5 Unique Uses for Shed Antlers

There's no doubt finding sheds can be exciting, but once you've found them, what can you do with them? The answer is: a lot. From collecting and crafting, to decorating and eating, the uses for discarded bones are endless. Even if your wife doesn't approve of such primitive things in the house, all is not lost for a good shed hunter.

Antlers in a pile look nearly as good as antlers on a taxidermied animal.

Collecting

There is just something about shed antlers. The way they look and what they mean to the hunter invokes those that find them to want to hold on to them. Keeping shed antlers is a physical record of a particular hunting area, or even a particular animal. There is something valuable about being able to put actual tape on antlers from an area you hunt. There is even more value in being able to track a deer's growth from year to year. This data aside, the excitement of a find makes some sheds too precious to do anything with besides watch collect dust.


For the shed hunter, the most unique antlers deserve a place in the house for all to see. The rest join the collection pile outside. Many avid shed hunters take pride in their shed pile. Like any collection, the collector has a desire to constantly add to the lot and keep searching for the few treasured sheds that are good enough to bring inside.


Some shed piles are a sight to see and can tower the tallest of hunters. The best public collections can be found outside of the National Bison Range in Montana, or the famous shed piles in downtown Jackson Hole, Wyoming.


With some simple handy work, you can create a one-of-a-kind cribbage board

Crafting

Antlers have been crafted into useful things for thousands of years. Although the origins may have been purely for survival, like making weapons and tools, today we can appreciate the art of antlers. Shed antlers can be used for something as simple as making buttons, or something as intricate as making knife handles.


All sorts of items can be easily made at home. Antlers are fairly easy to work with when using the proper tools. A Dremel tool set is the single best tool for antler working. With a little know-how, antlers can be used to create hundreds of different items. Cribbage boards can be a fun and an easy one to start with that almost anyone can craft.

If you don't feel like eating a shed antler, man's best friend won't turn one down.

Eating


You've heard the adage "you can't eat the horns," but that's not necessarily true. Deer antlers are edible, and not just as a pill used in eastern medicine or a health supplement. Antlers can be used to make gelatin by boiling the ground antler and straining off the remains, which could be used to make fruit gelatin or added to homemade jellies.

Processed antlers can also be used in baking recipes. Although rare now, some old recipes still call for Hartshorn. This product is made from distilled, ground antler by burning in kilns, which makes ammonium carbonate. This was the predecessor to baking powder, which is still used today in thin shaped cookies and crackers. When heated, the gaseous ammonia is released in the baking process, acting as a leveling agent.

Although you would not just bite into a shed antler or boil it up and put it on a plate, recently antlers have grown in popularity as dog chews. This is now a large part of the shed antler market. Dogs enjoy gnawing on them and get calcium as an added bonus. Just because you're not willing to eat the antler doesn't mean your dog won't be thankful a shed hunting trip.

Shed antlers are impressive enough on their own if power tools aren't your thing.

Home Décor

Chandeliers and lamps remain the driving force in the shed market, but really they're used in all types of modern décor. From centerpieces on a table to bookends and jewelry holders, castaway antlers have become hip.

Pintrest and other sites are showcasing what hunters have known all along: that antlers are awesome and look great in the house. Unlike crafting, home décor situations require less toolsmanship. A well-placed antler is all it takes to create a room that'll impress hunters and non-hunters alike. The simplest project I've done is attaching a shed to the bathroom wall for a unique towel hanger.

If everything in your home clashes with bone, consider turning shed antlers into cash.

Brown Gold

It's like money just lying in the hills. Shed antlers are big business, and buyers are out there looking to pay you to find them. Most antlers are purchased at a price per pound and on a quality grading system.

As a general average, brown mule deer antlers fetch around $10 per pound and brown elk antlers average $12 per pound. Last year's white antlers in good condition are $8 per pound for mule deer and $10 per pound for elk. Chalky, white antlers still have a value, but around $1-3 per pound. Fresh whitetail sheds generally fetch around $6-8 per pound, but are not as easily sold as mule deer and elk. This is because the market is saturated with humongous whitetail antlers from farmed deer.

Although some buyers will pay a premium for sets, this generally only applies to extremely large or unique antlers. A 400 class elk can fetch over $1500, while a 200-inch mule deer can be worth $500 or more. In some instances, individual antlers or sets have been sold at a much higher price to collectors looking for giant or one-of-a-kind animals.

As for smaller matched sets, a 170-inch mule deer goes for around $60, and 300 class elk sells in the $200 range. If nothing else, shed hunting can turn into a hobby that pays for itself or provides you with a little extra cash for when the real hunting begins.

Recommended for You

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians. News

The Ticks Making Hunters Allergic to Meat

David Hart

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians.

Every hunter needs a rimfire workhorse for varmints and predators. Guns

Best Rimfire Rifles for 2019

Keith Wood - April 23, 2019

Every hunter needs a rimfire workhorse for varmints and predators.

The most modern ammo and gear increase the odds of bagging a tricky tom this spring. Other Game

Today's Updated Turkey Hunting Gear

Joe Arterburn

The most modern ammo and gear increase the odds of bagging a tricky tom this spring.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 13: Forest Buffalo

Craig Boddington returns to Mozambique's fame Coutada 10 for a shot a forest buffalo that's eluded him for 10 years.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 9: Aloha Axis Deer

Host Mike Schoby joins his buddies Jon Dubin and Jeff Johnston on the island of Lanai for a deer hunt Hawaiian style!

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 7: Beginner's Luck

Host Kali Parmley takes first-time hunter Danae Hale of CZ-USA to Wyoming for a mule deer hunt. After covering all the basics with Danae, the girls head into the field and what happens next goes way beyond either of their expectations!

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Didn't draw? Here are five great places you can make a last-minute mule deer hunt. North America

5 Great Last-Minute Public-land Hunts

Joseph von Benedikt

Didn't draw? Here are five great places you can make a last-minute mule deer hunt.

Many of the states in our glorious nation provide great hunting, but only a few have the whitetail North America

Top 10 Trophy Whitetail States

Joseph von Benedikt - December 18, 2017

Many of the states in our glorious nation provide great hunting, but only a few have the...

Dream of a job in the hunting industry? Here's the inside scoop on some of the most coveted positions in the outdoors. Stories

17 Dream Jobs in the Outdoor Industry

Kali Parmley

Dream of a job in the hunting industry? Here's the inside scoop on some of the most coveted...

See More Stories

More How-To

When deer movement slows, get out and lay down some white meat. Follow these tactics to bag a fall bird! How-To

5 Tips to Kill a Fall Turkey

Darron McDougal

When deer movement slows, get out and lay down some white meat. Follow these tactics to bag a...

When deer hunters are in the middle of an all-day sit, they certainly will need some high-energy snacks to made it to the end. Start with Old Trapper jerky! How-To

Dandy Dozen: High-Energy Snacks for Deer Hunters

Lynn Burkhead - September 06, 2018

When deer hunters are in the middle of an all-day sit, they certainly will need some...

Boost antler growth on your deer property with these food plot tricks. How-To

How to Supplement Antler Growth with Food Plots

Jeff Johnston

Boost antler growth on your deer property with these food plot tricks.

See More How-To

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.