Shed hunting has become as much of an event as actually hunting a giant buck. In fact, many hardcore big-game hunters get as much out of finding a great shed antler as they do taking the animal.
Sometimes it feels like you're looking for a needle in a haystack. However, your game cameras and a few little tricks can help with narrowing down your search.
The food source is certainly king in cold winter months, and much of the deer activity will be in and around those important food sources. Note that not all properties have productive food plots that hold deer.
Stress levels can cause deer to shed at different times in different areas. Early, cold winters after a hard rut can cause deer to drop sooner than a trickle-rut year with mild conditions.
A couple of things will help you key-in on good locations to set your trail cameras. These places that will help you track when bucks shed, along with giving you a quick reference point of where to start your search.
Heavy bedding cover is one place to set a couple of cellular trail cameras. Try setting up a camera on the main trails that flank heavy cover. Select the set-up location based on the prevailing wind conditions. For example, if your area has a prevailing north wind, set a camera on the north-side trail and one on the south-side trail. This method allows you to cover the main entry and exits points that most of the deer will use.
When you start seeing bucks with bloody spots where there once were antlers, then you know it's time to put boots on the ground and start your search. Don't assume the shed will be in the bedding cover, there's a great chance that your diamond will be within a quarter-mile radius of the area. Those deer are probably traveling to a close food source and will drop either in the bedding cover, going to the feed or coming from it. Nothing is set in stone, but this strategy has proven successful in the past.
When temps reach bitter cold, such as it does in much of the Midwest, always have a camera or two hung on south-facing slopes in the timber and south-facing low areas on food plots or destination feed fields. These areas will get the sun first and warm up faster, thus the deer will spend much of their morning and mid-day hours feeding and bedding in these places.
It stands to reason that this little trick will help narrow down your search perimeter. Using a capability like Moultrie Mobile at these spots makes it less likely that you'll pressure deer, causing them to go to the neighbor's property to shed.
Again, there's no way to guarantee that you'll find every shed antler from every buck on your farm. However, these tips will help you find sheds more consistently, and will prevent a lot of walking, only to come up empty-handed.