To protect wintering big-game animals and sage grouse species, the collection of shed antlers on all public lands west of Interstate 25 is prohibited from Wednesday through April 30.
The closures reduce disturbance of wintering wildlife during the time of year they are most vulnerable. Big-game and sage grouse species live in a basic survival mode during the winter when food is scarce. If forced to move and burn calories unnecessarily, wildlife can lose the energy they need to make it through the winter.
Additional special regulations are also in place for the Gunnison Basin. In Game Management Units 54, 55, 66, 67 and 551, it is illegal to search for or possess antlers and horns on public lands between legal sunset and 10 a.m. from May 1 through May 15.
Shed-antler collecting has become very popular over the last decade. Commercial collectors, who sell sheds for decorations, have led to a substantial increase of people searching for antlers and horns in sensitive wildlife areas. The seasonal prohibition applies to commercial and recreational collectors.
Violations may be reported at the nearest CPW office or Operation Game Thief at (877) 265-6648.