Shed hunting is a fun hobby you can add to your usual outdoor adventures, whether hiking or hunting.
Did you know that you can also make money off of your finds?
Shed antlers are used as decorations, knife handles, dog chew toys, and furniture.
Naturally, the people selling those products must get the antlers from someone. Why not be that someone?
On average, shed antlers can be sold for roughly $10 per pound. Since antlers weigh three pounds or more, that’s good pocket change with just one rack!
Where Can You Sell Shed Antlers
To sell antlers, you have to connect with people who want to buy them.
This can be easy or hard, depending on your existing hobbies.
Selling Deer Antlers Online
Perhaps the easiest way to get started with selling antlers is to put them up for sale online. There are several websites you can use that already have a large and willing audience of people seeking antlers.
If you’re willing to ship the antlers, then the two best websites are eBay and Etsy. Both are easy to use.
I’ve sold products on Etsy before! Before you’re ready to sell, you’ll have to sign up with the website and connect some financial information to pay fees and get paid.
Etsy has a listing fee for every item you sell, though it’ll cost you less than a quarter for a four-month listing. They also have transaction fees, roughly half the amount eBay charges.
eBay is free to use until you sell your antlers. Then they’ll charge a moderate fee based on the sale price.
Both websites will track your sales so you can accurately handle your taxes.
Once you’re notified of the sale with a *cha-ching!* noise, you’ll have to package and ship the antlers. Don’t worry. That’s easy, too.
Local Pick-up Websites
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of packing and shipping your antlers, then Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are good resources for selling to people within driving distance.
You’ll probably have less competition this way, too.
Your own website or social media accounts
Another option is to use a platform like WordPress to host your website.
This lets you avoid paying fees to eBay or Etsy. However, you’ll have to drive traffic to that website yourself, and that’s not easy!
You can also use social media, such as Facebook groups and hunting forums, to connect with potential buyers.
For example, I’ve seen antlers for sale on Hunt Talk’s classifieds forum.
Selling Deer Antlers in Person
Of course, you can make money selling antlers the old-fashioned way: By making social connections with people interested in buying antlers.
This can take many different forms.
As a hunter, you’ll probably meet people with knife-making as a hobby. They might be interested in buying antlers.
Historical reenactors often need antlers to make their period-accurate products, especially people engaged in “living history” because they demonstrate old crafting skills to the public.
I’ve also seen tables of antlers for sale at gun and knife shows.
You can also connect with companies that use antlers for making rustic furniture and offer to supply them with antlers. They tend to be more interested in bulk sheds than fancy antlers.
How Shed Antlers Are Valued
How much shed antlers are worth depends on the species, condition, color, and how much you’re selling.
Generally speaking, the larger the animal, the more valuable the shed.
Moose antlers are worth the most, followed by elk, caribou, then mule deer. Whitetail antlers tend to be worth the least.
However, this also depends on whether that species is common in your area. What’s common for you may be rare for a buyer in another part of the country!
Darker coloration tends to bring in more money. That’s because lighter antlers have faded from the elements. A darker antler is both fresher and tougher.
Somewhat faded sheds tend to be labeled Hard White. Fully faded antlers are called Chalk antlers.
And, naturally, perfect antlers will be worth more than ones with evident damage, such as chips, missing tines, and bite marks.
This is why some people use a 5-step grading system: Grade A Brown, Grade B Brown, Grade A Hard White, Grade B Hard White, and Grade C Chalk.
Symmetrical sheds are worth more, but only when sold as a rack.
Larger antlers are also worth more, of course. A large, symmetrical rack of brown moose antlers can sell for a grand or more!
Finally, whether you’re selling in bulk as a supplier or selling retail to a consumer will affect the price.
These factors make it difficult to convey how much any particular shed will sell for accurately. However, here are some guidelines:
- Whitetail Deer: $6 to $18 per pound
- Mule Deer: $7 to $20 per pound
- Elk: $7 to $16 per pound
- Caribou: $7 to $20 per pound
- Moose: $6 to $15 per pound
(Though the above numbers make deer antlers look like they’re worth more than moose antlers, deer sheds are much lighter than moose sheds, so the larger species are worth more in the end.)
A Caution Regarding Antler Selling Legality
As with any animal product or any business endeavor, there are legal restrictions you may have to follow.
Some states have laws regulating how you can harvest sheds and whether or not you can sell them. Some states don’t.
Look up your local fish & game department’s regulations to learn if you can even go shed hunting, let alone sell the antlers for a profit.
For example, Missouri requires you to record detailed information about every antler sold and identify who purchased them.
Speaking of profits, the government will want its due. Make sure to record each transaction so you can pay the tax man his money.
Staying on the side of the law will help both you and the deer enjoy their antlers for generations to come.
Can you make money selling deer antlers?
Yes, though it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme.
Anybody who can hike can make a few dollars finding and selling antlers.
Making an income with shed antlers requires just as much work as any other occupation, though.