Shawn Luchtel’s Technique for Shed Looking within the Heartland
Shawn Luchtel’s shed season seems to be somewhat totally different from the typical whitetail hunter’s.
The founding father of Heartland Bowhunter, who persistently places mature bucks on the bottom, virtually completely searches for sheds on his non-public searching land in Missouri. Usually, Luchtel will wait till March—when nearly all bucks have dropped their antlers—to scour the 1,500-2,000 acres he shed hunts.
“Nearly all of March I spend shed searching, after which as April arrives, I just about have it wrapped up,” he mentioned. “I spend no less than a stable 50-60 hours shed searching.”
If he learns a goal buck has shed his antlers early, he’ll head out to search for that individual set however will nonetheless wait to conduct his full grid search of the property till just a few weeks later. However outdoors of shed searching on his Midwest farm, he’d change that schedule up on public land in different components of the nation.
“If I have been shed searching public land, I might most actually go earlier, particularly if I had a sure buck that I knew had dropped and I actually needed to seek out that,” he mentioned.
The Excellent Storm
In the case of particular person days and supreme climate, Luchtel says not all situations are equal. Whereas clear blue skies make for a nice expertise, they’ll truly hinder your shed searching.
“If I’ve time carved out in my schedule to shed hunt consecutive days, I’m most likely not going to deal with the nice areas on vivid, sunny days,” Luchtel advised MeatEater. “I’ll save the actually good areas the place I really feel like I’ll choose up loads for these cloudy, dreary days. And when these days do come, I’m attempting to go all day lengthy and actually push myself to not cease strolling. Your imaginative and prescient is so a lot better on these days when there’s no shadows.”
He first heads to meals plots, “the simple locations,” then focuses on bedding areas earlier than transferring onto native grass habitat.
“Within the winter months, typically deer will spend a while on the market to remain heat on the market on sunny days,” he mentioned. “The snow will soften off first, they usually’re pretty susceptible to drop their antlers whenever you get warm-ups in the course of the winter and spring.”
Notably in these prime spots, Luchtel says it’s essential to take your time and never rush your shed searching.
“Whenever you assume you’ve coated all of it, you haven’t. Be sure you comb over stuff as many occasions as you may,” he mentioned. “I don’t know what number of occasions I’ve gone again the following 12 months and located an outdated shed that I used to be in search of—I will need to have walked previous it two or 3 times clearly. So cowl floor as many occasions as you may and attempt to go gradual.”
Strolling an space as soon as and transferring too shortly is a significant mistake many shed hunters make—and one he nonetheless makes himself. “I’m at all times going too quick, pondering one thing’s over the following hill when it’s proper in entrance of my face,” he mentioned.
Whereas he’s developed a stable technique for effectively overlaying his go-to areas, Luchtel admits shed searching can nonetheless be unpredictable and doesn’t rule out probably the most unlikely spots.
He’s typically captured path digicam photographs of specific bucks on one aspect of his farm then picked up their sheds on the other finish of the property—locations he by no means acquired any photographs and would by no means look forward to finding them.
“Yearly they shock me with how a lot they really do journey and the way a lot their journey corridors change, given the actual fact their meals sources change all year long. So simply because I’ve path digicam photographs in a single place doesn’t imply I’m not going to run into that deer elsewhere. I at all times attempt to maintain an open thoughts.”
Placing the Items Collectively
The place he locates sheds and the signal he finds alongside the best way assist Luchtel adapt his ways for the next searching season.
“Shed searching is a really essential time to scout. Trails are often closely outlined this time of 12 months, with all the pieces being dormant. I’ll be aware of that,” he mentioned. I clearly will probably be in bedding areas, which that’s about the one time of 12 months that I am in there outdoors of the rut. I actually attempt to deal with their journey corridors and nail that stuff down and mark that on my maps for the next 12 months.”
He makes use of onX to mark these spots for later in addition to maintain observe of precisely which floor he’s coated in the hunt for sheds.
“I’m dropping pins nonstop,” he mentioned.
However all that point and vitality are effectively definitely worth the funding when it helps him drop the ultimate piece into the bowhunting puzzle.
Function picture through Artistic Commons.