While you’re roaming the woods for sheds this weekend, you might run across a skull with antlers attached (from a buck that died of EHD, was hit by a car, or was lost by a hunter in the last season or two).
These skulls are cool finds, but did you know that in a few states, like Kansas and Illinois, possession of a skull with antlers attached requires a salvage tag from the state? With a skull and antlers that are obviously months-old and dried out or even bleached, this does not make sense to me, but if it’s the law you need to know it. The last thing you want is to come back home with a skull with big antlers, post a picture of your great find on Facebook or Twitter, and promptly get a call or visit from a state CO asking if you have the proper salvage permit.
What are the skull salvage rules in your state? If you know, let us know so everybody can hunt legally. And send your shed-hunting/skull photos and stories for us to share.
Another law that should be ignored.
In New Jersey, it is illegal to keep any found skull with antlers. There are no salvage or found dead tag. You are just supposed to leave them. In fact, any antlers on a skull (even just a portion of the skull) must have your tag number written on the skull plate or on the wood the atnlers are mounted on. The only reason I see is that they are worried that a deer poached can be tagged later, making it legal, and they dont want that to happen.
I have lots of deer skulls we have found through the years hanging in my deer camp in Illinois. Some were shot and some were found. I guess I should never invite a game warden in for a beer.
Indiana has the permit system for claiming dead deer. I know this is a pain in the rear, but if it gives DNR a little more ammo to fight poachers with, I will go along with it. Just some more of todays red tape.
Speaking of finding dead deer and then notifying the authorities…
Some of you no doubt have heard this story. I can’t verify that it is true, but the story of the lucky Manitoba gentleman who found this rack is true. Imagine if this happened to you AFTER you have already received a permit to have the buck legally???
I’m not aware of any regulation addressing this topic here. Road killed deer do require a transportation slip, but long-dead racks are not discussed.
Same here, tried to check it out at a local office, but they said the same thing
From the Missouri Department of Conservation website:
Any person who finds a dead deer with antlers still attached to the skull plate may take the antlers, but must report the find to a conservation agent within 24 hours to receive authorization to possess the antlers.
This rule was changed in Indiana a few years back. Yes, you do need a permit to legally keep a “found” set of antlers (still attached). Back in 2005 while mushroom hunting I found a giant 180-class main frame typical 11-pointer. I believe it was hit by a car. The buck ended up shedding one side of it’s rack while the other was still intact. I will never forget walking up on that beast. In three deer seasons I only saw him twice…both times after dark. At that time I didn’t need to have the permit, but if I found it this year I’d have to contact one of my local COs to get the proper permit. Also, Indiana’s HRBP Record Book does have a “found” category. So, if you do find a dead buck, you’d have to have the proper permit to get it entered into our record book.
No such law in Texas.