Horn Hunting Season - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Horn Hunting Season

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POWELL, WYOMING -

A Powell man wants Wyoming’s Game and Fish to keep antler hunters from harassing winter stressed big game animals in Northwest Wyoming. Tim Metzler supports a closed season, but a Wapiti antler dealer says there’s no need for it. The idea is not new to Wyoming.

Winter is hard on Wyoming’s elk, deer, and moose. Many die from the lack of food and extreme cold. Every spring, they drop their antlers, and antler or horn hunters gather them to make money.

The owner of Mystic Lady Antler Art, Charles Kirkham, said the antler business is growing, “It’s getting bigger because of China. The dog chew business.”

Wildlife Advocate Tim Metzler said, “Antler hunters are good. They’re not bad people. They’re good people. It’s just a matter of the amount of people that are involved in it today.”

Metzler, who’s been a horn hunter or antler hunter since he was a child, says he’s seen antler hunters on the winter range from March 1st, through the next 45 days. He says the animals are being disturbed when some deer and elk are starving.

He explained that this winter was hard, “Deer populations, fawns have lost 50 percent of their fawns. It’s just a thing that we don’t need to be in there with them.”

But, Charles Kirkham said, “I just don’t want to see more restrictions on people.”

Kirkham owns a Wapiti antler business. He said most of the antler hunters he knows don’t stress animals.

He said, “People will walk through an area. The animals will walk around them and wait. They’re not necessarily pushing into the deep snow.”

Metzlter said he’s already getting pushback from his friends, who are against a season, but he remains committed to the idea of a closed winter season in Northwest Wyoming.

He explained, “It’s very important to me to make sure that we got wildlife for the future of my grand kids.”

Four years ago, an antler hunting season was established in Southwest Wyoming to protect wintering big game.

 

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