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February 25, 2008

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The First Rule of Shed Club ...

To paraphrase from the movie “Fight Club,” the first rule of Shed Club is – you do not talk about Shed Club.

Shed hunters are even more secretive about their haunts than deer hunters. (Incidentally, I think we need to coin a noun by which shed hunters describe those who pursue the whole animal. Neither “live deer hunters," "whole deer hunters," or "regular hunters" quite cuts it. Let the competition begin. First prize, to be judged by an independent panel of me, wins a Gerber Freeman Folder knife in nearly new condition, my sole freebie from the recent SHOT Show.)

My shed hunting pal, Paula, has to be prodded to divulge even the name of the state where she has found her latest. The reason, of course, is that there is no upside to revealing your honey hole. In fact, it’s even less advantageous with sheds than “regular” hunting (see what I mean about the need for a better word?) because access is so much easier. A “No Hunting” sign will keep most deer hunters out. It will not deter a shed man, who, after all, is not hunting in the traditional sense. Since shed hunters usually carry no weapon more significant than a knife and/or a pruning shears, they can go pretty much anywhere. (Small pruning shears, incidentally, are much more effective for getting through briers than a machete). 

I’ve found a grand total of zip antlers in the past week. I take some comfort in the fact that bucks still wearing their antlers have been seen within the past few days. Meanwhile, Paula has found several singles and two sets in the same time. “Good ones but not trophies. Jeez, I’m startin’ to feel sorry for you,” she said. I asked where she’d found hers.  She erupted into her smoker’s hacking laugh, finally managing to croak, “Not that sorry, honey,” and hung up on me.


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Venison Voyagers...


Venison Voyagers...

Chad Love

I dunno, how about "boomfloppers."

That's not nearly as good as some of the others, but I like the way it rolls off the tongue.

Chad Love

If "breeder" is a pejorative for heteros, then those "herd-thinners" who hunt the whole deer could simply be called "consumers."

Or maybe "whole-body hunters" or "hundred percenters" to reflect the fact they take the whole deer.

Aw hell, these all suck. I vote for taggers...


First choice: tagger
Second choice: backstrapper

"Tagger" would be well understood by hunters - but might be misunderstood as a "graffiti artist" by urbanites. (Wikipedia suggests that "tagger" is a derogatory term, directed at Filipinos, although I think that's a stretch. What does someone from the melting pot of Arlington know of this?)

Tagging as a conversation piece:

Yummy Girl: So, what do you do for fun?

Hungry Guy: I'm a tagger. I hunt for deer and I tag them.

Girl: OOh! So, like, you're into ecology and conservation.

Guy: Yeah - just doing my part.

Girl: So, is tagging like putting little bands on birds legs?

Guy: Well, that's where I put them on turkeys. On deer, I put it on their antlers.

Girl: Oh - that sounds dangerous and exciting.

Guy: Yep - it is.


"gets the point over without (overly) negative connotations."

I can't beleive that Bill Heavy has been all political corrected-up! What is this world coming to!?


I like to think of myself as a "Lean cuisine gathering machine!"
Venison is the best meat out there, no fat!
"Less fattening!"
"Taste's GREAT!"
Well, we all know where that's going!
If the calorie counter freaks only understood what a blessing venison was, the whitetail populations would probably be endangered again!


John D

Yes, these are all horrible. So bad they make you cringe. Perhaps that's why it is meant to be this way:


My job is creative names. Sometimes you have to know when there isn't a fun moniker for a product or service. Or obsession.


Head hunters and shed hunters...

i vote taggers


Something tells me Heavey didn't intend to give up his danged ol' "gimme blade" anyway.
Heavey, you're just an ol' "tightwad"!!! LOL!!


bill heavey

get your votes in as to who gets the knife, guys.

we got taggers, backstrappers, carcass-draggers.

i'm favoring taggers at the moment, but, as i said, i'm withdrawing from the judging.

bubba, damn straight i'm a tightwad, but the knife has been offered up, and in writing (even though it's virtual writing). so it's got to go to somebody.

john d., you, my friend, are angling for a special Rain on the Parade Award for saying "Sometimes you have to know when there isn't a fun moniker for a product or service." i could not disagree with you more. never admit defeat. especially when you're wrong. especially in the depths of february.


Folks, get your votes in! And now, a word from a colleague of mine:

I am jack's lobbyist. He submitted several nominees, one of which is "Tagger". My client currently carries in his left pocket a puny swiss knockoff with shameless commercial promotional material printed upon it. It is suitable for slicing cardboard boxes, cutting string and responding to the wails of those who cry "Does anybody have a knife?" But, it just won't cut it in the field.

'jack' wanted two things for Christmas last year: a new Buck 110 Folding Hunter and a book (a work of great literature, really) by Mr. November of Virginia. He enjoys the book immensely, having read it many times and counting it among his few treasures. He keeps it in a favored place. Regrettably, he did not receive the knife.

I believe "Tagger" has the potential to become a universally understood and accepted term of art in our field of pursuit. It conveys a sense of rugged accomplishment. It can be spoken authoritatively, and will cause heads to turn sharply upon hearing: "Aye lad, yonder comes a Tagger - show your respects."

Don't do it for 'jack' because he needs a nearly new folder. Do it so that you may boast: I was there at the founding of "Tagger".

Cast a vote for honor.
Cast a vote for tradition.
Cast a vote for "Tagger".


I agree with John D. Until Mr. Heavey brought it up, I clearly understood that "Deer hunters" hunted for the whole deer and that "Shed hunters" were hunting for shed antlers. It wasn't until he felt the need to add "regular" to "deer hunters" that the distinction started to blur, when the reality is that the word "regular" wasn't necessary. Nobody confuses "Bird hunting" with "Bird watching".

In my opinion, award John D. the knife.

Scott in Ohio

Got to believe in yourself. Therefore, I vote for “Carcass-Dragger.” “Tagger” is my close second choice.

And…while it was not requested or put up for a prize, I must admit I am rather pleased with the moniker "Shed-Head" for shed hunters.



Is being a tightwad the reason you won't use the Shift key on your computer. It waste's energy and printer ink?
I could call myself a "Tenderloin Trooper", but if had to call myself a "Tagger", just to get your ol' clunker blade, I'd pound out a 20d nail and sharpen it with a file!


John D

Alrighty Bill, I agree. Since it is 11 degrees, snowing and blowing, and I'm stuck in a hotel in New York in the gawd-awful month of February.

They are clearly rival gangs separated by the time continuum known as hunting season. One group waits patiently and plunges their hands into icky, bloody entrails. The other roams aimlessly, creeping this way and that. Let them be forever by segmented thusly:


John D

Or, since we are clearly driven by different animalistic impulses, shed hunters will be known as HORNY and deer hunters are HUNGRY.

One group is the HUNTER, the other is the GATHERER.

Some are BUTCHERS, others are BONE COLLECTORS.

There are MEATHEADS and there are BONEHEADS.

Anyway, I still like the BLOODS vs. the CREEPS.


Seems to me that there is little difference - just that one collects the antlers when they have the means to get away!

Blue Ox

I say horn doggin'.




As far as I'm concerned a"Tagger" is an inner-city hoodlum who paints graffitti, and I want nothing to do with that label. I guess I'll just call myself a hunter, and if you don't understand I probably don't want to talk to ya anyhow!

bill heavey

i'm not hearing a consensus.

who should get the knife?

vote now or prepare to hold your piece when i'm forced to award myself a battlefield promotion in this matter and award the blade to the guy with the worst case of cabin fever.

right now, bubba, john d, and jack all seem about equally likely to start foaming at the mouth and bite a traffic cop in the ankle. bh


O snow that thou might stop
and cease thy covering of ground.
Oh wretched snow, does not thee know?
Your storied depths my hunt confound.

Yea, tho' I pine for woods a'wandering,
these conditions leave me flound'ring,
and as my heart seeks woods to roam,
I sit inside, drooling foam.

Yonder lake freezeth over,
yet fish beneath the ice
care not to eat the tender morsels,
with which I do entice.

While I stumble 'round the basement,
my soul wracked by strain and strife,
Trembling fingers might calm a'whittling,
If I only had a knife.




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