It’s a rare thing to ever see, much less capture on video – the exact moment a big animal loses its antlers.
A Canadian named Derek Burgoyne recently lucked out and caught drone footage of bull moose in his home country shedding its antlers. Then he snowshoed into the remote area to retrieve the antlers, Field and Stream reported.
Burgoyne, who is described as an avid shed antler hunter, claimed he wasn’t deliberately trying to track moose with his drone. Instead, he said he just happened upon the animal while using his drone to survey trees in his capacity as a woods operations supervisor.
So, it was pure luck he captured video of the bull dropping his antlers.
Even so, two outdoorsmen who hunt shed antlers in Wyoming said bringing a drone into the sport isn’t likely to be looked upon kindly.
“I don’t know anybody who does this (uses a drone to hunt shed antlers), and I imagine it’s fairly challenging,” Muley Fanatic Foundation President and CEO Josh Coursey told Cowboy State Daily.
“Regardless, there will always be those that look to seek an advantage over those who don’t,” he added.
Montana resident Josiah Baer, who frequently hunts sheds in Wyoming, said he’d rather not see the use of drones become a common practice in the sport.
I’m not sure what all the laws are in that aspect, but in my opinion it’s definitely something that we need to be really careful with,” he told Cowboy State Daily.
“I’m sure the drones stress out the animals way more than people walking into an area. And obviously, the drones can go pretty much anywhere and travel at such a high rate of speed,” he said.
Despite any advantage the drone might have given Burgoyne in finding the antlers, there’s no doubt the footage he caught gave people across the world a chance to witness an event they would likely never get to see otherwise.
The moose, seen from directly above, starts to shake – not unlike a huge dog. When his antlers suddenly pop off, the big bull, comically, is startled and jumps away.
Bull moose and elk, and buck deer across North America shed their antlers, usually in late winter or early spring. They then begin growing new, larger sets.
Going out and looking for the shed antlers is an increasingly popular spring activity in Wyoming and elsewhere.
There can be money in it too. For example, fresh elk antlers can sell for as much as $25 a pound. Buyers frequently use the antlers to make things such as custom furniture or chandeliers, which in can in turn be sold at high prices.
Probably Wouldn’t Legally Fly In Wyoming
It’s already illegal to “scout” animals from the air from Aug. 1 through Jan. 31 in Wyoming. That’s tied primarily to hunting seasons. Shed antler hunting doesn’t get underway until spring – in most of Western Wyoming, the official season for it doesn’t start until May 1.
However, it’s illegal any time of year to “harass” or “pursue” game animals with aircraft in Wyoming, according to state statute.
The Wyoming Legislature during this past session passed Senate File 33, which clarifies that the definition of “aircraft” in that regard includes drones. Gov. Mark Gordon signed the bill into law, and it takes effect July 1.
Another bill related to shed hunting, House Bill 123, also passed the Legislature and was signed by Gordon. It gives Wyoming resident shed hunters a weeklong head start. In areas where the season starts May 1, residents may go out that day, but nonresidents must wait until May 8.
The new law doesn’t take effect until July 1, which means this year’s May 1 start date will be unaffected.