Shed Hunting In West Virginia

Shed hunting is legal in WV

As the month of February comes to an end, a mild winter is making way for warm sunny days and those looking to spend more time in the great outdoors should consider shed hunting.  Antlers are dropping from the heads of deer across the state and searching for them is a fun and interesting way to get some exercise.  Head out and start shed hunting in West Virginia this spring.

Spotting shed antlers can be quite difficult so coming across one is quite the reward.    To increase your odds of finding one, look for shed antlers on overcast days.  When the ground is covered in full sun there is a lot of contrast with the leaves lying on the forest floor.  This causes the deer antler to blend in and makes it only visible from one direction.  A rainy day will mat the leaves down to the ground and the wet antler will be the most visible.  While I am far from an expert shed hunter, most of my success has come on days like this.

Shed hunting in WV

Is shed hunting Legal in West Virginia?

Yes, shed hunting is legal in West Virginia.

Previously, collecting shed antlers was illegal in the state of West Virginia and you will still find a lot of conflicting information online that confirms this.  However, Senate Bill 473 was proposed in 2017 and passed the West Virginia State Legislature making shed hunting legal in the state of West Virginia.

West Virginia State Code 20-2-4 Possession of Wildlife was amended to read “This does not include the possession of deer antlers that are naturally shed and collected by a person from his or her own land, from public land unless prohibited by law, or from private land with the written permission of the landowner in hand.”  There are elk in West Virginia, but bull elk sheds are illegal to possess in the state of West Virginia.

Shed hunting in WV

Can you spot the antler tucked in the tall grass??

To find a buck’s shed antlers, you have to consider food and bedding cover.  These two areas are where one should concentrate their efforts finding sheds.  In order to stay safe and survive, deer spend a lot of time in their bedding areas.  Search through the brushy thickets and heavily wooded pockets of timber. 

In the winter when food is scarce, deer activity will be concentrated on certain sources specific to different locations.  Key in on where the deer are eating and you will find the other area they are spending the majority of their time in.  

Shed hunting in WV

While deer food sources and bedding cover are great locations to spot shed antlers, consider the route deer take between these two areas.  When walking along the trail, focus on obstacles that deer would have to jump over or duck under, both of which could dislodge an antler ready to shed.

Shed hunting can be a big part of a hunter’s offseason scouting strategy, using information they learned while out finding antlers to influence their hunting locations for the upcoming season. 

Shed hunting in WV

If the cold weather has kept you from walking the dog, put them to work looking for shed antlers.  Most hunting breeds can be trained to find sheds and using dogs to hunt for shed antlers has increased in popularity in recent years.  As an added bonus, your newly found shed antlers can double as a reward for your pup’s keen senses.  This all natural dog treat is sure to be a favorite.

It is said that you’ll average one shed for every mile of ground covered, but don’t let that discourage you.  If you’re looking for a rewarding way to spend time outside before winter ends, grab a pair of binoculars and lace up your best pair of boots, cover some ground and collect a true treasure of the outdoors.

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