Baggs Game Warden Kim Olson encountered individuals Easter Weekend hunting for shed antlers in closed areas.
"Shed antler or horn hunting is closed west of the Continental Divide and, if you are near Baggs, that means pretty much any area north of Baggs is closed to shed antler or horn gathering through April 30," Olson said. "Areas such as the Sandhills, Wild Horse and Cow Butte are closed to the collecting of shed antlers and horns. In order to hunt sheds legally, one needs to be north of mile-marker 12 on U.S. Highway 789. An easy way to view the boundaries of the Continental Divide is by simply looking at a Wyoming state highway map. When in doubt, give the Green River Region Game and Fish Office a call at 1-800-843-8096 if you can't get hold of your local game warden or biologist."
The purpose of the regulation is to minimize harassment or disturbance of big game animals on their winter and spring ranges when animals are most vulnerable to stress, as well as potential displacement to less productive habitats.
Under the regulation, shed antler gathering is prohibited on public lands west of the Continental Divide betweenJan. 1 and April, 30, excluding the Great Divide Basin. Public lands are defined as federal lands and lands owned or administered by the Game and Fish Commission. In 2012, the Wyoming Board of Land Commissioners approved an annual restriction prohibiting the collection of shed antlers between Jan. 1 andApril 30 on all parcels of land under their jurisdiction. These lands are often referred to as "state lands" and are usually blue-colored on land status maps.
The regulation was made possible by legislation (W.S. 23-1-302) passed by the 2009 Wyoming Legislature that gave the Game and Fish Commission authority to regulate and control the collection of shed antlers and horns of big game animals west of the Continental Divide. To review a copy of Chapter 61 Collection of Shed Antlers and Horns, please go to http://wgfd.wyo.gov and click on Hunting/Regulations tab.