From the Utah Division of Wilderness Resources - Want to gather shed antlers in Utah?
Late winter and early spring is the worst time of the year for elk, moose and especially deer in Utah.
In the winter, deep snow makes it hard for deer to move and find food. And cold temperatures sap the deers' strength. By the time winter ends, deer are usually the weakest they'll be all year.
Winter is also the time of year when male deer, elk and moose shed their antlers. The animals will be without antlers until spring, when they'll start to grow a new set.
Gathering shed antlers
Gathering antlers that drop off of deer, elk and moose is a popular activity across the country, including here in Utah. The downside to shed-antler gathering is that it happens during the worst time of the year for the animals. And it takes place in the habitat the animals rely on in the winter.
"By the time winter ends, the animals are stressed," says Mike Fowlks, deputy director of the Division of Wildlife Resources.
"Also, the habitat is wet," he says. "It's easily damaged. Once the habitat is damaged, it can take years for it to recover."
Fortunately, Fowlks says you can have fun gathering shed antlers without stressing the animals and damaging their habitat.
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