Discover Nature: Shed Antler Hunting | KBIA

Discover Nature: Shed Antler Hunting

Jan 5, 2021

This winter, consider a style of hunting that doesn’t require any special equipment, and has no bag limit. This week on Discover Nature, head outside in search of deer sheds.


Each year, between April and August, white-tailed bucks grow antlers made of calcium, phosphorous, and protein. Bucks use these hard antlers as weapons when sparring with other bucks for territory and mates during the fall rut, or mating season. 


But from January through early spring, bucks begin shedding their antlers. This relieves the animals from having to carry extra weight when they don’t need it. 


Looking for shed antlers is easy. Finding them is challenging. Shed antlers don’t last forever on the ground in the wild. Animals such as mice gnaw on the mineral-rich antlers, and weather causes them to fade and further decompose. 


You don’t need a permit to find or possess shed antlers in Missouri, as long as they’re not attached to a skull. January through early spring, searching woods and fields for shed antlers can be a great way to discover nature and enjoy Missouri’s great outdoors. 


Learn more about white-tailed deer with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s online field guide, and find places to go to search for shed antlers near you with their online atlas


Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.