Shed Hunting Restrictions in Colorado

If you’re a fan of wildlife and a fan of collecting the antlers bucks and bulls leave behind every spring, you need to read this update from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission approves shed antler and horn collection seasonal restrictions at January meeting

CPW_SiteLogoDENVER, Colo. – On Thursday, January 11, 2018, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission voted unanimously to approve the creation of a seasonal closure on shed antler and horn collection on all public lands west of I-25 from January 1 through April 30 annually. Today’s decision will take effect on these public lands beginning March 1, 2018. Additionally, in order to maintain protection for the Gunnison sage-grouse, the new regulations include a closure to collection of shed antlers on public lands May 1 to May 15 from sunset to 10 a.m. in the Gunnison basin (Game Management Units 54, 55, 66, 67, 551).

CPW staff have been examining the issue for months, first introducing an antler and horn collection issue paper in September of 2017 that suggested a closure be put in place on all public lands west of I-25 from January 1 through April 30 annually. The purpose of this request was to reduce the recreational impacts from shed hunting on wintering big game animals during the time of year when deer, elk, pronghorn, and moose are most vulnerable to stress. The result of this stress can be decreased body condition, increased mortality, and decreased fawn/calf survival.

The CPW Commission discussed the pros and cons of implementing these changes at its January 11 meeting. Much of the debate between commissioners at Thursday’s meeting revolved around the potential for including an associated license/permit for shed antler and horn collection. Wildlife is synonymous with Colorado and their health and sustainability is a primary focus for CPW staff. The seasonal closure, also being discussed, was met with broad public and agency support.

During the discussion on whether to approve just the seasonal collection closure, or a closure with a fee-based permit, Commissioner Alexander Zipp said, “I’d like to start with just a time restriction, without the fees. This is not a money-making decision. This is a wildlife regulation matter.”

Winter can be extremely difficult on wildlife as body weight is down and access to food is very limited. The survival of wildlife relies heavily on keeping as many calories as possible until the green shoots pop up, heralding spring’s return.

Commissioner Robert Bray summed up the discussion, saying he’d like CPW staff to further research a fee or registration option, but more importantly to create an education campaign on why these new regulations are being put into place and how all recreational can play a role in helping wildlife get through the winter.

Complete background information on this agenda item can be found on the CPW website.

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CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily on license sales, state parks fees and registration fees to support its operations, including: 41 state parks and more than 350 wildlife areas covering approximately 900,000 acres, management of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching, camping, motorized and non-motorized trails, boating and outdoor education. CPW’s work contributes approximately $6 billion in total economic impact annually throughout Colorado.


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Unethical Shed Antler Hunting a Growing Concern for Wildlife Managers

Unethical shed antler hunting a growing concern for state wildlife managers

CPW_SiteLogoGRAND JUNCTION,  Colo. – Colorado Parks and Wildlife managers advise the public to be responsible and ethical around wintering wildlife, especially while collecting shed antlers late in the cold weather season. Officers are concerned about the growing number of collectors looking for sheds in closed areas, or pressuring big game while the animals are struggling to survive winter conditions.

While shed antler hunting is allowed in most of Colorado, wildlife officers say they have received reports of several unethical collectors entering restricted areas. A few have been seen chasing deer and elk in hopes the startled animals drop their antlers. Officers have ticketed several shed hunters for harassing wildlife this year.

shed-antler-snow-cpw-9cb2f6d7-ef31-4c8b-bf58-061ded27fe69“We are asking folks that want to hunt for sheds, that they do it in an ethical and legal manner and only in areas where it is allowed,” said Area Wildlife Manager Perry Will of Glenwood Springs. “We ask that you do not let dogs off leash to chase wildlife, trespass, go off-trail, harass animals with an OHV, or violate closures. If you do, we will enforce our laws and issue citations.”

Wildlife officials say in addition to shed hunting,  other forms of outdoor recreation, including the irresponsible use of OHVs and ATVs, can be very stressful to wintering wildlife.

 

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“This is about protecting these animals,” added Will. “People need to understand that when big game expends critical energy by running from human activity this time of year, it will lead to higher mortality. We will do what we need to do to prevent that.”

 

Two years ago, the CPW Commission approved limits to shed antler collecting in portions of Eagle, Pitkin, Garfield, and Routt counties. Between Jan. 1 through March 15, collecting shed antlers is prohibited on public land in game management units 25, 26, 35, 36, 43, 44, 47, 444, and 471. Between March 15 and May 15, collecting is allowed only between 10 a.m. through sunset.

Similar restrictions have been in place for several years on public land in game management units 54, 55, 66, 67 and 551 in Gunnison County, primarily to protect Gunnison sage-grouse.  This winter, heavy snow in the area has been a significant concern, prompting CPW officials to implement a baiting operation to draw big game that have congregated along paved roads away from traffic. Additionally, CPW enacted emergency regulations prohibiting several forms of wildlife-related recreation on public lands below 9,500 feet in an area from the community of Sargents to five miles west of Blue Mesa Dam, and from Crested Butte to Lake City. The regulation prohibits lion hunting, small game hunting, suspends all night-hunting permits and extends the restriction on the collection of antlers and skulls of wildlife through May 15.

Wildlife managers remind shed hunters and all outdoor recreationists that keeping their distance from wintering big game is the most effective way to prevent animal stress and mortality. They say even searching for antlers on foot or horseback can create stressful conditions for wildlife if people get too close.

“We understand that people enjoy hunting sheds, but we ask everyone to be legal and ethical,” said Will. “The best option is to follow the laws and keep your distance, and maybe wait until big game has moved to summer range to begin looking for sheds.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife urges anyone that observes illegal activity to contact their local wildlife office, or to remain anonymous contact Operation Game Thief at 877-265-6648. Rewards are available for information that leads to a citation.

For more information about shed collection restrictions in the Northwest Region, contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Glenwood Springs office at 970-947-2920. For information about restrictions in Gunnison County, call CPW’s office in Gunnison at 970-641-7060

Visit CPW website for a map of Colorado’s Game Management Units.

Visit the Bureau of Land Management for more information about ethical shed antler hunting.

LISTEN TO THE MAC OUTDOORS PODCAST EPISODE 003 – SHED HUNTING BANS AND RESTRICTIONS

CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily on license sales, state parks fees and registration fees to support its operations, including: 42 state parks and more than 350 wildlife areas covering approximately 900,000 acres, management of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching, camping, motorized and non-motorized trails, boating and outdoor education. CPW’s work contributes approximately $6 billion in total economic impact annually throughout Colorado.

003 – Shed Hunting Bans and Restrictions at MAC Outdoors

mac-outdoors-1400Episode 003 of the MAC Outdoors Podcast with Mia and Lea.

This week the duo talks not just hunting but SHED HUNTING. There’s a ban on shed hunting in Utah, restrictions in Colorado and lock-outs in Montana. Listen up for what you need to know. Subscribe and stay tuned for more as they’ll be sharing more gear and hunting tips with you.

Important links for this week’s show:
Springtime Hunting Opportunities at Beretta USA – www.blog.eretta.com/springtime-hunting-oportunities

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Tune in each week as the dynamic mother/daughter duo share their adventures. You’ll find tips, tricks, lessons and tales from the trail. Mia is a mom, hunting guide, writer and vlogger who lives on a ranch in Colorado. Her daughter, Lea, also a guide, is a passionate young hunter who’s finishing high school and prepping for the journey to college. TUNE IN because you never know what obstacles and inspiration they’ll encounter as they head outside for new adventures.


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Get Outdoors – Shed Hunting Restriction in Colorado | Mia’s Motivations

CPW DOW header Colorado Parks Wildlife

SHED ANTLER COLLECTING IN GUNNISON BASIN CLOSED UNTIL MARCH 15

GUNNISON, Colo. In order to minimize disturbance to wildlife during the cold winter months, shed antler collecting is prohibited in the Gunnison Basin until March 15. After that date, collectors must be aware of regulations for this activity established by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

“Special regulations have been in place for several years, so anyone planning to collect antlers should call our office and check to be certain they understand the rules,” said J Wenum, area wildlife manager in Gunnison.

A shed as big as she is.Those who violate the regulations can be fined $70, be assessed five penalty points against their hunting and fishing privileges, and antlers collected will be confiscated. Harassing wildlife is also illegal under state statute and can result in additional fines.

Winter is a difficult time for wildlife; human activity can cause significant stress on animals, especially big game. Deer often lose up to 30 percent of their body weight during the winter. If they are forced to move they burn the extra calories they need to get them through the winter.

In the Gunnison Basin in big game management units 54, 55, 551, 66 and 67, here are the special regulations that are in place to prevent disturbance of animals on public lands: Collection of shed antlers is prohibited on public lands within those units from Jan. 1 through March 14. From March 15 through May 15, shed antler collection is prohibited from legal sunset to 10 a.m.

 

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Collectors are advised to consult official sunset tables and to obtain accurate maps of the area. Anyone who has questions about the regulations can contact the Colorado Parks and Wildlife office in Gunnison at 970-641-7060. Members of the public who see people violating the closure should call the Gunnison office.

 

Collectors and other recreationists also should be aware that to protect Gunnison sage-grouse leks, the BLM and Gunnison County close roads throughout the basin to motorized travel during the winter and early spring. To learn about road closures or to report closure violations, call the BLM, 970-642-4940, U.S. Forest Service, 970-641-0471; or Gunnison County, 970-641-8201.

For more information about Colorado Parks and Wildlife go to: http://cpw.state.co.us.



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