Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is asking that shed hunters and other recreationists “give elk their space until the snow melts and the animals are less stressed.” Here’s their full report:
Winter can be a stressful time for elk with deep snow, limited food options and depleted fat reserves.
That’s why Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is asking shed hunters and other recreationists to give elk their space until the snow melts and the animals are less stressed.
Shed hunting – looking for antlers shed each year in the winter by male elk so they can regrow a new pair – has become increasingly popular in recent years and more competitive.
While it is illegal to trespass on FWP’s wildlife management areas before they open (most of the Region 4 WMA’s open at noon on May 15) chasing elk on accessible lands stresses the animals.
Snowmobilers, skiers, and snowshoers should avoid areas where elk are bedded down. It is safest to admire them at a distance. That’s especially true when dogs are involved.
It’s critical that dogs be kept on a leash when elk are present and not chase them. The stress of a chase alone can eventually lead to the death of the animal.
And of course, pets can be injured or killed while attempting to take down an animal big or small. Dog owners may be cited for permitting a dog to harass wildlife.