Treasure Hunting for Elk, Moose and Deer Antlers

If you live in the county, this is a fact that you’ve probably always known, but most people have no idea that male elk, deer and moose grow their antlers each year.  I think that this is surprising to most people as it seems impossible to sprout such massive antlers in such a relatively short period of time with the antlers being shed in the late winter or early spring and replaced with an even more impressive rack in the fall.  In the fall, the antler velvet is scraped away to reveal a rack with dangerous spear-like tips that are used to intimidate rivals during mating season.

As the elk, deer or moose grows and matures, the size of the antler rack usually becomes larger. The dropped or shed antlers are sought by many individuals who enjoy the “treasure hunt”, and also by those who either sell or use them for commercial purposes such as for making artwork, furniture such as floor lamps, chandeliers, table’s chairs and more. The actual activity of going out into the mountains and valleys searching for shed antlers is called antler hunting or shed hunting. For some people in Wyoming it is a casual sport, for others it is a competitive business.

"Finding shed antlers is exciting and rewarding," said Justin Gorgol of Cody, Wyoming. "For those of us that create antler art and furniture, it is a necessity of business and one that is quite enjoyable. You're out getting exercise, viewing the beautiful outdoors, spending time with family, all while contributing to your success of your business."
A large elk antler in perfect condition can bring $16 a pound, a hefty price if you have to purchase them from dealers…and then you have the cost of freight added on top.  For many, it is a lucrative business.

For dealers, antlers can have a variety of uses -- many are shipped to Asia, where they are ground up and used for medicinal purposes. But most antlers are made into wonderful artwork, furniture, chandeliers and tables, chairs and lamps that can enhance the look of a ski lodge, private cabin, home or office.  Both Smith and Gorgol, the owner’s of a local antler furniture design company use the antlers to create a variety of items, including chandeliers, knife handles, office chairs, couches, loveseats and lamps.

Whether you are interested in searching for antlers as a hobby or it is an imperative part of your business, it can be a tremendously enjoyable experience for the whole family.  The fresh air, the exercise, the views and of course, “the find”, are aspects that any outdoorsman can enjoy!

Author: Trophy Antler Works


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