By Alex Comstock
The day had started out like all other shed hunting adventures. I had taken step after step, walked mile after mile in what seemed to be a prime area for there to be antlers laying in every direction, but I couldn't find a single one. Deer trails flooded the wooded river bottom that butted up next to a great late season food source. I felt overwhelmed, and could have walked for miles on end, never getting off of a major deer trail that ran through the hard, frozen snow.
This feeling wasn't foreign to me. I have never been what you would call an expert shed hunter, far from it to be exact. In fact, two shed antlers were the most I have ever found during a shed season in my life. That's not to say I didn't know what to look for. Whether it be bad luck, bad eyes, or I simply couldn't focus for long enough duration's of time, finding shed antlers has never been as easy task for me.
This past Saturday, I was determined for my luck to change. Knowing I was in area that just had to have antlers laying around, I tried extra hard to not get discouraged. I kept walking, focusing on the ground, feverishly scanning back and forth, backwards and forwards. After a little over four miles of walking, I came around a bend and there it was. Lying squarely in the middle of a bed, was the most beautiful and perfect thing I had seen all day. Not only did I find a shed antler, it was a big antler. A 65" chocolate five point, ironically lying not more than 30 yards from one of my treestands. My blood pressure escalated, and I gave a massive fist pump. It was easily the biggest shed I had ever found in my life, and the emotions running through me were comparable to the feeling of when you first see a big buck headed your way while in the treestand. After settling down, I set out to break another record - find multiple sheds in one day, it was a feat I had never accomplished in my young shed hunting career.
I think I walked the rest of the day with a smile on my face, because it just kept getting better and better. Not more than twenty minutes after the first find, I was scanning a ditch crossing intently. After nearly calling the crossing off, I noticed it. A tine, two tines, three tines,... it was another big shed, and I spotted this one from over fifty yards away. This was easily the furthest distance I had ever spotted a shed from. I ran up to the shed, and simply could not believe my eyes. I almost didn't believe it. After walking over four miles with no finds, I now had found two within a hundred yards of each other, and they were from different bucks. With that in mind, I set out to grid the area as well I could, looking for the matches. After no luck, and with the truck being a couple miles away, I needed to start heading back.
While hunting my way back, I figured I should swing by a couple of my trail cameras to take them down. This was yet another good choice. I was walking up a steep incline, and when I crested the hill, there it lay. Another antler. By this point, I was downright giddy. I had now found more antlers on this walk than I had in any other shed season. To make matters even better? This last antler was a match to one I had found the day before! As I walked back to the truck, I had a sense of accomplishment, but also the craving to find more. It was a day I will not soon forget.
This day turned out to be better than I could have ever imagined. I found my two biggest sheds, the most sheds I've found in a day, and a match to a previous shed find. I literally don't know if I could have drawn it up any better. Where do I go from here I wonder? The answer to that question is multi layered, but the simple one is to keep improving. Just like anything else, I will learn from this day. I am becoming more accustomed to noticing antlers, and where to find them. I can keep getting better and better, but for now, it was a day a shed hunter like myself dreamed of.