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Citing harassment of wildlife, Wyoming officials consider a ban on 'antler hunting'

November 18, 2009 | 12:55 pm

Wildlife officials in Wyoming are considering implementing a ban on the practice of "antler hunting" from January to April. Antler hunting doesn't involve killing wildlife; instead, "hunters" just gather the antlers the animals shed naturally. Even so, officials say the practice can amount to harassment of wildlife and be detrimental to the animals' welfare. Our colleague DeeDee Correll has the story; here's an excerpt:

Antlers2 As a boy, Terry Reach used to traipse the land around his Pinedale, Wyo., home, searching for antlers shed by deer and elk.

It was a solitary pastime; he never saw anyone else, and he always found plenty of antlers, which he'd drag home and pile in the yard.

But now, each winter, western Wyoming is thick with people intent on snatching up as many antlers as they can find. They follow the bucks, waiting for them to shed their impressive headgear. Sometimes people chase the animals in all-terrain vehicles or on snowmobiles, believing the exertion will force them to drop their antlers.

"They run the wildlife off," said Reach, 53.

Such tactics, say Wyoming officials, can be destructive for deer and elk struggling to survive the lean winter months. Already starving, they can use up their reserves pushing through deep snow to avoid humans.

Now Wyoming is considering a ban on the popular activity from January through April, the months when the herds are most vulnerable.


Photo: A chandelier made from antlers in Cheyenne, Wyo.  Credit: Mead Gruver / Associated Press

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