12 Ways You Can Use Shed Antlers

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Video what to do with shed antlers

(Diane/Shutterstock photo)

Shed hunting has come on pretty strong in the last decade. It’s all the buzz throughout whitetail and even mulie and elk country. And if you do well at it, over time, the bone begins to pile up. In fact, some people I know have whole sheds filled with sheds (pun intended). I’ve got more than a few lying around myself, too. So what is a guy or gal to do with all those cast antlers? Here’s 12 pretty good ideas.

1. Dog Treats

I know. Why would you spend all that time and energy putting miles on the boots to find white gold only to chop it up and feed it to the dogs? Absurd, right? Well, if you’re the type who has antlers lying around everywhere, probably not. And if your significant other is tired of finding them in every room of the house, that might be another reason to recycle a few of those less-sentimental ones.

Personally, I like to give some of the smaller sheds or those with less meaning to the dogs. You can give them the whole thing, or saw them up into 4- or 5-inch pieces. Your call. But your pets will love you for it. And your spouse might love you for it, too.

2. Crafts (Painting, Ornaments, Etc.)

This is one for those who are more artistic than myself. I wouldn’t know the first crafty thing to do with an antler, but there are plenty who do. My wife Kathryn being one. Every time I come home with another shed her first words are, Can we use that one for decoration? Or, Can I have that one for an art project? In my head it’s, Seriously? No, you can’t have my sheds. In reality, it’s more like, “Sure thing sweetheart . . .”

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In all seriousness, she’s a hunter too. She understands the heritage and tradition of the outdoorsman. Truth is she lives it, too. So I guess it’s not all bad to sacrifice a few of my sheds in the name of art, right? I guess so . . .

Watch: Kathryn’s First Deer | Kathryn’s First Turkey

3. Mantle Décor

I like to display the truly nice sheds in places people can see and enjoy them. One such place is the mantle. It’s a great location to place some of the bigger and/or more sentimental antlers.

4. Knives

This might be the most kick-butt option on this list. Nothing manlier than crafting and forging a knife from a piece of bone, eh? It’s definitely on my list of things to do.

5. Coat Hanger/Holder

Find that solid 50- to 60-inch 8-point shed and you’ve got yourself a fine coat hanger. Simply drill a hole through the beam and anchor it to the wall (in a stud) beside the door. Place it in the desired position and fasten it down. You’ve got yourself a fine addition to the entrance of your home.

6. Table Legs

This is one that I really want to do, but haven’t yet. If you can find four antlers that are very similar, you’ve got yourself a project on hand. Finish a slab of wood, or remove the legs from an existing table, and place the antlers in the desired position. Most people secure the antler base to the underside of the slab. Then, antler tines will make contact with the floor. Again, it takes four very similar sheds to do this, and you still may have to shave off the tips of the tines to get the table to sit level. It isn’t an easy project, but dang does it look cool when it’s finished.

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7. Curtain Holder

Here’s one for the ladies. Antler’s make great curtain holders, drape catchers, whatever-you-want-to-call-ems. They have a very down-to-earth feel that works perfect for cabins, log houses and other rustic homes.

8. Chandelier

This isn’t necessarily a DIY project unless you’re a master craftsman. I wont be attempting this one. But it might be a great idea for those willing to take the challenge. Or, if you have a bunch of sheds, and you know someone with the skills, pay someone else to create this beauty for you. The ones I’ve seen are very intriguing.

9. Lamp Stand Base

Here’s another decoration. Simply remove the base from any lamp, or buy the raw parts to make your own, if you wish. Then drill a hole in the antler base/beam (depending on antler shape — the thing has to sit level). Some antlers aren’t great for this, and therefore you may need to use a small piece of wood as the base. Then, you can screw antlers (similarly sized and shaped) on three sides to create the desired look.

10. Rings

Here’s a pretty neat idea for hardcore outdoorsmen (and women). You can use antler bone to make a ring. Simply find an antler base or tine with the desired size, shape and texture. Then saw it to the desired width. Next, drill out a hole to the desired ring size. Once that is finished, you’ll need to sand down the interior and edges of the ring. If desired, stain to the preferred color. Lastly, you can add a rubberized insert for a more comfortable feel.

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11. Sell Them or Give Them Away

Some people like to sell sheds or give them away. Sheds didn’t get the name white gold for nothing. Sheds, especially big ones, do have the potential to garner some serious cash. That said, make sure you follow all laws and regulations when it comes to selling antlers. There are a lot of regulations, even from state to state, that go with selling deer antlers. Do your homework beforehand.

12. A Collection

Some people just want to pile them in a corner, pick them up occasionally and look at them. Honestly, that’s what I do with most of mine. They have their own little spot in the house and I admire one from time to time and think about the stories that go with them. And quite frankly, that’s OK, too.

Bonus Read: 10 Reasons You Aren’t Finding More Shed Antlers

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>