…And They’re Off!

By on March 16, 2016

Elk Refuge sets new opening policy for forest access

Tired of dealing with the headache of babysitting the long line of shed hunters who cue for position to enter the Bridger-Teton National Forest via the National Elk Refuge (NER), officials at the refuge have announced a change in policy. The gate to the BTNF land will swing open at midnight on May 1.

Previously, NER authorities waited until 8 a.m. on May 1 to open the forest gate. Access to BTNF was legally allowed beginning at midnight at all other egress points. Winter closure to many forest areas where elk antlers can be found are under winter closure from December through April.

Refuge manager Steve Kallin cited numerous problems inherent with the 8 a.m. opening. Dozens of eager shed hunters would begin gathering along the Elk Refuge Road the night of April 30, essentially camping there until morning. Overnight camping is not allowed in the Elk Refuge. Cost concerns were also an issue for US Fish & Wildlife, the agency charged with patrolling the area and keeping the peace.

Kallin also said the earlier opening would also coincide with the end of the BTNF winter closure ban, recognized at midnight on May 1.

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