16 people receive citations for collecting shed antlers

Composite image: Foreground show a person with illegally collected shed antlers inside his hoodie (photo provided came with the face obscured); background, illegally collected shed antlers found after a DWR officer followed a violator's footprints in the snow. In both cases the violator had to surrender the shed antlers and faces a fine of up to $1,000. Utah, Feb. 10, 2017 | Photos courtesy of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — If you’re tempted to break Utah’s shed antler gathering closure prohibiting the gathering of antlers shed by deer, elk and moose this year until April 1, the Division of Wildlife Resources wants you to think again. So far, 16 people have been cited for violating the closure and some of those offenses were allegedly class B misdemeanors.

This person didn’t know a DWR officer was watching him. The officer seized the illegally collected antlers. And the person faces a fine of up to $1,000. Utah, Feb. 12, 2017 | Photo courtesy of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, St. George News

Enforcing the closure has been a top priority for DWR conservation officers. Since the statewide closure started, officers have spent more than 500 hours watching areas where big game animals congregate in the winter. They’ve also responded to several tips received on the Utah Turn-in-a-Poacher, or UTiP, hotline.

DWR Director Greg Sheehan issued orders first on Jan. 31, expanding them statewide Feb. 3, prohibiting shed antler gathering on both public and private land. The closure order is designed to reduce stress on deer, elk and moose and help more of the animals make it through the winter.

Read more: Statewide order: No gathering of antlers shed by deer, elk, moose

Of the 16 people cited since the closure, DWR Captain Mitch Lane said, several were cited for unlawful take of protected wildlife; in these cases, the take was antlers and horns.

Unlawful take of protected wildlife is a class B misdemeanor. The violators now face fines as high as $1,000.

“Our officers cited these individuals after watching them look for and then pick up antlers,” Lane said. “Or we caught them with antlers in their possession.”

After questioning a person who was gathering shed antlers illegally, the DWR officer followed the person’s footprints in the snow — right to one of the places where the person stashed the antlers. The officer seized the antlers. And the violator faces a fine of up to $1,000. Utah, Feb. 10, 2017 | Photo courtesy of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, St. George News

In two separate cases, an officer watched an individual pick antlers up and then stash them away so he could pick them up later. As the violator walked off the mountain, the officer was there to greet him.

“At first,” Lane said, “the individual denied they were shed hunting, even though the officer watched him do it. It was easy to find the evidence, though. After the officer interviewed the person and let him go, he followed the person’s foot prints in the snow, right to the spots where the antlers were stashed.”

The officer then contacted the individual and let the person know that he’d found the antlers the individual had tried to hide. At that point, Lane said, each person admitted they had gathered antlers illegally.

“In each case,” he said, “the person said they knew the shed antler gathering season was closed, but they couldn’t resist the temptation to gather antlers.”

DWR officers seized these shed antlers from the person who illegally collected them. The person who collected them now faces a fine of up to $1,000. Utah, Feb. 12, 2017 | Photo courtesy of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, St. George News

The officers seized the illegally collected antlers. In return, each violator received a costly citation.

UTiP hotline

In addition to observing people gathering antlers, Lane said, officers have made several cases after receiving tips on the UTiP hotline, 1-800-662-DEER (3337).

We’d like to thank those who have helped us enforce the closure,” he said. “We encourage people to continue reporting violations they observe or they’re aware of.”

Lane said enforcing the shed antler closure will remain a top priority for DWR officers until the closure ends on April 1.

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  • ladybugavenger February 20, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    They would have been better off being part of the FLDS millions of dollars food stamp fraud case that most got away with- no fine or restitution.

  • chupacabra February 20, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    The extortion that the state uses on its subjects is vile. From shutting down minority businesses because they want their dues, to entrapping citizens in any number of garbage.

    Google: Voluntaryism. Please

  • Lastdays February 20, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    In the minds of the DWR they think this is a legit maneuver to help wildlife from getting stressed from active shed hunters. Could be.
    But I see it as a test to see if they could keep a certain number of people off public lands just because they said so. And of course with the usual fines, penalties and jail attached to it.
    After this “test” is over, they will evaluate other scenarios and we’ll probably see more “mandatory” off limits situations arise in the very near future.

  • Lastdays February 20, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    Also, this DWR directive is right out of the Agenda 21 playbook and it’s updated version Agenda 2030.
    Yea, go ahead and laugh. But when you’ve finished snickering, research these documents and see for yourself what it says about situations just like this.
    We’ll be seeing more of the same soon from other agencies.
    Oh wait, we already have. Does Bears Ears and Gold Butte ring a bell ?

  • high5 February 21, 2017 at 10:19 am

    Well, Considering how they notified would be shed hunters, I hope the DNR learns something here as hopefully any judge would throw out these ridiculous Citations! Hell cant even pick up a rock with out offending someone LMFAO

  • smithereens February 21, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    Can someone explain to me why it’s bad to pick up shed antlers off the ground? I’ve never done it but this is the type of petty laws that start riots and make people fucking pissed off at the government. I’m so offended that people were fined that I made an account just to ask you guys why this is even happening?

    • high5 February 22, 2017 at 7:27 am

      They Claimed It would hinder the Deer, If one was in the winter feeding Grounds looking for sheds it would move the animals away— But The DWR was more than happy to Use large dollars on man power and helicopters to “relocate” starving animals because of an unusually harsh Winter snowfall. Yes It Ridiculous!
      Dont know how the animals survived years ago without Human Intervention!

  • Dusty February 22, 2017 at 7:43 am

    It’s bad to pick up shed antlers before April 1st because it is a law. We live in a society that has laws. That same society allows someone to use foul language to express their lack of word skills.

  • sam51cruisin March 13, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    What doesn’t make sense is I can legally hike, snowshoe, ski and snowboard on public/private lands in the same areas deer, elk and moose drop sheds. But I cannot legally pick up a shed in these areas until April 1st. Is it the bending down to pick up a shed that is stressing the deer, elk and moose?

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