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Reminder: Antler gathering closure remains in SE and Upper Snake regions until April 15

Temporary antler hunting closure Q&A 

Q. Is this closure statewide? 

A. No, it only applies to the Upper Snake and Southeast Regions. 

Q. What are the new restrictions related to possession and transportation of antlers? 

A. Searching for, locating, or gathering shed antlers from deer, elk and moose and antlers from deer, elk and moose that have died from natural causes is prohibited in the Upper Snake Region and the Southeast Region between Jan. 1, 2024 and April 14, 2024. The temporary closure includes caching, marking locations with GPS, and the use of unmanned aircraft systems to locate antlers. 

Q. Can a person be cited for violating the closure? 

A. Yes, it can result in a misdemeanor citation. 

Q. Does this apply to private lands? 

A. No, the law does not apply to a private landowner or his/her designee on land leased or owned by that person. 

Q. Why not close winter ranges to all human entry when so many other activities can disturb wintering big game herds? 

A. Fish and Game authority is limited to fishing and hunting-based activities. Authority over access to public lands lies with the land management agency. 

Q. Will this closure happen every year? 

A. No. The intent is to protect wintering big game during or after extreme winters, and to help them recover more quickly. Future closures will depend on future winter conditions. 

A quick history of antler gathering closures/seasons

Antler hunting and gathering and its impact on wintering big game has been discussed for decades in Idaho, and the 2024 closure is not the first. 

In 1994, the Fish and Game Commission instituted an antler gathering season in a portion of the Upper Snake Region, and in 1998, the commission expanded it to include the Southeast Region. That season was rescinded in 2002 because the Commissions authority over wildlife parts was not clearly defined by state statute. 

The state of Wyoming instituted an antler gathering closure along and near the Idaho border in 1997, and Wyoming expanded that area in 2020. Since 1997, Nevada and Colorado set annual  antler gathering closures in portions of each state, and Utah set antler gathering closures during the severe winters of 2017 and 2023.

Last winter, the Idaho Legislature passed a bill that gave the Commission authority to seasonally restrict the possession, transportation, and collection of antlers. The legislation was at the request of hunters and other people concerned about big game herds being disturbed on winter range.