Loose Ends: Horn hunting

Visitors to northwestern Colorado talk about its natural beauty as a revelation: the wildlife, the scenery and the outdoor way of life. There are some who find beauty in the cast-off antlers shed each spring. The big bucks that graze in yards all over town drop their horns in all sorts of unexpected places. A recent morning walk revealed that only minutes before, a big buck had passed through shedding his antlers only moments before.
Offering it to a friend,who mentioned she was a horn hunter, I noticed the pinkish tinge on the white tissue. Shedding antlers is part of the yearly cycle for the animal, but apparently the animal’s reliance on their fat stores is linked to this process, as they are preserving energy.
I wasn’t aware until recently that horn hunters can put unwarranted stress on the animals in their pursuit of finding antlers. One might never think that collecting or gathering the sheds would become a problem, but for those out in the field, it can become one.
Unexpected finds may be a bonus for some like me, but for the serious horn hunter it is a little different. It isn’t surprising that people get so intent on finding a bigger and better specimen, but it is sad that some put the animals in danger with their relentless pursuit.