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Shed Hunting: Why Some Bucks Drop Antlers in December or Early January

first shed 2017

Kelly aka “Shedhunter” from South Dakota sent this picture of a fresh shed he found the other day, and it got me to wondering:

What causes bucks in some areas to shed their antlers early in late December or early January?

QDMA biologist Kip Adams points to a couple of things. “Nutrition is important, as bucks in good physical condition generally retain their antlers longer than those who are nutritionally stressed,” he says. “Widespread early antler casting (in your area) may signify a nutritionally stressed herd resulting from too many deer for what the habitat can support.”

Also, Kip says that in northern states mature bucks typically shed antlers earlier than younger, smaller deer. “(Older) bucks skip many meals during the breeding season, and those that rut hard may be in poor post-rut condition… even when abundant (food) is available. These bucks are choice candidates for early antler casting.”

 

Indiana Bow: Bleat Calling Bucks in the Rut

I got this email from Kenny from back in 2014:

South in kenny 1

Mike: I watch your TV show all the time and want to thank you for the great information on deer hunting. I watched the recent episode “10 things to know about the whitetail rut” and took your advice. I hunted every day from November 8th to the 11th (Veterans Day); you said in the show that these were the best days of the season.

I grunted, rattled and used a bleat can, as you suggested in the show. I called in and shot the biggest deer of my life! Shot him from a ground blind at 28 yards with my Hoyt Faktor. –Thanks again, Kenny Kyte from southern Indiana

P.S., I’ve already scheduled my vacation for November 8-11 for next deer season

I got this email from Kenny last month: 

south in kenny 2

Mike: I was unsuccessful in 2015. But on Veteran’s Day 2016 I was able to use your rut tactics once again to be successful in the deer woods. I was able to call in this buck not once, but twice. I had been in the stand for about 35 minutes and hit the bleat call. He came right in, but I didn’t have a good shot, so I let him walk. I waited about 30 minutes and hit the bleat can again. The buck came running to me! I didn’t let him get away for the 2nd time.

Needless to say, I’ve had my best days in the woods November 8 to 11…2 bucks in 3 years on Veteran’s Day. Thanks again for the advice.–Kenny

 

Photos: 3 Big Bucks from 2016

Three gentlemen sent me photos of bucks from the 2016 season:

3 big bucks 2016

Mike, I’m 39 years old and have been hunting for as long as I can remember. I’ve always managed to fill the freezer with meat but never was able to get my “trophy buck.” That all changed for me this year–15 point, double drop tine. Woohoo!–Mark

3 big bucks 2016 2

Hi Mike. My father bowhunted this deer in November on our farm in Kansas. He took a shot at it and skimmed his belly. Dad was devastated, but kept his head held high for his return trip in December. He went back a couple weeks later and the buck reappeared! Dad was fortunate to kill him with the muzzleloader at 30 yards, he was thrilled!—Luke Vojtko

3 big bucks 2016 3

Hello Mike: I realized the other day that we are neighbors when I saw you walking your dog down the road. I’d like to share a local Virginia deer. I’m a member of a hunt club, and we try our best not to judge a buck by the size of the rack, but by its age. Not that we don’t like a big rack! I took this buck in late November with a rifle. The taxidermist guessed him to be 6.5 but we will know for sure in the spring, as we are involved in the DMAP program and send in the jawbones to the DGIF.—Thanks for your time and safe hunting, Kevin Brower

Fantastic bucks, congrats men! Trying to get further info from Mark on the first monster, you know how I love drop tines!

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