Utah bans ‘shed antler’ hunting due to extreme weather

Cold weather and increased snowpack threaten deer

Extreme weather in Utah has prompted the state’s wildlife agency to put an emergency ban on “shed antler hunting,” or the practice of searching for antlers that deer shed every year. Cold weather and increased snowpack is affecting the survival rates of mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) fawns and may even impede adult survival through the winter, according to monitoring efforts by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR). “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,” said UDWR Director Justin Shirley in a press release. The emergency ban stretches from Feb. 7 through April 30, 2023 on both public and private lands.

Read more at the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

Header Image: A mule deer in Capitol Reef National Park, Utah. Credit: Ken Lund