All About Elk

Elk Shed Hunting – A Perfect Spring Activity

This spring saw some exciting “firsts” for me.  This spring was my first turkey hunt in Colorado. It was my first spring scouting opportunity.  And it was my first opportunity to go shed hunting.   While I didn’t get that turkey this spring, I was able to stumble across my first elk shed.

My First Elk Shed Find
My First Elk Shed Find

I must admit that finding my first elk shed was more just blind luck than anything.  I practically stepped right that first shed as I was hunting for turkey.  Once I found it though, I started more actively looking for them and over the course of the spring was able to find 6 brown sheds and 1 old shed turned to chalk.  Findings these sheds made me look closer into this activity that I previously didn’t know much about.  What I found is there are some exciting benefits of spring shed hunting.

I found that shed hunting provides a great opportunity for spring scouting.  I had the opportunity to get out in the spring and start exploring some new areas for hunting this fall.   The extra time and nice weather allowed me to widen my area of knowledge for hunting later on. Now, a word of caution for elk hunters; since elk migrate a fair amount, it is very possible that where they are when they drop their antlers may be a very different location than where they are in the fall hunting season.  However, finding sheds let you know there are elk in the area and perhaps even give the reason for setting up a late-season hunt in the area at some point.

I loved the fact that I could get back in the woods.  After the long winter months, I was ready to get back outside again.  Turkey hunting and shed hunting gave me a great opportunity to get out in the woods again and get some exercise while hiking through the woods.   And I DID get my exercise.   I calculated that I hiked well over 25 miles this spring on six different trips.

This year I was also able to organize my trips out to be combination trips.  That means I was able to have multiple objectives when I went out. As I mentioned, I got into shed hunting through turkey hunting. So this year I was able to both hunt turkeys and look for sheds at the same time.  Depending on the season and what other hunting opportunities are open, you may be able to combine your shed hunt with some real spring hunting opportunities such as turkey or coyote.

With my first shed hunt, I got to experience the excitement of finding some BIG sheds. I know I will not always find sheds, but when you find them, it can be exciting!  I hope to one day shoot an elk with antlers as big as the sheds I have found, but for now, the sheds will have to do.  There is something very cool about finding a big shed and admiring the antlers you found.

Chalk Shed on the left and then Brown Sheds on the right
Chalk Shed on the left and then Brown Sheds on the right

I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to do something with the sheds I found this year.  Some people like to just collect their sheds or use them in decoration or display.  A decent elk shed can be a very nice trophy to show off.  I found however that I really liked the opportunity to sell my elk sheds.  While some trophy sheds can be sold for over $1,000, typically you sell your sheds by the pound.  While the condition and age of the shed greatly affects what you can get, right now you can get $10-$14 per pound for good brown elk sheds.  It can be very rewarding if you are lucky enough to find a couple sheds.  Some use the cash to help offset things like gas or hunting tags while others like to use the extra money to buy new equipment.  I had been saving up for a shotgun and the money I got from my sheds this year helped me be able to make that purchase!

My 2016 Spring Elk Shed Collection
My 2016 Spring Elk Shed Collection

Shed hunting can be a lot of work and can mean walking a lot of miles.  I definitely put my time in this year.  But I see it as another opportunity to get out into the woods and enjoy nature with the possibility of finding a shed or two.  I don’t know if I’ll be successful next year or not, but I know that next spring I’ll be out and looking for that next big elk shed!

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