The Pine Tree State offers some great benefits, like ample moose and fantastic habitats that make it ideal for this type of hunting.
If you’re ready to learn more, keep reading to discover four great reasons why you should start shed hunting in Maine and how to get started.
4 Reasons to Go Shed Hunting in Maine
Reason no. 1: Moose Density
Northern Maine is home to the highest population of moose density. In fact, there are currently between 60,000 and 70,000 moose in the state, so it’s likely that your shed hunting trip will be profitable.
And when it comes to moose antlers, the average weight of those found is 6 pounds. When you factor in half of Maine’s population being bulls, you’re looking at 12 pounds of antler per moose. That leaves you with a staggering 420,000 total pounds of moose antlers awaiting your discovery in Maine.
Reason no. 2: Access (North Maine Woods)
Maine is home to the famed North Maine Woods. This sprawling private woodland stretches over 3.5 million acres for hunting grounds that are larger than Yellowstone National Park and the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined.
Various timber companies own the North Maine Woods. However, public access is permitted. You will need to pay a fee to enter the woodland, which is controlled via a system of manned gates. Once you gain access, you will find a well-maintained system of logging roads. These roads provide easy access into Maine’s expansive backcountry.
If you are planning a shed hunting excursion into Maine, you will be pleased to know that there are no laws dictating when you’re allowed to hunt in this capacity. As such, you can plan a trip any time you want throughout the year without limitations or restrictions.
Reason no. 3: Low Pressure from Other Shed Hunters
As discussed, Maine boasts an impressive number of acres to explore. This, combined with a low population, ensures that you will have very low pressure from other people hunting sheds. Equally appealing is the fact that there are very few official towns behind the gates of North Maine Woods.
This equates to minimal competition and excellent shed hunting conditions. What’s more, many shed hunters who have traversed northern Maine can confirm that they have rarely seen another shed hunter during their time there.
Reason no. 4: Other Sporting Opportunities
Another attractive thing about Maine is that it’s home to a wide variety of other sporting opportunities for shed hunters to take part in. So depending on the time of year that you plan your trip, you may be able to pack in even more excitement to maximize your visit. For example:
Spring: More than 500 lakes and ponds populate North Maine Woods alone, offering you ample fishing opportunities. You’ll find native landlocked salmon, wild brook trout, musky, lake whitefish, and more.
Summer: During the summer months, Maine is a popular destination for canoeing and hiking opportunities. These events take place at Deboullie Public Reserved Land, Allagash Wilderness Waterway, St. John River, and the numerous lakes that make up Maine.
Fall: You can find dozens of outfitters offering hunting opportunities to suit your preferences. Whether you like to hunt moose, deer, bear, ruffed grouse, or any of the other wide varieties of game, Maine has something for everyone.
Maine has been a popular hunting destination for years, and there are many reasons why. But if you’ve never been to Maine and you’re looking to make it your next hunting destination, keep reading to find out what you need to know.
Most of the areas you’ll be hunting have little to no cell phone service, so it’s imperative that you plan for this accordingly.
For starters, 4×4 vehicles are an absolute must. This is due to the logging roads that you will be traversing—they are extremely rough on tires and pose a risk of damage. As such, it is strongly advised that you bring spares and a tire plug kit with you on your journey.
If you shed hunt during the summer or fall months, expect heavy traffic from logging trucks. They have the right of way at all times, so you need to be ready to pull over and get out of their way at a moment’s notice.
While cell service is largely non-existent in northern Maine, satellites are another story entirely. You’ll want to take advantage of them by bringing along a GPS system to guide your way. Garmin’s inReach is a great choice for this. A good old-fashioned map doesn’t hurt, either. The Maine Gazetteer is a fantastic option for a reliable map.
Due to the vast size of Maine’s woodlands, you need to be prepared to spend the night in the elements. That means having plenty of clean drinking water, the ability to make fire, lots of food, a clean change of clothes, and comfortable, reliable footwear.
Please note that the landscape in Maine can be downright brutal. Therefore, a basic first aid kit is a minimum requirement that you don’t want to be without.
Where and When to Look
Moose shed their antlers during late fall and in the early winter months. The most popular time to shed hunt for moose antlers is around late April or early May, just after the snow has receded enough to expose the antlers.
While it’s true that you can find antlers at any time of the year, the early spring months are preferred due to the nice weather and lack of biting insects.
5 Expert Tips on Where to Look For Moose Antlers
The following tips come from moose shed company, Allagash Antlers. This company specializes in finding sheds and turning them into dog chews. To assist them in their efforts, two trained shed antler sniffing dogs are part of the team that tracks down sheds.
Tip #1: Shed hunters that have the time should visit northern Maine during the winter months. While there, you should mark where you see the most moose activity (tracks, droppings, rubs). That way, you’ll know where to return in the spring to begin your search for sheds.
Tip #2: Use your maps to locate south-facing slopes, as they provide good habitat for moose. Moreover, the southern slopes are among the warmest and sunniest areas during the cold winter months. As such, moose tend to gather in these areas.
Tip #3: Keep your eyes peeled for rubs. Just before a bull moose loses his antlers, he will use softwood trees like fir or spruce to rub his antlers against in an attempt to knock them off. Trees that have bark completely stripped off around the 4- to 5-foot mark should let you know that sheds are nearby.
Tip #4: On a typical day of shed hunting, you can expect to walk as much as 10-20 miles, so be ready to put your shoes to the test once you’ve found a good area to hunt. A standard grid-pattern search works best.
Tip #5: Maine is home to dozens of outfitters who offer guided shed hunting trips. If you’re new to shed hunting, hiring a guide is recommended to ensure success. These outfits handle all the scouting, and many have trained dogs that you can use for a fee.
Maine is a shed hunter’s paradise, with more than 3.5 million acres of woodland for you to explore. And thanks to the extremely low pressure from other hunters, Maine affords a shed hunting opportunity like no other.
By going prepared and using the expert tips provided in this article, you can be sure to make the most of your trip.