Utah closes shed hunting immediately
Effective immediately, shed hunting is closed in Utah. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) announced the statewide emergency closure today in an effort to help deer and other big game across the state.
This applies to both public and private land.
The closure is in place Feb. 7 through April 30.
Extreme cold and high snowpack are impacting deer in particular. Biologists have been monitoring herds across the state, checking on deer condition, body fat levels and fawn weights. To date, they fear that the extreme winter conditions may impact mule deer survival rates and even some adult deer, according to the agency.
“In these types of conditions, big game animals are weakened and highly vulnerable to repeated human-caused disturbances,” said J. Shirley, UDWR Director.
“The unnecessary expenditure of energy and stress associated with disturbance — like being repeatedly followed by someone gathering shed antlers — may significantly decrease the survival rates of big game animals, particularly deer, this winter,” he continued.
“Closing the shed antler and horn gathering season will minimize a major source of disturbance in the areas and during the time periods when big game animals are the most exposed and vulnerable. Shed antler gathering is not the only winter activity with the potential to disturb wintering wildlife. We encourage everyone to be aware of wildlife during this vulnerable period and do their best to not disturb them.”
This is not a normal occurrence. In fact, the last time the state issued a shed hunting closure was back in 2017.
“We know shed hunting is a popular pastime for many families in Utah, and we appreciate everyone’s understanding and cooperation in waiting to go gather antlers until after April 30,” said Dax Mangus, UDWR Big Game Coordinator. “These efforts will help reduce stress on Utah's big game animals and increase their chances of surviving the winter.”
The closure could be lifted before April 30 if conditions improve.