Wildlife biologists and game wardens call on those seeking shed antlers to be familiar with regulations where they live before they hit the woods or mountainsides. Rules differ depending on your state.
For example, officials in Idaho encourage shed hunters to delay their search until elk, moose and deer move off their winter range so they do not suffer from undue stress during a time of the year when many animals are weakened due to weather.
“Above average snow depth and crusting due to freezing and thawing is already starting to show its effects on deer fawn survival, and any added stress will only multiply the loss,” said Dennis Newman, Salmon Region wildlife manager for Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
In Colorado, shed hunting is prohibited on all public lands west of I-25 between January 1 and April 30 each year. Shed hunting is permitted on private lands however permission is always required to enter.
“The closure has been very successful in protecting wildlife during the late winter, however, there are still some who have ignored the closures,” said Garrett Smith, wildlife officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “The driving force for shed collection is money, and when you put a price tag on something, you will have people who will go to great lengths to exploit that.”
Again, check with your state wildlife agency to learn about possible shed hunting rules and regulations.
(Photo source: Todd Duke)