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Shed Hunting Shutdown? Well, not really…

Well, we’ve wondered which state would do it first. Colorado has responded to increased shed antler hunting pressure in recent years by instituting their first ever shed hunting license.

This license is mandatory for any person collecting shed antlers, shed horns, antlers or horns attached to skull plates of animal carcasses that are found in the field, etc. While shed hunting seasons have been established in many western states, including Colorado, to help alleviate unneeded stresses on wintering big game populations, wildlife managers from the Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) realized that more had to be done to curb the wildlife harassment during key survival periods coming on the heels of the long winter months.

The $40 antler and horn collection permit is valid from May 1 – December 31 and all other antler or horn hunting is illegal from January 1 – April 30. These new regulations are for all public lands west of I-25, and don’t pertain to private land in that zone nor land east of I-25.

According to the CPW, dramatic increases in people afield searching for antlers and horns have displaced big game animals unnecessarily during the key survival and early fawning months of late winter/spring going as far back as 2006.

The open season dates for this new antler and horn collection permit mirror dates by other states, including Wyoming to the north, for established shed antler and horn hunting seasons (May 1 – December 31).

For more information, follow this link to read the CPW language (in the red text) relating to this newly established permit.

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  1. Complete BS Colorado!!
    You don’t own those animals!

    • Mr. Roberts, you may be surprised to learn that the State of Colorado essentially owns the wildlife and is responsible for the sustainable management of the same. Although a vast amount of wildlife resides on public lands the agencies are responsible for the management of the habit only.

      • Robert G. Bentley

        Guess What? The state of Colorado DOES NOT own the game animals: The Big Game Animals are owned by: THE PEOPLE OF COLORADO! AND this would still have to go thru and be approved by the Colorado State Legislature which I don’t believe it has. Last legislature session CP&W tried to increase the fees on instate tags (which didn’t pass). It was a big mistake to combine Colorado Parks and Colorado Division of Wildlife. Parks was broke because of bad management and DOW had money in reserve. Guess WHy CP&W wants a Shed Hunt Permit now??????????????????????????

        • What better way to increase revenue to the folks that manage our wildlife for us to enjoy. If folks want to enjoy this resource they should be part of financing the management of this resource. I have no problem putting my hard earned dollars in the hands of those that manage this for all of us. If this small fee puts more animals on the mountain and creates more and better opportunity for all to enjoy then it is a small price to pay. Everyone has to admit that many of the shed hunters out there these days are not good stewards and take advantage. This stuff is not free folks. You would sped twice that to take the family to a movie and I would submit that hunting and fishing is a much better endeavor.

  2. Sad but a common trend with most state wildlife agencies. More about revenue than management.

  3. Unfortunately it is needed as people forget wildlife health and survival is more important then bone.

    • I agree with that Tim, but $40 for a permit? It’s more about revenue than protecting animals at that point!

      • 40 bucks is nothing you can make that of one shed

        • Well that settles it them- if $40 is nothing to you then give me $40 to
          Pay for this ridiculous shed license – Seems $40 is nothing to you! You know, it folks like you that would be ok paying $7 a gallon for gas. ???? WTF????

    • Then produce the data that shows that the single activity of shed hunting is killing deer and elk unnecessarily. You can’t because it doesn’t exist except in the imagination. Why are they tying money to the issue anyway? What does that have to do with anything? Are they going to buy a bunch of fawns and release them into the wild with the money? 26 years I have been shed hunting and I have never felt that I was pushing deer or elk while shed hunting. Yes, I have encountered many and they all pretty much just slow move off and I change my course to avoid them. I’m sure some areas have more pressure but CPW already has measures in place to deal with those problems.

  4. And what if I’m up hunting during big game season and find a shed? You better believe in going to keep it. I might even sign it and send to Colorado governor Chickenlooper.

  5. A new twist on fundraising since they can’t get away with over-issuing tags for “ghost populations” any more. But then again, Colorado is fast becoming “Eastern California”. Over-regulated, over-legislated, over-populated.

  6. Completely not necessary!! Money hungry State. How can they charge a fee on Federal Lands.

  7. Needs to be revised. If you have a big game license and find a shed while you are hunting, you should be exempt from having to pay the fee. Already spent thousands $ on non resident elk, deer and bear tags only to have to pay another $40. Ridiculous!

  8. Sorry, finders keepers…Colorado can kiss my **s!!

  9. This article suggests things have been finalized, and that is not accurate.

    I was at the wildlife commission meeting in Yuma today, and there was discussion of the draft options. The the issue has not been finalized yet.

    A final decision will likely come at the January commission meeting. There was discussion of a fee today, some support it some do not. Big Game Forever testified in support of the fee, no other groups testified in person.

    Moving forward, CPW staff was directed by the commission to draft revised language and options for commissioner discussion and decision. The revised language will be available for public comment prior to the January meeting.

    My take on the meeting is everyone agrees with the intent of a season, which is to prevent disturbing animals and their young during a critical and sensitive time of year, on winter range. Many report hordes of folks with an intent to earn money exhibiting behavior that is detrimental, especially to mule deer. The regulation intent is not to prevent an average guy from picking up an antler he finds while out hunting in the fall. There was discussion of recent collection closures in Utah, which seemed to send the Utah collectors into Colorado to satisfy what might be a commercial intent to earn a living.

    It is an interesting discussion, and many think if your out there earning an income from the resource, not only should you be regulated to preserve the resource, but you should also pay for it. Personally, I tend to agree.

  10. I hope they charge all you out of state very babies teen times that. If you don’t like it stay home. I’m happy they are finally doing this.

    • Sorry auto corrected that should be cry babies

    • Wade, we already pay 15 times more on tags. I don’t come to Colorado to shed hunt, I come to hunt elk, deer and bear and spend thousands $. If I stumble into a shed or deadhead, I shouldn’t have to have a license to keep it. Been hunting Colorado for over 45 years. Early 90’s, last time I hunted New Mexico , fish and game charged by the pound on sheds and deadheads. They belong to the state until you pay for them. Like some one else said, the state needs the revenue from us nonresidents.

    • Wade, if your attempt to use the english language is any indicator of your math skills, it makes complete sense why you harbor such negative feelings against non-residents. That said, in Colorado the roughly 27,000 non residents elk hunters spend more than $17 million on tags, while the 75,000 resident hunters only generate $3.6 million in tag fees. If anything you should be grateful so many non residents fund wildlife conservation in your state, lest you have to pry open your wallet to do so. What’s more, the non-residents are willingly pay the higher license fees to hunt animals that are often living on Federal National Forest lands, which they have as much ownership in as residents do.

    • 👏🏻👍🏼📢👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼

  11. Wade, I agree, go ahead and charge if it helps wildlife, however I am an out of stater. I love and respect your state. I donate thousands every year to your economy, believe it or not…..you need us.

  12. Colorado has been officially Californiacated!!!
    Have fun everyone! Eventually you will get tired of all the extra fees and more government! If you don’t, well keep feeding the worthless government beast!

  13. Typical new-Colorado BS. Hickenlooper spends too much time being radiated by his grow-light. I miss the old-Colorado…

  14. The questions that need asked are, is it just a another way to make money or are they going to limit the number if licenses? If you don’t limit the number of available licenses then this is not about the animals but about the money. Then if you limit the licenses you then need to come up with a system that makes sure that there is a fair distribution of them. Then are these lisense going to be area specific or can everyone gang up in one place? Like stated in other comments can I have an antler or two in my possession found while gathering in the fall? If I have one in my possession, or serveral and am in Western Colorado (which is a mosaic of public private land) is the Officer going to first assume I got them on public land? What will be the standard of proof needed?

  15. Sounds like a good idea to me. Keep all these people from pushing the herds around during their hardest time of year. What’s the big deal with waiting till may? And $40 toward management of Colorado’s herds, you make more than that on one good elk shed. Not a big deal, just levels the playing field for everyone.

  16. Would make a lot more of a difference if you would change hunting seasons around! You shouldnt be able to rifle hunt during any rutting periods, this time should be reserved for bow hunters! There should be only 2 rifle seasons starting a week after bow season ends as it is right now that are a week and a half long each! Then bow season should start back up for 2 weeks or keep going throughout! Too many deer get killed during rifle season because they are dumb and can only see pussy during this time! These antler collecting laws are good, there should be a limited draw tag that allows a handful of people to antler hunt earlier than the rest of the population! Also you should close off wintering grounds to all activity because there are still people hiking and biking doing just as much damage if not more damage than someone out looking for sheds. If you’re out hiking or biking whats the difference if you just pick something up along the way! Also would like to add that if there is a hunting season going on then there should be sign saying so at the starts of any hiking or biking trails giving non hunters a heads up!

  17. Anthony christman

    Utah has the online class. That’s the way it should be, why keep milking the people dry. I don’t have a problem paying for the permit. But by the time may 1st comes around the bone is mostly gone anyways. So it’s a waste of money to pay for the permit. Prime example, try finding some good deer horns around labarge in Wyoming it gets horn poached big time. You have the idiots like Allen that give out GPS coordinates to anyone and everyone. So it’s not right. How bout the test and permit like Utah and actually fine the shit out of the ones with the permit and get caught illegal picking up bone. Let’s step up to the plate. But it’s always gonna be about the $$$$$&

  18. Nice to know loraina bobbet resides in Colorado now!! At least that’s What it feels like the state being dickless and screwing the residents as usual!! Thanks for the help Colorado another fun recreational activity charged for again!!

  19. The answer is SIMPLE…… YES- it is just another way to yank money from your pocket to feed this worthless government beast. If it were about management for the animals then just stop shed hunting all together. Make it illegal to pick up sheds! Close off all public lands for any recreation until the animals move off of their winter range and head back up to the high country. But that won’t happen…. because it’s not about game management it’s about more $$$$$$$$!

    As long as idiots continue to say – ah yep that’s a good idea to charge us more because that will level the playing field. REALLY – Wake up people!!!!!!!

  20. It was just a matter of time. People do not use there heads on when to start looking. It has gotten so competitive that they are out way to early. They are not thinking of the animals only who can get there first.

  21. Long overdue
    Good for Colorado
    Should be like that in every state

  22. This is not final. Why does the author choose to spread false information?

  23. I agree with Bill. As a out of state hunter coming to Colorado for the last 35 years I should not have to pay $40 dollars if I come across a elk or deer shed while hunting in the fall !

    • Then speak up cause they haven’t thought it through that far. Right now, they do appear to have some sympathy to the non-residents who are getting pounded with license fees.

    • This issue was brought up at the September 2017 meeting and the issue paper pdf that presents the totally bogus and unrelated data is available as a pdf from the website.

    • And Dennis, weren’t you the guy who spoke at the meeting and wanted the shed hunters HAMMERED with severe penalties? Yes, you were. But now you want the non-residents to not be hammered with any fines? Are you a non-resident? You represent Big Game Forever? Which is it Dennis? A Big GAME or a BIG GAME? Sounds like you haven’t thought this through any better than the Wildlife Commission…remember, a big set of elk sheds can weigh 40 pounds and the going price is $50 per pound. That’s the data being shared by your buddies out there. Oh, but wait…don’t forget the $592,000 that the State of Colorado collects for 18 Governors Tags, raffled by organizations like yours. Of course, those guys are using fair chase methods like using a rifle during the elk rut. But of course, they are just shooting does and cows too….hahaha. talk about double talk…

  24. Hey, I’m all for healthier wintering herds regardless of what it takes. But can the state prove that shed hunters are the main reason for the problem? Nah, I’m pretty sure they can’t. So maybe prohibit all winter recreation including snowmobiling and the ski resorts if their main concern is herd health in the winter months.

  25. Honestly, the jerks out there running animals around and not caring about consequences, are probably not going to care about some new rule and are going to “poach” the bone anyways. While those of us who do things legally, literally, have to pay, and absolutely nothing else changes…

  26. I agree with a lot of the comments I read on this page. It would be about impossible to make every one happy about this situation but it’s something I think about almost every day. This is what I see happening, I have spent a lot of time in the hills and it seems like fish and game does not give a shit about the Wild life just the money. Which leads to plenty of time and power on their part. Common sense and working together can give us some positive feed back for our future fore the outdoors for our friends and our family more important for our kids. If they did care they would not have done that land swap with wexner for the old shoots property without getting more feed back from the local community hunters and outdoors men that land will be all bike trails before you know it. Leading to another issue bikers are pushing all the deer out of there habitat, hungry lions like moving targets. not sure if that was blm or Dow but I think they both had a say kinda snuck it buy us for the money.prince creek blm had way more water and vegetation than the sage and pinion on Shootys property, I hope they get some water writes up there make some really nice food plots for the deer give back a little. I think the shed hunting in the roaring fork valley and surronding areas is some of the best around lots of private though that’s what makes it good. I think there should be a shed hunting regulation but with no money involved just make it seasonal Mother Nature will find it’s way doesn’t hurt to help out any way we can. Lots of people out in the woods are looking for their best find, yet nothing like it was 15 20 years ago wouldn’t see a boot print now can’t go out without seeing those diamonds in the dirt, you guys know what I mean. What I dont understand is how this regulation on shed hunting is going to help the deer because 70 percent of the deer winter and breed shed their antlers on private and in the subdivisions where there will be more hiking pressure because it cant be regulated pressuring the deer out of their normal habitats. On to the blm where the bikers are cutting in their new biking trails as they shut down the roads in the prosses Something that needs to be addressed not even sure if some of those signes are lagit. If fish and game cared about the deer and elk they should take a look at the crown up prince creek look at the deer count from the previous years to now if they see what I have Seen there should be a seasonal closure on the bikers and other things not just target the shed hunters. Another thing thought I would mention is the blm has Been cutting and burning all the oak brush which is prime deer habitat any one looking for sheds knows that. The best things about the oak brush is the forage for the deer and bedding areas with these later snow falls were having and the leaves that fall insulate the grass. Which is way better and healthier grass for the deer. To get a good healthy start on the winter and throughout. Who’s in charge of that not sure that’s a good idea, another reason for the deer and elk to head for private. If fish and game needs more money the are just going to sell more big game tags to out of staters I’m sure to meet the quotes they need to do what they need to do. Not seeing them give back as much as they take from the big and small game.
    Hike safe good luck out there let’s all have some respect for the wildlife make it better and more fun for all of us can’t beat a good day of hiking for horn.

  27. FAKE NEWS!!

  28. By May 1st the snow has been gone for weeks if not months. The mountain bikers and hikers have been everywhere a shed hunter would be since March. To me this violates our rights as tax payers singling out a single activity with far less impact than the others I listed. Good luck enforcing this and we will see you in court.

    • 100% spot on! Is CPW going to interrogate each person they find enjoying public lands prior to May 1st? Are they going to follow everyone around, respond to every phone call about a truck or a person or a hiker or a dog walker or someone shooting a gun or rabbit hunting? It’s total BS and they know it. They also claim it will have no financial impact! They have limited staff and apparently these guys have nothing better to do at that time of the year? This is a takings of our rights and this agency is completely out of control. Tree huggers have taken over and now they are in a financial bind and they wonder why? The $40 per person will hardly pay the gas money to try to enforce this. Is there a daily bag limit? Do kids need a license? It’s poorly thought out but I can tell you that these commissioners are all for it right now so we better all speak up.

  29. Interesting for certain. I saw a comment above about false population numbers. My brother and I fly a lot around a couple areas, the DOW calls DAUs. We feel the numbers they indicate are nearly 30% over reported ! Their is no way the spend the time we have back and forth in both areas and they are dead wrong. Makes me wonder about other units and DAUs. Guess helps optimism and tag sales ?

  30. Sounds about right I’d say they spend more time in the office than in the woods. From the air they probly can’t tell a deer from a donkey they just see doller signs.

  31. Education and pay permits are fine with me but specific season dates just move avid shed hunters around to neighboring states. Last year Utah invaded Nevada. This year Colorado will invade Utah. After Colorado opens on May 1 Utah will invade CO etc, etc. I also believe these May openings put more people in the woods during birthing season. Most years in CO by late May most shed hunters are done. Now some poor doe will try to drop a fawn and she will be running away from law abiding shed hunters who couldn’t walk around in April with no snow and 50+ degree daytime temps. It’s really as simple as this.. In March and April if you see deer or elk turn around and walk somewhere else!

  32. Glad they did this. I wish they wouldn’t open shed season until Memorial Day. Unfortunately we must manage everything based on the behavior of a few bad apples. The health of the deer herds must be put above collecting shed antlers. If people would have acted responsibly and not pushed deer all over the winter range when they are most vulnerable then the state wouldn’t have to step in. The next step is to make it illegal to sell the sheds and that will take care of that. But hell, keep going out and getting that “Brown Gold” so you can make a few bucks and look extra cool on instagram.

    • Jim, I don’t want to start shed hunting on June 1. That’s just dumb. The first week of June is elk calving season. That would be an unnecessary disturbance at that critical time.

    • Jim, are you really that naive? Is this new date for shed hunters (ONLY) going to stop the mountain bike riders, snow mobiles, ATV riders, photographers, horse back riders or any other outdoor activity from applying pressure to the animals on their winter range?

      LET ME Answer it for you – NO!!!!

      Wake up – this is just another Government money grab.

  33. I agree that this will ruffle feathers, especially with real hunters who refuse to pay ranchers their ridiculous fees they charge to hunt on their land that they drive the elk to. This is another way for them to charge people who have the same rights to fair game and shed hunting.

  34. Pouchers will benefit from This new unenforceable law. The honest guys will get the leftovers. Seen it in Gunnison.

  35. It’s all about a dollar! Hunting is evolving into a Europe model of “You have to pay to play” Which will ultimately result in less hunters in the future.

  36. Idaho use to have a shed hunting season, but they realized it wasn’t enforceable so they did away with it. The only way to do it is to close the critical winter range areas to all human activities. I think this is a better option than a shed hunting season.
    All shed hunting seasons do is prevent the honest shed hunters from enjoy what they love. The guys who don’t follow the rules, love shed seasons because it decreases their competition.

    • That’s an excellent point that I had not considered. I guess having a season excludes non-residents from coming in and stashing them cause then they have to come back to get them. Locals may love the season since they can hunt and stash at will.

    • Keep in mind that two of the CPW commissioners have there own private ranches that they outfit and make a ton of money. But the shed rules don’t apply to them. How about them apples? This is an outrageous takings of rights yet since shed hunters are such a disorganized bunch of misfits we get easily pushed around because the CPW knows this. And a bunch of people pretending to be sportsmen are supporting these kinds of decisions to further their own narrow interests. You think the Mule Deer org or Big Game Forever give a damn about shed hunters? Trout Unlimited? Hell no. They just screwed the shed hunters because we are so weak and pathetic. They know that 99% of shed hunters have real jobs and would be easy to defeat while they hold their meetings during the day when the shed hunters can’t come. The Hot Sulphuric Springs group met privately led by an ex-DOW cop named Rob Firth. And guess where he lives. That group was mad that they saw non-residents shed hunting. Now they know that a non-resident would have to stash sheds and then come back to get them and it wouldn’t be worth the time and money to do that. The motivation against shed hunting has almost nothing to do with deer mortality…it is about greed, jealousy, trespassing, and control. And many of these people now have their sights focused on limiting ALL activities on your public land. It’s not going to get better unless people speak up and stop them before it is too late.

  37. Colorado is just trying to reduce pressure on the animals at crtical survival times. Do they want more money? HELL YES! The demand for more revenue is eternal in every state. One nice shed will pay back your $40. Wah Wah Quitcherbellachin! Bunch of weiners! Non residents pay for game management in many western sates, not the residents. The federal lands belong to New Jersey folks, just as much as anyone. Tired of hunters complaining, and only worrying about “whats in it for me”. Whats in it for the future generations of hunters?

    • Ken…I am 61 years old. I am fighting for ANYONES right to shed hunt, including you. We already have reasonable laws. Full closure to May 1 is crazy. Get your ass to the meeting and say your peace.

    • Ken, obviously you are not a CO resident. You mentioned critical winter range. Only shed hunters are being penalized and restricted from those areas. You can still snowmobile, hunt coyotes and lions, run your dog, ski, ride your horse, take photos or whatever! You can’t shed hunt though. That’s not fair and infringes on my rights as a tax paying American. I’ll belly ache all day long about this cause it’s not fair! FYI I could care less about the $40 licence. Any responsible shed hunter will buy it and not harass any wildlife. May 1st in unresonable. March 15 or April 1 would be fine with me.

  38. On Thursday, Jan. 11, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission voted unanimously to approve the creation of a seasonal closure on shed antler and horn collection on all public lands west of I-25 from Jan. 1 through April 30. This change will take effect beginning March 1, 2018. In addition, a closure on shed hunting has been put in place for the Gunnison basin from May 1-15. This regulation was put in place to provide protection for the Gunnison Sage-Grouse.

    CPW said they have been looking into this issue for months. They said the purpose of this regulation is to reduce the recreational impacts from shed hunting on wintering big game animals during the time of year when they are most vulnerable.

    Complete background information on this regulation can be found on the CPW website.

  39. Good luck regulating these new laws.


  41. No licenses are required. Only a seasonal ban until May 1st and select unit bans further into May. Unfotunately there are plenty of irresponsible citizens harassing animals making this ban necessary.

    • Then CPW should have done a better job of enforcing the laws concerning harassment rather than punish those who don’t cause problems. And there are “plenty “ of us too and we choose to buy or not buy the CPW licenses to hunt and fish. CPW would be wise to respect that fact.

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