Shed hunting has become more and more popular every year, and with more participants come more rules. In Wyoming, shed hunting season West of the continental divide begins on May 1st. There are many feed grounds in western Wyoming where elk congregate and shed their antlers. By May 1st many of these elk are dispersed or beginning to disperse back to summer areas. In multiple areas across the West, midnight of May 1st is a common start time for many shed hunting areas. Hundreds of people line up at the fence and wait for the official start of the race for horns. This is very difficult to enforce because people glass up sheds days prior and then sneak in before the official opening to claim their “horns”.
Also, reports from many wildlife management areas across the West claimed that people are sneaking around these areas ahead of time caching antlers. When the opening day of shed season arrives, these people simply hike in to their hidden antler piles and haul out a backpack full of sheds ahead of the competition.
The nature of shed hunting seasons with midnight openers makes it very difficult for law enforcement to patrol so Game and Fish has decided to bump up the start of the shed season from midnight to noon on May 1st. Their hope is to make the opener easier to patrol and make it more difficult for people to sneak in ahead of time under the cover of darkness. We’ll see how it works. This rule change has received equal praise and criticism from what I’ve seen. The most common argument is that shed hunters won’t have enough time to cover the ground they want to with the amount of daylight hours remaining after noon. Others, think it’s a great idea and will make the start of the season more transparent. I just have to shake my head, as more and more people cheat the system rules and regulations will become more and more strict. What do you think?