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Where to Find Antler Sheds in Colorado

Where to Find Antler Sheds in Colorado

Colorado is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering breathtaking landscapes, diverse wildlife, and numerous recreational activities. One popular pastime for outdoor enthusiasts, particularly during the spring, is searching for antler sheds. Shed hunting has gained popularity in recent years, attracting both locals and visitors alike. If you’re interested in this thrilling experience, here are some of the best places to find antler sheds in Colorado.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Nestled in the heart of the Rockies, Rocky Mountain National Park is a prime location for shed hunting. The park covers a vast area of over 415 square miles, providing ample opportunities to explore and discover antler sheds. Deer, elk, and moose are abundant in the park, making it a promising spot for finding sheds.

When visiting Rocky Mountain National Park, it’s important to adhere to park regulations and guidelines. Shed hunting is not allowed in certain areas, such as designated wilderness areas or within 300 feet of any trail, road, or developed campground. Be sure to obtain a map of the park’s boundaries and regulations to ensure a responsible and enjoyable experience.

San Juan National Forest

Located in southwestern Colorado, the San Juan National Forest offers a diverse range of habitats, including alpine meadows, dense forests, and rugged mountains. This variety attracts a wide array of wildlife, making it an excellent location for shed hunting. Deer, elk, and even bighorn sheep can be found in the forest, increasing your chances of stumbling upon antler sheds.

Before embarking on your shed hunting adventure in the San Juan National Forest, it’s essential to obtain a permit from the forest service. Permits help manage the activity and ensure the sustainability of shed hunting in the area. It’s also recommended to familiarize yourself with the boundaries and regulations of the forest to avoid any conflicts.

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State Wildlife Areas

Colorado boasts an extensive network of state wildlife areas, which are managed to preserve wildlife habitat and promote outdoor recreation. Many of these areas offer excellent opportunities for shed hunting. Some notable state wildlife areas for shed hunting include James M. John and Prewitt Reservoir Wildlife Areas, both located in northeastern Colorado.

When visiting state wildlife areas, it’s crucial to respect the rules and regulations set forth by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife agency. Always stay on designated roads and trails, avoid disturbing wildlife, and obtain any necessary permits or licenses.

Private Land

While public lands offer ample opportunities for shed hunting, private land can also be a fruitful option. Many landowners in Colorado are open to granting access for shed hunting, especially if you approach them with respect and courtesy. Building relationships with landowners and seeking permission can lead to exclusive access to prime shed hunting grounds.

Before venturing onto private land, always seek permission from the landowner and abide by any conditions they set. It’s essential to leave the land as you found it, respecting fences, property boundaries, and wildlife.


Q: When is the best time to search for antler sheds in Colorado?
A: Shed hunting in Colorado typically takes place from late winter to early spring, when animals shed their antlers in preparation for new growth.

Q: Can I sell the antler sheds I find?
A: Colorado law prohibits the sale of shed antlers from big game animals, so it’s illegal to sell them. However, you can keep them as personal mementos or use them for crafts and decoration.

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Q: Are there any restrictions on shed hunting in Colorado?
A: Yes, shed hunting is regulated in Colorado. Some areas may have specific seasons or restrictions, and it’s important to obtain the necessary permits or permissions to hunt on certain lands.

Q: How should I prepare for shed hunting in Colorado?
A: Shed hunting requires physical endurance and outdoor gear suitable for the terrain. Be sure to wear appropriate clothing, bring water and snacks, and pack a backpack to carry any sheds you find.

Q: Is shed hunting harmful to wildlife?
A: When done responsibly, shed hunting does not harm wildlife. However, it’s crucial to avoid disturbing animals or their habitats, especially during sensitive times like winter or mating season.

In conclusion, Colorado offers a plethora of opportunities for shed hunting enthusiasts. From national parks to state wildlife areas and private lands, the state’s diverse landscapes are teeming with potential antler sheds. Remember to always follow regulations, obtain necessary permits, and practice responsible shed hunting to ensure a sustainable and enjoyable experience. Happy hunting!

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