By PATRICIA MORSE/Montana State News
Shed antler hunting can prove to be a very lucrative business as free-of-cost antlers are open to the public to collect and an artisan can turn a $10 lamp kit from your local hardware store into a chandelier valued at over $4,000.
According to Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP), shed antlers naturally fall off of the animals during the winter months. This shedding is caused by a decrease in the testosterone levels after rutting season. Fluctuations in the exact time of the shedding will vary in accordance to the weather and geographic climate.
For many, antler hunting is not only a hobby but also a way of life.
After finding the shed antlers, hunters can either keep them for their own personal use or sell them to buyers or collectors. In most cases, these buyers purchase shed antlers by the pound, with the most valuable specimens being those found in matching pairs.
For instance, Antler Tom out of the Fort Peck area, buys antlers by the pound and like most antler buyers in the area prefers a large truckload of antlers in transactions instead of a few pounds. However, he suggests contacting local buyers who might be more interested in smaller transactions.