What to know before you head out shed hunting on Sunday

(Jackson, Wyo.) - This Sunday is the opening day for elk antler hunting on the Bridger-Teton National Forest. While many have been doing this shed hunt for years, this year many things have changed, so here are some tips and reminders before you head into the forest. - *No Overnight Parking:* For many years, the Refuge allowed people interested in accessing the National Forest on May 1 to line up on the Refuge Road beginning April 30. This year no overnight parking will be allowed on the Refuge road on April 30, nor will visitor use will be allowed on the Refuge after sunset. No Parking zones be established in East Jackson on Broadway, Nelson, Rancher, Absaroka, Wapiti, Redmond and Simpson. Parking will not be permitted in these zones beginning at 6:00 p.m. on April 30. This restriction, applying to both visitors and residents alike, will remain in place until 12:00 a.m. on May 1. - *Restrictions lifted at Midnight:* Refuge Manager Steve Kallin has announced this year’s wintering wildlife closure on the National Elk Refuge will be lifted at midnight on Sunday, May 1, 2016 to coincide with the Bridger-Teton National Forest’s scheduled annual opening. This change will give Refuge Road users immediate access to the adjoining National Forest when the wintering wildlife closure is lifted. - *Wet and Muddy Roads:* Forest roads can become impassable at any time due to wet and muddy conditions. Please be aware of changing road conditions and plan outings accordingly. Beware of snow drifts, rocks, boulders, road washouts, downed trees and brush on the roadway. - *Be Prepared: *Always carry extra food, water and clothing. You may be planning to be out for a few hours but the forest stresses that all visitors to be prepared to take care of themselves in case an outing becomes unexpectedly delayed. Carry a car kit equipment, tools, and supplies, in case of an emergency and always let someone know your destination and when you plan to return, and stick to those plans. - *Obey All Forest Signs:* Watch for and obey posted closures and speed limits when venturing out onto the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Forest Service roads can be narrow, rocky, and are not meant for high speeds. - *Use the Map: *Ride or drive only on designated routes shown on the Motor Vehicle Use Map. Your cooperation will help protect road and trail surfaces, reduce resource impacts, and retain the abundance and diversity of wildlife that makes its home on the Bridger-Teton National Forest - *Permit your Off Road Vehicle:* If you have an off road vehicle, the State of Wyoming requires a permit to use roads and trails enrolled in the State ORV program. Permits can be obtained from many vendors in the Jackson and Moran area. All funding goes back into trail maintenance and education programs to benefit ORV riders. - *Be Bear Aware:* Both grizzly and black bears make their home across this part of the Bridger-Teton National Forest and they are out and foraging for food. Food storage regulations apply to much of the Bridger-Teton National Forest (all of Blackrock Ranger District and all of Jackson Ranger District except for Willow Creek area ½ mile south of the Hoback River). The Bridger-Teton National Forest asks everyone to keep attractants unavailable to bears, which in turn keeps both people and bears safe - *Don't Leave a Fire Unattended:* While campfires are allowed on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, we ask that visitors please choose campsite with a pre-existing fire ring. Never leave your fire unattended. Have plenty of water available to put out your fire. Completely extinguish your fire at night and before you leave camp. Many forest fires have started from abandoned campfires that were not completely put out. - *PLAY CLEAN GO:* The BTNF asks all visitors on the Forest to PLAY, CLEAN, GO. The objective of PLAY CLEAN GO is to slow or stop the spread of invasive species through changes in public behavior. Help prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals by first, playing with gear when you do recreate on the Forest. Second, don’t forget to clean your vehicle and gear both before entering and when leaving the area. Clean and dry fishing gear to prevent aquatic invasive species. Use only certified weed-free hay. Once you are sure you are cleaned up, GO outdoors and enjoy your public lands knowing you did your part to help slow the spread of invasive species. - *Target Shoot Responsibly: *Target shooting is permitted in many areas but responsible, safe use is essential to maintain access. Know your backdrop. Do not shoot across roads, trails, and bodies of water or near residential areas and campgrounds. Explosives or exploding targets are not allowed. Bring a target – don’t shoot trees, signs or other natural features and please, pack out trigger trash. Shooting is not permitted in the Swinging Bridge area. The Bridger-Teton National Forest is asking everyone to take a part in respecting the Forest, wildlife and other people. *Feature Photo: A biology technician found this elk antler as is on the National Elk Refuge, perfectly positioned for an interesting photo. h/t Tim Pratt / USFWS / Pitchengine Communities* #buckrail #news