Cars were lined up all the way from the Bridger-Teton National Forest to Jackson last night, preparing for the beginning of antler shed season in western Wyoming. Hundreds of hunters braved freezing temperatures and snow in a mad dash to find big racks worth big bucks when the season kicked off at midnight.

The skies were dark at 12:00 a.m., but the hills near Jackson Hole were lit up with flashlights and headlamps from antler hunters, many of whom walked for miles in search of sheds.

To protect animals during the winter through their spring migration, Wyoming Game and Fish prohibits hunters from taking antler sheds from public lands west of the continental divide between January 1st and April 30th. Since the regulation took effect in 2009, outdoor enthusiasts and treasure hunters have circled May 1st on the calendar.

In spite of the cold and snow, officials say the lines outside of Bridger-Teton National Forest get longer each year in anticipation for shed season. Some cars begin lining up days in advance to stake out the best spots. Moose and elk antlers are the most valuable finds. Freshly shed racks in good condition can fetch over $13 per pound from collectors and artists.