A growing number of people take to the woods in winter, looking for antlers that have been shed by Oregon’s deer and elk. This also is a critical time for big game, and shed hunting responsibly can help protect vulnerable animals.
As big game hunting seasons end, another season begins: shed hunting.
Sheds are deer and elk antlers that are naturally “shed” by deer and elk in winter and early spring. Some shed hunters look for sheds as a way to scout for where animals might be during fall hunting season. Others collect sheds to make chandeliers or other crafts.
You don't need a license or permit to hunt for sheds, but in order to deter poaching there are a few rules:
In addition to these legal rules, ODFW asks shed hunters to follow these guidelines to help protect big game animals during a time of year when they need to be conserving energy to make it through the winter:
Oregon’s buck deer shed their antlers from late December through March and bull elk shed them from late February through early April. Antlers begin re-growing soon after they are shed, with most growth happening in spring and summer months. The antlers are covered by “velvet” throughout this growth period, before hardening to bone in late July-early August for elk and late August-early September for deer. This makes antlers ready in time for breeding season (in September for elk and November for deer), when male deer or elk will fight for dominance using their antlers.
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