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OUTDOORS: Peak time for shedding antlers just around the corner

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Updated: March 21, 2013 6:33AM

Shed hunters around Chicago started finding dropped
antlers in late January.

That’s fairly typical. Whitetail bucks drop their antlers annually, mostly during the winter and early spring. The peak time for dropping antlers is toward the end of February.

One of the surprises from the viral video of the locked bucks in early February near Plainfield in Will County is that neither buck had an antler bust free, despite the bucks body-slamming each other for hundreds of yards.

Illinois State Police trooper George Del Rio, Illinois Conservation Police officer Michael Goetten and Forest Preserve District of Will County police officer Cameron Povalish followed the bucks, and Del Rio finally freed them by shooting off two tines.

We all were surprised the antlers held that far into winter. But Paul Shelton, the manager for Illinois’ forest wildlife program, wasn’t as surprised.

‘‘In a typical year, less than half of bucks have shed their antlers by mid-February, so it’s no surprise,’’ he emailed. ‘‘Some bucks will not get theirs shed until April.’’

But the end of February is the peak. Shed hunters will be out in force during the next couple of weeks.

A perfect example of why came from Diana Micek, who enjoys photographing wildlife. Early this week, she photographed an odd buck with deformed shoulders at Bunker Hill on the edge of Niles and the Northwest Side. By that afternoon, it had dropped its other antler.

It’s shed time. The best places to look are where deer feed or bed, especially near a fence or stream the deer might jump and jar an antler off.

Illinois holds the record for whitetail single typical, according to the North American Shed Hunters Club. In 1992, James Albring found a left-side six-point with a length of 267/8 inches. It was scored at 1046/8 by David Boland.

Remember that removal of shed antlers is prohibited on nearly all public sites, such as state parks or forest preserves, in Illinois.

Petros classes

This is one of the last chances to take one of Spence Petros’ fishing classes. They will be held at American Legion Post 690 in Palatine. The Tuesday class
(March 12-April 9) is on bass and panfish; the Wednesday class (March 13-April 10) is on walleye, pike and muskies. For more information, call (815) 455-7770 or go to

Wowser Clouser

Bob Clouser (of Clouser Minnow fame) will be the guest of the DuPage River Fly Tyers on Tuesday. He will speak on smallmouth in deep cover at 7 p.m. and will be around from 6 to 9 p.m. at the College of DuPage. It’s $20 for non-members. For more details, go to


The Bass Master Classic is Friday through Sunday on Grand Lake near Tulsa, Okla. Live streaming is at

Helpful fishing

Registration is open for Braidwood Generating Station’s Fishing for a Cure tournament, which this year will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association. The event will be held May 18 on Braidwood Lake. Entry forms are available at

Wild things

Ed Haagenson posted on Facebook that he started tapping his maples in the far southwest suburbs. Check your park district or forest preserve for syrup events.

Stray cast

Using Chicago natives to spice up the seventh-inning stretch at Wrigley Field is like dabbing Obsession on dip bait.

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