The ethics of shed hunting have been a major conversation point in the western states over the last few years. A few states have even started to put restrictions on shed hunting. Montana hasn’t gotten to that point quite yet, so local conservationists are taking matters into their own hands.
Scott Falagan is a member of the Mule Deer Foundation Bitterroot Chapter. He proposed shed hunters in their area take a pledge to put-off shed hunting until April. People from Missoula or Ravalli county who take the pledge will be entered to win a Kimber hunting rifle. All they need to do is send a text with a name and phone number to 406-360-3241. Once entered, you just refrain from shed hunting and share with at least 5 other people the importance of keeping pressure off wildlife in these last winter months. “Your entry is your word you are making the pledge; no cost associated,” Falagan said.
It’s not just about these animals moving around more than necessary. It’s about the next generation of deer and elk. Missoula FWP Game Warden Aaron Berg said, “The does and cow elk are trying to keep their unborn babies healthy inside. When we pressure them, we could be harming the fetus as well as the animals themselves.”
Many other groups are showing their support, even if they aren’t qualified for the rifle drawing. Vanna Boccadori, a biologist with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Butte Area Wildlife said, “While the original request was directed at Missoula and Ravalli counties, the same applies to our wildlife across SW Montana right now. At the very least, I personally want to ask you all to hold off shed hunting until later this spring.”
What are your thoughts on spring shed hunting restrictions? Is Colorado on the right track by restricting it all together? How about Utah who just requires a shed hunting class? Should there be more incentive programs like this one in Montana?