CPW’s shed antler collection restriction continues through April 30

Colorado has a restriction in place to prohibit the collection of shed antlers west of Interstate 25 from Jan. 1 through April 30. This is done to protect wintering wildlife.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife/Courtesy photo

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

The restriction began Jan. 1 and remains in place to help protect wintering big game animals and sage grouse from human disturbance during the winter and early spring months, according to CPW.

“There continues to be a lot of discussion and debate about the impacts of shed antler hunting across the West,” said Area Wildlife Manager Brandon Diamond of Gunnison. “Comparing shed antler hunting to other forms of recreation isn’t necessarily an apples to apples comparison. Shed hunters specifically target our best winter-range habitats where animals are or have been, and the activity is more popular than ever, leading to an increasingly competitive environment. As conservation-minded, big-game enthusiasts, it’s one place where we can collectively minimize potential impacts to wintering wildlife.”

Conditions across the state have varied this winter, but a strong snowpack in Northwest Colorado makes it all the more important for wildlife to be alleviated of the additional stress of human disturbance, according to CPW.

“This winter has been harder for wildlife in Moffat and Rio Blanco counties,” said Assistant Area Wildlife Manager Mike Swaro of Craig. “This is a critical time of year for elk, deer and other wildlife that are trying to survive winter. The last thing wildlife needs this time of year is added pressure from people looking for antlers.”

Though spring may be on the horizon, winter-depleted wildlife remain in basic survival mode and need every calorie to survive until the nutritional quality of forage improves in the coming months.

To learn more about shed collection restrictions, consult a CPW Q&A section at

CPW encourages people with information about illegal shed collection to call their local CPW office or the Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-877-265-6648. Tips to Operation Game Thief may earn monetary rewards, and individuals who call OGT may remain anonymous.

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