(Pinedale, Wyo.) – The Wyoming Game and Fish Department reminds antler hunters that gathering horns or shed antlers is prohibited from January 1 through April 30 on public lands west of the Continental Divide in Wyoming. This regulation has been in effect since 2009.
In addition to this regulation, at their October 4, 2012 meeting, the Wyoming Board of Land Commissioners approved an annual restriction prohibiting the collection of antlers between Jan 1 and April 30 on all parcels of land under jurisdiction of the Board of Land Commissioners west of the Continental Divide. These lands are often referred to as “state lands” and are usually blue on land status maps.
Many big game winter ranges in both Teton and Sublette counties have further restrictions to either human presence or motor vehicles during the winter months. However, the shed antler regulation does apply to all other federal or public lands not covered under such winter range closures.
Similarly, Wildlife Habitat Management Areas (WHMAs) managed by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in the Jackson and Pinedale Regions are closed to human presence December 1 through April 30. For more information on Game & Fish WHMAs, you may visit the website at: http://wgfd.wyo.gov/accessto/
The purpose of the shed antler regulation is to minimize harassment or disturbance of big game animals on their winter and spring ranges when animals are most vulnerable to stress and displacement to less productive habitats. Colorado and Utah already have similar regulations.
As with any regulation, the department realizes enforcement and public cooperation is key to its effectiveness. Each winter, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department brings in additional game wardens from across the state to increase the enforcement presence on key winter ranges, both to deter the poaching of trophy mule deer during early winter and enforce the antler hunting regulation after animals have shed their antlers.
Anyone witnessing a wildlife violation may call the Stop Poaching hotline at 1-877-WGFD-TIP. Tips are most helpful when they are reported promptly and include information such as the date, time, location and specific details about the suspected violation. Also important is a physical description of the suspected violator as well as a license plate number and description of any vehicles involved in the incident. Stop Poaching tips can also be reported online at: http://gf.state.wy.us/
–Wyoming Game & Fish Department