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Utah closes shed antler gathering

Effective Feb. 3, you cannot gather shed deer, elk or moose antlers in Utah until April 1.

On Feb. 2, Division of Wildlife Resources Director Greg Sheehan signed an emergency order. The order supersedes a Jan. 31 order. The Jan. 31 order closed shed antler gathering only in 11 counties.

The Feb. 2 order closes shed antler gathering in all of Utah’s counties — on both public and private land — until April 1.

Why the change?

After the first closure was signed on Jan. 31, concerns were raised about shed antler gatherers moving to counties that were still open, putting additional pressure on deer and elk in those counties.

“Although winter conditions are generally less severe in the southern portions of the state,” Sheehan says, “snowpack is still above average, and deer and elk are stressed.”

Closing shed antler gathering statewide “will eliminate a major source of human-caused disturbance to deer and elk during the periods they are most exposed and vulnerable,” says the order signed by Sheehan.

In late winter and early spring, the antlers of deer, elk and moose fall off the animals’ heads. Then, they start growing a new set of antlers. By mid-summer, the new set is in place.

Everyone can help

If you come across wildlife while you’re out hiking, driving, snowshoeing or recreating in Utah this winter, Sheehan strongly encourages you to keep your distance.

“Do not approach, pick up, chase or handle wildlife,” Sheehan says. “Even if you’re trying to help, it’s not good for the animals, and it’s potentially dangerous for you. If you see something you’re concerned about, please contact the nearest DWR office.”

See the Division website for a list of offices and phone numbers.

More information

For more information, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR’s Salt Lake City office at 801-538-4700.