First you scout for sheds.

Bowhunting is one of my biggest passions in life so when the season comes to an end there’s always a sense of disappointment. After enjoying the woods all Fall and spending many hours a week in a tree stand, it can be difficult to deal with a harsh winter and what I call “woods withdrawal”. I spend time during the winter months watching hunting videos not only to learn as much as I can about whitetail deer but to also enjoy the scenery.

In the past six years, I’ve become almost as addicted to shed hunting. By the time the end of February rolls around, I’m craving any reason to get outside and walk the woods. I’ll drive the 3 hour round-trip to my Father’s cabin just to walk the woods for a half day. The days are starting to warm up and the snow is typically manageable for a long hike. Shed hunting is a funny thing. There are many days that I come up empty handed but I still can’t wait to search again. It takes finding only one shed to feel like I’ve won the lottery. I don’t care how big or small the shed is. To me, it’s like treasure hunting where any antler is something to celebrate.

You take the best skulls.

In the spring of 2008 I had great luck shed hunting. I found a 5 point, 4 point, 3 point, and even a spike. To my surprise, I also found two full buck carcasses striped to the bone. It’s unknown whether a car, neighbor’s bullet, or wolf brought these bucks down, but I felt lucky to find their beautiful 8 point skulls.

…and then you go to work.

and this is what you end up with, if you are talented.

The skulls adorned my bookshelves, along with my shed collection, until my Father went to an art gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. There he saw a painted ram skull and took a picture of it. When he showed me the photo it inspired me to paint my deer skulls. Well, many skulls later, I’ve discovered a hobby to get me through the winter months.

The only problem is a shortage in skulls. I’ve discovered EBay is a great place to find skulls of any kind. I recently purchased an African springbuck, buffalo, mule deer, whitetail 12 point and ram skull. I don’t know what designs I’m going to paint until I see the skull but it’s always fun to see the end product. They’re great conversation pieces since they decorate the walls of my office. Now I have one more excuse to get outside and shed hunt. To keep me off EBay!