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Idaho State News

Fish & Game Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Emergency Closures on Antler Hunting/Gathering

RPhillips | IDFG

BOISE – Idaho Fish and Game opened a public comment period on Sept. 18 regarding proposed shed antler hunting/gathering closures on public lands during and after severe winters. People can comment on a public input webpage. 

Partially due to the severe winter of 2022-23 in eastern Idaho, the Idaho Legislature passed Senate Bill 1143 that gives the Idaho Fish and Game Commission authority to seasonally restrict the possession, transportation, and collection (including searching for, locating, and gathering) of naturally shed antlers and horns and antlers and horns from animals that have died from natural causes. That authority does not apply to private lands.

Fish and Game is gathering public input before the Commission considers any antler hunting/gathering seasons. The deadline to comment is Oct. 9 at 6 p.m. MDT.

People entering big game winter ranges during severe winters put additional stress on animals struggling to survive. Shed antler hunting/gathering closures enacted by the  Commission would be designed to reduce that source of stress on wintering wildlife.

Depending on winter severity and impacts to big game populations, a closure could be kept in place for the winter following a severe event to increase big game winter survival and help herds recover more quickly.