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Therapeutic urban shed hunting


There are times when life needs to be penalized for unnecessary roughness...


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The author and his sonís finds for the 2010 antler shed season. The key to shed hunting success is to select areas to look that had the highest probability of finding quality sheds; areas with minimal hunting and not obvious to others.

March 01, 2011
Hunting for shed antlers in the woods and fields of Michigan is a growing pastime, but it is far from popular. I have often spent two or three hours hiking around woodlots and farm fields without seeing another person, or even a foot print in the snow. On the other hand, over the past three years, I have come across the tracks of other shed hunters more often than the previous ten years combined.

My shed hunting last year was not done for the usual reasons - scouting for bedding areas, travel routes, and irrefutable evidence of surviving bucks (their shed antlers). I was looking for time out of the house that would not involve a lot of travel. October 2009 had been a life changing month, to say the least. During the last week of the month I was diagnosed with cancer and my wife passed away - there are times when life needs to be penalized for unnecessary roughness.

So my grief and fear therapy began in December - I have been "in the woods" of one sort or another almost every day of the past three months. There is a healing that God provides through nature, especially when you surround yourself with its beauty and serenity. I am one of those people who have the need to do outdoor recreation to relieve the stress and tension of day-to-day living in the life consuming "modern business world".

So from December's bow hunting I progressed to January through March's ice fishing and shed antler hunting. With daily radiation treatments, my scope of operations was somewhat limited - which drove me to the concept of urban shed hunting.

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I began by studying on-line satellite maps of the area around my home - out to about 15 miles. I found parks, river bottoms, and undeveloped areas of woods in every direction from my house that would easily house large deer populations.

There was more than enough acreage than my son, Tom and I could cover if we hunted every day until the summer. The chore would be to select areas to hunt that had the highest probability of finding quality sheds. So we eliminated all the areas that allowed deer hunting of any sort, and looked for spots that were not obvious to the casual passer-by.

Some of the parks had natural barriers, such as rivers that cut off stretches of land from the park entrance - we found ways to access the untrodden acres on the far side of the rivers. Many of the best areas turned out to be nestled in between subdivisions or commercial buildings. I found one nice five point shed in sight of some "golden arches."

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