© 2024 Wyoming Public Media
800-729-5897 | 307-766-4240
Wyoming Public Media is a service of the University of Wyoming
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Transmission & Streaming Disruptions

Researcher says with rule change local shed hunters may return to areas they previously avoided

Shed hunters enjoy the sunny day after finding their antlers.
Natalie Behring
Shed hunters enjoy the sunny day after finding their antlers.

This year, Wyoming residents will get a one week head start collecting antlers on some public lands near Jackson Hole and Pinedale. Non residents will also be required to purchase a conservation stamp to shed hunt on designated lands.

The rule changes came partly out of concern that out of state residents are trying to make a profit from antlers. And as a result, crowds out locals.

Preliminary resultsfrom the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem antler study show that with the one week lead time locals may return to areas they haven’t shed hunted recently. The study also showed that profit seeking behavior was not a big factor motivating out-of-state shed hunters.

Sam Maher is a Ph.D. candidate at UC Berkeley and the lead researcher for the antler study.

Survey findings indicate that about half of in-state and out-of-state shed hunters have sold antlers in the past. Of all the antlers both groups collected last year only about 20 percent were actually sold.

“We found that profit seeking behavior actually played a much smaller role than we originally thought it would and it didn’t seem to be distinguishing Wyoming residents from out-of-state folks,” she said.

More than 90 percent of Wyoming respondents reported changing their hunting behavior in recent years. Some are shed hunting less while others are going to different locations to find antlers.

But this upcoming shed hunting season, Maher says it may be different.

“You might see people who had previously been avoiding feed grounds or previously avoiding certain sites or not going out right when the closures are lifted. Those people might be coming back in and filling in those gaps,” she said.

Researchers will be surveying shed hunters again this season for year two of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem antler study.

Olivia Weitz is based at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody. She covers Yellowstone National Park, wildlife, and arts and culture throughout the region. Olivia’s work has aired on NPR and member stations across the Mountain West. She is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound and the Transom story workshop. In her spare time, she enjoys skiing, cooking, and going to festivals that celebrate folk art and music.
Related Content