Elk NetworkLaw-Abiding Boy Scouts Gather Elk Sheds, Thieves Face Fines

General | May 4, 2018

It’s a sign of the season. Scores of Boy Scouts in search of elk shed antlers fan out over the National Elk Refuge terrain immediately north of Jackson, Wyoming.

“The day the Scouts come out to help us pick up antlers serves a great community service purpose,” Lori Iverson, National Elk Refuge spokeswoman, told the Jackson Hole News & Guide.

The young scouts have permission in the form of a special-use permit that dates back to 1966. The gathered antlers will be auctioned off later in the spring as a fundraiser that benefits both the refuge and local Boy Scout troops.

Go here to see impressive photos from the 2014 Boy Scout Antler Auction.

While Boy Scouts seek to honor and obey the law, overeager shed seekers purposely break the law by trespassing on both the refuge and the nearby Bridger-Teton National Forest. It is illegal for shed hunters to begin searching for sheds before midnight on May 1 but trespassers begin hours or even days or weeks earlier by stashing antlers in violation of state law.

“There’s no doubt that people come in early. They come in a month ago, and they start caching antlers,” Cris Dippel, National Elk Refuge deputy manager, told the Jackson Hole News & Guide. They might go in legally on May 1, but they go straight to the cache and they come out with 200 pounds of antlers.”

Dippel said the refuge used six additional officers to deal with the situation on May 1 but he wishes he could have five times as many officers to assist.

“It would be nice to help the forest go nail some of those people that are sneaking in early. That’s pretty bold, to do something like that. And, in my opinion, it’s thievery. They’re stealing from the American people. It’s just not cool,” said Dippel.

(Photo source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)