Idaho Fish & Game Seeking Comments on Winter Antler Gathering Closures

October 2, 2023 By: Amber Kornak

Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) is accepting public comments regarding proposed shed antler hunting/gathering closures on public lands during and after severe winters. Earlier this year, the Idaho Legislature passed Senate Bill 1143, which gives the Idaho Fish and Game Commission (Commission) the 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 deadline to comment is October 9th, 2023 at 6 p.m. MDT. CLICK HERE to submit a comment.

Any form of recreation on big game winter ranges during severe winters can put additional stress on animals struggling to survive. The purpose of a shed antler hunting/gathering closures enacted by the Commission is 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. 

The National Deer Association (NDA) encourages our Idaho members and supporters to comment on proposed emergency antler and horn gathering closures. The NDA is supportive of seasonal, emergency closures of shed antler hunting/gathering on public lands to assist wildlife in surviving the harshest winters. The stress of being pushed by antler hunters can be hard on a deer that is already under stress from weather, post-rut fatigue, and winter’s limited food supply. Conserving limited fat stores and energy supplies is the key to late-winter survival for deer.

About Amber Kornak:

Amber Kornak is a Policy Intern with the National Deer Association. She received her bachelor's degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Science from Oregon State University. She has 8 years of wildlife experience working with big game animals such as bears, deer and elk. Amber is an outdoor enthusiast currently residing in Northwest Montana.