Gathering shed antlers? Then take online course
If you enjoy gathering antlers that deer, elk and moose shed in the winter, one of your favorite times of the year is almost here.
But this year there is a change. If you want to do it legally you will need to complete a free, online course in order to gather shed antlers.
Before you head outdoors to gather antlers, you need to head to this Web page first; wildlife.utah.gov/shedantler.
At the page, you'll find a free shed antler gathering course. You must complete the course, and print a course completion certificate, before you gather shed antlers in Utah this year.
"Make sure you carry your certificate with you," says Mike Fowlks, Law Enforcement Section chief for the Division of Wildlife Resources. "By law, you must have your certificate with you while you're gathering shed antlers."
Fowlks says if you complete the course, you can gather antlers across Utah. This includes in northern Utah, where shed antler gathering was closed for much of the winter and spring the past few years.
"As you're gathering antlers, please remember that many of the state's wildlife management areas are closed in the spring and the winter to protect wildlife," Fowlks says.
You must complete the course if you want to gather shed antlers before April 15. If you wait until April 15 or later to start gathering antlers, you don't need to complete the course.
The antlers of deer, elk and moose drop off their heads each winter. During the summer, the animals grow a new set of antlers.
"Gathering shed antlers is a fun activity that's very popular in states across the country, including in Utah," Fowlks says.
"The challenge with shed antler gathering is that it happens during the worst time of the year for the animals and the places the animals live in the winter. The animals are stressed at the end of the winter. And the habitat they rely on in the winter is wet and can be easily damaged.
"Fortunately, you can have fun gathering shed antlers without stressing the animals and damaging their habitat. This new online course will show you how," concluded Fowlks.