IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - Idaho Fish and Game will open a public comment period on Monday, Sept. 18 regarding proposed shed antler hunting/gathering closures on public lands during and after severe winters.
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.
The Fish and Game Commission will gather public input before setting any antler hunting/gathering seasons. Fish and Game will begin public scoping on Sept. 18 here. 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 Fish and Game 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.