Every hunting unit that has elk will have shed hunting opportunities—and most of the Western states have thousands of elk. However, their antlers are often found to be shorter or deformed. As March snow melts away, an off-season activity that many deer hunters pursue is looking for shed antlers. This is because female deer either lack antlers or their antlers are smaller in size. This past season, four or five years after I got my start, I found over 25 antlers Antlers still attached to skulls must remain in the woods. It is not unusual for one side to be held for a day or even up to several weeks. Where to Look for Elk Sheds . Usually, both antlers fall off at the same time or very close in length of time. Keep your eyes peeled for the elk’s fresh white and sometimes bloody antlers. If you live in Jackson Hole or an area with an elk population, you might have recently heard bull elk bugling during the fall rut, or breeding season. Shed hunting has become more and more popular every year, and with more participants come more rules. However, some animals of both species may retain their antlers into April. Antlers are roughly 50% protein, 30% calcium and 20% potassium, and the last month prior to the velvet coming off is when they finally turn into hard bone for their fall fights. Shedding helps bucks to get rid of broken antlers and develop bigger and stronger ones. Below is an excerpt from their website: “We buy shed antlers . The season for "shed hunting" will open on May 1. The shedding season for elk comes later than the rest, ranging from January through April, depending on when testosterone levels drop. CASTLE ROCK, CO – MARCH 23, 2014: A mule deer shed serves as an antler hunting training tool for Bailey in Castle Rock in March. This obsession corresponds with the time of the year when deer shed their antlers. If you are new to deer hunting and are eager to collect your first deer antlers, you are probably wondering when do deer shed their antlers. Larger bull elk generally begin shedding their antlers the first part of March, while deer do their shedding about a month later in April. Why? Once the antlers are shed, they will start growing a soft velvet before developing another full antler rack. Female deer do not usually shed their antlers. In order to find shed elk antlers there must be elk in the areas you are looking in, specifically bull elk that have dropped their antlers. Colorado has ~250,000 elk in the state. That’s it! Mule deer typically shed their antlers midwinter, in January and February. Elk sheds are awesome, especially if you can get a nice 6+, it's quite a nice piece of decor to just simply set down on a mantle or bookshelf. The dropping of the antlers may take place within 24 to 48 hours, but the entire shedding process may take as long as two to three weeks before the antlers actually fall off. A moose will also shed their antlers if they are no longer able to reproduce. Antlers are covered with velvety skin until fully formed, when the buck scrapes this layer off. Mark Kayser. For some, shed hunt is a hobby, and for others, it is a business. The best places to find shed antlers are areas that hold deer during certain parts of their daily routine, which increases the likelihood of you finding antlers. Females are called does and do not have antlers. There are some changes this year from the way this has operated in year’s past and we wanted to get the word out to possible visitors to the area. Mule and white-tailed deer start dropping their antlers in mid-December, but some don’t shed until early April. Many of the key principles that apply to whitetail, and mule deer shed antler hunting are also important when looking for elk sheds. Shed hunting is becoming more popular among outdoor enthusiasts. Beyond that shed hunters have … The main reason that moose have antlers is for sexual attraction and to use their antlers to fight with other male moose to gain the right to mate with a female. There are many feed grounds in western Wyoming where elk congregate and shed their antlers.By May 1st many of these elk are dispersed or beginning to disperse back to summer areas. Shortly thereafter, the antler growing process begins again. “Know where elk feed and rest at the time of year their antlers are shed. This velvet is full of blood vessels and nutrients that helps stimulate the antler regrowth process. In addition, CPW officers will confiscate all illegally collected sheds. And go where no other people are hunting them,” he added. Shed Hunting Tips the Western Way. Many whitetail hunters use shed hunting to scout for next year’s potential harvest. THE ELK REAPER 13-Feb-11. They then grow a new set of deformed antlers which they will never shed. I began reading up on shed-hunting and added a few antlers to my collection. Dogs love them the way nature intended. If you are in the state of Colorado and are looking to sell your antlers, we suggest contacting one of the ... By the looks of there website they are currently buying antlers in bulk. Well, in order to find sheds, you must first figure out where the animals spend the majority of the winter. In addition to this, the antlers of a female deer have lesser branches. You could face steep fines if you're caught collecting shed antlers in Western Colorado. One hunt out in CO I set a buddy of mine up on a game trail and called in a nice 5x bull for him, which he double lunged with his bow, and the bull dropped about 50 yards from where he shot it. Females can do so because of the high production of testosterone or male hormone in their body. Life History. But it was what I learned along the way – things that don’t come up often in shed-hunting articles and videos – that’s taken me to the next level. Roughly 25% of that population are bulls, which means there are ~62,000 bull elk in Colorado. Actually, my hunt for shed antlers begins shortly after hunting season ends, even though very few animals have lost their antlers at that time. Like the other members of the Cervidae family, elk shed their antlers every year. Where: Elk tend to stay on south-facing slopes and near elk feed grounds areas in the winter until their food sources free up of snow. Mule deer are social animals that typically stay in groups. (Unlike deer and elk, bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain goats do not shed their horns each year, so don’t expect to find them as “sheds.”) Further restrictions are in place in Southwest Colorado in GMUs 54, 55, 66, 67, and 551 where the collection of shed antlers … In correlation to the amount of energy expended during the rut, older, heavier antlered bucks typically shed earlier than younger bucks. It also appears that the bigger bulls drop their antlers before the smaller ones ( maybe because they weigh more?) Why do bull elk shed their antlers each year? New antler growth begins almost immediately thereafter. When Do Bucks Shed Their Antlers? Elk shed hunting Colorado. When you start searching in these high-priority locations first, you can eliminate huge areas that have very little potential. Bulls will typically reach their peak antler development somewhere between the age of 8 to 12 years. 1 Deer Antler Shed: Gender. bowhnter7 10-Feb-11. The great majority of elk will lose their racks in March, just in time to grow another pair. In Wyoming, shed hunting season West of the continental divide begins on May 1st. These shed antlers are then collected and cut into different sizes for your dog. Most elk shed their antlers in February and March. Let’s use Colorado as an example. In typical seasons, bull elk shed their antlers in … Many places in the west have migratory herds, so finding a great pair of shed antlers doesn’t necessarily mean that bull will be within 50 miles the following fall. Why do moose have antlers? huntingbob 13-Feb-11. A by-product of this natural cycle is that antlers have various commercial values. With Utah opening before Colorado and Nevada instating a shed hunting restriction in select counties for 2018, I think all western states should get on the same page in regards to closures. At this time his antlers are shed once again due to decreasing levels of testosterone. 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