Shed-antler hunters are reminded to check site-specific regulations and opening dates before venturing afield.
Montana Wildlife Management Areas are closed to public use after hunting season and do not reopen until springtime. Many WMAs open at noon on May 15. It is illegal to enter a state WMA prior to its formal opening day.
Collecting antler sheds or other natural objects is prohibited in Montana State Parks.
It’s critical that dogs be kept on a leash when deer and elk are present and not chase them. The stress of a chase alone can eventually lead to the death of the animal.
Pets can be injured or killed while attempting to take down an animal big or small, and dog owners may be cited for permitting a dog to harass wildlife.
Buck deer and bull elk and moose grow antlers each year, some to magnificent size, which drop off to regrow each spring. Hunting for and collecting these “shed” antlers in spring has become a popular activity.
Many of Montana’s WMAs provide security to wintering wildlife during the most vulnerable time of the year. It’s important to remember that WMAs provide vital, protected winter range for deer and elk. And this is the time of year these animals are the most stressed.
To learn more about Montana’s WMAs—and to confirm specific opening dates—visit FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov. Click “Fish & Wildlife” then click “Wildlife Management Areas.”