I missed the kickoff of the Super Bowl for what passes for a good reason in my family; I was watching deer piling through my dad's backyard. The deer--16 of them if I counted correctly--were on their way from their bedding area (a big, south-facing cedar bluff near dad's home) to their night-time salad bar (a cut corn field on a river bottom).
I did not see an antlered critter in this relatively large wad of deer. But two of the whitetails were large-bodied enough that I grabbed a binocular to glass their noggins. Sure enough, I could see large pedicels on each deer, and this was the tipoff that local deer are finally shedding antlers. That means it's time to hit the woods and look for horns!
As dedicated shed-hunters know, timing your shed hunt can be a tricky business. Go too early and all you're doing is bumping bucks around, possibly sending them to areas where you can't follow. But wait too long, and you're equally SNAFU'd ... with shed hunting getting more popular each year, someone is likely to beat you to those antlers.
So, BuckTracker folk ... how's the antler drop progressing in your area? The photo below shows my son Bailey (he turned 9 on Feb 2) with an antler found by my neighbor on December 18. This side alone scored 72", which puts the buck in the 160" class. No one has been able to find the other side....but the hunt is on! Send any photos of the sheds you find to email@example.com, subject line: Shed Photo.