Wildlife official: Enjoy the outdoors, but respect seasonal regulations | VailDaily.com

Wildlife official: Enjoy the outdoors, but respect seasonal regulations

Antler shed hunters pack out their booty.
Daily file photo |

EAGLE COUNTY — Enjoying the public lands all around us is a great way to combat COVID-19 cabin fever.

But local humans need to take care that while they relieve their homebound stress they don’t distress their wildlife neighbors.

“We are encouraging people to get out and enjoy the outdoors at this time, but at the same time we want to remind people there are many seasonal trail closures still in effect,” said Craig Wescoatt, wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “Most of these closures are to protect animals while they are in their third trimester. They are vulnerable right now. We are trying to get them through until they deliver their fawns or calves.”

The Eagle Open Space Closures are in effect until April 15. Additionally, Wescoatt reminded locals that antler hunting is prohibited on public lands in Eagle County until May 1.

Fun and profit

Antler shed hunting is legal and it does not require a special permit to collect antlers that are lying on the ground. But you have to do it during certain times of the year.

Right now is not one of those times.

“The antler shed season was established to remove disturbances when the animals are at a critical time for survival,” Wescoatt said. “There is a commercial value to antler hunting and there is a fairly large contingent of people who just like to go out and look for antlers. We certainly want to allow that, we just ask that they wait until May 1.”

For more information about shed collection restrictions in the Northwest Region, contact Colorado Parks & Wildlife’s Glenwood Springs office at 970-947-2920.

“With the lockdown because of COVID-19, people want to enjoy the outdoors. We certainly want to promote that,” Wescoatt said. “Just keep in mind that the animals need this time also.”

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