2/14 SHED UPDATE

By: Brennen Nading (@nadingbr)

Valentines Day? Nah, I’ve always looked at this date as “opening day” for the shed hunting to get serious.  The drop is in full effect right now, and if you’ve been doing your homework, payday is near!  In the past 10 days I have gotten out and done some walking in both Iowa and North Dakota.  With much different terrain, weather, and snow depths in these states; this is what I have to report right now.  

In North Dakota, the deer were grouped up in winter herds as you would expect in the seemingly arctic environment.  The snow was deep, it’s hard to say exactly how much was on the ground due to drifting but if I had to put a number on it, I would say the overall average right now is somewhere in the 12-16″ mark.  Due to the high winds and open terrain, there are areas with much deeper snow, and there are also fields with bare spots where the snow has blown off of them.   These spots are where most of the deer were congregating and feeding, even in the midday hours.  This made it fairly easy to get eyes on the deer and get a solid report for the bucks that had shed out, and the ones that were still carrying. 

From what I could tell, I would say somewhere around 75% of the bucks were shed already.  The main objective of this trip was coyote hunting, but Mike and I did find a little time to sneak in a quick walk for sheds.  We found a large deer herd, used BaseMap to find the landowners house and went and knocked on his door.  He gave us permission to walk the woodlot behind his house along with the surrounding fields.  In just a short walk, we picked up 3 fresh antlers laying on top of the frozen snow.  The next day, after a coyote set up, we did another quick walk and scooped up a couple more antlers on the way back to the truck.  There are definitely antlers to be had in North Dakota right now, but it will only get better when the snow levels start to go down.

I’ve spent a few days now scouting/walking public land here in Iowa.  I was looking in areas that I have been to in the past and had success.  I would say there is approximately 4-6” of snow on the ground in a lot of the areas that I checked out.   In areas where the sun hits most of the day, the snow is near gone, or completely gone.  These are the areas that I focused on.  South facing slopes, cedar thickets, hedge orchards had the best sign and the most bare ground.  I didn’t spend too much time in the areas with a lot of snow yet, I will check those again once it melts down more.  As expected, most of the public land I walked showed sign of other people out shed hunting already.  Boot tracks were found in/around almost every food source that I checked.  However, I was still able to find antlers that were either missed or had dropped since the last person had walked these food sources. 

I also took the main deer trails back towards the bedding areas and was able to score a few sheds in these areas as well.  A fresh inch of snow blew in and shut me down.  I will continue to put pressure on my public land spots over the course of the next couple weeks up until I start walking some of the private land that I have permission on towards the end of the month.  From what I found in Iowa, and from the deer sightings I encountered,  I would guess that approximately 30% of bucks are shed out in the southern half of the state with 70% still carrying. 

The middle of February is definitely when things start to get interesting if you’re a big shed hunter.  More and more antlers will continue to fall each day now.  If you are planning to do some walking, even if not in the near future, it is important that you get tabs on the deer right now.  Where the deer are right now is where you are going to want to focus on when you start walking.  If you’re walking public land, stay persistent, don’t let boot tracks deter you, and work harder than the next guy.  If you’re on private ground, waiting just a little bit longer will likely be in your best interest.  Let the majority of the deer shed out before you start blowing into the bedding areas and risk running them onto the neighbors with head gear still in tow.  Good luck to everyone that is hitting the woods! 

SNOWED IN?!

By: Brennen Nading (@nadingbr)

If you’re in the Midwest, there is a good chance you are getting pounded with snow today.  Some areas are seeing close to 10 inches or more. If you’re in the areas where these amounts are falling, you can kiss the shed hunting goodbye for awhile.   As the white stuff continues to fall, here are a few things that you could be doing with your time once you take care of the shoveling.

Although it doesn’t feel like it today, April is right around the corner, which means turkey season will be here before we know it.  What better way to get yourself ready than to binge watch our turkey series ‘Breaking Spring’?  You can find the first 5 seasons of ‘Breaking Spring’ over on our YouTube Channel.  Check it out Here. 

Once you’re all caught up on the turkey action, you might as well make sure you’ve seen all the latest TBP action.  Seasons 1-6 are all streaming on our YouTube channel as well.  You can tag along with the crew members as we chase everything from whitetail and muleys to antelope to bear and moose.  You can find the first 6 seasons of ‘The Breaking Point’ right Here. 

If you’re all caught up on YouTube, you might as well get the bow out and send a few arrows down range.  After all, there is never a bad time to get some reps in.  I know many people, myself included, fail to practice as much as we should during the winter months.  Even if you only shoot a handful of arrows, it is good to go through the motions and keep the basic fundamentals on point.

Keep your chin up, winter will come and it will pass.  Use your snow day wisely!

SHED HUNTING IN THE SNOW

By: Brennen Nading (@nadingbr)

“There is snow on the ground, I am not going to waste my time shed hunting yet.”  I hear this a lot, and I pray that this is the mentality of the people that shed hunt the areas that I do.  The only type of snow that will keep me from walking is a blanket of the fresh stuff.  

I grew up shed hunting in Wisconsin.  Unless I wanted to wait until late March – early April to shed hunt, I was pounding the snow looking for antlers.  Looking in the snow definitely has its’ cons, but it also has its’ pros as well.  In the same argument, you could say that shed hunting bare ground has a list of pros and cons of its’ own, but we will save that for another blog.

Let’s start with the pros of looking in the snow.  The obvious one is the visibility of deer sign.  With snow, it is easy to see deer trails, deer shit, and deer beds.  This means that you can speed scout an area very effectively, blow right past the areas without deer sign and slow down and comb through the areas where the deer sign is heaviest.  

Cons of looking in the snow?  Some antlers are going to be completely snow covered and you’re simply not going to find them until the snow depth goes down.  Your effective range of covering ground is also going to decrease with snow cover.  Most of the sheds I find in the snow I am spotting inside of 10 yards.  When the snow melts, this range will likely double if not triple depending on the conditions (cloud cover, precipitation).  On sunny days, it is extremely difficult to shed hunt whether there is snow or not.  It is especially difficult with snow cover because the glare off the snow can be blinding to your eyes making it very hard to stay focused.  

Antlers are typically dark in color, definitely darker in color than white snow.  If any part of an antler is above the snow, it is going to stick out.  You can’t walk through the woods expecting to see an entire antler laying on top of the snow.  Although it can happen, you need to slow down and really scan the area for “antler parts”.  Maybe a single tine is poking through the snow.  Or maybe a few inches of a main beam is peaking through the snow.  My favorite way to find them in the snow is when the base of an antler is the only thing popping out of the snow.  The take home message here is, spend your time looking for pieces of antlers and you will likely be more successful shed hunting in the snow.

In conclusion, shed hunting in the snow is a challenge, but it can be very rewarding.  The antlers found through the snow are usually in great condition because the squirrels and other rodents haven’t been able to find them yet either.  If your area has snow on the ground, don’t let it keep you from getting in the woods in search of antlers.  Find the best deer sign, go slow, look for antler parts, and have fun! Good luck, the antlers are really starting to fall now!

THE TBP DRAFT

Before we get into the nitty gritty, we are looking for 2 people (a team of 2) that want to join The Breaking Point as content creators.  Individuals must be at least 18 years of age and have no criminal background, or hunting violations.  This is an unpaid opportunity to be a part of something that is rewarding in its own right.  We are looking for the working class hunters that are eager to spend their free time in the woods.  As far as compensation goes, we would supply the team with an ample amount of partner products for the upcoming season.  

It’s been a hell of a run over the past 7 years.  We have logged countless hours in the field across numerous states chasing all kinds of critters.  As our team has evolved and grown, so has the demand to produce more content for our viewers.  We are looking to add a pair of die hard hunters/story tellers to our roster.  The ideal duo is going to have the passion to go the extra mile in pursuit of punching tags, and have hands on experience with their own camera gear.   We aren’t searching for the guys that only hunt the “family farm” year after year.  We are looking for the guys that spend their free time scouring the internet for opportunities to hunt in new areas, new states, and that are never satisfied with repetition.  

If you and your hunting/filming partner believe you fit the bill, here is what you need to do:

ALL SUBMISSIONS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28th, 2020.

Submit a 60 second or less video on Instagram tagging @BPointTV and using hashtag #TBPdraft. 

This video should give us an idea of who you are, what you are capable of, and why you both would be a good addition to TBP.

Copy and paste the 10 questions below, both partners must answer the questions separately but send them in one email to Mike.Mancl@thebreakingpointtv.com

QUESTION 1: Where do you live? (Town/State)

QUESTION 2: What game do you hunt? (Deer, Turkey, Elk, etc)

QUESTION 3: What states have you hunted in the past 3 years? What states do you have plans to hunt in the next 3 years?

QUESTION 4: What is your current occupation and work schedule?

QUESTION 5: On average, how many days do you spend in the field in a given season?

QUESTION 6: What camera gear do you currently own and operate? (Camera, Lenses, Audio, Drone, Tree Arm, Tripods, etc.)

QUESTION 7: Do you have any previous history in the hunting industry? If yes, please specify.

QUESTION 8: How long have you been filming/producing your hunts?

QUESTION 9: What beer do you prefer at deer camp? (21 and over)

QUESTION 10: Why do YOU want to become a member of TBP?

SHED HUNTING EARLY

By: Brennen Nading (@nadingbr)

The calendar is about to flip to February.  If you remember the “20-60-20 rule” from the previous blog post this means that nearly 20% of bucks have lost their antlers by now. Keep in mind, 80% are still holding onto them so it is very important that you proceed with caution right now if you’re going to start shed hunting. *Disclaimer* these numbers aren’t exact, it’s just a general rule of thumb that I have used and found to be pretty accurate in my years of shed hunting.

In my opinion, it’s still too early to bust into the woods, especially on private, un-pressured land. That said, I am still going to start looking now. Over the next couple of weeks, I will continue to scout from the vehicle. I prefer to hit the backroads the last hour of daylight, every evening that my schedule allows. This gives me a good idea of where the deer are heading to feed/feeding. Covering a lot of area, it’s important for me to take good notes right now. These notes will give me an idea of where I will want to potentially take an early walk or two.

Preliminary walks on private land – I consider my walks right now to be “non-invasive”. This simply means that there is an extremely low chance of bumping bedded deer on the places that I walk this early. I will stick to food sources, and areas close to food sources whether it be water runs, fence lines, or shelter belts near the food. If I know there is no other shed hunting competition, I am not pushing any further than these areas this early in the season.

Preliminary walks on public land – If the area is close to roads, and easily accessible, I might get aggressive if I sense that other shed hunters are keeping an eye on a particular piece. I will begin my search at the food and work my way back towards the bedding. This early in the year, I won’t go deep into the woods however. I like to limit myself to the first bedding ridge or two that bucks might be using in between feeding times throughout the night.

With nearly 80% still attached, be careful with your approach in the next few weeks. There are undoubtedly antlers on the ground right now waiting to be scooped up but February is right around the corner, and the best is yet to come.

SHED HUNTING..WHEN DO I START?

By: Brennen Nading (@nadingbr)

Deer season is now closed across most of the country, and will be closed everywhere before long.  Over the past several years, fueled by social media (my opinion of course), shed hunting has become a very popular activity amongst deer hunters, and outdoor enthusiasts alike.  Although it has become very popular, I feel like there is still a lot of unknown variables to the majority of the people that set to the woods in search of these prized hunks of calcium.

It’s late January, is it too soon to start walking for antlers?  That is a loaded question.  Only because there are SO many variables that come into play.  Are you shed hunting private land or public land?  If you are shed hunting private land, is there anyone else that has permission to shed hunt there also?  These are the questions you must first answer before you decide whether or not it is too soon to start looking in January.

An unwritten rule  that I heard when I was younger, is that 20% of deer will drop their antlers in January, 60% will drop in February, and 20% will drop in March.  It’s not an exact science, but over the years I have found the “20-60-20 rule” to be very very accurate across the midwest region.  That said, today is January 22nd.  If you do the math, that means approximately 14% of bucks have dropped their antlers as of today.

Next, ask yourself this.  With only 14% of bucks shed out, is it worth blowing up your properties right now when there is a chance you will bump the remaining 86% of bucks that are still holding?  If you are walking public land, or somewhere you have competition, maybe.  If you have snow on the ground in your area, this is the time to start keeping tabs on the property you’re planning to walk.  Check the public land parking lots for signs of others that might be walking, the longer the property is left alone, the better your success is going to be when you decide to start looking. If you are walking private land, I’d say you’re much better off to wait until the majority of the bucks have shed their antlers.

If it’s still too early, what can I do to ensure success when the time comes?  There is no better time than right now to be driving back roads and finding out where the deer are herded up.  The majority of the deer are going to lose their antlers in the next month, if you want to score in March, it is crucial to keep tabs on where they are spending their time between now and then.  Whether it’s driving around on a sunny day and scouting sign in the snow, or driving around in the evening before dark and getting a visual on them when they are food bound.

I think the main thing that leaves new shed hunters scratching their heads is this.  A property that might have been loaded with deer in October/November might be a ghost town in February.  If you want to be successful in shed hunting, I can’t stress enough, the importance of scouting from the vehicle over the next 4-6 weeks.

If you’re the person that doesn’t necessarily care about finding antlers, and just want to get out in the woods and walk for fun, take this article with a grain of salt and start pounding brush.  I don’t fall into that category.  I enjoy shed hunting equally as much as I do actually deer hunting.  That said, I take the same precautions on my shed season as I do in the fall.  I might press my luck early on some public land where I know there will be pressure, but you can count on me waiting until the majority of bucks are shed out before I push into my honey holes.

20-60-20.  Keep this mind.  Yes, there are antlers on the ground already, no doubt about it.  There are going to be a lot more on the ground in the course of the next month and a half.  If you’re thinking about starting to walk, just ask yourself if the juice is worth the squeeze.

TAGGED OUT

With another buck tag in his pocket, Mike headed back to Oklahoma to see if he could knock down another mature deer.  The cell cameras were still showing good movement on the property we had already struck twice on.  After New Years, him and ‘JP’ headed south for another go at it.  The first evening sit would be all they would need to make it happen.  The deer started moving early and several bucks were on their feet.  It didn’t take long before the buck they were after, “Mendoza” would make his way into bow range.  Mike sent an arrow out of the Ox5 blind and it found its’ mark.  2 great bucks in Oklahoma to top off the season for Mike.

HIGH NOTE

Wisconsin was a bust this fall for Chad, so he wanted to take a stab at North Dakota late season and try to turn his season around.  A trip before Christmas left Chad with high hopes on a return trip.  After the holidays were over, Chad and his wife Heather headed back to north for round 2.  It didn’t take long and Chad was full draw in a Barronett Blind with his pin steadied on the vitals.  After a long season, there is nothing like ending it on a high note and that is exactly what Chad did!

MULEY

Ryan and Dylan have spent the past week up at our North Dakota deer camp, “Dinkota”.  The weather has been cold, but not the type of cold that North Dakota usually dishes out this time of year.  With a couple good bucks on camera, the boys stayed persistent in hunting the winds when they allowed for it.  2 nights prior, “Muley” made an appearance but coyotes had the deer herd on high alert and the giant buck never came into bow range.  The encounter was enough to get the guys fired up, this would be one of the best bucks we as a crew have had the opportunity to chase in North Dakota over the years.  Cold weather moved in, snow started flying, and the wind was good to try him again.  Well before dusk, “Muley” began making his way across the plains along with several other deer.  Ryan 10 ringed him at 20 steps and the rest is history, Ryan’s largest buck to date and he is a stud!

OKIE LAND PROVIDES

After knocking down a great buck 2 nights ago, I called Mike and told him to get in the truck and head south.  Having recovered my buck with the Rambo bike in the middle of the night, I knew that we hadn’t done any damage to the area that still had several other good bucks running around.  Mike got into town just in time to crawl into the same Barronett Blind for an evening hunt.  As luck would have it, one of the other shooters made his way across the CRP in the final moments of daylight.  The shot was a touch back, so we backed out and let him lay over night.  We headed in at first light the following morning and the buck was laying in his 3rd bed, only 120 yards from the blind.  When in doubt, back out!

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