Use apps and maps to find additional sheds
March 10, 2023
For those who have timed their antler shedding and the moment has arrived, it’s time to go. And shed hunters who don’t use apps and maps to find more sheds are most definitely missing out.
Deer hunters, of course, have used maps for decades. These are valuable tools that allow hunters to see their hunting grounds from a large, overhead perspective. Aerial, topographic, hybrid, water, soil and many other map types provide excellent ways to analyze different aspects of a property.
Fortunately, modern apps do this and more. These store the power of many different map types in one device. In addition, they include many other tools that are useful for hunters.
Hunting applications are great for identifying solar power, which comes in the form of south-facing slopes where deer lie in the winter. They are also excellent for determining heat cover, which is a dense stand of conifers (cedar, pine, spruce, etc.) that deer also use to protect themselves from the elements. The apps also help you find other bedding and rest areas to consider, including CRP fields, grasslands, tree lines, and more.
Food sources are vital for deer year-round, but with winter shortages, barns are key in some areas. These include standing cropland, cut crops with litter, pockets of residual hard mast, concentrations of arboreal browsing, and more.
One of the most overlooked aspects of good hunting applications is spotting secluded and isolated water sources. If relatively scarce, small water holes near the bedding attract many deer and can serve as focal points for dropped antlers.
In addition to nesting sites, food sources and water sources, crossings are also important areas for searching for sheds. These can also often be identified in a hunting application. Some examples of stream, ditch, fence and river crossings.
Also, don’t forget about the general paths. In late winter, when energy conservation is critical, deer tend to take the most direct routes and use straight, difficult trails to minimize energy burn. Of course, apps can sometimes identify these, especially in grasslands and certain early successional habitats.
Once you’ve hunted the field, break up the property into sections. Then turn on tracking to record where you’ve been. Zigzag back and forth until the entire area is covered. Monitoring this regularly can reveal overlooked spots or areas where the distance between runs is too large. It could be the difference in finding a shed or not.
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The tracking function also shows the distance traveled. This will help you keep track of how much ground has been covered. Then discard the appropriate pins and share the waypoints as needed. If you’re ever stuck in an area with minimal or no cell service, simply turn on the offline map versions you saved for the area before you started scavenging.
Hunting apps and physical maps can be great tools for shed hunters. Shed hunters who use these to their advantage can find more and bigger sheds. It’s all about being more efficient, and this is a great way to do it.