May 18, 2006
Tom Farrell, 605-745-4600
Wind Cave National Park rangers have increased their patrols of the park’s backcountry in an effort to combat the illegal poaching of elk antlers. Each spring, antlers, some weighing as much as 25 pounds, drop off the elk in preparation of growing a new set. Poachers illegally sell the antlers for use in western decorations and in furniture such as chairs and chandeliers.
“Every year we stop and cite people for antler collecting, most of whom claim they did not know it was illegal,” said Chief Ranger Rick Mossman. “It is important to protect the park’s natural processes. Elk antlers left in the wild can cycle back into the ecosystem where they provide a source of calcium for many animals such as mice, ground squirrels, bison, and even elk.”
The destruction or removal of natural or cultural features from national parks is prohibited by law and subject to fines up to $5,000 or up to six months in jail. Anyone with information regarding antler poaching or other illegal activities occurring within Wind Cave National Park is asked to contact the park at 745-4600.
Last updated: April 10, 2015