On Feb. 2, Division of Wildlife Resources Director Greg Sheehan signed an emergency order. The order supersedes a Jan. 31 order which 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.
DWR officials said that after the first closure was signed Jan. 31, concerns were raised about shed antler gatherers moving to counties where shed antler hunting was 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 said. “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,” states 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.
Anyone who comes across wildlife while out hiking, driving, snowshoeing or recreating in Utah this winter, is encouraged to keep their distance from the animals.
“Do not approach, pick up, chase or handle wildlife,” Sheehan said. “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.”
For more information, contact the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or DWR’s Salt Lake City office at 801-538-4700.