As deer season comes to a close and winter sets in, a lot of hunters don’t hesitate to start dreaming about next year. That’s just how the hardcore hunter is wired, we can’t help but to dream ahead and start getting anxious about hunting those big bucks again.
A great way to keep those juices flowing is to get out in early spring and do some shed hunting. As most everyone knows, a buck will shed his antlers every year sometime in late winter or early spring. This makes for a lot of bone on the ground for people to find.
If you’ve never tried it, you’re missing out. Being the first human to touch a shed antler that has fallen off the head of the very creature you are hunting is exhilarating. Finding antler sheds means a lot of walking. There are also certain areas that will be better than others for coughing up some of these gems. You just have to know where to look. Read 21 Shed Hunting Tips to help you be more successful at finding more bone.
What to Do With Sheds
Once you’ve found some deer sheds the question is – what do you do with them? Many hunters just like to hold on to them. Perhaps you’ll harvest a big buck one day and you’ll find you have his shed from a few years back – how sweet is that?
Keep them in a pile, hang them on the wall, or use them for rattling next season. If you find a matching set, make a European mount minus the skull or use epoxy glue to attach them to a different skull. It’s really up to you, but finding them may only be half the fun.
Deer Antler Crafts
If you are more on the creative side, you can make a lot of neat crafts with deer antlers. From antler tools and weapons to rustic decorations – there are so many antler projects that really your own imagination is the only limit.
- Antler Candle Holder
- Knife Handle
- Cabinets and Drawer Pulls
- Wall Hooks
- Black Powder Flask
- Letter Opener
You can even paint or stain the antlers to help bring out their characteristics. The ideas are really endless. A great book on the subject is Antler, Bone, Horn & Hide: Projects You Can Make at Home
by Monte Burch. There are over 190 pages of do it yourself projects that will really bring out your creativity – and heck, maybe you can even make some money doing it.
Throw the Dog Some Bone
This may seem a little odd if you’ve never heard of it. I had to research it myself to make sure it was safe. I even called our Vet and asked about it. It turns out that chewing on antlers is completely safe for dogs and is actually a good source of calcium and minerals. They recommended it over rawhide which is not digestible and can be unsafe for dogs.
I normally cut the sharp tips off the antler and clean it with soap and hot water. An antler for a chew toy will last a long time. It also keeps them busy and may stop them from wanting to chew on other things around the house.
We have a very large dog and she has never broken a piece off or splintered the antler in any way that would be unsafe. I’ve even found antlers for sale on some of the pet websites. They aren’t cheap which makes it really nice if you find them yourself.
There are so many different antler uses that this article probably only scratches the surface. Let us know in the comment section what you’ve done or made with some of the deer antler sheds that you have found. The important thing is to keep your juices flowing by finding some deer sheds then let your imagination run wild.