Shed hunting or looking for dropped antlers from big game is a growing outdoor activity in Utah. But late winter and early spring can be the worst time of the year for elk, moose and especially deer.
Deep snow and cold temperatures make it hard for deer to move, find food and can sap a deers’ energy. By the time winter ends, deer are usually the weakest they’ll be all year.
The challenge with shed hunting is that it not only happens during the worst time of the year for the animals, but if don’t incorrectly, you can have a negative impact on the habitat the animals rely on in the winter. Most of the habitat this time of year is wet and can be easily damaged. Riding an ATV off road can damage critical winter habitat and it can take years for it to recover.
In Utah you can legally shed hunt all year, but between February 1st and April 15h, shed hunters are required to complete a free DWR on-line course. The course provides you with some do’s and don’t’s and consists of a 23 multiple question quiz.
Once the course is completed, you must have it in possesion while you are shed hunting. Another thing to remember is that many of the states Wildlife Management areas are closed in the winter and the spring to protect wildlife. For more information log onto the dwr’s website at wildlife.utah.gov