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Bighorn skull and horn recovery legal in Montana

Bighorn Sheep

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Montana recently approved a bill that makes it legal to collect bighorn sheep skulls and horns. Senate Bill 344 permits anyone who finds the skulls or horns of a bighorn sheep that died of natural causes to now keep them rather than turn them into authorities, KULR8.com reports. This is great news for shed hunters who might stumble upon these when out in the backcountry; however, it does come with some stipulations.

Anyone who finds either the skull or horns of a bighorn sheep is required to report the find to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MFWP) within 48 hours and bring it into a MFWP office for inspection and plugging within 10 days – a process that will cost you $25, according to KULR8.com. In addition, it’s still prohibited to keep bighorn skulls or horns if you find them in a state park or the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. Other restrictions also apply to national parks and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service lands.

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MFWP holds the right to stop bighorn sheep skull and horn recovery an area have confirmed disease-related die-offs. Also, Remember that “natural caused death does not include animals that were accidentally killed, captured, taken or struck by a vehicle,” according to KULR8.com. If you do happen to find a skull or horns, remember that recovered bighorn sheep skulls and horns cannot be sold, bartered or purchased and, if you want to transfer ownership to another person, you are required to obtain a permit from MFWP. To do so without a permit or to sell, barter or purchase them illegally will result in a hefty fine and possible forfeiture of your hunting, fishing and trapping privileges.

1 Comment

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SETH D. - posted 2 months ago on 05-11-2019 12:27:42 pm
Sunny New Mexico
goHUNT INSIDER

Here in New Mexico that would be illegal. It is meant to curb poaching. As a poacher can boil or rot a skull clean and display it.

I am not sure how I feel about it.

I was in Yellowstone one spring and I found a big moose skull that was starting to recede from the ice. It had been a winter kill. I threw it in a lake, I figured if it wasn't legal for me to have it, no else needed to have it either. It is or was illegal at the time to remove anything from a national park. I reckon I will continue to do this until they change the law.