Outdoors

IFG offers rules, tips for "shed" hunters

Some 60 antlers are gathered at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in Missoula as evidence after a group of poachers allegedly took them from the Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area. “The game reserve opens at noon on May 15 – and not before,” says FWP game warden Bill Koppen.  (Linda Thompson / Missoulian)
Some 60 antlers are gathered at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in Missoula as evidence after a group of poachers allegedly took them from the Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area. “The game reserve opens at noon on May 15 – and not before,” says FWP game warden Bill Koppen. (Linda Thompson / Missoulian)

WILDLIFE — It's the shed antler-horn scavenging season.  I hope people who are out hunting for them realize this is a stressful time for wildlife. Moving big game off their wintering areas this time of year can be as deadly as giving them a slow-acting poison.

Some wildlife areas have special access restrictions during late winter and spring.

Here's a shed-hunting Q & A from Idaho Fish and Game:

Q. I want to collect shed antlers, what sort of license do I need and what sort of restrictions are there?

A. You don’t need a license, and the only restrictions are on access and travel on the land. Horn hunters, like other outdoor recreationists, must secure permission to cross or look for antlers on private land, and they must abide by transportation restrictions on federal and state public lands.

Horn hunting typically starts in early spring. Deer, elk and moose shed their antlers over the winter, following the mating seasons.

Pronghorn is the only species with horns to annually shed its horn sheath. Just after mating season, the pronghorn sheds its horns and only the permanent core remains. The horns of bighorn sheep that have died of natural causes also may be recovered but may not be sold, bartered or transferred to another person without a permit from Fish and Game.

Bighorn sheep horns must be permanently marked with a metal pin at an Idaho Fish and Game regional office within 30 days of recovery.

Horn hunters are asked to avoid disturbing animals during winter while they are conserving their resources trying to make it through to spring.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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