CPW: Collecting shed antlers results in fines, suspension of hunting privileges for two Utah men
Referencing two men who were caught in violation of the law last year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is reminding people that collecting shed antlers on public lands west of Interstate 25 from Jan. 1 to April 30 is prohibited.
Intended to protect wintering animals from unnecessary human disturbance during their most vulnerable months, the annual closure has been in place since 2018.
“The closure has been very successful in protecting wildlife during the late winter,” wildlife officer Garrett Smith said. “However, there are still some who have ignored the closures. The driving force for shed collection is money, and when you put a price tag on something, you will have people who will go to great lengths to exploit that.”
As two men in Moffat County recently discovered, state wildlife officers take the closure very seriously.
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The pair — Lucas Price and Bobby Higginbotham of Vernal, Utah — have been convicted of possessing 17 elk antlers in March 2019, and they have had their hunting and fishing privileges suspended for one year. Both men were also fined $1,233 for the antlers.
According to CPW, wildlife officials found Price and Higginbotham on snowmobiles in a game management area that has seen a large amount of shed collectors due to the size of elk and deer in the area.
In this case, the men collected the antlers on BLM land, though others have resorted to trespassing on private property to try to escape the closure.
The closure is for public lands only. The collection of antlers and horns on private lands is still permitted with the landowner’s permission.
In conjunction with the closure, if a person is found in possession of shed antlers while trespassing, he or she will be charged for the possession of those antlers as well.
Due to a recently approved increase in wildlife-related fines, the possession of a single antler or horn will cost someone $137 and 5 license suspension points.
Accumulation of 20 or more points may lead to suspensions of hunting and fishing privileges in Colorado and 48 other states, which include all of Colorado’s neighboring states.
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 OGT may result in monetary rewards and callers can remain anonymous.
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