The winter of 2016/2017 has been a winter for the ages so far. This is great news for our reservoirs and water sources, but it is bad news for the deer herds throughout much of the west.
The months of January – May are such important and vital months for the deer herds. These few short months can determine the health of any deer herd for years to come. These are the months that the animals are most vulnerable to stress, poachers, disease and malnutrition. These are also the months where we need to do our part in not increasing these risks to the deer herds.
Obviously this is the time of the year where many of us hit the winter range in search of antlers that have fallen from those incredible animals that eluded us during the previous hunting season. Shed hunting has become a very popular activity and it has also (sadly) become a very lucrative business. It seems that any activity that involves money brings out the scum of the community and it can also tempt the most honorable outdoors-man to bend the rules or come to the point where they don’t think the law applies to them. In winters like we are having this year that can be devastating.
Utah and other states, have passed laws this year to delay the dates that one can go out shed collecting. They have done this to help cut down on stress causing activity in the wintering areas where deer and elk are trying to survive. Additional human activity in these areas is simply a bad idea especially this year. Utah alone has caught over 18 individuals, so far this year, out shed hunting even though they knew of the new law in place. This is pathetic and because of the selfish desires of a few individuals the health and survive-ability of our deer herds are in jeopardy. This kind of stuff drives me crazy! Utah’s penalty for this is a fine of up to $1000.00. I find this pathetic as well. The states need to do a better job in implementing much stricter penalties in cases that hurt or put our wildlife at risk. Nothing makes me more angry than poachers! These slime balls need to be punished to the point that they simply cannot hunt anymore, can’t own firearms and they spend most of their remaining life doing service for our wildlife and wild lands. Sorry, I’ll get off my soap box now.
The point is; follow the laws that are in place and do everything you can to protect our sacred wildlife especially during these few months that they are most vulnerable.