Warning: No collecting antlers on public lands until April 30

Shed antler collection is prohibited on public lands Jan. 1 through April 30, a restriction in place since 2018.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife/Courtesy photo

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are reminding people that collecting shed antlers on all public lands west of Interstate 25 is prohibited Jan. 1 through April 30.

In place since 2018, the restriction applies to all of western and northwest Colorado. It is intended to protect wintering animals from unnecessary human disturbances during the late winter months.

“Big game animals are already having a hard enough time nutritionally during winter, so the more energy they burn from human disturbance will cause them to burn the energy that is crucial in helping them make it through the winter,” explained Lance Carpenter, senior wildlife biologist for CPW Northeast Region.

The interest in shed antler collection for personal or commercial use has led to a substantial increase in the number of people searching for antlers across big-game winter range in Colorado. The seasonal prohibition applies to both commercial and personal collectors, and violators face fines and license suspension points.

Carpenter encouraged those participating in all forms of winter recreation to give wildlife a wide berth.

“When you are out there in the wintertime, you don’t want to disturb the animals,” he said. “You don’t want to go up close to them to get close-up pictures. You don’t want to make them walk away from what they are doing. Go the other way if you can. They are most vulnerable this time of year.”

Deer in Colorado shed their antlers from mid-January through March. Elk may start in February, running through April, while moose typically drop their antlers November through January.

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