Idaho Fish and Game seeks help crafting shed hunting rule

Sep. 22—The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is in the initial phase of crafting a rule that would allow it to close shed hunting in areas hammered by harsh winters.

The agency will take public comments on the idea through 5 p.m. Oct. 9.

The rule, contemplated to be used only in emergency situations, was influenced by unusually deep snow that blanketed southeastern Idaho last winter.

The snow lingered into spring, a time when many people like to break cabin fever, get outside and collect antlers shed by deer and elk. Officials feared people looking for sheds might put even more stress on herds that already were struggling. Compounding the worry, some neighboring states had enacted shed hunting closures that were driving people to the Gem State.

Most people shed hunt for fun. But collecting antlers also can be lucrative. By some estimates, shed hunting generates more than $1 billion annually in North America. That drives some people to engage in questionable activity, like harassing deer and elk that have not yet dropped their antlers, that further threatens stressed animals.

Last spring, the Idaho Legislature passed Senate Bill 1143 that gives the Idaho Fish and Game Commission and the department authority to implement emergency closures.

The department now is writing a rule that would govern how and when closures would be enacted and asking for the public to weigh in. Those who would like to comment may do so at

Barker may be contacted at or at (208) 848-2273. Follow him on Twitter @ezebarker.