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GARTH JENSON PROFESSIONAL HUNT ADVISOR A pplication season is in full throttle, and we are doing our best to gather all of the draw and harvest statistics from last year, along with keeping tabs on weather patterns and their impact on local wildlife, good or bad. Recently, most of the West has been getting pounded by rain and snowstorms, and depending on the geographical location, it can have positive or negative impacts. From about I-70 north, the snow pack is very high for this time of year, and in some locations in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming, state game and fish agencies are already pouring the feed to deer and elk in an attempt to mitigate winter mortality loss. On the flipside, most areas and states south of I-70 have had significant rainfall and some heavy snowfall, but there is ample winter range to escape the deep, crusty snowpack. At the time of print, it is still too early to tell the overall impacts of this 6 winter’s weather, but we will keep you up to speed with any significant changes. This is also the time of year when deer and elk are at their most vulnerable states and need their space so that they can conserve as much energy as possible to push through these harsh conditions and survive to fight another year. I say this because this is also the time of year when shed antlers start to hit the ground and somewhere along the way a growing population of people found it more important to race their opponents to a set of antlers than to give wildlife their space so that they might save what little body fat is left to make it to the spring warm up. I would typically be the first person to say we don’t need more regulations blocking access to our public lands, but with the growing popularity of shed hunting and the lack of overall ethics and intelligence of some who just can’t help themselves, it might be time for some sort of regulation that would help incentivize these individuals to keep their distance during this critical time of year. From my standpoint, it seems that we have put such a ridiculous value on a set of antlers that even those who don’t necessarily agree with wandering the hills this time of year feel the need to beat the next guy into their honey hole before it’s too late and the domino effect ensues. I am no Nostradamus, but it is not hard to see the writing on the wall when it comes to this. If we as sportsmen can’t regulate ourselves, the government will step in and do it for us and we will have no one to blame but our greedy little selves. We all like to preach about protecting wildlife, but it is time that we prove it in our actions. Show a little restraint during these crucial months and be part of the solution, not part of the problem.