Friday, February 3, 2012

Shed Antler Gathering, and Some More Bucks on Film

 To start off for all you dads, this is how you "watch the kids" when your wife goes out for a night with her friends: 

Now back to business, ha ha!

Well I've finally spotted a couple of bucks right here in town that have shed one antler each!  Although they by no means were big bucks, it gets me excited to think about long days hiking the lower hills in search of sheds.  I did manage to get in a couple of short hikes this week, and I did run into a few does but most of the sign looks like the deer have started to move back a little higher with these warm temperatures we have had.  I did spot a couple of bigger bucks right in town last night that are still packing as well.  So, maybe we are still a couple of weeks out for this, but I know it's on the minds of several outdoors men and women right now.  In fact, I can't count the tweets I have seen on Twitter and status updates on Facebook this past week as people are preparing to get out and search the hills for the sheds of the big bucks they have been watching.  I hope to continue to get out and search the next few weeks, and in fact have a trip planned to northern Arizona at the end of the month.
Photo Courtesy of Spenser Owens

As for hunting sheds in Utah, remember if you gather sheds between February 1st and April 15th you need to take the Antler Gathering course, which is free and can be done online at:
The course is very simple, 23 questions that deal with ethics, winter stress on deer herds, and habitat protection.  I took the course today and completed it (100% is needed to pass) in about 5 minutes, then printed the certificate.  I have heard a lot of complaints about the requirement to complete this course for antler gathering during this period of time.  Yes, it may be a slight inconvenience to sit down and complete it, in fact in years past it has slipped my mind until I'm about half way into the season.  However I think there are some very good reminders for everyone.  I really don't think that we have a huge problem with people chasing animals until their antlers fall off, or stressing them to the point of starvation, but it never fails that I run into a spot where a muddy road has been torn up, or a muddy flat has been zigzagged by an ATV by someone that just couldn't get off and walk.  Now, I don't think that the habitat is being rapidly destroyed in every case, but I do see how this causes a ripple effect that adversely effects our ability to access public lands.  I hate road closures and "travel management" on public grounds with a passion!  I believe that we have a right to access our public lands!  However, I can see how the actions of a few irresponsible people can cause the government to make some of the decisions that they do.  Please do your best to stay on roads an trails!  If they are very muddy an nasty, do your best to stay off until they dry out.  Let's not give land management agencies the ammunition they need to keep closing off our public lands.  I could go off on the subject of travel management on public lands all day, I guess that is a topic for it's own post another day!  So, I'll get back on topic!

Please feel free to share your photos of your shed gathering success with us!  You can email photos to me or share them on our Facebook page,

As for the elk...a lot of people have been asking me when they drop around here, well you still have a couple of months.  They will begin dropping in March, and continue on through April.  Unless this weather changes I have a hunch we will find their sheds at a lot higher elevations than in past years. 

Now for a treat, check out a few more bucks captured on film by Spenser Owens, of Panguitch, Utah.  These are some dandy mulies!  Hopefully Spenser has some photos of their sheds to submit to us in the weeks to come!  Also, check out this badger that my good friend Louie Bernardo, of Escalante, Utah caught in his trap recently.  If any of you would like to share your trapping success from the season so far, feel free to send those photos and stories in as well.  Until next time, get out in the outdoors and make some great memories!

These will be nice bucks next year!

Louie Bernardo with a nice looking badger!