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Cashing In: The Monetary Value of Shed Antlers

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Cashing In: The Monetary Value of Shed Antlers

We’re well into March now and since February, antlers have been dropping in the fields and woodlots of North America. Though shed hunting has been a popular activity for quite some time, it’s gained even more popularity in recent years. As proof, you see a ton of shed antler imagery on social media, as well as tips for finding them. Heck, an increasing number of bone-seekers employ shed hunting dogs to supercharge their efforts. For some, shed hunting is as regular a part of the year as the actual hunting season. Every late winter and early spring, hunters hit the woods in search of them – hopefully before they get chewed on by the likes of squirrels.

Why shed hunt in the first place? Well, arguably, the biggest stated reasons are for personal keepsakes and/or scouting reasons; education if you will.

Fresh whitetail antler shed from North-West Kansas Whitetails

As for the former, there is just something cool about finding and collecting them. Seeking and finding them is a means of offsetting our whitetail hunting longings during the off-season. And why not, they’re unique and interesting. The fastest-growing bone known to man, shed antlers are commonly found on mantles, lamps, and tool handles, just to name a few places. Heck, piles of them by the barn even look neat. To many, they’re nostalgic pieces of history.

For the latter, deer hunters obtain valuable information about animal behavior by finding shed antlers on their hunting grounds. This intel helps to determine the bucks that made the season, how they use the property, and ultimately help to devise hunting strategies for next season. For this reason, shed hunting is often part of an annual scouting regimen.

Some however shed hunt for cold hard cash. Though I can never seem to part with any of my old bone, I can certainly see the attraction. After all, there is a healthy market for them, as collectors and artisans use them to create any number of products. Their creative, decorative, and utilitarian uses are vast.

So, what are antlers worth? First off, the market for them is variable and their value depends on their grade and condition. Here is a run-down of estimated prices for 2022 from a survey of antler buyers.

Grade A: These are antlers in perfect condition. They’ve yet to fade and are brown in color. Also, they have no chew marks or damaged tines. Antlers in this class likely dropped in the previous several weeks.

Grade B: Still having a natural brown color, this class of antler is considered to be in good condition. They will usually have some combination of slight fading, weathering, and tine damage.

Grade C: Grade C antlers are typically weathered, faded, and almost bleached looking. They were likely dropped 2 or more years ago.

Old and weathered shed antler (Grade C)

If you’re interested in finding buyers, check out companies like Kerrville Antler Buyers. Values are estimated as follows:

  • Whitetail Grade A: $10-$12 per pound*
  • Whitetail Grade B: $5-$6 per pound*
  • Whitetail Grade C: $1-2 per pound*
  • Mule Deer Grade A: $12 per pound*
  • Mule Grade B: $5-$6 per pound*
  • Mule Grade C: $1-$2 per pound*
  • Elk Grade A: $12-$14 per pound*
  • Elk Grade B: $9-$10 per pound*
  • Elk Grade C: $2-$3 per pound*

*Note that these prices are estimates based on averages from random antler buyers

Whether your compulsion is to seek mammoth antler sheds from giant bucks and bulls or accruing piles of modest ones, there is an opportunity to pad your wallet or even offset some of the cost of the new rifle or bow you covet. Maybe I’ll decide to cash in some of mine one day but I doubt it. Nonetheless, it’s good to know the approximate value associated with these precious finds.

Author

Jerald Kopp

From drop tines to blood trails, sight pins to cross hairs. We not only highlight hunting strategies, but also the lighter side of the outdoor lifestyle – the nuances that make it fun, memorable and part of our DNA.

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