How to Train Your Dog to Hunt Deer Sheds

Introduction to Training Your Dog to Hunt Deer Sheds

Training your dog to hunt deer sheds is an invaluable skill for hunters as it allows them to track down the antlers of bucks that are in the late stages of shedding their velvet. As a result, hunters may be able to find deer that they otherwise would have not seen. Training a dog to hunt for deer sheds requires time and dedication on behalf of the owner, but the reward can be great, with many successful hunters citing it as one of their most exciting hunting activities.

When starting out, it’s often best for beginners to start by ensuring that their pup already possesses basic obedience skills (such as responding to commands such as ‘sit’ and ‘stay’). In addition, owners should begin by teaching their pup recall commands so that they can easily call the dog away from any potential danger whilst hunting.

Once these basics are established, owners can begin teaching more specialized tasks such as scent training and shed awareness. This includes introducing the pup to previously shed antlers by burying them in an area and then training them how to recognize the unique scent associated with shedding antlers (often associated with age and health status of deer). Similarly, establishing desired behaviors—such as indicating when a shed is found—can help teach pups vital communication techniques.

Ultimately, training a pup methodically can ensure that they gain both the necessary obedience and tracking skills required—with rewards acting a large part of both these processes— thus leading towards improving success rates on winter hunts saturated with deer activity.

Understanding Your Dogs Natural Instincts

Dogs possess a number of natural instincts that can be utilized when training them to hunt deer sheds. First, it’s important to understand their sensory capabilities; their nose is extremely powerful and can detect objects up to several hundred yards away. They are also adept at using their hearing to locate prey in the woods, with some breeds known for being better visitors than others.

Behavioral modifications can also significantly improve a dog’s success in locating deer sheds. Dogs should be trained and instructed on where to search and what grounds provide higher chances of finding valuable items. By teaching specific boundaries, a hunter can help guide the attention of their canine companion with better results.

Additionally, understanding the behavior and environmental context of deer shedding areas is key for proper guidance once the dog has found an area. Finally, reinforcing positive behaviors such as alertness, anticipation, obedience and calmness through reward-based training will increase the likelihood of successful hunts in the future

Choosing the Right Breed for Shed Hunting

When choosing the right breed for shed hunting, it is important to consider certain qualities that are essential for a successful shed dog. Smaller breeds are often better when it comes to maneuvering around tight spaces, while larger breeds may be better at covering more ground quickly. Breeds with shorter coats such as beagles and cocker spaniels provide fewer places for sheds to get tangled or hidden. Working breeds like Border Collies and Australian Shepherds possess the necessary intelligence and enthusiasm of tracking prey. Some hunting dogs have been specifically bred for this pursuit, such as Labrador Retrievers, Goldens or Vizslas who have proven to be excellent choices for finding sheds in the field. Look for these traits when selecting your breed: strong scenting abilities, keen eyesight, an alert attitude and terrific work ethic along with good health and easy temperament. Many hunters find success by training a mix-breed with herding backgrounds found in rural areas. In any case, make sure you research whatever breed you plan on using for shed hunting before committing.

Preparing a Training Regimen

A comprehensive training regimen should include regular daily exercise, both physical and mental. Physical exercise will help build your dog’s endurance and agility, while mental exercises help build their focus and engagement. Training drills such as fetching, obstacle courses, and retrieving from a distance would be ideal for physical exercise. Training exercises that involve scent tracking and puzzles can add in additional mental stimulation to the routine.

You should also incorporate specific training for hunting deer sheds into the regimen. This includes teaching commands bu using reward-based methods and positive reinforcement for obedience. Additionally, you can work on teaching your dog to recognize shed antlers by using toys or similar objects with similar dimensions so it learns to identify them early on. Using game scenarios that mimic real life hunting opportunities helps to instill instinctual problem solving skills into your dog as well – providing it with an opportunity to think quickly on its feet like how it would naturally do in the field while hunting or tracking shed antlers. Finally, practice making subtle adjustments to commands over time – this allows them to become more complex if desired as they begin understanding the exercises better.

Best Resources For Dog Training

Basic Commands for Shed Hunting

When training your dog to hunt deer sheds, the first step is to introduce basic commands. These commands will provide structure and discipline while also making clear what it is you want your dog to do during the process. The commands most commonly used when it comes to shed hunting are stay, come, search, and point.

Stay – Teach your dog to stay in one spot or area without wandering off. This command should be used when you have found a favorable area for finding antlers, ensuring your dog stays put while you look around.

Come – Teaching your dog to come when called allows you easy control if things get out of hand or if you need them for help finding antlers for example. It’s important that they come reliably and quickly whenever called, even if there are other distractions present such as birds or small animals moving around.

Search – This command should be used prior to beginning a hunting session. By teaching your dog the “search” command, you can direct them to begin scouring the area for any possible antler sheds that may be present.

Point – After your dog has located an antler shedding, teach them the “point” command so they will alert you of their find. This should be done with a raised paw combined with a bark or yelp so that you know where they are pointing out to you right away!

Practicing with Deer Sheds

Training your dog to hunt deer sheds is an important step in teaching him to react during a hunting situation. Start by introducing the dog to a static deer shed, either one you’ve found or purchased. Allow the dog to explore and investigate it before introducing a command with associated reward. The commands should be consistent, such as “search” or “find” and can be accompanied with hand signals for additional clarity. Reward successful searches with verbal praise, petting and treats. Disciplinary action should be limited to a simple “no” when necessary. Repeat these steps over time, moving onto more dynamic exercises as your pup gets better at following instructions such as having your dog search from distance or walking beside you while searching for sheds. Eventually incorporating diversions like bumpers and small game will help build focus and response that will help in an active hunting situation. As always, end each practice sessions on a positive note so the pup looks forward to his next training opportunity

Including Technology During Training

GPS – Receivers can be placed in the collars of multiple deer dogs, which allows for easy tracking of the dog’s movement every step of the way. Not only does this help hunters know where their dogs are at all times, but it also allows them to follow trails more easily and identify areas that haven’t been explored yet. With GPS technology, training your dog to hunt deer sheds becomes much easier and efficient.

Trail Cameras – Trail cameras can be an invaluable tool when learning how to train your dog to hunt deer sheds. Installing trail cameras at strategic points in your hunting area will give you insight into deer herds and behavior patterns. This data can then be used to determine when it’s best to train your dogs, as well as revealing possible hot spots for antler growth. It may also be beneficial for monitoring progress with particular dogs so that you can adjust methods if desired results are not being met.

Drones – Drones provide an effective way to survey large areas of land without trekking through vast lengths on foot. Not only do they provide aerial views that would otherwise not be visible from ground-level, but drones can also take pictures or video footage of possible hotspots for antlers or rubs left by bucks on trees or other objects during their shed season journeys. By using drones during training, you’ll have a much better understanding of where deer are most likely dropping their antlers throughout your property and the surrounding environment so that you can make more informed decisions about how and where to search with your dogs.

Dog Treat Pouch For Training

Other Technology – There is a wide range of other technological tools out there that could potentially improve the efficiency and accuracy of training your dog(s)to hunt deer sheds. For example, motion-activation cameras that alert users via text message when wildlife is present near them or various apps designed specifically for tagging wildlife sightings (or still images of antlers) may come in handy during the training process so that you have some idea what typeof deer activity is going on within certain areas throughout seasons and times. Other helpful gadgets might include night vision devices or other scouting technology typically utilized by experienced hunters/outdoorsmen/women nowadays!

Creating a Tracking Plan

When training your dog to hunt deer sheds, it’s important to create a plan for the hunt. First, be sure to establish proper walking patterns with your pup; try crawling or side-stepping in short bursts to break-up the monotony of walking and scan the ground more thoroughly. Second, focus on areas that are likely to give rewards-these can include downhill locations with dense brush, forest edges near open meadows or water sources, or deer trails leading away from grazing areas. Third, teaching your pup spacial awareness on the hunt is key-make sure they understand when you change directions or pause and be sure to use commands like “left” and “right” for particularly tricky spots. Lastly, encouraging good tracking habits by rewarding them every few minutes with treats (or even something small like a brief abdominal rub) will ensure your pup remembers details about what they’ve seen and smells as they move between routes.

Safety Measures to Consider When Training

When training a dog to hunt deer sheds, it is important to consider safety first. It is important to properly identify dangerous terrain and avoid potential hazards when you are out in the field and hunting with your pet. Make sure that you know what areas and conditions could be hazardous for both yourself and your pet before heading out. Additionally, be aware of any potential wild animals in the area that could pose a threat to you or your pup. You should also make sure that you have a reliable leash and harness, as well as additional supplies in case an emergency situation arises while out in the wilderness. Finally, always wear personal protective equipment when hunting with your dog such as long pants, high-top boots, hats, and gloves to protect yourself from any hidden dangers that may arise while hunting together.


Congratulations! You have now learned the basics of training your dog to hunt deer sheds. By following this strategy, you will be able to drastically improve your deer shed hunting skills and increase the number of antler finds. To recap, you should use a reward-based system when teaching your dog commands related to locating deer sheds. Start by introducing basic commands such as “Look” and “Come”, then progress to more complex commands such as “Hunt” and “Locate”. You can also take advantage of electronic tracking devices as a method of reinforcement. Finally, give your dog ample opportunities to practice in various settings before taking him out in the field. If you need further assistance with any part of this process, don’t hesitate to contact me or sign up for one of my classes. Additionally, feel free to use our checklist for additional guidance – http://examplelinkrantingitrainingchecklist

Good luck on your next shed hunting expedition!

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