Oregon’s buck deer shed their antlers from late December through March and bull elk shed from late February through early April. So, as weather breaks and snow begins melting at lower elevations folks like to go out to look for shed antlers.
But one prominent member of the sport is recommending shed hunters delay their search awhile longer.
“I’ve lived here in central Oregon for almost 20 years. We’ve had some big snow years but this is the longest time I’ve seen snow consistently on the ground—since Thanksgiving,” says Rob Tanner, co-founder of Oregon Shed Hunters, an organization devoted to education about ethical shed hunting. “It’s making it difficult for wildlife to get around, especially deer. They are still burning winter reserves and aren’t ready for people to be pushing them around.”
Tanner recommends delaying shed hunting. The organization has even pushed its annual Group Shed Hunt back a few weeks until late March.
While Oregon has no specific season for shed hunting, the state has closures and motor vehicle restrictions in parts of the state known to serve as winter range for deer and elk. The full list can be found in the current Oregon Big Game Regulations.
In Wallowa County the Wenaha Wildlife Area (Wallowa County), is closed to public access Jan. 1-March 31. (Access still allowed at designated camping areas, on ODFW land along the Wenaha River, and between Grande Ronde River Road and Grand Ronde River from Redmond grade bridge below Troy to the mouth of the Wildcat Creek.)
It is only legal to pick up naturally shed antlers in the wild, not antlers with skulls attached.