to your favorite hunting grounds in search of antler sheds.
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NEW YEAR PLANS --  As Hoosiers make plans for a new year, they can take a cue from two Indiana University graduate students and a pair of Sheridan High School teachers.
  Laura Harman and her boyfriend Nathan Haffner, both originally from Fort Wayne, resolved this time last year to visit all 24 state parks in Indiana in 2012. They completed their resolution in late December when they visited Brown County State Park, the last on their list.
  Jesse and Abby Linville, the teachers, visited every state park in 2011 and plan to hit every state forest in 2013.
  Coincidentally, both couples accomplished many of the most common resolutions that Americans set for themselves. They exercised, spent more time with each other, traveled to new places, learned new things and de-stressed.
  Harman and Haffner spent at least a day at each park, hiked and bird-watched, visited nature centers, read interpretive markers, took hundreds of photographs, played basketball and tennis, and camped.

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