John's Journal...


Looking for Deer Sheds with Bob Zaiglin

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Sportsmen across Alabama know Don Taylor of Birmingham, Alabama, as an avid deer and turkey hunter, and Dr. Bob Sheppard of Carrollton, Alabama, as a bowhunting instructor. Bob Zaiglin, a wildlife biologist from Texas, has done extensive research in managing and hunting trophy white-tailed deer and is a nationally-recognized expert for his rattling and calling techniques. These three longtime outdoorsmen know the importance of Scouting for deer after the season.

According to Bob Zaiglin, “Searching for shed antlers and hunting bucks without a gun when the season is over will help you compile the most-complete information about the whereabouts of deClick to enlargeer. Hunting sheds helps you learn where deer are concentrated on any particular piece of property. The area where you find the most sheds will be the regions where you will discover the most deer. Also, sportsmen can pinpoint the corridors deer are using to feed, water, bed and hide from hunting pressure. By hunting sheds, a sportsman may find a rack that will score very high on the Boone and Crockett scale from a buck that may never even have been seen during hunting season. Once the hunter locates that trophy shed and decides to hunt that deer the next season, he must realize he will have to let numbers of small bucks walk past him—if he's going to try and take that trophy buck. By knowing a trophy buck is in an area, a hunter can concentrate his hunting time the next season in the Click to enlargegeneral region where he's found the trophy's shed antlers.
“In the West, I find many sheds around watering holes and along fence lines. Many times when deer are jumping fences, they'll knock their antlers off. Then a hunter can try to find travel trails between feeding and bedding areas along fences where he locates drops. Although each of these places is an easy spot to discover sheds, you must go into the thicker spots if you really want to locate the shed antlers of a trophy buck. One of the problems with locating big sheds in heavy cover is that rodents are more abundant in thick areas and will consume those antlers at a rapid rate after the deer have shed them.

“Although the dream of most shed hunters is to find a matched pair of trophy antlers, very rarely do deer shed both antlers at the same tiClick to enlargeme and in the same place. Some years ago, I finally found more than two sets of matching antlers. Actually, I located five sets of matched antlers. I'm not sure why it’s uncommon to find both antlers off the same deer, but my best guess is that antler shedding is definitely related to nutrition. Perhaps a deer on a good nutrition level holds his antlers longer than a deer that is nutritionally deprived of good food.

“One year, our ranch had good nutrition, but after hunting season, the lands I managed went into a drought. Since the deer were somewhat deprived nutritionally, they shed their antlers more quickly. At least this was the best guess I had as to why I found more sets of antlers together after the season.




Check back each day this week for more about deer hunting after the season

Day 1: Learning About the Deer and Their Habitat and Trying New Hunting Tactics
Day 2: Understanding Where Others Are Hunting
Day 3: Looking for Deer Sheds with Bob Zaiglin
Day 4: Locating Dead Deer with Bob Zaiglin
Day 5: Determining the Condition of the Herd with Bob Zaiglin



Entry 339, Day 3