Moose Antler Shed Hunting
Updated: Oct 24, 2022
Once you find your first big, beautiful moose antler, laying out in the middle of nowhere, half-covered with leaves, you will be hooked! Antler sheds can be found anywhere by sheer luck, but your chances are greatly improved by figuring our where most of the moose are hanging out between December 1 and January 31. This is roughly the period in which it all happens. And from my own personal experience (I have not seen this in any book I have read) the moose do seem to congregate in groups during this time.
We were snowshoeing once, up high on the mountain, when we heard a strange noise that is impossible to describe. The bull moose scattered as we quietly approached, and where they had been, we saw an area of tracks, so many in fact that it looked like a stampede had gone through. We deduced that the bull moose were sparring in some sort of ritual (the noise being their heads or antlers colliding) after we found a couple of shed antlers in the area. Perhaps they were tring to hasten their antlers shedding? Other clues we learned to determine if an area was prime "hunting" grounds: moose will rub their antlers on a skinny tree, removing much of the bark.
Once we saw a cow moose with three young bulls (fork horns) rubbing away at trees. They will also thrash a short fir tree to pieces. We've found small trees literally shredded in half from a persistent bull. We've found one antler and followed tracks to the other one. We've looked down into moose tracks in the snow... way down, wondering how the poor beasts navigate through such deepness.
The largest antler I have found weighed 21 pounds. I also found a very small single tine. The ones that have been out in the elements for a long time are either bleached white from the sun or algae green from the shade. They are usually in various stages of having been chewed by rodents, bears and coyotes.