Antler Collection Changes & Be Bear Aware

Shed antler hunters and other recreationists out on May 1 should be aware of changes to the opening time for collection of shed antlers on public lands. The shed antler collection regulation, which was amended by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission in November, 2020, requires that antler collection on public lands begins at 6 a.m. on May 1. Accordingly, Wyoming Game and Fish Department wildlife habitat management areas (WHMAs) in the Jackson and Pinedale regions will also open at 6 a.m. on May 1. (This opening time and date does not apply to some WHMAs in other parts of the state.)

This includes Jackson Region WHMAs such as South Park, Horse Creek, Camp Creek and Grey's River (Alpine); and Pinedale Region WHMAs such as Soda Lake, Luke Lynch, Half Moon and Fall Creek. This also means anglers will be able to access Soda Lake for fishing at 6 a.m. on May 1. 

Collection of shed antlers means 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 during the closed season. A violation of this regulation carries the same penalties as many other Game and Fish violations.

Users are reminded to stay on designated travel routes and obey all signs. If roads become too wet due to spring moisture, users are asked to avoid traveling those roads to reduce resource damage.

Antler collection on Wyoming state lands will also open at 6 a.m. on May 1 in those areas where the antler regulation applies. More details on antler collection regulations and maps are available on the Game and Fish website.

Recreationists are also reminded to be bear aware while in the field. It is recommended to hike in a group and make noise as you travel so bears can hear you, especially in thick cover or near streams. Learn to recognize areas of heavy bear use by knowing how to identify tracks, scats and diggings, and if you smell a carcass, avoid it. Flocks of magpies or ravens often indicate a nearby potential food source for bears. Remember, when bears scavenge large animals they often cover what they can’t eat with brush or dirt and may stay nearby for several days to defend it from other bears.

Commercially available bear spray is effective for stopping aggressive bears. Use bear spray only as a deterrent and as a last resort to avoiding a physical encounter. Carry bear spray in a readily accessible manner and make sure the spray is EPA approved. 

For more information on how to stay safe in bear country visit the Bear Wise Wyoming website.

Mark Gocke, Public Information Specialist, 307-249-5811

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