Every winter and spring my attention turns to locating antlered critters with the intention of gathering up their discarded headgear. There is just something about it that keeps me coming back year after year.
Obviously, the love of being outdoors, and the thrill of finding an undiscovered antler, are motivation enough. At the same time, the more I do it, the more benefits I seem to discover about it.
With the fall hunting season fast approaching, there are three primary things on my mind. First and foremost, finding animals. Secondly, getting in shape. And thirdly, spending plenty of quality time with my loved ones since the coming months will be somewhat lacking in this area.
Fortunately, all of these things can be huge benefits of antler hunting.
By locating animals in the late winter and early spring, I am able to learn something about them that most people don’t – Their migration patterns. By understanding where they come from in the fall, and where they move to in the spring, I am better able to locate them come hunting season.
Granted, this is obviously not a foolproof method of scouting, but it is undoubtedly another tool in my belt. There have been numerous times that I have been able to locate some giant animals in the late winter and early spring that I had no idea even existed in the area previously.
Secondly, when the usual jog or weight lifting routine becomes a bit mundane, there is no substitute for a good ol’ jaunt in the woods. And better yet, carrying a moderately heavy backpack allows me to get in some cardio and strength training at the same time.
There is no doubt that those of us with families sacrifice a lot of quality time during hunting season. Truth is, among friends and family the phrase, “hunting widow” comes up quite often – and rightfully so. Adding another activity, like antler hunting, can potentially compound the problem.
So why not take them with you? My wife and daughter love the outdoors. However, hiking up a mountain in the dark, or sitting miles from the truck in a rainstorm, just isn’t their cup of tea. But both of these problems can be avoided when antler hunting.
Sleep in, pack a nice picnic, stop and look at butterflies, trees, and rocks. It’s educational for the kids and develops a common bond through the outdoors. And if you kids are small enough, they make great pack weights too.