My friend Josh shot a very nice buck during this year’s late muzzleloader season. It was a buck he knew well, from numerous trail camera photos and several encounters over the last couple of seasons. Josh’s buck was a fine, mature animal and one that any hunter would be proud to tag.


Not long ago Josh mentioned that he knew a neighboring landowner had the matched set of shed antlers from the same buck, one year previous to Josh’s harvest. “I was thinking of asking him if I could have the sheds, or at least letting him know I was interested in them if he ever wanted to get rid of them,” Josh told me. “I’m just not sure how to approach him with that.” My first thought was “Well, that’s simple, just go over and ask him!” But that is based on the knowledge that, had Josh asked me the same favor, I’d give him the horns in a heartbeat. I love finding sheds, but if it would mean a lot for a hunter to have one (or two) as a further totem to the deer he killed, I’d be honored to give them to him.

Yet when I posed the situation to some of my buddies, their responses weren’t nearly so immediate. Well, scratch that; one bonafide shed-nut simply said, “He could ask all he wants, I wouldn’t give them up. I worked hard to find those sheds, and I’m keeping every one I find.” Others hee-hawed around; musing over whether the hunter was a truly good guy, it would depend on the size of the sheds, or hinting that they might part with the antlers for a little cash. I realized in a hurry that what seemed simple to me was anything but…