All About Elk · Elk Hunt

Shed Hunting: A Unique Combination of Frustration and Excitement

I had not heard of shed hunting until a few years ago.  I have enjoyed hiking and exploring all my life, but wasn’t aware of this unique activity until I basically stumbled upon it just a couple years ago.

Shed Hunting 1
Sunrise in the Mountains

My first experience with finding a shed was while I was turkey hunting.  It was springtime and I was in a new area exploring and looking for turkeys.  While I didn’t find a single bird, I just about stepped right on the first elk shed I had ever found.  Five feet to the left or right and I probably never would have seen it.  Yet there right at my feet was a nice brown elk shed.  While I wasn’t looking for it, it was exciting to find.

Finding that first shed made me a bit more aware of the possibilities of other sheds out there.  I must have been in the right place at the right time, because by the end of the day, I had found 4 different elk sheds.  I was thrilled….I didn’t have a clue what to do with them.  I managed to carry them all back to my car at the end of the day and decided I would find out what I could do with these things!

Shed Hunting 4
Top of the Mountain

A little internet research later, I was a bit more excited.  All four of the sheds were “brown” sheds and I found that the going rate for elk sheds were about $10-$14 per pound!  Combined with a couple other sheds I found a few weeks later, I sold them to a shed dealer for just about $350.00!  I took the money and bought myself a new shotgun.

That experience made me more excited about finding sheds. I imagined funding all types of hunting purchases with sheds I would find. I made the decision that I would make shed hunting a regular spring activity.

While I had practically stumbled upon my first shed and had simply found the others without too much more effort, I soon found out that shed hunting can be exciting, and yet extremely frustrating.  The next year, despite going out several times and hiking dozens of miles, I didn’t find a single elk shed.  My grand hopes of collecting armfuls of sheds left me discouraged and frustrated.

I realized that I had to change my perspective on shed hunting.  Instead of focusing so much on the sheds I find, I decided to enjoy the opportunity to get out in the spring and explore some new areas.  I try to appreciate the great views and adventure regardless of the number of sheds I find.

This last week I went out shed hunting again.  While I was still looking for sheds, I tried to keep my new perspective in mind and enjoy the experience.

I had a great hike.  The weather was great and it felt good to get out and stretch my legs.  In all I hiked just over 4 miles and got some mountain exercise that will help me throughout the summer and fall.

Shed Hunting 2
Elk Shed Found

And once again I experienced the excitement of shed hunting.  As I came down the mountain, I spotted a single elk shed on the edge of a ridge. It was a heavy 6-point shed that was still brown.  While it would have been nice to find a couple more, I was thrilled to find this shed.

I’ve determined that I’m going to keep going shed hunting.  I’ll hike all those miles and climb those ridges in search of that next shed.  But I’ve determined that I’ll enjoy it.  Regardless of my success in finding any sheds, I’m hooked on the frustration and excitement of shed hunting.

Shed Hunting 3
Six Point Brown Shed

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