Man Finds Special Deer Antler Sheds While Turkey Hunting
The big New England buck is still out there. Its antler sheds are full of the usual powerful meaning for my friend — let's call him "J" — who shared this story, but requested anonymity. The connection is personal; even spiritual. It's one of his spring turkey hunting updates, as we often correspond during the season. Only this one has a twist.
I took a 4-point on the last day of hunting season with my muzzleloader. That is also the day I start feeding the deer in my backyard. When I checked the SD card on my camera that evening, I found we were visited by a magnificent 10-point buck.
I hoped he would return to find the grain I left that night, and he did just that. He came every night until the snow became too deep to travel from his comfort zone. He was traveling more than a mile to visit us. He lost his horns mid-January and I hoped to find them but we were overcome with too much snow, and I knew it would never be.
Our record-breaking New England winter was an endurance test for wildlife. Still, by the looks of it, many deer and wild turkeys have survived. This spring season, J. told his girlfriend he was going for a short hunt up the road and would return in a few hours. He said:
I never dreamed what would bestow me. I stumbled on not one, but both sheds of our winter visitor.
He dropped them on a trail I had pruned across a north/south ridge to make my treks easier and quieter. I will never forget this evening. I so wanted to find his sheds and he is the first buck I have ever found both sheds for. I'm not sure why, but a prayer was answered today.
Like many of you, J. is a longtime Realtree camouflage wearer. And he's hoping for a reunion with his shed buck this fall. Have you ever found meaningful deer sheds while spring turkey hunting? Comment below.
Hungry for more? As of this writing, northern New England spring turkey hunting seasons are ongoing. Maine, the latest running opportunity in the United States, is open through June 6, 2015.
Steve Hickoff is Realtree's turkey hunting editor and blogger.