In the six weeks of spring turkey hunting, we put a lot of miles on. In the spring, you can only shoot a tom because the hens are laying. We worked at it and worked at it, sat a lot and hiked a lot but Lea never did harvest a tom. We had a great time out there!
We did find several amazing deer and elk sheds in those woods! Springtime is the ideal time to look for the sheds that the mule deer bucks and bull elk lose each year.
Antlers are similar to bones, but they grow and then die and fall off each year. While the antlers grow they have a blood flow through them and are covered in a fuzzy coating referred to as “velvet” . In this stage, before the antler dies, if it is broken it can bleed. Later on, the blood flow decreases and the antler dies. After the antler has died, if you break it is just like an old dry bone. Antlers are not like a horn which is permanent on an animal. Horns sometimes have a bone inside a portion of an outer covering that is continually growing and is made up of a material similar to fingernails and hair. Antlers die and fall off then they begin to regenerate generally a little larger than the previous year just a couple months after they drop them. The time frame and size vary depending on the area they live in and the feed and minerals they have access to.
Here a just a few of our finds.
Hank was the lucky one to find the first shed. He found a small four point shed from an area buck. I found a small two point. He must not have been too impressive because I couldn’t even manage to get anyone to take my picture with it!
The Little Gal has a nice, thick six point bull antler. It is nearly as big as she is! We helped her and searched and searched for the other side. No luck here. He has nice mass and thick bases. He appeared to be a young healthy bull. I say “wow!” to the thought that this big guy is still out in the woods. He sure will be big next fall!
I’ve have heard and told some pretty tall tales of experiences in the woods. This one is unbelievable. When you find sheds it is rare to find a matching set, but this one was indeed unusual. We found these two sheds sitting side by side as though the bull that dropped them just put his head down and laid them there. Wow! Another big guy, and he is still out there. We can’t wait to see him this fall.
Cheyenne and the Little Gal scored another on the way to roost some birds one evening. It is a nice five point, and it must have been we have been walking by since last year!
And the winner of all findings! We found a complete elk carcass on one of the ridges we hunt! We are not positive what the cause of death for this big animal was, but it sure made for some good stories on the hike back. We hypothesized and came up with several ideas. Some theories were probable and some not so much. Could if have been a lion kill? Do you think it was hit by a car and only made it to the top of this ridge? Do you think maybe a poor hunter searched and searched for him with no luck? We are amazed at how intact the body is, no matter what the cause. It appears to have lasted the winter with out even the coyotes tearing at it.
What a season for sheds it was this year. Hank also found a couple other nice bull sheds and we found a few other small bucks. We all truly had a great time. We have no beard, but we do have antlers to show for it!
Mia Anstine is an outdoor writer, licensed outfitter, hunting guide, life coach, keynote speaker, and range safety officer, firearms instructor, and archery instructor. She is the founder of MAC Outdoors and Host of the MAC Outdoors Podcast.
Mia Anstine strives to encourage others to get outside, hunt, fish, shoot, and survive life with others in a positive way.
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