Friday, May 13, 2011

A Walk in the Woods

Spring is a favourite time for walking in the woods. Much of what is hidden most of the year by foliage or snow is revealed. You see the real humps, ridges and valleys of the land. The woods are more open, less forbidding.
It is easy to spot signs of what has been going on in the woods. Nests soon to be hidden by heavy leaf cover are clearly visible. So are game paths.
A pasttime gaining popularity is walking the woods for deer sheds. Buck deer shed their antlers at winter’s end and it is fun to prowl the bush in search of unusual antlers left behind. Some people collect antlers to make chandeliers, table legs, knife handles or other crafty items.
Both antlers are not usually dropped at the same time, so it’s challenging to find a complete set.
Sheds are found wherever deer spend a lot of time. Bucks are wary and often sleep in heavy thickets. They love groves of pine that provide protection from weather and predators.
Southern exposures provide good shed hunting. Deer like to snooze on the southern slopes of ridges where they can soak up heat from the sun.
Set of deer antlers still attached to skull. This deer
died before spring shedding 
You can find sheds at any time of year, but spring is best because antlers contain calcium, and the longer they lie about, the better the chances are that mice and squirrels will chew them.
If you are going to be a serious shed hunter mark the locations of your previous finds. Chances are the deer will shed in that area again next year.
Antlers clean up nicely and can be polished to produce a great shine. There’s all kinds of information on the Internet about how to clean, polish and mount antlers.

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