There are quite a few reasons to be shed hunting this offseason, the least of which is the shed itself. There are numerous benefits to the hunter—exercise, scouting for the next season, etc.—but what about their dogs? The enjoyment extends to them as well, and in big ways.

Here are five of the many reasons to be shed hunting with your dog this year, as compiled by Purina Pro Plan.



It doesn’t matter if you own a Lab or a spaniel—any gundog can be trained to hunt sheds.



No matter what your dog is trained for, shed hunting only serves to heighten their performance. Searching for a shed will strengthen their eyesight and sense of smell, which will segue perfectly into hunting season.



Shed hunting perfectly bridges the gap between deer and bird seasons and the spring turkey season. For those looking for a laid-back offseason activity, this allows you to be back in the woods with your faithful companion.

But what if you don’t want to be laid-back? Shed hunting can be competitive, too, thanks to standardized tests from the North American Shed Hunting Dog Association. Junior, senior, and master titles are up for grabs, as well as a chance to qualify for the World Shed Dog Championship.



You can find sheds in the suburbs as frequently as in the rural woods. It’s also easier, generally, to obtain permission to shed hunt on someone’s land than it is to pursue the animals that wear them.

There are no license fees, permits, or definite seasons when it comes to shed hunting, and the time of day matters not at all. Sleep in on a Saturday, go to yours kids’ or grandkids’ ball games, then come back and shed hunt as a family. Your pup won’t mind a bit.



Shed hunting puts energy back into your dog, both through physical exertion and change of pace. After a long hunting season, dogs can either be burned out from the monotony or just plain worn down. Shed hunting fixes both by keeping them active and alert, but not in an overly intense way.


Check out this video of Realtree’s Lee Lakosky using his Lab to shed hunt in the snow. As you’ll see, having a dog to help you find sheds can pay big dividends.



These are just a few of the reasons to shed hunt with your dog. What are some of yours? Leave your comments below, and check out Purina Pro Plan’s website for more tips.

Lead photo: Dave Veldman/iStock