Rangers have increased their backcountry patrols 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 collect and sell the antlers for use in western decorations and in furniture such as chairs and chandeliers. In mid-March, three people from Minnesota were apprehended after they attempted to take numerous rocks, skulls, and more than 35 antlers from Wind Cave. Elk antlers left in the wild eventually cycle back into the ecosystem where they provide a source of calcium and minerals for many animals such as mice, ground squirrels, bison, and even elk.