SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Many hunters are looking ahead to this spring in Colorado but it might not be a hunt many are familiar with.

Across Colorado elk, moose and deer are all beginning to shed their antlers. And while it’s perfectly legal for people to collect the antlers, wildlife managers are worried because the practice is becoming so popular the animals could face some danger.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“We have had hunters on foot, they’re on snowshoes, snowmobiles, ATVs … they’re using dogs,” said Jeff Behncke, Colorado Parks and Wildlife District Wildlife Manager in the Hot Sulphur Springs area.

Area wildlife managers realize shed hunting is becoming big business, and with that comes more people out participating and some aren’t following the rules.

“We’re seeing that guys are trying to get out earlier and earlier every year, creating these issues,” Behncke said.

Officers say especially this spring the animals are under extra stress. They are receiving reports of people on motorized vehicles chasing elk and deer herds in hopes of collecting a fresh pair of antlers dropped by a startled animal.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Other parts of the state are totally off-limits to shed hunting and there are bans in place to keep the wildlife safe.

“There are some new regulations put in place in Eagle, Pitkin, Garfield and Routt counties where you’re not allowed to shed hunt from Jan. 1 through March 14,” Behncke said.

Many shed antler collectors bring their dogs along, some of which are trained specifically to find the shed. Wildlife managers say pet owners need their dogs under control at all times because if a dog chases wildlife they can be cited with a big fine.

LINK: Shed Hunting: From Colorado Parks & Wildlife

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