ELKO — Shed antler gatherers in several Nevada counties including Elko County must adhere to a shed hunting season after the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners approved restrictions.
Collecting shed antlers in Elko, Eureka, Lander, Lincoln, Nye and White Pine is prohibited from Jan. 1 through April 30 each year, effective this year. Shed hunting is still open year-round in the other 11 counties in Nevada.
The goal is to allow deer and elk herds in eastern and central Nevada to use their critical winter range habitats without being disturbed, the Nevada Department of Wildlife stated in a release.
“As shed hunting becomes more popular each year, mounting pressure from shed hunters has forced animals to move onto sub-par habitat and expend crucial energy reserves during critical winter months,” NDOW stated.
The regulation, approved in January, originated from the eastern Nevada County Advisory Boards to Manage Wildlife, which “have the most concentrated deer and elk winter ranges, most severe winters, and the heaviest shed hunting pressure,” according to NDOW.
The draft rule requested restrictions extend from January to the end of March; however, the Elko County Advisory Board to Manage Wildlife recommended lengthening the closure through the end of April.
“The reasoning is that in March and April there is a lot of soft ground, and sage hen are mating, elk are migrating,” said Bert Gurr, chairman of the local advisory committee earlier this year. “We decided it would be better if we went to May 1.”
Shed hunting is also creating increased traffic around big game winter ranges and results in habitat impacts and road degradation on both private and public lands, NDOW reported. The combination of animal disturbance and habitat degradation was the basis for the regulation.
Last year, Nevada saw a significant increase in shed hunting pressure when, due to extreme winter conditions and deep snows, Utah closed its shed antler hunting season in an effort to reduce stress on deer, elk and moose to help more animals make it through harsh winter.