Is It Legal to Pick up Shed Antlers
You don`t need a permit or permit to hunt scales, but to deter poaching, there are a few rules — and some areas are closed until spring to protect overwintering big game. Read on to learn more: Here`s the deal. Winter in the mountains can be brutal, and it is not uncommon for mules and moose to flock to areas that help them survive. Obviously, farm animals create a scale-hunter`s dream, but when they get involved with these creatures (which is what many Western crazy people do with snowmobiles), they run away and spend the energy they were trying to save. While the first bursts of winter get all the attention, the really stressful time of year is the end for most wintering wildlife. In February, March and April, males and bulls run on their last fat reserves, and they no longer need stress if they want to go to spring and start growing another wood. Hunting in late winter, especially with dogs, can stress big game when they are most vulnerable. Please consider postponing your hunt at the stable until May or June – most deer will leave their winter area, and you may enjoy better hunting conditions. In addition to these legal rules, the ODFW asks scalers to follow these guidelines to protect big game at a time of year when they need to conserve energy to survive the winter: An experienced hunter who knows the secrets of the trade, such as screening in advance where deer hibernate, can earn a good secondary income. Ben Dettamanti, for example, estimates that he earns about $20,000 a year selling sheds.
He more than quadrupled that income by becoming an Instagram “hangar influencer” with 63,500 subscribers and a YouTube video producer. Other scale hunters follow similar online strategies. Unlike game hunting, stable hunting generally does not require a permit. However, Utah now requires scale-hunters to take an “ethics course” before hunting. Once completed, they will receive a permit, which they will have to present if they are stopped by a conservation officer to carry antlers. Without authorization, they risk fines. People in the Midwest, East and South — where it`s legal to pick up deer antlers as soon as they fall — might be shocked to learn that there are actual hunting seasons in many Western states. While this may seem like an exaggeration on the part of the government at first glance, hunting seasons protect wintering animals from harassment by scale-hungry hunters. The increasing demand and value of film, coupled with exposure to digital media, means more scales. As a result, states are responding with new restrictions. But one of the main reasons for the escalating demand for wood is that dogs love them. No one knows why, and dogs won`t explain it, but antlers are supposed to be safer than bones because they`re less likely to chip and pose a choking hazard to dogs.
People who collect scales and horns are subject to fines in some parts of the United States. Image credit: Chamois Huntress / Shutterstock.com If you do a little post-season, you might encounter a nest or two wooden scales. Heck, you`ll probably be tempted to pick it up and keep it, especially if it`s a big piece of bone that elicits a lot of “oooos” and “ahhhhs” from your hunter friends. I first heard about “wood traps” a few years ago and immediately thought, “This is crazy.” If you`re not familiar with scaled traps, they come in a variety of forms, but it`s usually a mesh of metal rods or bungee ropes placed on a bait. The purpose of the scale sensor is for a hungry male (whose antlers are of course ready to jump) to grab the bait, get tangled in the trap and, while the deer moves away from the trap, leave his antlers behind. Most states prohibit the collection of skull antlers unless hunters can prove they legally killed the animal, such as with a hunting tag. Otherwise, it could be considered poaching. The scales hunt seems like a great way to exercise while engaging in a humble scavenger hunt. Keep in mind, however, that it`s hard to get rich as a scale hunter, and you can hike all day without finding a single shed. So, while you can earn a few bucks, it`s best to focus on the health benefits. Sounds ridiculous? Well, sure, but apparently, the hangar fall is serious enough that state wildlife agencies, like the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, had to pass laws banning devices. So if your addiction to weighing has become so severe that you`re considering methods to rip antlers off a male`s head before he`s ready to give them up, don`t do it.
Several states prohibit the use of “wood traps,” devices designed to catch and lift off antlers from a deer. And be sure to check what the laws are in your state. You want your activity to be legal.