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  • Shed Hunting With a Purpose #6 “CALCULATED KILLER” FT. Clint Casper

    March 06, 2023 5 min read

    Shed Hunting With a Purpose #6 “CALCULATED KILLER” FT. Clint Casper

    Post Season - Shed Hunting Tips - Do So With Purpose!

    By: Clint Casper 

    We’ve all been there! We plan an all day, or multiple day, shed trip to cover a ton of great country, in hopes of finding a pile of antlers! An “adult” Easter egg hunt is how a shed hunt is usually looked at and like an egg hunt for kids, it can be just that much fun for an adult. BUT, how many times have we left a shed hunting expedition and thought like we didn’t cover enough territory? Or maybe, we feel like we weren’t as productive as we could have been? Far too often than not, I feel like we let shed adventures get the best of us, simply because we didn’t have a plan! So how do we stay on task? Well, I’m here to share with you what I’ve learned in the last 20 years of antler hunting, through trial and error!

    Why do we need a purpose?

    If I asked YOU this question, “Do you have a plan when hunting a specific animal?” What would be your answer? In my mind, it would immediately be, “YES”! And obviously for good reason because why would anybody want to waste their time, energy and money on hunting an animal with no plan? Nobody right, well then why do so many of us stumble and bumble around the woods with NO antler finding plans? Do we really think we will just “get lucky” and find most of the sheds out there? I think not.

     So, in order to change my antler finding luck, I started making specific antler plans for everyday that I would go out shed hunting. And to my surprise, my miles for piles grew extensively! Let’s dive into my antler plans for certain types of scenarios and land features!

    Best Locations for Sheds: Ag Fields, Mast and Foodplots

    In my opinion, ag fields, foodplots and areas of mast, can be the best ways to find a large portion of your area's antlers! Why, you may ask? Well for the most part, it’s because a buck spends a lot of time feeding everyday during the winter and early spring! He not only has to replenish the lost body fat from the rut, but he also must eat to now survive in the cold and snow. This makes these spots extremely effective areas to shed hunt. BUT, it comes with a price! Big fields and foodplots can be tough to shed hunt, due to the monotonous factor that comes with walking row after row of corn, or acre after acre of beans etc. So how do we combat this and effectively shed hunt corn, wheat and bean fields?

     For corn fields, I follow the 6-7 row rule whole heartedly! What this means is that I start on the edge of the field and walk over six or seven rows. I will now walk that row to the end, scanning the six or seven rows to my right and to my left. This allows me to cover 12-14 rows at a time, effectively! Once I’m at the end, I’ll go down another six or seven and walk back. By doing this, it allows a shed hunter to cover a field with precision and in a timely fashion. We’re covering 12-14 rows at a time, versus walking around the field aimlessly and with no plan or direction.

     When it comes to bean fields, or say winter wheat, my philosophy is a little bit different. Before I start I turn my tracker on, on my OnX maps or DeerCast app and I allow these apps to do my homework. I will start covering the field, swath by swath, paying close attention to my maps, to make sure I’m not missing any areas. Any missed areas, or spots where there is a big gap, indicating that I could have missed a shed, I will immediately go back and look at. To me, this tracking feature when it comes to shed hunting in crop fields is invaluable.

    For mast areas, like ridges and oak flats, I also use the tracking feature to try to stay on a line of interest. Before I start I want to set lines for myself, from point A to B and back, so that way I don’t get off track in these areas! The tracking feature really helps me see exactly what I’m covering, or what I’ve missed and then I can re route myself accordingly.

    Shed Hunting in Bedding and Staging areas

    We all know that in the late season, food and bedding are the crucial keys to finding a late season buck! Well, these are the exact same features that we need to hone in on during our shed scouting as well! Both of these areas are places where bucks frequent a lot of time, so therefore we should spend an ample amount of time shed hunting them as well.

    When it comes to bedding areas, I’m specifically looking at South facing slopes immediately! South facing slopes offer a buck the most sunlight during the cold, winter months AND the newest and best vegetation growth, due to the sunlight hitting these hillsides the most. I find a ton of sheds, every single year, on south facing slopes and it’s no surprise why! They bed and feed here! My plan for these slopes and bedding areas are to work from top to bottom, back and forth. I personally like to scan down below me, as I’m walking and this technique, working top to bottom, allows me to always be looking down the slope. I try to set points of interest and lines on my maps, to also keep me on point and from getting off track. My goal is to cover these areas as thoroughly as possible. Also, don’t overlook those North facing slopes, especially if years like this year, where the winter was quite mild in a lot of states!

     Transition zones can be a little tougher than bedding areas, or South facing slopes because a lot of transition zones can have no certain location or area of interest. It may be an overgrown orchard, pasture, or thick section of woods before agriculture fields etc. The best advice I have in these “middle ground” areas are to cover them as thoroughly as you can and let the trails, tracks and sign show you which areas within these spots gets the most traffic. I find a good amount of sheds in transition areas right off bedding areas, where a buck would hangout before entering a field, or food source.

     All in all, the more of a plan of attack that YOU have when it comes to shed hunting, the more sheds you will find! I’ll guarantee that with more detailed plans, will come with more sheds and that makes all of us happy! Goodluck and keep your eyes peeled!

    ABOUT: Clint Casper is a calculated straight up big buck killer, host of the CC Hunt Files with Working Class Bowhunters, and long term outdoor/hunting writer. He just recently added this Mobile Venatic column to his long resume! Clint is easing into saddle hunting...listen here


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