SHED HEADS!!! by Montana Grant
By angelamontana

Posted: May 10, 2024

Now is Shed hunting season. Elk, Moose, and Deer have shed their antlers and begun to grow next year’s big racks. Some call this Horn Hunting season, but antler and horn are two different things. Horns are made from modified hair and antlers are real bone. 

Antlers are made of bone and begin to regrow just a few weeks after they fall off. Antlers are found mainly on bucks and bulls. They are used for mating rituals and protection. Bucks and bulls use antlers to battle other antlered challengers for does, and cows. 

Antlers are also the fastest growing bone in mammals. During prime Summer seasons, antlers can grow nearly 2 inches per day. Growth is stimulated and shut down by the length of daylight. As fall arrives, the antlers stop growing and lose their nutrient, blood vessel furry coat known as Velvet. 

Antlers are used for outdoor art, dog chews, and can be pulverized and used as an aphrodisiac. Dogs can also be trained to hunt and locate sheds. 

You can legally gather or hunt for sheds on DNRC Land, WMA, BLM, and National Forest Lands. It is unlawful to remove antlers from National Parks and State Parks. Some states also prohibit removing antlers. Fallen antlers are eaten by gnawing critters like squirrels and porcupines. Eventually antlers, like bones, will return nutrients back into the soil. 

Montana wildlife wintering areas are closed until May 15th. Once open, herds of shed hunters cover the terrain looking for sheds. Some antlers are sold for up to $25 a pound or more. Competition to gather sheds has increased.  Pay attention to the laws and restrictions in the areas you shed hunt.

Searching areas along fence lines, forest edges, bedding areas, and water sources is a good idea. Look around hay bales. Antlers may be stabbed into bales or snagged in trees above the ground. Keep in mind that bears are also around. Take some bear protection along for safety. 

Enjoy the search for a Big Rack or two!

Montana Grant

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