For wildlife, winter is a stressful season when they can lose 30 percent or more of their body weight. Consequently, people should avoid disturbing Colorado's wild critters during cold weather months.
To minimize disturbance of animals in the Gunnison Basin, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is reminding people who collect big-game shed antlers of special regulations that restrict when antlers can be collected from public lands.
"Animals are under a lot of stress during the winter; the less energy they use unnecessarily the better their chances of surviving," said J Wenum, area wildlife manager in Gunnison for the agency. "Please, don't disturb big game on the winter range."
Those who violate the regulations can be fined $70, be assessed five penalty points against their hunting and fishing privileges and any antlers collected will be confiscated. Harassing wildlife is also illegal under state statute and can result in additional fines.
In the Gunnison Basin, where antler shed collecting is popular, there are two regulations in place to prevent disturbance of animals on public lands in big game management units 54, 55, 551, 66 and 67. Collection of shed antlers is prohibited on public lands within those units from Jan. 1 through March 14. From March 15 through May 15, shed antler collection is prohibited from legal sunset until 10 a.m.
Collecting of shed antlers for commercial use has grown during the last decade. At this time of year human activity in winter range can cause significant disturbance to deer, elk and to the Gunnison sage-grouse during the birds' mating period in early spring.
"These regulations have been in place for several years now, so collectors should know about them; no one can plead ignorance," Wenum said.blog comments powered by Disqus