Antler Hunters Should be Governed by Commonsense

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In many areas of western Wyoming, picking up shed antlers is no longer casual recreation --it’s a competition sport.

As winter gives way to spring, “horn” hunters search the foothills and winter ranges competing against one another for antlers naturally shed during the months of February, March and April.

During this time, animals have reduced fat reserves and are in their lowest physical condition of the year. Wintering animals seek out the best habitat (food, cover, water, shelter and arrangement) in order to survive.

Antler hunting, when done after the elk and deer have shed their antlers and left their winter ranges does not pose a problem to wintering big game. However, displacing deer and elk from their winter habitat is the most serious of all problems associated with antler hunting in early spring.

If antler hunting is your sport, please be considerate of the animals providing your recreation. If you see them, give them plenty of space. Stay away from areas you know that are “holding” elk and deer, and do not intentionally move them. Disturbance causes stress at a time when cows and does are heavy with calves and fawns.

Antler hunters are alerted some areas are closed to access until later this spring. This includes Game and Fish Department habitat management areas and some of the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Please inquire at your local forest service or G&F office for details. G&F walk-in hunting and fishing areas are only open to hunting and fishing and are closed to antler hunting.

An interstate game tag must be affixed to all shed antlers taken across state lines. Plus, if antlers are found still attached to the skull, approval from a G&F officer is required before removing the antlers from the site. All attached antlers also require an interstate game tag.