It’s that time of year in Iowa — shed-hunting season
White-tailed deer have about a two-month antler-shedding period in Iowa, beginning mid-January and ending mid-March. Around mid-February is the best time to start looking for shed antlers, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. You can hunt sheds on public land and in parks, but like most anything else, you must get landowner permission to hunt for sheds on private land.
According to the DNR story, the best places to look for deer sheds are where deer feed, along their trails, and where they bed down. Also, look at crossings where a buck might leap or scramble a bit: creek crossings, steep ravines, ridges, fence lines and ditches. In timber stands, look along south-facing ridges where a buck may have sunbathed.
Where you find one shed, look for the other within a quarter mile. But keep in mind, the other shed is just as likely to be in a different location altogether.
The more you look, the better trained your eyes become to pick out antler tips in bleached contrast to tan and yellow grasses. Sometimes antlers get caught in bushes a foot or two above the ground. It’s also fun, but difficult, to find nubs from button bucks.
No permit or license is needed to hunt shed antlers in Iowa. However, if you find antlers still attached to a skull, you must first contact your local conservation officer for a salvage tag to keep them.