10 Antler Selling Tips You Cannot Afford to Miss

The shed hunting and antler buying race is on. I am intrigued by the thousands who wander the hills searching the only treatment available to managing their addiction. Ironically, a good portion of the commercial demand on shed antlers is medicinal. This is driven in large portion by an overseas market. As for the shed hunter, the only medicine required to manage their addiction is more hunting!IMG_0751-2

Shed hunting and antler buying is full of new comers, true originals, and everything in between. I would certainly classify myself as a new comer. I recently sat down with Steve Sorensen and Dallas Hemeyer of Steve Sorensen Antler Buying to learn more about this craze. These two are a couple of true originals with a passion for sheds that is unmatched. I came armed with bottomless sushi, my notepad, and a willingness to learn! I soon realized that Steve Sorensen Antler Buying has little interest in a reputation built on one time purchases. Everything they do is laser focused on gaining long term customers that return time and time again. (Steve Sorensen Antler Buying 435-245-3497)

After a good dinner, some laughs, and a few awesome hunting stories I came to one very simple conclusion: DO NOT sell a single shed before considering these “10 Tips.”IMG_0797

Antler Selling 1.0

1. Reputation Talks: Find a buyer with a longstanding reputation of being honest and fair. A self-proclaimed “we are the best in the business” or “we give you the most” means very little. What are the vast majority of sellers saying? A buyer’s reputation comes not from their own words but the words of their customers. Reputation talks!

2. Clean Em’ Up: A common sense move when selling anything tangible would be to clean it up. I was amazed to learn that this is often overlooked by many shed hunters interested in bringing top dollar for their sheds. You would never lay a stack of dollar bills next to the oil slick in the garage. Keep this in mind as you look to store your accumulating stack of sheds. If little thought goes into the storage and transport of your sheds, irreversible damage may be impossible to clean or repair. Assuming no major damage has occurred, take a minute and clean em’ up!IMG_3062

3. Grade First, Price Second: I do not suggest you pay little attention to price/lb; however, many sellers get caught up on price alone while missing the grade. A seller’s money is lost or gained on the grade. When researching a buyer, ask first the question “Are they fair in their grading?” The price per pound may fluctuate between buyers. It is easy to take your eye off the ball by focusing solely on price. A missed grade will cost you much more then the variance in price from buyer to buyer. The reality is go back to our #1 tip and this is less a concern. A great buyer has enough business that they are not going to live or die on gaining the upper hand on a singular purchase. Grade first, price second!image1-40

4. Understand the Grade: This can vary from state to state and region to region. That being said there are three grades you want to pay attention to and understand: ***Prices not provided as they vary by area and demand***

  • Brown ($$$): Key to picking up a brown and bringing in top dollar is time. Over time adverse weather causes cracking and discoloration. If it has cracks, it will not be graded brown.You have approximately 0-6 months of exposure before an antler’s quality is compromised. That being said it is tempting to stretch the boundaries of ethical shed hunting. Be sure your efforts to find the highest quality sheds do not pressure an already vulnerable winter herd.
  • White ($$): Weathered over the course of 1-3 years will likely land your shed at a white. As you can see time is a bit more forgiving in this regard. Key to this grade is whether or not the antler is beginning to turn grey with additional cracking. Once that takes place, a chalk grade will be considered.
  • Chalk ($): At over 3 years the weather starts to take its toll. Key indications of this include greying, deep cracks, and flaking. Any pink coloration will land your shed in the chalk category. Don’t get discouraged as there still is a bit of money to be made with chalk antlers. The reality is from chalk to brown they’re all pretty exciting to find! Understand the grade!

5. “Painted” Is Not a Grade: Leave your painted antlers at home. Paint them to keep them. Once painted your sheds have little to no worth to an antler buyer. Painted is not a grade!image2-11

6. Price Check Within Your Market: Unless you plan on traveling to distant locations to sell your antlers, price check within your given market. It can be frustrating and unproductive to both buyer and seller when conducting price comparisons outside of your area. Price check within your market!

7. Ask: Trophy quality and special characteristic sheds can garner higher prices outside of the general grading scale. It never hurts to ask or negotiate such concessions. A general rule of thumb puts your trophy class antlers at 180”+ on deer and 360”+ on elk. Keep that in mind when bringing something truly special to the table. Also keep in mind that your antler buyer is likely well aware of how to accurately measure score. Ask!IMG_4541

8. Know the Law: A good and reputable antler buyer will record everything required by law. For example, when selling a deadhead don’t be surprised when a buyer asks for name, address, phone number, and signature. Do NOT peddle stolen antlers. Know the law.

9. Keep Em’ Safe: The reality is antlers can be worth a lot of money. Equipped with that knowledge it is important that you keep them stored in a safe location. If left out in the open, they will be stolen. This is becoming a growing problem and buyers are offering rewards for information leading to prosecution of such thefts. Keep em’ safe!

10. Hold On: If you aren’t quite sure about selling a specific antler, hold on to it. There is no reason to rush into selling any specific shed or stack of sheds. The reality is each shed has a story. There is a great deal of satisfaction that comes from a big ole’ check; however, don’t get lost in the $$$. That shed will likely never mean to another what it means to you. Keep a few of those special sheds and share a story! Hold on!

A special thanks to Steve Sorensen and Dallas Hemeyer. Follow them on instagram as @antlerbuyer1976 and @365pursuit. Contact Steve Sorensen Antler Buying at 435-245-3497. These guys will not disappoint! Photography provided by Dallas Heymeyer.IMG_5548

 

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10 Reasons Kids Should NOT Hunt

I recently spent the weekend shed hunting with my daughter Kate. With a kid in the mix you could say it takes major work just to get out the door. Tasks preventing me from enjoying my weekend piled up. These tasks were largely kid related. To be frank, they were “Kate” related.

She didn’t have the right clothes which required a trip to Cal Ranch. She was also hungry. “We will take one chicken sandwich and hamburger plain.” As added frustration the horse trailer had a flat and one of the horses needed her hoofs trimmed. Upon gathering water bottles, getting fuel and purchasing trail treats, my Saturday had nearly slipped from my iron clad grasp.

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Kate and Meg

Admittedly, I asked myself “why?” After much thought, I have come up with exactly 10 reasons why kids should NOT ever hunt in all its forms.

  1. Hunting teaches kids how to provide. Really? What kid needs to learn how to provide? We are no longer cavemen or pioneers. Our kids are entitled not only to basic needs but to added comforts.
  2. Hunting teaches kids how to be uncomfortable. What kid needs to learn the value of cold hands and blistered feet? Kids should never be expected to sleep on the ground. As an advanced society we are certainly above this. All the comforts of the world should be ours. Our time is best suited teaching our kids actual lessons of value like how to get something for nothing.
  3. Hunting teaches kids how to stay fit. Good health is overrated.
  4. Hunting teaches kids how to respect God’s creations. Who’s that guy anyway? Isn’t America’s prosperity the result of our own great minds? Aren’t those awe-inspiring hills and all that is in them a result of some big bang?
  5. Hunting teaches kids how to prepare. Prepare for what?
  6. Hunting teaches kids how to work. We live in a day and age where every one of our kids are entitled to a job despite their work ethic, reliability, prior training or education. To really spend the time teaching a kid to work would have been valuable maybe 52 1/2 years ago.
  7. Hunting teaches kids how to survive. Survive what?
  8. Hunting teaches kids how to conserve resources. Resources are plentiful. Do you really think they are going to run out? If the goal is to conserve, wouldn’t killing do just the opposite? Maybe PETA is on to something. Clearly hunting and conservation do not go hand in hand.
  9. Hunting teaches kids how to solve problems. Problem solving is for the birds. The risk of encountering too many problems while hunting is real. Clearly my own attempt was chuck full of unnecessary problems. I should have known better than to leave my recliner and remote.
  10. Hunting teaches kids how to have fun. To be honest the high-pitched shriek of kids laughing can be annoying. It is certainly counter intuitive to hunting. Perched behind the glow of their iPad in the darkest corner of the house their laughter and tears are only a distant squeal.
I guess greater clarity can be found in putting your thoughts to the figurative paper. As I read back through this post I have come to the realization that the above 10 reasons are exactly why my kids WILL hunt. It is these 10 reasons that make sense of the madness found in hunting with kids!
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Kate and Miya
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