This is one of the harshest winters on record in West Central Indiana, as it has been in other parts of the country. I can't recall since my early childhood a winter with so much snow and cold. Even with March 20th only a few days away, it was in the high 20's - low 30's today and required the kids and I to wear full gear battling the cold and wind while out at the property. Needless to say, I'll be glad when this winter finally lets go.
Something else not letting go are the bucks on the property this year. Only a hand full of bucks have lost their antlers. I've always been told to wait until Feb. 14th to begin shed hunting. That way you reduce the risk of pushing bucks off of the property causing them to drop sheds across the fence line. Here it is the middle of March and I've got multiple pictures of bucks with both sides in tact. So the question is, do I wait until St. Patrick's Day to begin my shed hunting? Stands to reason since today is March 16th.
What causes this variance with bucks from different herds or regions? I hear all of the time that guys are getting pictures that bucks have dropped both sides. These guys are not that far from me, so why do my bucks hold onto their sheds longer? I've heard before that herd health and available browse plays a factor into this phenomenon. I don't recall seeing any studies that support or disprove this theory, but there could be some out there. Send me a link to them if you have any for me to read.
I'd like to think there is truth to the above theory and that our property improvements are a significant contributing factor. Habitat improvements such as hinge cutting, knocking the briars down to ground level, staging areas with annuals planted, and a few food plots equals healthy deer enabling bucks to keep racks well into March? I believe this stuff works and I'm not letting go of that! My dreams of finding more sheds on the property is still alive and well. I just hope they drop them soon.
Andy Hayes is a devoted husband and father of 4 kids living in West Central Indiana. Outside of his family, his passion is hunting whitetails. He does not claim to be a professional hunter, but simply wants to share what he learns during his quest to improve whitetail habitat and hunt mature bucks.