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Antler hunting could be regulated in the Basin

WORLAND – The tradition of searching for recently shed antlers in the spring may be in jeopardy as the Wyoming Legislature passed and the governor signed House Bill 28, allowing the Game and Fish to regulate shed gathering in much of Wyoming.

According to Wyoming Game and Fish Public Outreach Specialist Sara DiRienzo, “What House Bill 0028 did is it gave the Wyoming Game and Fish commission to regulate antler hunting west of I-25 and I-90. It gives the authority to promulgate regulation that would regulate the shed antler hunting in more of the state.”

Wyoming State Representative Mike Greear (R, Worland), stated that he was not in favor of the bill. “I voted no all the way through. Several years ago we passed a bill that allowed the Game and Fish to regulate shed antlers and horn gathering west of the Continental Divide. (The current regulation specifies that horn hunting is not permitted from Jan. 1 through May 1.)”

Greear added, “This year they came back, there were two different pieces of legislation on this, one of them died early in the house. The other one, HB0028, went through and what it was, was to allow Game and Fish to regulate shed antlers and horn gathering throughout the state of Wyoming. When it got all said and done, it ran the interstate. So it went over to the Senate and they said everything west of I-90 to Buffalo then I-25.”

Greear said. “Even with that amendment I didn’t want it because I know a lot of folks that go up and gather sheds in the Big Horns. My reason for voting no is because I didn’t think that we need to regulate people more, plain and simple. In particular, I didn’t want to regulate my constituents in the Big Horn Mountains. I know people who go up and gather sheds all the time, it’s no big deal.”

The bill itself states, “To regulate and control the collection of shed antlers and horns of big game animals for the purpose of minimizing the harassment or disturbance of big game populations on public lands west of Interstate 90 from the Wyoming-Montana state line to Buffalo and west of Interstate 25 from Buffalo to the Wyoming-Colorado state line any time during the year, subject to the provisions for bighorn sheep horns in W.S. 23-3-117.”

DiRienzo stated that the Wyoming Game and Fish will begin drafting regulation this summer and it will go through the same process as all the other regulations. The draft proposal will be available for public comment and presented to the commission late summer/ early fall.

“I don’t know, didn’t sound like that big of a problem to me. If you look at the digest, it passed out of the House with like about 40 votes, so that’s like two-thirds. In the Senate, the same way, there were like 11 no votes on it out of 30. Typically, if something is a really good idea you see them with much, much larger majorities. I thought it was an unnecessary regulation, I didn’t see where the problem was and I most certainly didn’t think it was an issue in the Big Horns,” Greear stated.

Representative John Winter (R, Thermopolis) voted against the bill. Representative Jamie Flitner (R, Greybull) voted in favor of the bill and Senator Wyatt Agar (R, Thermopolis) voted in favor of the bill. All were unavailable for comment by press time.