RBC I The Bureau of Land Management Little Snake Field offices in Craig and Meeker are reminding people planning to collect shed antlers in northwest Colorado this spring that it is illegal to travel off existing roads in a motor vehicle on BLM public lands in this area.
“Shed-antler hunting is a great way to spend time enjoying public lands with friends and family,” said Acting BLM Little Snake Field Manager Hunter Seim. “While most people responsibly search for antlers on foot or horseback, the few people who illegally leave roads on ATVs or other motorized vehicles cause tremendous damage every spring.”
Off-road driving can cause significant damage anytime, but moist spring soils are especially susceptible. This year, road beds are unusually wet due to the heavy snowfall. The resulting damage can cause erosion and serious impacts to important wildlife habitat.
BLM rangers will be patrolling popular shed hunting areas this spring to ensure compliance with existing travel management rules.
“Shed hunters also need to keep in mind that wildlife is especially vulnerable to disturbance this time of year,” Siem said. “They are highly stressed because their reserves have been depleted, and spring green-up is still weeks away,” Seim said.
A citation for riding an ATV off existing roads or in a closed area can result in fines of $250. Harassing wildlife may also result in a $200 fine.
Northwest Colorado is well-known for its quality big game resources. Shed hunters come from throughout the region, including Utah and Wyoming, to look for shed antlers on BLM lands in northern Colorado every spring.