Cheyenne – The seasonal winter closure for shed antler and horn hunting begins on Jan. 1 for many sections of public land, state land and Wyoming Game and Fish Commission wildlife habitat management areas throughout Wyoming. The closures help protect wintering big game by limiting stress so they can better survive the coldest and snowiest months.
“The shed antler regulation was authorized by the Wyoming Legislature and adopted by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission in 2009 to minimize the increasing disturbance to big game on winter and spring ranges by antler hunters,” said Scott Edberg, Game and Department deputy chief of wildlife. “It’s very important for the survival of our big game animals during the winter months that they do not experience undue stress.”
To protect wintering big game, a Wyoming Game and Fish Commission regulation prohibits anyone from collecting shed antlers or horns on public land, such as U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands and Wyoming Game and Fish Commission owned or administered lands west of the Continental Divide, excluding the Great Divide Basin, from Jan. 1 through April 30 of each year. The Wyoming Board of Land Commissioners also prohibits on state lands the collection of shed antlers or horns in the same geographic area and time frame as outlined in Wyoming Game and Fish Commission regulation.
Collect means to search for, locate, stockpile or possess shed antlers and horns of big game animals on public land or attempt to search for, locate, stockpile or possess shed antlers and horns of big game animals on public land during the closed season. A violation of this regulation carries the same potential penalties as many other Game and Fish violations.
“Shed antler enthusiasts can help wildlife tremendously by obeying the shed antler and horn hunting regulation and other winter range closures statewide,” Edberg said. “All wildlife enthusiasts statewide can help wildlife by giving them space over the winter and early spring.”
Game and Fish has closure information specific to the Green River, Pinedale and Jackson regions online or by contacting those offices. To report shed antler or horn collection violations call the STOP Poaching Hotline at 1-877-943-3847 (1-877-WGFD-TIP) or text keyword WGFD and message to TIP411 (847-411). Violations may also be reported online at the Game and Fish website.