CPW Saving Wildlife During Severe Winter
To protect wildlife currently enduring severe winter conditions in the northwest corner of the state, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials have approved temporary restrictions on shed hunting in western Moffat County, beginning March 3 through April 15, 2017.
During the closure, the collection or possession of shed deer and elk antlers and pronghorn sheaths is prohibited on all public lands in portions of Game Management Units 1, 2, 201, 10, 21, 11 and 3.Wildlife fr
“This area is very popular with shed hunters, both locally and from Utah,” said Bill de Vergie, area wildlife manager in Meeker. “However, we have received a lot of snow – including an additional 12-18 inches in late February – and conditions are very tough for big game right now. Because of the limited fat reserves these animals have in late winter, people moving and pressuring them would certainly lead to increased mortality if shed hunting was to continue unrestricted at this time.”
In addition, de Vergie says human-caused disturbance can drive deer and elk onto private property where they can cause significant financial losses if they damage haystacks and other produced crops.
The latest shed hunting order is in addition to other similar restrictions already in place in other areas of the state.
Two years ago, the CPW Commission approved limits to shed antler collecting in portions of Eagle, Pitkin, Garfield, and Routt counties. Between Jan. 1 through March 15, collecting shed antlers is prohibited on public land in game management units 25, 26, 35, 36, 43, 44, 47, 444, and 471. Between March 15 and May 15, collecting is allowed only between 10 a.m. through sunset.
Similar restrictions have been in place for several years on public land in game management units 54, 55, 66, 67 and 551 in Gunnison County. The regulations protect big game and Gunnison sage-grouse. This winter, heavy snow in the area has been a significant concern, prompting CPW officials to implement a baiting operation to draw big game that have congregated along paved roads away from traffic.
Additionally, CPW enacted emergency regulations prohibiting wildlife-related recreation on public lands below 9,500 feet in an area from the community of Sargents to five miles west of Blue Mesa Dam, and from Crested Butte to Lake City. The regulation prohibits lion hunting, small game hunting, suspends all night-hunting permits and extends the restriction on the collection of antlers and skulls of wildlife through May 15.
Wildlife managers remind shed hunters and all outdoor recreationists that keeping their distance from wintering big game is the most effective way to prevent animal stress and mortality. They say even searching for antlers on foot or horseback can create stressful conditions for wildlife if people get too close.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife urges anyone that observes illegal activity to contact their local wildlife office, or to remain anonymous to contact Operation Game Thief at 877-265-6648. Rewards are available for information that leads to a citation.
For more information about shed collection restrictions in the Northwest Region, contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Meeker office at 970-878-6090 or the Glenwood Springs office at 970-947-2920.
For information about restrictions in Gunnison County, call CPW’s office in Gunnison at 970-641-7060
Authority for the closure is provided by Colorado Parks and Wildlife Regulation – Chapter 0, Article XI-020-F.