Shed Antler Test Program

Shed Antler Tests offer a way to evaluate the specific skills desired in shed antler hunting and trial dogs, via video assessment. Tests compare demonstrated skills against an objective standard, without comparison to other dogs.  Dogs who complete each assessment category will earn a Badge of Acknowledgement. Dogs who earn all of the Badges will earn the Shed Antler Skill Verified title.  Your dog needs an NDS Competition Number to compete in the Shed Antler Test Program- click HERE to register for a number. 

Virtual Test – SEASONAL

Tests are set up to evaluate specific skill elements within the sport. Tests can be informally organized as a group, where you and friends get together to help each other set up and video-  or you can do it on your own:  video your dog completing the specific test elements and submit them for evaluation. Less space is required for tests compared to trials. Complete all the element tests to earn your dog’s Skill Verified Title!


Scroll Down for more info about the 3rd level of Virtual Shed Antler tests – SEASONAL

SEASONAL Elements:

To Complete the Seasonal Badge

Successfully complete all four Element tests to earn the Seasonal Badge.   For the Seasonal assessment category, each Element requires one search set up. The mission for this category is to assess your dog’s willingness and ability to search and retrieve under natural shed antler searching conditions.  Each antler must be retrieved.  Video of each test must include the search and the entire retrieve for each antler.  Important note: For these tests, the dog must NOT see the process of hiding/tossing the antlers – they are blind to the dog.   The maximum search time for each search is 5 minutes.  The dog may wear a plain collar or harness, no head halters or corrective collars, and can work off leash or on a long line (15 foot minimum length). For each element, the handler will first show a ‘hide’ video (which must show the antler, the toss or placement of the antler in respect to the prescribed challenge for that Element and show the working area). The hide video will be followed by the search video as described below for each element.

Overview of Each Element (see Rule Book for additional details critical to success)

  • Snow/Water – This search requires an antler that is at least 50% buried or submerged in either snow or water.
  • Dirt/Mud- Antler placement requires that least 50% of the antler is buried in loose dirt or mud. 
  • Leaves- Antler placement requires that at least 75% of the antler is beneath leaf cover. 
  • Wind/Precipitation- Search takes place in an open field while active precipitation (rain or snow) is ongoing OR during wind speeds of 20 km/hr or more.  



  • Failure to properly meet the challenge criteria for the level

  • Evidence that the dog has seen the placement of the antlers. 

  •  Less than 10 seconds of searching action evident prior to the find of the antler, or more than 5 minutes of elapsed time between the start of the search and the delivery of the last antler to the handler.
  • Failure of the dog to complete each retrieve fully

  • Handler guidance or direction towards any antler

  • Handler movement towards the dog while they are completing the retrieve

  • Wearing/use of electronic collar, head halter or corrective collar (pinch collar or slip chain collar)

  • Failure to meet video requirements for both the hide and the test video.

Video submissions can occur in two parts. First the HIDE, and then the RETRIEVE. Videos will need to be uploaded to a hosting service (ie YouTube or Vimeo) and you’ll provide the link for each of these. Videos may be submitted in an ‘unlisted’ or ‘public’ format but do NOT use a ‘Private” privacy setting, or the judge will be unable to view your video.

Elements may be submitted in any order, or may be submitted one after the other, without first waiting for results from each element test. However, you must have successfully passed the Locate badge in it’s entirety before submitting for this Retrieve badge. 

Please note all of the details that must be shown, in order to have a successful submission. See these examples below:

The Hide

For the Seasonal Assessment Category, you must show the antler, the process of hiding  each antler  such that the amount of coverage can be evalutaed, AND provide a visual scan of the area with your video camera to show that the dog is not present while this is happening. (If your dog is located near your working area, they must have a visual barrier provided so that they cannot see the hiding process: ie a covered crate, staying behind a blind or barrier of some sort.   


Be sure to show:

  • The antler
  • The toss or placement of each antler 
  • A scan of the area showing that the dog is not watching the hides.

The Search

This video must clearly show the dog introduction and the search, in one continuous video, through to the successful completion of the retrieve. 


Be sure to show:

  • The start of the video must show your dog, the collar that they are wearing, if any, (to demonstrate that it is not an electronic or corrective collar), and you must state the dog’s name and NDS registration number
  • Proceed directly to the search, where the video should follow the dog while hunting, and retrieving each antler in the search.  

Note: The judge cannot assess what the judge cannot see. Verify that your video shows all necessary items before submitting. 




Dogs must be a minimum of 6 months of age to compete in shed antler tests. There is no upper age limit. 

Dogs must earn badges in the following order: Locate, then Retrieve. After Retrieve, Seasonal or Multiples can be earned in either order, or simultaneously.

A video showing the required skills in the prescribed format must be submitted separately for each element of the Assessment Categories.

Dogs who successfully complete all requirements to earn a badge in each of the 4 Assessment Categories will earn the Shed Antler Skill Verified title!