Posts tagged: shed hunting
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.
WILDLIFE — Poachers are contributing to anti-poaching efforts as nearly a thousand antlers seized from wildlife cases over the last decade are being sold by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in an online auction that closes Tuesday (June 5).
At last check, the bid for a 6-point bull elk rack that started two weeks ago at under $30 was up to $227.50.
Items available during the auction include:
The auction, conducted by the State Department of Enterprise Services (DES), will conclude the afternoon of June 5. Photos of the antlers and other information about the auction, including how to view the items in person, are available online.
Register here to participate in the online auction.
While this is a good opportunity for the public to obtain hard-to-get antlers, the auction also highlights poaching as a serious problem in Washington, said Mike Cenci, the agency's deputy chief of enforcement.
“Poachers steal directly from the citizens, and disadvantage hunters in Washington – the vast majority of which follow the law,” he said.
Many legal hunters wait years to draw a special permit allowing them to harvest trophy animals, said Cenci. “Ethical hunters’ chances of harvesting a trophy animal can be greatly reduced by poachers, especially those that kill multiple animals.”
WDFW’s Enforcement Program includes 134 Fish and Wildlife police officers stationed throughout Washington. However, WDFW still relies on tips from the public, Cenci said.
Report wildlife violation by phone (877) 933-9847), email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or text message (847411 TIP411).
Funds from the antler auction will be used in the fight against poaching, which includes paying rewards to people who report fish and wildlife violations that lead to a conviction, Cenci said.
WILDLIFE — Wolves rile elk hunters into a tizzy, but where's the outrage over the increasing harassment of elk on their winter range by shed antler hunters?
Wildlife agencies across the West are experiencing more and more people competing for the valuable prizes that fall of the heads of bulls during winter.
We set hunting seasons to end in December to ensure that our big-game herds can tend to the rigors of surviving the winter. Letting people harass elk during the vulnerable winter-to-early spring period is like allowing another killing season.
Public access to many wildlife areas is being restricted during winter and spring, from Washington to Wyoming. But competitive shed hunters are ignoring the law.
These shed hunters are poachers, and should be regarded as such by sportsmen as well as the law.
Montana's Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area is closed until May 15 to protect pregnant elk and exhausted bulls from being harassed by antler hunters, but this year a group went in early and collected what Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials estimate is roughly 60 percent of the shed antlers; charges against the individuals are pending. Read the Missoulian's story.