Western Shed Hunting on Public Land | The Law In Western States
All outdoorsmen are familiar and most likely infatuated with big game seasons. The season of shed hunting should be on that list. Western shed hunting on public land is an experience of its own. We spend hours of our lives, and as much investment as we can afford toward epic quests in the stand or on a mountain. Many sportsmen spend their vacation time and many other resources around a chance at a coveted tag. Whether that tag is for a general unit in your own backyard, or for a limited draw unit for a coveted species in a far off western state, one thing is constant…antlers!
Not all folks are trophy hunters, and the majority are concerned with the meat and managing game populations with the harvest of females. For the majority, there is no such thing as antler soup, when the realization that the tenderloins from a young cow elk are much more tender than those of a battle worn bull with gray in his mane. However, any hunter could agree that the fact remains, a great trophy animal with a huge set of bone on his head is a treasure to behold and a memory that will last forever.
Before you pack up the chevy in search of public land shed antlers, be sure to give this article, and the laws surrounding sheds enough thought!
Nick Mundt, Chevy, Turkeys, and Sheds
Public Land Shed Antlers
The antlers of a seven hundred pound elk carried high amongst his harem measuring upwards of four hundred inches of antler are an amazing sight and miracle of nature. The sun glistening off a powder white eight point rack of a whitetail chasing a doe past your stand on a cold November morning, his whole intention on that female and his guard down for only a short window cannot be easily forgotten. A mule deer buck in all his ghost like tendencies, a dark chocolate rack with deep v’s of split beams towering high above his wide ears cast an impressive shadow across a sage plateau of a western mountain. Finally, a giant set of spoons, set wide across the heavy neck and head of a giant moose, the largest of the deer family is at least unforgettable.
Imagine a one thousand pound animal carrying antlers weighing upwards of 50 pounds. It is truly an amazing display of nature and biology. While each set of antlers across these species is different and unique to the species, each has one thing in common. This one thing has become a sort of craze, and set sportsman nationwide into a new big game season. Elk, mule deer, whitetails, and even moose all shed their antlers when testosterone levels drop after the final female heat cycle. Changes in the deer’s biology as a result of hormone adjustment due to photoperiods cause the antlers to be cast off (the process of shedding antlers). As a result, the shed antlers lay in wait for some lucky shed hunter to come along and pick them up.
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