SALT LAKE CITY — Gathering antlers that drop off the heads of deer, elk and moose is an activity that's grown in popularity across the country, including here in Utah, according to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

But those who gather them must complete an online course first to learn how to reduce their impact on wildlife and habitats.

The challenge with shed-antler gathering is that it happens during the worst time of the year for the animals and the habitat they rely on in the winter.

"By the time winter ends, the animals are stressed," Mike Fowlks, Law Enforcement Section chief for the Division of Wildlife Resources, said in a prepared statement.

"The habitat they rely on in the winter is also wet," he said. "It's easily damaged. Once the habitat is damaged, it can take years for it to recover."

Those interested in gathering antlers in Utah between Feb. 1 and April 15 must complete the Division of Wildlife Resources Antler Gathering Ethics course. The free course is available at

A certificate of completion will be issued after the course is completed and must be carried by the person gathering the antlers.