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The Rules on Shed Hunting

May 11th, 2012

Whether you mount them on your wall or use them for crafting knives, the possession of antlers shed by elk, deer or moose is not explicitly illegal or legal in the state of Michigan at the moment. The NRC will be taking a look at an order this month to clarify this and allow Michiganders to take comfort that their continued pursuits for naturally shed antlers is within the law (but of course, still subject to having permission on private lands).

Hunting for sheds is a popular activity, especially in states where antlered natural resources are plentiful. Possessing shed antlers in some states, such as Wyoming, is regulated by legislation in order to prevent incidental elk harassment during wintering months.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is recommending an Order to the NRC to clarify that shed hunters are allowed to posses, purchase and sell naturally shed antlers. Current Michigan law does not prohibit picking up shed antlers, but restrictive language can be misinterpreted to include antlers. State statute dictates that any possession of an animal or parts must be lawfully taken, which has been considered by some as a restriction on picking up shed antlers.

The Natural Resources Commission will be considering Amendment No. 8 to the Wildlife Conservation Order that will explicitly state the legality of possessing, buying, and selling naturally shed antlers from elk, deer or moose. In addition, the buying and selling section will be amended to clear up language regarding black bear skulls lawfully taken, also legal to possess, sell or buy. The Commission will meet May 17th, near the tip of the mitt in Onaway. The proposed amendment will be eligible for action on June 14th, the NRC meeting back in Lansing.

For full information regarding this proposed order, you can go to the DNR website for the full details.

  • Perkins Mi

    This discussion made me think about what else one might “find” during a walk in the woods and pick up as an interesting or unique item and whether such was “legal”. What about a feather from a protected species like a hawk or owl? Or, even a turkey when the season is closed or the person is not licensed? Is an innocent walk in the woods with a curious child actually a stroll through a legalistic minefield? How about rocks on the beach?

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