JACKSON HOLE, WYO – They’re known as shed hunters—those who head into the backcountry in search of antlers left by elk, deer and moose.
Most deer and elk shed their antlers during March and April, a time when their testosterone levels are generally at the lowest. The low testosterone levels causes the bone connected to the base of the antler to deteriorate and eventually fall off.
When winter closure is lifted on May 1, many in the Jackson Hole area head for the hills in search of massive racks left by deer and elk. The Holy Grail of sheds is a complete set, of course, of anything from a 4 by 4, to a 6 by 6 rack.
Wyoming Shed Hunters on Facebook posted on March 24: “I have big plans shed hunting for the weekend and may already have a LIL something spotted to pick up tomorrow… if it’s still there…The suspense is killing me.”
Remi Warren of Petersen’s Hunting offered a few tips on how to locate the best sheds.
“Find sheds before they’re sheds,” is one suggestion. It can be a lot easier spotting that massive bull elk before he drops his antlers. Keep a close eye on where he is and where he is headed in the coming weeks.
“Watch the calendar,” is another tip offered by Warren. While most deer and elk shed their antlers in March or April, the timing of the previous fall’s rut is often an indication of just how soon bulls and bucks will lose their headgear. The earlier the rut, the earlier they males will drop their racks.
Sheds dropped on the Elk Refuge are only available to refuge employees and the Jackson District Boy Scouts for removal. The Boy Scouts then hold an annual elk antler auction on the town square during ElkFest weekend, this year on May 20-21, 2017.
Rare footage from Utah hunter Kolten Banks, posted here by Utah outfitters Tines Up, shows a bull elk dropping his antlers.