The opportunity to gather antlers shed by many big game species is here. The time to go “shed hunting” happens annually and this year will run from February 1st through April 15th. Before you head out to gather the antlers you are required to complete the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources' Antler Gathering Ethics class. From late winter through early spring, the habitat that big game animals rely on is usually wet, which means it’s more at risk for damage. The free antler gathering ethics course can help you learn how to minimize stress to wildlife and avoid damaging their habitats during this critical time of year. About 20,000 people take the mandatory course each year in order to go look for shed antlers in Utah. After you finish the course, you must print your certificate of completion and then carry it with you while you’re looking for the shed antlers. Once you've completed the course you'll be able to seek shed antlers in many areas around the Beehive state. There are some exceptions. Many of the Wildlife Management Areas in Utah are closed in winter and spring to protect animals and their habitat. Make sure you check for any closures before entering any WMA to look for shed antlers. You can find a list of the Wildlife Management Areas here. You must have written permission from the property owner to hunt for shed antlers in private land. Native American Lands, National Parks and most National Monuments are also closed to “shed hunting.” While there has been heavy snowfall this winter, shed hunting will still be allowed at this point. The DWR will continue to monitor winter conditions and the condition of the deer and will assess if a shed hunting closure is necessary. DWR conservation officers will also be adding additional patrols to ensure that people looking for antlers aren’t disturbing wintering wildlife. People who haven’t taken the mandatory Antler Gathering Ethics course or who are harassing protected wildlife may be cited.After dropping their antlers each winter, male deer, elk and moose will grow a new set of antlers starting in spring. Looking for the shed antlers is a fun activity that many Utah families enjoy. However, late winter and early spring are a tough time of year for deer, elk and moose, which is why the educational ethics course is required.


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