Contributors to this thread:
Shed antler collection
Looking to go on my first shed antler hunting with my dog in training this spring.
I know colorado law doesn't allow it until May 1st. My question is will there even be any/many left by that point? I know a lot of critters eat them. Anyone have experience looking for them after May 1st? What has your success been like?
My trail cam often has a picture of a Y buck. Last week he has lost one antler. Around here the critters work on them right away.
While the impact of animals eating sheds will very widely from area to area I have found many antlers after May 1st. Both antlers dropped in the current season and weathered antlers that have been out for a year+.
If local critters are chewing them up, that means there is a nutritional need for them to be eating them.
Blessings - Alex
i guess it depends where your at. in my elk shed hunting territory i find 8-1 years prior sheds vs browns. im always turning up old sheds so it doesnt matter if you dont start till may the sheds will still be there in my neck of the woods. even worst odds of of b & c grade vs brown on mule deer / coues deer.
fyi im in the Gila Nat Forrest.
If you have porcupines or squirrels, you have chewed antlers no matter how long they have been down.
Nothin worse then a brown shed all chewed up! We find most of our horns in April/May. Would probably find more after if we kept looking but once we start hunting turkey and bear....the sheds are second in line. Nothing you can do about the critters chewing on them. Part of the deal.
I’ve looked for sheds for 35 years in Co and I’ve never had a fresh shed chewed on before July.
One time I was squirrel hunting with a 22 rifle, in February. I found a freshly shed deer antler. I didn't want to carry it so I hung it in a crotch of a small tree. I forgot about it and then years later I spied it. It was grown into the tree and it was weathered but wasn't chewed up. If I had left it on the ground it wouldn't have lasted two months. Why squirrels hadn't chewed it is beyond me.
"If local critters are chewing them up, that means there is a nutritional need for them to be eating them."
Glad to hear that critters only chew things up when there is nutrition needed. My chewed up Double Bull blinds must be providing some great nutrients to some needy animals. Ha.
Probably lacking fiber, Marvin ;-)
What's the reasoning for Colorado not allowing shed hunting until May?
There were some hardcore groups of guys hitting wintering range on the west slope and pressuring animals during a critical time.
Thank God the wolves won't stress the deer and elk during those critical times
whipranger, depends on where you are. I rarely ever find chewed antlers in the sagebrush. I find chewed ones in the timber where porcupines are. Out west its mostly porcupines. Here in the east its squirrels and porkies. Coyotes will gnaw on them but not get far. They just,leave tooth marks mostly
Most sheds in winter ranges are on the sagebrush ridges with a few around the random trees. And not all game migrates to winter ranges so there can be sheds anywhere but even the ones left in the timber rarely get chewed on for several months. There just isn’t the small animals to eat them in the mountains of Colorado
I always hear about people in the Northern tier states speaking about how rodents destroy them FAST. Where I hunt in SE Oklahoma, where we also have an abundance of squirrels and other rodents, I have found sets that have sat a year or more with very little, to no damage. These are also in wooded areas where squirrels are in good numbers.
I also like to do most of shed hunting in March. April starts turkey season and later in April throughout May the foilage starts to green and ticks/chiggers become abundant. But, I will occasionally hit the field edges or right of ways to look early. I love shed hunting, even if it's just a long walk in the woods. :)
Rick....here, the squirrels, and to a much lesser extent (IMO) mice are definitely hard on the sheds that are dropped in, or close to timbered areas. The ones that get dropped out in the prairie/CRP generally don’t see very much damage, other than sun bleaching. No quill pigs in our area, so it’s pretty much just mice and squirrels that gnaw on them here.