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Go Shed Antler Hunting

Tips for deer antler shed hunting from the Iowa DNRWhitetail deer have about a two-month shedding period in Iowa, beginning mid-Jan. and ending mid-March. Around Feb. 20 is the best time to start looking for shed antlers. You can hunt sheds on public land and in parks. You must get landowner permission to hunt sheds on private land.

The best places to look for deer sheds are where deer feed, along their trails, and where they bed down. Also, look at crossings where a buck might leap or scramble a bit: creek crossings, steep ravines, ridges, fence lines and ditches. In timber stands, look along south-facing ridges where a buck may have sunbathed.

Where you find one shed, look for the other within a quarter mile. But keep in mind, the other shed is just as likely to be in a different location altogether.

The more you look, the better trained your eyes become to pick out antler tips in bleached contrast to tan and yellow grasses.

Sometimes antlers get caught in bushes a foot or two above the ground. It’s also fun, but difficult, to find nubs from button bucks.

Some folks make shed hunting an event, with various contests such as the largest, quirkiest, and smallest sheds, and an evening meal cooked over a campfire to share their finds and stories.

No permit or license is needed to hunt shed antlers in Iowa. However, if you find antlers still attached to a skull, you must first contact your local conservation officer for a salvage tag to keep them.

For more ideas on exploring Iowa's outdoors, try our Take It Outside and We Love Winter in Iowa boards on Pinterest.

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