With increasing popularity of shed antler hunting, and a corresponding increase in complaints about antler hunters trespassing on private lands or entering closed areas throughout the state, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department reminds shed antler and horn hunters to be lawful and keep wildlife in mind while searching for antlers this spring.
“Big game animals that are concentrated on winter ranges during the late winter and early spring are usually in poor body condition,” said Doug Brimeyer, Game and Fish deputy chief of wildlife. “Human disturbances, like shed antler hunting, can contribute to additional losses of fat reserves, which directly affects their survival.”
Shed antler hunting is still restricted in many areas of Wyoming, and Game and Fish is actively enforcing shed hunting closures and trespassing laws. Wyoming’s shed antler law prohibits the collection of shed antlers and horns from January 1 through April 30 on public lands west of the Continental Divide, excluding the Great Divide Basin, and through May 15 on some of the Commission’s habitat management areas. State trust lands are also closed to shed antler hunting west of the Continental Divide, excluding the Great Divide Basin between January 1 and April 30. Game and Fish Access Yes areas are always closed to shed hunting. Trespassing to collect shed antlers on private property without permission is illegal all year long.
Due to a change in state law that took effect July 1 of last year, repercussions for trespassing to pick up antlers can include the loss of hunting privileges and the loss of the ability to purchase preference points.
“Previously, violations of the trespass to collect antlers law were referred to the local sheriff’s office because Game and Fish only had the authority to respond to reports of trespassing on private property related to hunting, fishing or trapping,” Brimeyer said. “Last year, the Wyoming Legislature passed a change to this law that added collecting antler and horns to the language of the statute, which took effect July 1, 2017.”
This change is already being actively enforced. North Cody Game Warden Travis Crane said, “There have been multiple cases of trespass to collect antlers. In a recent case, a local Cody man pleaded guilty to trespass to antler hunt. He was sentenced to pay $555 and lost privileges to hunt and apply for or receive any preference points for two years.”
According to the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission regulation, “collection” is defined as: 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. Colorado and Utah have similar regulations.
For questions regarding antler collection specific to an area of the state, contact the local Game and Fish regional office.