A new legislative bill would require people to acquire a hunting or combination license, complete a mandatory ethics course, and obtain a permit for a fee to collect antlers.
SALT LAKE CITY — It’s that time of year, when big game sheds their antlers, and people can head out for the hunt to collect. However, a new legislative bill would require people to acquire a hunting or combination license, complete a mandatory ethics course, and obtain a permit for a fee of $25 for residents or $50 for non-residents. The legislation would not affect this year’s shed hunt, but would go into effect July 1, affecting the 2025 season.
The new bill would also allow the Utah Wildlife Board the authority to set specific season dates for shed antler gathering in Utah.
Shed hunting, generally takes place in the winter and spring months. Between Feb. 1 and April 15, those looking to go out and collect are currently required to take an Ethics Course, which is free, but the certificate of completion is needed while out hunting for antlers. Those who wait until after April 15 are not required to take the course.
The popular pastime brings out over 20,000 people to the area, causing excess stress to wildlife. The Ethics Course helps protect the animals during these tougher months, teaching people how to lessen the stress on wildlife, and also minimize damage to animal habitats.
“During winter, big game animals, especially deer, often have a difficult time finding food,” said Rusty Robinson, DWR once-in-a-lifetime species coordinator. “As a result, they often survive on fat reserves they have built up prior to winter. If the animals receive constant pressure from people and repeatedly have to run or move, they use up the fat reserves and energy they need to make it through the winter. Being disturbed briefly once or twice isn’t too significant, but we have over 20,000 people who routinely shed hunt in Utah each year, so ongoing, repeated disturbances can be detrimental to deer.”
For those looking for more information, the DWR’s official proposals for the shed antler gathering rules will be presented at upcoming public meetings to gather public comments. The next Utah Wildlife Board meetings for discussions to potential changes will be held May 3 or June 13. To access meeting agendas and dates, visit the DWR website.