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Breaking: Nevada’s new shed antler hunting restrictions

 

Nevada's new shed hunting season restrictions
Photo credit: Seth Webb

We had a call earlier this morning directly with the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) to confirm the new shed hunting season restrictions in Nevada. The shed season is currently in effect in six counties in Nevada. You can see their official statement from NDOW at the bottom of this article.

While working on Nevada application strategy articles in late January, I was talking with goHUNT’s Outfitter and Partnership Manager, Dennis Lee and he mentioned that he caught wind of a new shed hunting season in Nevada. After some digging in early February, I found the Nevada Department of Wildlife’s January Commission Meeting Agenda that was conducted on January 26 and published January 31, 2018, on YouTube

Back in November of 2017, goHUNT reported that Nevada was considering a new shed season. You can read more on the preliminary report here.

Nevada’s new shed hunting season rules

"A person shall not take or gather shed antlers from or on any public land located in Elko, Eureka, Lander, Lincoln, Nye or White Pine counties at any time from January 1 to April 30, inclusive." Shed hunting is still open year-round in the other 11 counties in Nevada. Shed antlers means any antlers which have been naturally shed by any big game mammal in this State.

Screenshot from commission reports on Nevada shed hunting season

Screenshot from the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners report. Original file can be found here.
 
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A few highlights from the commission meeting:

When will this go into effect?

The new shed season is currently in effect in Nevada.

The only confusing part is if you watch the commission meeting in the video on YouTube below, the following information was reported from Game Warden Tyler Turnipseed at the 28:22 mark, “It wouldn’t actually legally go into effect until the legislative commission approves it. They don’t schedule their meetings until they’ve got enough regulations to speak to. My guess is that would be sometime in February or March...so then we’d be in a little bit of a question of, do we go ahead and roll this out even though it would go into effect in the middle of the closure time? And I guess my answer to that would be, we would ease into it gently you know, we’re not going to rush out this first year and scratch a bunch of tickets, especially since right now our winter seams fairly mild. If it were enacted during the middle of the season closure we’d probably take a more aggressive stance next year with it but go softly into it this year.”

Note: Keep in mind that quote was from January 26 and a lot has happened since that meeting. But it's definitely true that the shed season is in effect right now in six Nevada counties for the 2018 season.

It should be worth noting that the shed antler law passed unanimously 7-0.

Even though the shed law was passed unanimously, I felt it was best to not leak this article out there right away and wait until I had all the facts straight and a report from NDOW themselves. Back in early February, the details were a little fuzzy with the discussion that this new law wouldn't go into effect until the legislative commission approved it, which they now have approved the law. I'd rather stick to accuracy first on a new law as important as this.

You can watch the commission meeting below.

 

Official statement from NDOW

We’ve been in direct contact with NDOW and received the following press release early this morning:

Nevada shed antler season press release 

Wildlife Commission Adopts Shed Antler Regulation

The Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners has approved a new regulation that prohibits the taking or gathering of shed antlers from public land in Elko, Eureka, Lander, Lincoln, Nye or White Pine counties from January 1 - April 30 each year.

The regulation originated from petitions coming out of the eastern Nevada County Advisory Boards to Manage Wildlife (CABMW). These eastern Nevada CABMW have the most concentrated deer and elk winter ranges, most severe winters, and the heaviest shed hunting pressure. 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 utilize their critical winter range habitats without being disturbed. 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.

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. It was the combination of animal disturbance and habitat degradation that 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 their shed antler hunting season in an effort to reduce stress on deer, elk and moose to help more animals make it through harsh winter.

The closure was extended through April in an attempt to lessen habitat degradation and disturbance on breeding sage grouse.

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18 Comments

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Brady Miller
Brady M. - posted 2 months ago on 04-05-2018 01:09:41 pm
Las Vegas, NV
goHUNT Team

@Jade - I just wanted to take a second and thank you for your well thought out and detailed comment. Very, very well said!

gelskeyjade
Jade M. - posted 2 months ago on 04-05-2018 01:02:41 pm

Kent S. Great points!! I full agree that there are already laws in place to deal with harassment. It still is totally legal to hike, bike, run, mountain lion hunt, coyote hunt, hunt other animals (60+ hunts overlap the reg), snowmobile, picknick, 4 wheel etc. the list goes on! All of those activities can happen in the same areas where deer and elk are wintering. Only one group, the shed hunters are being targeted in this closure and its not appropriate.

Also, no one has produced real evidence that shed hunting is affecting herd mortality. Deer have been in slow decline for many many years, even before the boom in shed hunting. Elk and other game animals (antelope etc.) are at their highest surviving levels ever! NDOW has multiplied their tag quotas for some elk hunts x3 in the last 10 years. We have incredible Elk herds who are clearly doing great!

Tyler Turnipseed (Chief Game Warden) said in 2017 on an NDOW official release that "Shed hunting is a lot of fun, and if people do it carefully and on foot, it can have little to no impact on wildlife and habitat," said Turnipseed. " (http://www.ndow.org/Shed-Hunters-Urged-Respect-Wildlife-Habitat/) I would agree with him on this. In all the years I have been shed hunting I have never seen anyone harassing animals. If there are cases of it, NDOW can already deal with it through current NRS-Laws. It would be like saying that due to a few bad apples who harrass animals or poach during hunting season, no one should be able to hunt ethically...NDOW has no issue dealing with those few unethical hunters while allowing the rest of us who hunt ethically, to continue. Why can we not do the same for shed hunting?

I would encourage anyone who does not want this reg to continue to get in touch with our representatives and get this thing repealed. If you need contact info and a form letter, email: shedhuntnevada@gmail.com

Kent S. - posted 2 months ago on 04-01-2018 01:38:42 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

I don’t get why this law was even made. They say it’s so people don’t disturb wildlife in wintering ranges. First of all, it’s already illegal to harass wildlife. And if they worried about people just being in the wintering areas, why don’t they ban access to these areas? People are still hiking, walking dogs, and enjoying these areas. They can say what they want, but it’s all just a way to regulate more outdoor activities. The honest guys will stay home. The guys who were harassing wildlife will still be out there, but the honest guys won’t be there to report harassment and illegal motorized vehicles.

The way I look at it is animals will be just as harassed if not more than normal, and game wardens will have less eyes in the field. I have yet to see one pro in this law.

Ken N. - posted 3 months ago on 03-06-2018 05:48:07 am

I'm sure that Nevada has got the same problems that Wyoming, Colorado and Idaho have. It's called Utah. We watched them for years ride the winter ranges on snowmobiles , following those bucks around, waiting for them to drop their horns. They have a different mentality when it comes to ethics. It will be up to the sportsman to patrol areas and call in suspicious activity. We still find them flying their ultra lites and supposedly just riding around prior to season openings.

canyoubaitahook
David G. - posted 3 months ago on 03-05-2018 09:38:53 am
Reno, NV
goHUNT INSIDER

I don't believe NDOW has the ability to stop people from accessing public land. There would have to be coordination with the federal land management agencies. I would venture to guess if people continue to go out and shed hunt and just GPS the locations of sheds BLM would close motorized travel for a certain period. I hunt next to an area up in Idaho that has those regulations January - April to protect winter range.

stephen
stephen s. - posted 3 months ago on 03-05-2018 09:26:05 am
goHUNT INSIDER

RussellA. Exactly...

Russell A. - posted 3 months ago on 03-05-2018 05:15:42 am

If they really want to accomplish what they say they they will have to put a full closure on those county areas. I mean, what’s to stop folks from hunting the sheds and just marking the locations with GPS to return to on May 1? The way I see it you are not breaking the law unless you pick them up, right?

stephen
stephen s. - posted 3 months ago on 03-04-2018 08:22:27 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

ZachR. you really want the federal government to step into what should (and is now) a locally managed issue.

Brady Miller
Brady M. - posted 3 months ago on 03-04-2018 01:32:06 pm
Las Vegas, NV
goHUNT Team

@Leif F. - Haha. I like your deep thinking. Our minds must be wired the same :)

Leif F. - posted 3 months ago on 03-04-2018 08:19:51 am
North Dakota
goHUNT INSIDER

It's a good thing you guys included the semicolon in the article's title. Without it, the article sound's like a heavily researched how-to piece on "Breaking Nevada's new shed antler hunting restrictions".

Michael A. - posted 3 months ago on 03-04-2018 07:25:41 am

We have went for rides in the hills during this time of year for ever, people ride snowmobiles all the time. If people picking up sheds that are laying on the ground bother these animals what's next? You have to stay home January thru April? I when out watched wildlife in the winter it bother them in the least, and they stayed right there in their good winter range.

Spencer P. - posted 3 months ago on 03-03-2018 07:39:37 am
goHUNT INSIDER

@Brady- Thanks Brady. Hopefully it’ll keep people out of the hills.

SCOTT R. - posted 3 months ago on 03-02-2018 10:12:46 pm
Reno, NV
goHUNT INSIDER

Oh ya.....I read this awesome article. It was the guy that killed like the second biggest typical in history of Colorado 1950's....2nd or 3rd...big ass buck....Story goes, he shoots the deer, skins it out, takes the meat, hangs the antlers in a tree and leaves em. Mind you a 220+ buck. One of the ranchers finds the antlers 2 years later and brings em to him....he laughs, oh ya I killed that buck a year or two ago. Just throw the antlers in the shed. REAL HUNTERS are DEAD!

SCOTT R. - posted 3 months ago on 03-02-2018 09:59:23 pm
Reno, NV
goHUNT INSIDER

I like to shed hunt as much as the next guy.......problem is humans are humans......guys go out and turn it into a competition. Who gets the biggest sheds, who gets the most sheds....yada yada yada......all the sudden hundreds of guys are in the field all year. The good ol' days. Men hunted in blue jeans and Carharts not Kuiu/Sitka. Men actually hunted. Guys are spending 30-40,000 dollars to hunt big mullies. Its out of control. And now it comes to this.....................

Brady Miller
Brady M. - posted 3 months ago on 03-02-2018 04:40:30 pm
Las Vegas, NV
goHUNT Team

@Spencer - I wanted to put that quote in this article from the Game Warden in the January Commision meeting on YouTube, as they themselves at the time were unsure how they were going to enforce this in the 2018 year. But the law is definitely in effect right now. I talked to NDOW this morning about it. Like you said, it is tough for them to get the information out there to everyone for the 2018 year, especially since most people are used to shed hunting all year in Nevada. It is interesting that they decided to run it this year, instead of just adding it to the regulations so people will see the new rule and start it in 2019.

Spencer P. - posted 3 months ago on 03-02-2018 04:34:25 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

This article is a little confusing. It says it’s currently in effect. Then it says It’s not actually law yet. Then they say they’re not really gonna enforce it this year? Why would they say that? Nobody is going to take it serious. As it is they are stretched so thin to begin with they are gonna have a hell of a time enforcing this even if they wanted to. Just like Utah last year, this will only keep the honest people honest, and maybe not even then unless they come out and say it’s law and it will be enforced.

Spencer P. - posted 3 months ago on 03-02-2018 04:29:57 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

So it’s not in effect yet?

Zack R. - posted 3 months ago on 03-02-2018 11:36:12 am
Colorado
goHUNT INSIDER

That’s great. I would like to see the federal government ban the sale of shed antlers. I imagine it will come to that before long.