Shed hunting and such

Shed hunting began ahead of schedule this year, starting in January as opposed to March, when the bucks have certainly dropped their horns and hunters get the itch to start looking …

Oh, the madness.

The previous years I had time to prepare myself for seeing Country Man less and less as the sun stayed out later, snow began melting, and County-Wide Directories were left out, opened and marked on the table – all signs indicating the shift to take place in our regular life programming.

So yesterday, as I listened to the sound of his hunting sidekick hammer up the driveway with a four-wheeler in tow, anxious to take advantage of Sunday afternoon freedoms, I knew it was time to say goodbye to our own Sunday traditions for a little while.

South Dakota horns

Last year's shed finds. Or the year's previous. I don't remember. This is what we'll see when it's all said and done.

I accompanied him shed hunting last Thursday night, excited to take advantage of the warm weather and exercise my lungs. And look for horns, of course.

South Dakota deer stuff

First sighting out, evidence of deer. I thought you’d appreciate the visual. Yes?

South Dakota corn

We began our trek on four-wheeler, crossing the fields of last year’s corn over toward the hills, where the deer and the coyotes roam.

South Dakota four-wheeling

South Dakota hills

South Dakota Hills

We started on foot, while I walked and he rolled the four-wheeler down through the deep snow, to avoid it becoming stuck.

South Dakota hills

You go that way, he points and circles, and I will go this way.

South Dakota meadow

Alrighty! I thought. Oh, it’s so pretty today! The horn thing can wait; I’m going to take some photos!

South Dakota trees

And remember to LOOK for horns, he yelled to me across the meadow.

Of course! Planned on it! That’s why I’m here!

Stare.
Stare.

Sigh.

He knows me too well.

South Dakota trees

South Dakota meadow

While my purpose-driven man slowly moved out of sight, I wandered aimlessly and alone in the vast 6500 acres, looking at the trees above for signs of wildlife …

South Dakota deer

… only to walk over carcasses from turkeys and the bones of cattle. Coyotes, I convince myself.

South Dakota

Sporadic shouts over yonder told me he had found three, while I had yet to find even one.

South Dakota cattle

If I believed in luck, I would say I wasn’t much of it for him. Three is a low number in his experience.

South Dakota sunset

So, for the fourth season in a row, I helped welcome the season in the best way I know how … by visual appreciation of the places he will spend much of his time.

South Dakota trees

And when I find myself jealous of his time, I can come back to this post and be thankful I live in such a place as this. A place where I can leave anytime I fancy and wander outside alone and free, doing what I love.

Just like him.

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47 thoughts on “Shed hunting and such

  1. The four-wheeling sounds fun, especially with such a gorgeous countryside as your backdrop. Breathtaking!

    It’s 70 degrees in my neck of the woods today. A little sun and some open windows make all the difference, don’t they!

  2. It still looks very cold in these pictures :)…What’s the temperature there? We have been spoiled these past couple of days with gorgeous 65 degree weather!

  3. beautiful.

    “A place where I can leave anytime I fancy and wander outside alone and free, doing what I love.

    Just like him.”

    I think this is how my mom feels about my dad. and it is beautiful!

  4. Love the pictures! Our deer are so hidden in the dog-hair thick brush their antlers are probably hanging in the trees! Still, it’s always fun to stumble across one (yeah, on the ground).

  5. Gorgeous! Looks like you’re enjoying much the same weather as we’re having here in Maine. Though today, it’s snowing. Thanks for sharing all those beautiful pics. The horns aren’t going anywhere.

  6. thank you for taking us along with you on your spring-time trek. I can nearly smell the fresh air clinging to you when you came back in at the end of your jaunt! Delicious pictures, too .. MJ

  7. Loved the pictures (well not so much the poop pic but it was ok). Spring is trying to arrive at your place it seems. It was nice of the hubby to take you along (even if you didn’t “find” any antlers. You were able to enjoy the outdoors just in different ways! Hope the sun continues to shine and spring makes its appearance for all. Think we are all a little weary of winter.
    Mylene

  8. I’m about to show my hunterly ignorance here… why do these men collect all these horns? What do they do with them, once collected? Is there a massive room somewhere (i.e. the Man Cave or some other place) where these copious amounts of antlers are on display?

    Also, why did you have to convince yourself the carnage was left by coyotes? Is it because you’re afraid of cougars?

    • Glad you asked! I had many questions in the beginning, as well. He does hold all of his sheds in his Man Cave, mostly to show other hunters. The fun is finding sheds from deer that have been harvested, or that have been spotted and drooled over. And, finding matched sets is a big thing as well. Sometimes one hunter will find a shed, and another will find the match. That’s when trading comes into play.

      And YES to the coyote question. More mountain lions have been spotted around our area, and while alone in thick trees, I found myself looking up often to make sure one was not lurking.

      • Scary! When I was a kid living in the San Diego area, after reading Where The Red Fern Grows, my worst fear was that a mountain lion lived in the palm tree beside the pool. I was sure sometimes at night it migrated to my closet. This, of course, caused me long hours of sleeplessness and terror.

        Then we moved to a more remote area (still in SoCal), and behind our house there was a very small mountain. We had a trail going to the top of it (about a mile total) and once when my mother was hiking there she saw a cougar track the size of her hand. We never saw the lion. I came face to face with a rattler on a different part of the same trail though.

        They say mountain lions are afraid of humans, and I’m not sure I buy it. They’re giant cats. If one of them felt threatened or was hungry enough… a human might start looking tasty.

        I want to hear mountain lion stories. Do you know anyone that has had an encounter with one?

      • Well, about a month ago a pastor in my town saw a mountain lion behind his house … in town! A nurse saw the same thing a few days before that. My parents in the Black Hills have a little more to be concerned about, and about 1/2 mile from their house a colt was taken down by a 190 lb cat. People have been losing farm cats to them, and about three weeks ago, the GF&P tranquilized an elk for research, only to end up feeding a nearby mountain lion. Needless to say, they’re becoming a threat to both wildlife and pets. More stories to come, since I don’t think we’ve seen the last of them around here.

  9. the envious bug is fighting to rear its head… glad someone is able to find some sheds. Not much luck here, which is odd considering how many deer we have all over the dang place. We always look when we’re out though, I keep telling chris he should train Wyatt to find them, might make it easier.
    Anna
    http://www.akginspiration.com

  10. Your photos look a lot like it does north of my house. I’m a SD blogger, found you at 20sb. It’s fun to read what the locals are saying. πŸ™‚
    Wondering how the mountain lion hunt went? I am obsessed and want to go next year.

    • Hello Christa, glad you came across my blog! To be honest, I do not keep up with 20sb at all, so I have no idea what’s been going on there :S. As for the m.l. hunt, they saw some tracks but didn’t see any cats. My parents live in the Black Hills, so they keep us posted often. Do you and your husband hunt?

  11. Ah, if I had subscribed to comments, I would have seen this earlier! Doing that now….
    We’re apathetic about hunting; we don’t revolve around it, but we do it when it’s a good time.
    On the other hand, my brothers and father SE of Pierre are hunting/fishing nuts.
    We have fun with a big pheasant hunt every year at Thanksgiving–they got 400+ in an hour this year just hunting behind my inlaws house and coyote hunting on snowmobiles in the winter—-until my toes freeze!

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