Shed Hunting Using an Antler Dog
There is a new twist to the sport of shed hunting, it is the use of a highly trained dog that can actually scent the antlers and retrieve them for you.

Posted by: Roger, on 2/14/2008, in category "Training Antler Dogs"
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A little over two years ago, I decided that if a dog could be used to locate drugs in the gasoline tank of a car, why couldn’t I train one to find antler sheds. The answer is history, as I have done just that. With my back ground of training bird dogs and having worked with some of the leading drug detection dog trainers, it was just a question of which dog would work best for the job and putting my scent training methods to work.

Since there wasn’t any reference material for me to use, I went to work on my own technique, I call my training method, “The science of participative training”. I chose Labrador retrievers, after working with a number of other breeds. I have found that a puppy, as young as ten weeks can be started using my method. These dogs started at this age are ready for the field at ten to twelve months. You can train an adult dog for this job as long as he has not been used to hunt live game and has the required attitude for hunting sheds.
Last fall I was asked to hunt on a 750 area high fence operation in Northeast Missouri. I used four of my young dogs, that had not really been used in a natural setting and we found 21 sheds in a short three hour hunt. It was so exciting to watch the young dogs go right to work, just as if they had been in the field for years. Just as exciting was the faces of the follows that owned the operation, they were amazed. This spring I took twelve dogs to Canada, and found 210 sheds in five days. 

Can dogs find sheds, there is no doubt. Most of the sheds found by the dogs were in areas that a human could never have found them. They were in draws, deep brush, corn stubble, etc. Many outfitters are finding the use of one of these dogs, can truly expand their hunting season. Guided hunts are becoming popular.
Antler shed hunting can be enjoyed by young and old. It is truly a family sport and you don’t need a gun, or a license and it has no limit on the season. With the use of a trained Antler Dog, just look for a field or wooded area that has potential deer population and go hunting. Remember my motto “If your shed hunting with out a dog you’re just going for a walk in the woods”. 

I am always happy to talk with anyone interested in purchasing a dog or anyone that has questions about training their own dog. You may call me, Roger Sigler at 1-816-289-1154, or visit my web site at www.antlerdogs.com.
 

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Comment posted by Vince Franzen on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 5:50 AM
I have a 16 month Black Lab, what is the best way to get him started? He loves to retrieve for till he wears me out. Thanks, Vince
Comment posted by ashton davis on Thursday, March 27, 2008 4:24 PM
     I am from new york and 14 years old and i found my first sheds this year from one of the local big bucks and i have been looking into training one of my dogs to find sheds. they are border collies and should work but i was wondering if you could send me some info on training them. the story was cool and i would really love to try it.
Comment posted by Dean Graziadei on Monday, May 12, 2008 12:32 PM
I am from Texas and have a 1 year old Basset hound and 5 year old Bloodhound, which are both amazing scent trackers.  I want to begin training both of them to find sheds what do you recommend or can you send information.  I noticed your DVD was for puppies, particularly labs.  Any information will be great!
Comment posted by Devin Kyle on Friday, May 23, 2008 1:14 PM
What are your thought on training a Australian Shepherd to find sheds? My new pup has already stated to show interest in my collection, probably more as a chew toy then anything at this point. Then it hit me, I wander if I could train her to find sheds with me out in the field. This is how I found your sight and loved the article above. Any tips you can share would be great. Thanks Rodger
Comment posted by chad mcdonald on Tuesday, May 27, 2008 9:49 AM
I can't say that I agree with your motto. I live in Pike County, Illinois and I am an avid shed hunter and I have never used a dog but yet I find a good number of antlers every year. You just can't be lazy and you have to know how to look for them.
Comment posted by BMiller on Wednesday, December 24, 2008 1:14 PM
Hello I just recieved a pup (Lab) as a favor of a friend. I would love to train this pup to be a great companion along with a job ( Shed Hunting ) I plan to order your DVD today if your christmas deal is still available. If you could spare any tips of starting this dog with this mind set I would appreciate it. Who knows maybe she doesn't have it in her, I trained hounds for a number of years for coon and squirrel had average luck with tha. This dog will be a great treat for my girls and a great way for me to hit the woods with them.              Thanks BIll
Comment posted by Garry Keith on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 9:13 AM
I have a mixed Beagle/Jack Russell, 1 year old.  Am interested in training him to hunt sheds.  What is the first step in training him to retrieve the antler.  I have tried bacon grease and he goes right to the shed.  Am interested in attending one of your seminars.  Anything in KY?  Thanks, Garry Keith.
Comment posted by Rooster 3 on Thursday, February 5, 2009 2:47 PM
I raise and train bird dogs, german shorthairs and english setters. One of my setters got ahold of one of my shorthairs (who was not supposed to be fertile) after having a litter of 8, we found great homes for all but two of which I decided to keep out of couryosity. One for birds and one for sheds. Very very smart dogs and hunting fools. The male shed hunter is a year and a half and out sheds me 10 fold.
Comment posted by barstefa on Saturday, February 7, 2009 11:52 PM
hi! i'm from italy, i like shed antler,in my country there are elk and roe deer (very little antler) i have an Australian Sheperd of 1 year,is later for start the training?? what can i do? thanks!! it's great!!!!!
Comment posted by pery on Sunday, February 15, 2009 3:45 PM
the story is great where could i get some antler dogs like you have
Comment posted by Youngbuck10 on Monday, February 16, 2009 10:46 AM
i would also like to find some free step by step instructions on training a dog, all i have found so far is just to let them play with it, teach them a command, and let them find it.... is there more too it than just that?
Comment posted by Michaela Vaculciakova on Wednesday, February 25, 2009 4:13 AM
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Comment posted by Ben Reynolds on Saturday, April 18, 2009 8:10 PM
  I have a golden pup he is now 7 months old, I've been doing my best to train him to find sheds. He has found 5 deer sheds and 1 elk shed. My problem is that in training he will not retrieve the elk sheds, he either stays with the shed and digs a hole next to it as if he wants to bury it. Or he finds the shed but before I can get to him to reward him he takes off to look for another. The brush here in western Washington is THICK so I'm sure he has found elk antlers but broke off before I can catch up to him. No probems with deer antlers, the elk antlers are much larger up to 10 lbs each. Any ideas on how to get the dog to try to retrieve the antler? Or on how to have the dog sound off and stay with the antler. I'm at a loss on how to acheive this goal, any ideas? he is very receptive to training, and we work on it usually 4 nights per week. He is also a large dog nearly 75 lbs. already. Thank You---
Comment posted by Lance Vandevender on Thursday, May 28, 2009 11:54 AM
I am from Mississippi, and shed hunting with dogs is fairly new to us, but I have a 13 month Lab that I am training to blood trail deer, and wanted to know if starting her on shed finding would interfere with that. If you don't think it would be a problem, I need to know what I should do to start the process, and what material is availabe to me.                                              Thanks                                              Lance
Comment posted by Shannon Eickhoff on Tuesday, January 19, 2010 2:16 PM
I have an 8 week old Bloodhound and a 2 year old Aussie. I have antlers all around my house which they love to play with and was wanting to train them to find the sheds on our land. I know that I might not be able to fully train my Aussie but does my Bloodhound puppy have potential? Also I read that teaching a dog to find sheds is bad because they will learn to "chase deer" is true?
Comment posted by Jeff on Friday, January 29, 2010 4:09 PM
I have two Labs that I would like to train to hunt deer sheds. My female is 3 yrs old and my male is 2 years old. Do you have any info. that may be helpful to me? Also, are my Labs to old to train to hunt sheds? they both have a great nose and can find many things that I try to hide from them.
Comment posted by Brad Black on Monday, February 22, 2010 1:08 PM
I am from Spanish Fork, Utah I was searching the web and come across "shed hunting with dogs". I own 2 labrador retrievers and began working with them searching for an antler in the yard and was amazed that they would pick it up everytime. I live on 5 acres and was amazed that when they would come to within 50 feet or so they would stop put their noses in the air and follow their noses right to the antler. We have found a number of antlers so far this year and its a great feeling knowing that with the 2 of them in the field your not just going for a walk in the woods! Thanks
Comment posted by robert harris on Thursday, February 25, 2010 11:05 AM
i have an 8 week old bloodhound beagle mix what the best way to get her started.
Comment posted by kyle peters on Friday, February 26, 2010 7:34 AM
I am thinking of getting a German Shepard. Would this be a good shed dog???
Comment posted by Austin on Saturday, March 6, 2010 9:15 PM
I have a 2 year old Dorkie i have been working with him for 6 hours and he already found a 1 1/2 lb. 5 point shed.Rico is his name he is 7 lbs. and 5 in. tall.
Comment posted by george abusaba on Tuesday, March 9, 2010 7:45 PM
I have a 5 year old Vizsla that I would love to train to find sheds.  However, she is afraid of the sheds that I have found and brought home this year.  I just found the sheds last weekend and have not been able to get her to feel comfortable around them.  I gues what I am asking for are any ideas to get her to want to find sheds.  She usually is game to find anything and used to play w/ a little fork horn I had.
Comment posted by Andrew Davis on Thursday, March 11, 2010 12:30 PM
Love the story. I live in Montana. I love hunting sheds. At the time I don't have a dog to hunt sheds. What would be the best dog to get to hunt not only whitetail sheds but mule deer and elk especially.
Comment posted by Andrew Melnychenko on Thursday, March 25, 2010 6:24 AM
I find plenty of sheds on my own in tough terrain and enjoy the exercise.  I can't imagine having to use dogs.
Comment posted by joe gossman on Sunday, April 4, 2010 6:06 PM
August of 2007 I filmed a large non-typical 14 point.  In October of 2008 I found his left shed while tracking an 8 point that I had arrowed.  It had 14 score able points and matched his photo exactly.  Last week while cutting wood in the same area my dog walked up behind me.  I called him over and he dropped it in front of me.  He is a half Yellow Lab and half Husky.  It matched his other side exactly except for the fact it was whiter.  Neither antlers had any rodent marks on them.  That in itself is remarkable.  The bases are so gnarly and thick that I cannot get my fingers around either one.  I took the sheds into the local archery/gun shop and the scorers there assured me they were from the same year and animal that I had been filming. Needless to say I praised my dog profusely.  I have not used him for hunting but he loves to retrieve and is eager to please.  Any thoughts
Comment posted by Stefan on Friday, May 21, 2010 11:13 AM
Comment posted by chad mcdonald on Tuesday, May 27, 2008 9:49 AM   Reply "I can't say that I agree with your motto. I live in Pike County, Illinois and I am an avid shed hunter and I have never used a dog but yet I find a good number of antlers every year. You just can't be lazy and you have to know how to look for them." No offense or anything Chad but you live in Pike County pretty much the deer meca haha
Comment posted by Deb on Wednesday, December 8, 2010 5:49 PM
I have a female Springer Spaniel.  She's a pet, never taught her anything other than obedience, but we love to take walks out on the family farm.  On one of our first walks, when she was about 8 months, she found a shed, and brought it to me.  I thought it was pretty cool, so I took it and told her she was a "good girl".  She found me 7 more sheds by the end of the day, and by the end of the week, she'd even gotten me a matched 10 point rack.  I honestly didn't know people wanted to train dogs to do this, but it makes sense.  Wow, anyone want to buy a dog?  LOL!
Comment posted by Jeremy on Saturday, February 12, 2011 1:45 PM
I have a female lab retriever. She enjoys playing fetch until she wears me out and likes taking walks through the woods. I am 17 and have been archery hunting at our home farm for 4 years now and just came across some sheds myself on a walk though the woods. Could you send me some information on how to train my lab to shed hunt? That would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and God bless!
Comment posted by Brandon on Saturday, March 19, 2011 10:10 AM
I am from a small town in Indiana. I love the idea and with the help of a friend of mine (master trainer) will be working with many different dogs for purpose of shed hunting and many other ideas. I think that the idea of a antler shed hunting dog may not be for every one. With that being said, I know many people that would love to spend the man hours looking for them but they just don't have the physical ability to do so. Happy hunting!
Comment posted by Joe on Wednesday, December 28, 2011 8:45 AM
I have a 7 year old lab that I have waterfowl fowl hunted with his whole life.  I ran him in UKC field trials when he was a pup until he was about 3.  Great dog and has a great nose.  I'm sure this question has been asked several times but I was wondering if I could still train him to hunt for sheds?  If so what is the best way to go about it?  
Comment posted by David Owens on Monday, January 23, 2012 10:28 AM
Ive got a 3 month old yellow lab. Just curious on when I should start training her. She will already fetch an antler and bring it back. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
Comment posted by logan on Saturday, March 16, 2013 7:44 PM
we have jackrussell ratterriers and a lab the mom dog of them got pregnant by the lab and now i have a mixed lab pup she at a young age fetched real well but now shes not interested in fetching at all with the lab and the jackrussell ratterrier in her she should be a good dog but i was at least wondering how to teach her to fetch i have tryed almost everything.
Comment posted by logan on Saturday, March 16, 2013 7:45 PM
we have jackrussell ratterriers and a lab the mom dog of them got pregnant by the lab and now i have a mixed lab pup she at a young age fetched real well but now shes not interested in fetching at all with the lab and the jackrussell ratterrier in her she should be a good dog but i was at least wondering how to teach her to fetch i have tryed almost everything.
Comment posted by logan on Saturday, March 16, 2013 7:46 PM
we have jackrussell ratterriers and a lab the mom dog of them got pregnant by the lab and now i have a mixed lab pup she at a young age fetched real well but now shes not interested in fetching at all with the lab and the jackrussell ratterrier in her she should be a good dog but i was at least wondering how to teach her to fetch i have tryed almost everything.
Comment posted by Toni on Monday, December 2, 2013 10:11 AM
Hello I have joint custody of a 4 year old black lab with a good head on his shoulders. He will fetch for hours and has great drive to find the stick, ball, ect. in the thick NW Oregon brush. I think he would be a great shed dog and really enjoy the exercise. I was wondering if you have any tips for training an older dog for shed hunting. I have not started him on sheds yet because I'd like to do it the right way. Thanks :)  
Comment posted by Tilsonpeck on Sunday, January 12, 2014 10:54 PM
I have a yellow lab about 2 years of age is it to late to teach him to find sheds and if not what's steps do I need to take start him out
Comment posted by Logan on Saturday, February 22, 2014 11:17 AM
So I've been working with my dog and I want to get some scent for my sheds.  The problem is I want to train my dog to find mule deer sheds will it matter if I get some scent from whitetail deer or is there a place I can fin some from mule deer specifically?
Comment posted by Forrest on Friday, August 8, 2014 7:56 AM
I have a 2 year old Lab-Sharpe mix. I just can't get him into chasing sheds. He chases tennis balls, but not antlers. I'm not sure if it's because he is scared of the points or what. I have tried to work with him for hours but he just won't listen. He's a great dog and very obedient but just is not interested. What should I do?

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