DEC says now is the time to keep your eyes peeled for antlers in North Country woods
Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - 6:16 am

Every year, starting in late December and continuing into March, male white-tailed deer shed their antlers as their testosterone levels drop in response to the lengthening days.

By late winter and early spring, eager North Country shed hunters head out into the woods and fields to look for these hidden treasures. Finding a single shed is a thrill, but finding a matching set, or those of a purely impressive adult buck, is worth more than their weight in gold to many.

For the inexperienced, it might seem like looking for a needle in a haystack, but for the avid shed hunter with a trained eye it’s worth the effort. And, if your dog enjoys accompanying you in the woods, you can learn about shed hunting with a dog in the February 2017 issue of the Conservationist at

Winter deer yards are good places to start. During bouts of extreme cold and snow, deer will congregate in lower elevation areas with good southern exposure and evergreen cover to break the wind. Experienced shed hunters scout these areas pre-season in hopes of increasing their odds.

Shed hunting is a great way to get outside as the weather breaks in late winter and early spring. It can also provide the experienced hunters with clues as to what kinds of bucks will be around in the fall during the next hunting season.

Remember, DEC notes, "Let Young Bucks Go and Watch Them Grow" to see bucks with bigger, more impressive antlers--a treasure worth looking for.