NewsCovering Colorado


See antlers on the ground? Leave them alone for now

Shed Antlers
Posted at 4:13 PM, Mar 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-15 18:13:38-04

COLORADO — Colorado Parks and Wildlife wants to remind you not to collect shed antlers until April 30th.

In Colorado, it is prohibited to collect shed antlers on all public lands west of I-25 from January 1st to April 30th. This comes as many of Colorado's cervids shed their antlers, some as early as November through March.

This restriction is to limit human interaction with wintering big-game animals in their environments.

“There continues to be a lot of discussion and debate about the impacts of shed antler hunting across the West,” said Area Wildlife Manager Brandon Diamond of Gunnison. “Comparing shed antler hunting to other forms of recreation isn’t necessarily an apples-to-apples comparison. Shed hunters specifically target our best winter-range habitats where animals are or have been, and the activity is more popular than ever, leading to an increasingly competitive environment. As conservation-minded, big-game enthusiasts, it’s one place where we can collectively minimize potential impacts to wintering wildlife.”

Along with maintaining safe distances and limited interactions with wintering animals, there is another reason to leave shed antlers where they are, they are a food source. Animals venturing out as the weather warms up are depleted and in basic survival mode. Shed antlers act as a food source for many until forage improves in the later spring months.

Fines for collecting shed antlers during the prohibited times are up to $137 and five license suspension points per violation. Harassing wildlife includes a $137 fine that also carries 10 license suspension points.

To learn more about shed collection restrictions, see this question-and-answer section on shed antlers on the CPW website.

CPW encourages people with information about illegal shed collection to call their local CPW office or the Operation Game Thief (OGT) hotline at 1-877-265-6648. Tips to OGT may earn monetary rewards, and individuals who call OGT may remain anonymous.

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