#1 Typical Whitetail Antler in Shed Record Book: 6-point 104 6/8 left side picked up in Illinois 1992.
#1 Non-Typical Whitetail Antler in Shed Record Book: 24-point 156 5/8 right side found in Saskatchewan 2007.
Individual bucks often shed their antlers the same week every year.
As a rule, older bucks shed earlier than younger ones.
Increasing daylight and a buck’s falling testosterone cause antlers to shed.
Once a buck drops one antler, the other one usually falls off within hours.
Squirrels and porcupines chew on dropped antlers for the calcium they provide.
Shed antlers are valued by size and grade, from Grade A Brown (best) to old, white Chalk.
Antlers can fetch $5 to $18 a pound, depending on grade and size.
A matched set of fresh sheds from a large 6-point elk can be worth $500 to $1,000.
Every time I blog about Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, people read it, yawn and move on. Last year I hosted and produced an episode of BIG DEER TV on Sportsman Channel entitled “State of the Deer Union,” a significant portion of which dealt with the science and dangers of CWD. People watched it and the ratings were good, but I got only a handful of emails on the CWD topic.
TIME TO WAKE UP HUNTERS! CWD continues to spread with POTENTIALLY DEVASTATING long-term impacts on America’s deer herds and the future of hunting.
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) reports the first documented case of Chronic Wasting Disease in the state. The 4½-year free-ranging buck was found dead in Issaquena County and collected by MDWFP in late January.
CWD, which was first documented in mule deer in Colorado in 1967, has now been confirmed in 24 states, 3 Canadian provinces and 2 foreign countries. CWD is found only in hoofed animals such as deer, elk, and moose. The disease affects an animal’s nervous system. Infected deer lose weight, wander aimlessly, salivate and eventually die. It is always fatal.
While many people continue to scoff and blow off CWD, the impacts are now starting to be felt in the way we hunt. Last fall, during the 2017 season, in several different incidents, hunters were charged with illegally transporting deer shot in CWD states across state lines. You can’t just throw a gutted buck in the back of your truck and carry it home across a state line anymore. Most every state in the Nation has now implemented CWD deer transport laws and you MUST KNOW THEM AND ABIDE.
Even more problematic, CWD is now affecting the very core of why most of us hunt—to bring home the venison. While no cases of CWD in humans have been confirmed, there is fear that could change. In a Canadian study three of five primates contracted the disease after eating meat from CWD-infected animals.
If this doesn’t get your attention I don’t know what will.
Steve Demarais of the Mississippi State University Deer Lab said the thought of CWD changing into something that kills humans isn’t out of the question. “It’s morphed and there’s nothing to say it won’t morph into something that humans are more susceptible to.”
In other CWD news: 2 more penned deer recently tested positive for CWD in Pennsylvania. And 15 deer shot by hunters in far northwestern Virginia during the 2017 season tested positive. This really hits home, as I hunt in a county less than 2 hours away.
Ran across this QDMA map and found it interesting. Does not surprise me that Pennsylvania and New York are 2 of the top hunter-density states, it’s been that way for decades.
I do question why Michigan is not in the top 12. A decade ago Michigan was at or near the top in number of licensed hunters in the U.S. Michigan hunters killed more than 340,000 deer in 2016-17, second only to Texas, so there is still a lot of deer hunting going on up there.
I mention that the statistics used to build this map came from a 2011 Fish and Wildlife Service study. But since hunter numbers are down across the board and across the states recent years, I believe the list is still mostly accurate.
The more hunters per square mile, the more pressure on the bucks, of course. To that end, here’s a good passage from the story that accompanies the map:
How do you combat high hunter density? In most areas there is no easy trick to reducing the number of hunters on a large scale, and in most cases, you don’t want to. Every hunter is important to our wildlife management system and to the future of hunting. Rather than reducing hunter numbers, it is generally better to reduce their impacts in areas of high hunter density. Spreading hunters across a property, limiting ATV use, and paying close attention to wind direction can all enhance hunting opportunities without reducing the number of hunters.
One more thing. See why I enjoy hunting out West so much, in Montana, Wyoming, Oklahoma, etc.? Plenty of room for both deer and hunters to roam out there.