In the 90's I had about given up on
collecting elk antlers.  There are to
many people out in the hills.  
When the price per lbs. got so
high in the late 80's and early 90's,
everyone started combing the
mountains for elk antlers.  I
always did it for the need to fulfill
a passion.  Like I said in the
beginning, I did sell some antlers
in the late 80's and early 90's to
help put three daughters through
college but if I had to do it all over
again I would have done things
differently.  You just can't replace
what you have sold  I would be
close to 15,000 by now.  No matter
how many more I find, I will
always be short those.     
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Over the years I have packed antlers out many
different ways.  It's hard to believe but when I
first started collecting elk antlers, I would look
for a set and then rick the shed elk antlers
around the set.  I would point the skull forward
and stand in the center.  That gave me a grip on
each side for my hands.  I could balance the
load by placing my grip up or down the length
of the main beam of the set.  The area I used to
hike in would always have a number of winter
kills.  Also, years ago, many hunters would
leave the antlers of an animal.  I did this for a
number of years.  It worked better than a back
pack, if you had a lot of
antlers.  I might have a couple racks of these
coming out and would take one for a ways and
go back and get the next.
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Now days I look for deer horns.  I start on the
river bottoms in late January.  Then in March
and April I start covering the foot hills.  I know
a few ranchers that still let me on their
property.  I'm very thankful that they do.  Most
are old timers and they are getting fewer.  Now
the price of elk antlers are down to what it was
in the early 80"s but the price of deer antlers
has gone through the roof.
The three pictures on this page of me packing
out antlers is a day trip.  I haven't had a day
like those in a long time.  Yet every year I
manage to do pretty well.  I spent a 14 hour
day and picked up between 20 and 30 deer
sheds but I have also spent the same number
of hours and found 2 or 3.
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This is a trip to the eastern part of
our state.  I spent 6 days and
hiked 12 to 14 hours a day and
came home with 90 deer sheds
and 2 sets.
I keep a diary and have since the
late 60's and I write about my
hiking trips.  The best day I ever
had on deer horns was 87 sheds.  
The best day I ever had with elk
antlers was 39 in one day plus an
elk set, 3 moose antlers and a
couple of deer antlers also packed
them out 4 or 5 miles.  I don't use a
pack frame any more.  I carry a
couple of  lengths of drape cord
and carry the antlers in my arms.  
History 2