Looking both for elk herds and bachelor groups that bulls are moving into can many times be accomplished from a mile or more away. PUBLISHED January 20, 2018. Shed hunters who stumble onto even a single side of a big animal’s antlers are generally thrilled, as I can attest. Glassing from a distant vantage point and finding elk bedded is a critical way to keep from bumping a herd out of the area. I picked up the trophy, smiling at my good fortune. Deer (and other ungulates, like elk) shed their antlers every year, then grow a completely new set. In the spring months of March and April, bull elk drop their antlers due to biological changes in their hormone levels. People use elk antlers to make chandeliers, belt buckles, knife handles and other rustic crafts, as well as for medicinal purposes. Putting in some windshield time with a good set of high power binoculars and a spotting scope with a window mount is a great way to locate elk. Finding a sunny park in elk country that bull elk are resting in during the day in the month of March is a great find. The next 22 miles is private property owned by Vermejo Park Ranch. Randy Newberg and Corey Jacobsen are elk hunting in New Mexico when Randy shows Corey what to do with shed elk antlers. This velvet has hair and nerve network and blood vessels. Every year I make a point of shed hunting on all the properties where I have hunting permission and I’ve found a few antlers there, but not many. When elk are not feeding, they spend a lot of their time resting in bedding areas in or around cover. In 2018, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission voted unanimously to prohibit shed antler and horn collection on all public lands west of I-25 from Jan.​​ 1 through April 30, annually. Many aspects of elk hunting are relevant and pertain to elk shed hunting. Antler shedding is the process in which the bucks shed off their antlers completely to grow a new set of antlers. Most elk shed their antlers from February until April. There is something different about picking up an elk shed. Many nutrients are needed to make bone, such as calcium, phosphorus and protein. And shed hunting — once the domain of only a handful of seriously devoted deer hunters — is growing in popularity. Antlers are often called “horns” by deer hunters, but they are not. Many places in the west have migratory herds, so finding a great pair of shed antlers doesn’t necessarily mean that bull will be within 50 miles the following fall. These nutrients are important for all types of animal growth, not just big strong antlers. Setting up and scouting elk herds by glassing from an elevated position is often one of the most productive methods. PUBLISHED January 20, 2018. There are some changes this year from the way this has operated in year’s past and we wanted to get the word out to possible visitors to the area. Many of the key principles that apply to whitetail, and mule deer shed antler hunting are also important when looking for elk sheds. By using our website, you accept our use of cookies. Caribou are the only species in which antlers are typically found on females in addition to males. Larger bull elk generally begin shedding their antlers the first part of March, while deer do their shedding about a month later in April. Sometimes a buck will shed both antlers at roughly the same time, and other times a buck may shed one antler and carry the second for hours or even a … Male deer and elk shed their antlers annually. It’s critical for both shed hunter and elk that the safety of both is considered when shed hunters are looking for dropped antlers. Oregon’s buck deer shed their antlers from late December through March and bull elk shed them from late February through early April. Keeping an eye on the forecast and the weather is critical when shed hunting elk antlers in the spring in high mountain backcountry. It happens during the first quarter of the year. Sometimes letting your eyes do the walking in elk country is the best way to cover country. The best places to find shed antlers are areas that hold deer during certain parts of their daily routine, which increases the likelihood of you finding antlers. Typically, elk will start dropping their antlers in mid-March. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. Editor's note: To clarify this article, we have added a paragraph at the end to explain the biological cause of shedding antlers. Image by Fotolia.com, courtesy of Mike & Valerie Miller. Required fields are marked *. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. Either way, picking up elk sheds is a great way to kill the lull between elk seasons, while still giving you the opportunity to come home with antlers. These bulls have made it through a fall rut, the breeding season, and most of the winter. This issue is so impactful to the healthy population of elk that many states have laws pertaining to shed antler hunting. Elk often feed both morning and evening and it is not uncommon for antlers to drop, or even be knocked off while they feed through timber, in fields, or forage under light snow. Shed antlers (or sheds) are a great way to hunt deer without killing an animal. This time of year elk are keying on forage and feed, consuming calories this time of year is critical for the elk. By the end of January, I find myself going through hunting withdrawal and the only fix is a trip afield in search of shed antlers. It can take as little as 24-48 hours for the antlers to actually fall off, but the shedding process takes between two to three weeks and then new antlers will regenerate throughout the summer. It is way easier to find 500 lb elk than it is to find an antler, so defining their home range or winter sanctuaries is half the battle when shed hunting. Combing over draw results, following spring and summer precipitation and available forage predictions, scouting terrain, and the wearing out of topo maps detailing hunting areas are just some of the ways elk hunters lose themselves in the pursuit of elk between hunts. They shed these antlers every year in late winter or early spring and begin to grow a new set of antlers in spring. Antlers aren’t used as a weapon or for defense, which means they don’t need them after the breeding season. Hunting elk is a passion, a calling, an addiction, and for many elk hunters a way of life. These are the antlers that are still attached to the skull, and it is illegal to touch or collect them. Each May, Boy Scouts collect hundreds of elk antlers in the National Elk Refuge in Jackson, Wyoming, to be sold at an antler auction. Training your eye to look for the angles and points of an antler is an actual skill that takes time to develop. The good nutrition helps maintain a deer’s testosterone levels for longer. Hunting for whitetail shed antlers dominates the antler scene, but like dreaming about a western elk hunt, shed antler fanatics consider hunting for elk and mule deer shed antlers a bucket-list adventure. In the cold snowy spring months in the mountains and highland plains, elk frequent the sunny side of ridges and slopes soaking up the spring sun. Antlers aren’t used as a weapon or for defense, which means they don’t need them after the breeding season. The timing of when they shed their antlers depends mostly on the photoperiod, but there are other factors such as stress and health that will affect it as well. Between January and April, you are more likely to find deer antlers that have shed. The question is why deer, elk and moose shed their antlers each season? Joe Shead is a freelance writer specializing in outdoor writing. This is a process that happens primarily in the late winter, making March and April a prime time for shed hunters. Elk shed hunting is not unlike hunting elk during the regular season. A by-product of this natural cycle is that antlers have various commercial values. 2 Minute Read. Pushing elk out of their feeding areas and into high country snowpack can be devastating to calving cows, and the elk population as a whole. For some, shed hunting is a hobby. Males can grow up to 1700 pounds. It consists of looking for antlers than have been shed by deer or elk. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Shed antler hunting is growing in popularity nationwide. Another great find. He has written for numerous national and regional outdoor magazines on various topics from hunting to fishing to his pet subject, shed antler hunting. Growth is triggered by increasing daylight and subsequent testosterone production. Maybe it is the sheer size of the antler or the fact that elk and tags are equally elusive. It was modest as antlers go — a 14-inch main beam, half of a six-point, that would have crested about 8 inches above the buck’s ears. Elk Network What to do with Shed Elk Antlers Hunting | March 27, 2017. We have officially started another year of the elk. This issue is so impactful to the healthy population of elk that many states have laws pertaining to shed antler hunting. © Copyright - Michael Waddell's Bone Collector - Powered by, Shed Hunting Dog Training | How to Train your Dog to Shed Hunt, Shed Hunting the South Versus the Midwest. Your email address will not be published. The only major law is about collecting the deadheads. Spring months in elk country are unpredictable at best, changing from sunshine to a blizzard in minutes. Adult whitetail deer antlers can grow ¼ inch per day, whereas elk antlers grow about an inch per day. These dropped antlers are commonly referred to as "sheds" or "shed antlers." Therefore, after the rut moose, elk, and deer shed antlers and then are ready for winter. In in N AZ….and its August and I’m still finding Brownies…x3 6pts ALL LEFTS arghhhh…went back and scoured and Not A Right to be found…lolol. The definition of shed hunting would be the pursuit of finding antlers that have been naturally shed by any antler-bearing mammal such as moose, caribou, elk and deer. In typical seasons, bull elk shed their antlers in March. Female deer do not usually shed their antlers. In addition to this, the antlers of a female deer have lesser branches. Why Do Moose Shed Their Antlers? Elk Network What to do with Shed Elk Antlers Hunting | March 27, 2017. It’s really up to Mother Nature when the antler drop occurs, but if you’re lucky occasionally both antlers drop near one another, deer and elk. The recovery of “dead heads”, or the intact skull and attached antlers of a dead animal are regulated in most states and federal lands. Being able to identify the bedding area and the feeding area makes an ideal situation that can help you narrow down the travel route the elk are using in between the bedding and feeding areas. If you live in Jackson Hole or an area with an elk population, you might have recently heard bull elk bugling during the fall rut, or breeding season. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Gary Lewis / For The BulletinAn elk antler left on rim rock and picked up in the spring. It is also important to be in very good physical shape if you want to attempt getting into secluded areas of elk country. Why Do Moose Shed Their Antlers? Elk generally don’t stay in the same location for too long, and locating a bedding area during the afternoon often pinpoints an area to walk through in the morning without alarming the elk too much. Some of the animals will shed their antlers in late fall and … First thing you should know is that antlers are different than horns. Glassing feeding areas looking for the rise of a tine and the shine of an antler is oftentimes productive. Why do bull elk shed their antlers each year? These dropped antlers are commonly referred to as "sheds" or "shed antlers." Many states have laws detailing when and where shed antlers can be hunted. They cast their antlers, which can weigh 40 pounds apiece, between late November and late December. The definition of shed hunting would be the pursuit of finding antlers that have been naturally shed by any antler-bearing mammal such as moose, caribou, elk and deer. One of the best aspects of elk shed hunting is enjoying the spring time in elk country. Nonetheless, it was my largest shed find thus far. Shed antler hunting is the scavenging for antlers that have naturally fallen off a deer. “Shed antlers may be picked up year-round without a permit or license, but when we see antlers with the skull still attached in the back of a truck when there are no hunts for that species going on, we get suspicious,” said Conservation Officer Jordan Duncan of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. 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