The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

February 11, 2013

Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Nearly 219,000 white-tailed deer bagged

(Continued)

Weather game

In some regions deer antlers start dropping before or around Christmas. The time to drop varies by region, and by year. There’s no set date, so search away when you have free time during winter and spring.

The downside is that during winter antlers can be hard to spot in snow, and deep, soft snow can make the hunt frustrating. You can easily spot some antlers in an area with barren ground after you had searched in earnest there the week before. The difference was that on the first trip a foot of snow covered the ground. If you decide to search when snow blankets the ground, it’s best to walk well-worn deer trails. Step slowly and look carefully.

Fun in the sun

Another aid in finding antlers is the sun. You’ll spot far more antlers with the sun at your back or over a shoulder, so plan your hunts and routes in areas based on the time of day and the sun’s location. Walking into, and staring into the sun, can give you a headache and lessen your chances to spot a “bone.” You may also want look as much as possible on an overcast day or when a light rain is falling. Antlers just seem easier to spot on the ground then as the light color stands out against a wet and darker background.

Think ahead

After long, cold winters and hours confined to the warmth of your home, antler hunting is a top reason to return to the great outdoors. When snow melts or frosts cease, and before grasses grow green, is the prime time to search. You can see far in the forests and fields, and game trails are more obvious. You can also use these trips to search out hunting sites for the fall ahead, or to scout for turkey hunting areas. When possible, never go antler hunting alone.

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