Antler Hunting in the Jackson area
Many areas open May 1st
by Wyoming Game & Fish
April 24, 2006
Jackson) May 1st marks the start of a popular sport in northwestern Wyoming - antler hunting. Although there is no antler hunting season in Wyoming, many big game winter ranges in the Jackson area are closed to human presence from December 1st *April 30th to protect animals from being stressed during these critical months.
Big game winter ranges occur on a variety of land including private, county, state and federally owned lands. It is important for antler hunters to be sure of any access restrictions where they plan to go.
Many big game wintering areas in the Jackson area occur on lands managed by the Bridger Teton National Forest, which open to public access at 8:00 am, May 1st. A winter travel map outlining all of the restricted areas on the forest can be obtained from the Jackson Visitor Center or Jackson Forest Service offices.
While there is no antler hunting allowed on the National Elk Refuge, access to adjacent Forest Service lands is allowed through the Refuge, also starting at 8:00 am, May 1st.
It is legal for anyone to collect naturally shed antlers in Wyoming. However, if the antlers are still attached to the skull, they cannot be collected before first notifying a Wyoming Game and Fish officer, even if it appears to be a road killed animal. The reason for this is to make sure it is not an illegal kill, or poaching incident. Then the skull must be tagged with an Interstate Game Tag showing that it has been legally taken. This may be done by a Game Warden or at any Game and Fish office.
Naturally shed antlers that have been legally obtained do not have to be tagged by a Game and Fish official, even if you plan to sell them in Wyoming.
Antler, or "horn," hunting, is a long-standing tradition in Wyoming and across the West. It provides a great reason to get out and hike after a long winter, and finding an antler or two can be a great thrill. However, people are encouraged to remember that the winter closures have been established for good reason. Even though spring is clearly in sight, it is important that wildlife not be pushed or stressed at this time of year, as their energy reserves are already at their lowest. For more information, contact the nearest Game & Fish office.