Want to get a jump on antler gathering after ban? — Take online ethics course
People who gather shed deer and elk antlers as a pastime have had to put their hobby on hold until the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) antler gathering ban is lifted on April 1.
But if you want to beat the other collectors to the prize antlers, you’re going to have to jump a few extra hoops.
For those who wish to resume antler gathering between April 1 and April 15, you must complete the an antler-gathering ethics course, the DWR announced recently. The free course takes about 20 minutes and is available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/shedantler.
After completing the course, you must print your certificate of completion and carry it with you while gathering antlers. If you don’t, you could receive a citation carrying a fine of up to $1,000.
Getting a citation for gathering antlers during the DWR ban is a very real possibility, says DWR Capt. Mitch Lane.
As of March 21, 26 people had received citations for violating the ban. DWR conservation officers are working on another 35 cases.
“We know people are anxious to get out and gather antlers,” Lane said, “but you can’t gather them until April 1.” Even then, to go after all those shed antlers just lying there waiting to be picked up, you have to have completed the antler-gathering ethics course.
After April 15, the course is no longer mandated and it’s open season on shed hunting again.
Although plenty of people have paid for being impatient over antler gathering, on the whole, Lane says most of Utah’s shed antler enthusiasts have obeyed the ban. And that’s helped big game animals—especially deer—tremendously.
“Not getting pushed by people looking for shed antlers allowed the animals to conserve their energy reserves during a winter that was severe in some parts of the state,” Lane said. “Not having to use as much energy made the difference between life and death for some of these animals.”
If you’re in the backcountry before April 1 and see someone gathering shed antlers, call the UTiP hotline at 1-800-662-3337 (DEER). The line is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.