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Shed Hunting? Better Have a License!


Shed Hunting? Better Have a License!

By Rodger Holscher

The Idaho legislature is busy this year with trying to regulate nonresident hunting and now shed hunting.  Idaho House Bill 586 was introduced on Feb 19, 2024 and is aimed directly at nonresidents.  Specifically, the bill targets nonresident shed hunters.   

This bill would expand on what Idaho Senate Bill 1143 (2023) did with the creation of Idaho Code 36-507.  That is known as the shed hunting law.  That law allowed IDFG to put season restrictions on shed hunting (or collection of dead heads).  Idaho House Bill 586 would create Idaho Code 36-508 which would read as follows:

36-508. ANTLERS — HORNS — LICENSE. A nonresident collecting, possessing, or transporting antlers or horns from deer, elk, moose, or pronghorn shall be required to first procure a hunting license as provided in chapter 4, title 36, Idaho Code.  

This law would require anyone who is not a resident of Idaho to purchase a $185.00 nonresident hunting license to shed hunt in Idaho.  I can see how this would benefit the department with new revenue but I’m always hesitant to get behind a new law.  Whether it’s the Libertarian in me or the skeptical Cop, either way, the legislature needs to pump the breaks on this law.  

Right now, nonresidents can come to Idaho and benefit from the natural resources (dropped antlers).  This is a lucrative business that I’ve seen grow to a disturbing level.  Growing up, we always found sheds, but we picked them up, admired them, and put them back (unless they were big ones).  Now people literally race each other across the landscape to try and grab sheds.  

I’m not a fan of shed hunting but I’m REALLY not a fan of the legislature getting involved in conservation matters.   I don’t see the legislature stopping here either.  First, it’s the nonresidents, then it’s the residents.  All this law is going to do is give more money to the state and pave the way for more laws down the road.  Even if shed hunters pay that $185, if they find a good size elk shed (brown), they would have recouped the cost of the license.  This is based off the current market price of a brown elk shed of over $17 per pound (15-20lb shed antler).  

What are your thoughts on this issue? Should the state charge nonresidents to shed hunt? Should the state legislature get involved at all with shed hunting? Leave a comment below and if you want to read the bill for yourself, follow the link below.  

HOUSE BILL 586 – Idaho State Legislature

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