Hunting in Colorado

Colorado Hunting at Glance

Colorado is an elk hunter’s paradise, with more elk than any other state. It is a high, rugged, mountainous state, the only state in the U.S. that lies entirely above 3,200 feet elevation. The eastern part of Colorado consists of high plains, which are a mix of prairie, forests, buttes, and canyons, much of it covered in farms and ranches. The western half of Colorado is covered by the southern Rocky Mountains. Colorado contains some of the most mountainous country in the U.S., including some 53 peaks that are 14,000 feet or higher in elevation above sea level, known as fourteeners. These mountains are largely covered in conifer forests and aspen stands, providing a haven for elk and other wildlife.

The eastern part of Colorado consists of high plains, which are a mix of prairie, forests, buttes, and canyons, much of it covered in farms and ranches.

Colorado has the most elk and is one of the few places where you can buy elk licenses on the spot for specific areas and seasons. Last-minute bookings for outfitted hunts are becoming increasingly popular in Colorado as a destination for do-it-yourself excursions.

Archery pronghorn hunts are often available with over-the-counter licenses, and white-tailed deer may be hunted in certain divisions with them. Other hunting licenses are given out by drawing.

In Colorado, huntable game includes white-tailed deer and mule deer, moose, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, mountain lions, and black bears. Upland birds and waterfowl are also sought after by hunters.

Colorado ranks #26 in the nation for hunting license per capita and has a strong hunting culture with over 5.2% of the population classified as registered hunters.

Key Insights

  • Colorado is a state in the western US with a mix of high plains, prairies, forests, buttes, and canyons in the east and the southern Rocky Mountains in the west.
  • Huntable game in Colorado includes white-tailed deer, mule deer, moose, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, mountain lions, black bears, and various upland birds and waterfowl.
  • Colorado has a mix of public and private land for hunting with 35.24% of the state’s land being huntable public land, 58.95% being private land, and 1.2% being tribal land.
  • In addition to big game Colorado also offers small game hunting for species such as squirrel, rabbit, quail, dove, and pheasant.
  • [Hunting in Colorado requires a license which can be obtained online or at a license agent location.

Table of Contents

Hunters (Based on Hunting Licenses)
Population: 5,773,714
Hunters 300,233
Hunter % 5.20%
Hunters Rank 26
Land Types (Acres)
Acres % Rank
Total 66,387,200
Huntable Public 23,397,000 35.24% 10
Private Land 39,133,110 58.95% 40
Tribal Land 795,200 1.20% 12

Colorado ranks #40 for the percentage of private land vs total acres and number 12 in terms of acres of tribal land.

Colorado Hunting Seasons & Requirements

For the most accurate information on Colorado Hunting Seasons, along with the state’s requirements for tag and bag limits, it’s a good idea to check with the Colorado DNR.  We’ve provided their contact information below, along with links to helpful resources, including licensing.

Colorado DNR

1313 Sherman Street
6th Floor
Denver, CO 80203

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Popular Game to Hunt in Colorado

Although Colorado is known to be one of the best states in the country for Elk and many other big game like mule deer, and mountain goats, you’ll also find great small game hunting.

Small Game Hunting in Colorado

There are many different species of small game that can be hunted in Colorado. Squirrel, rabbit, quail, dove, and pheasant are some of the most popular options. Each type of hunting has its own set of challenges and rewards. For example, squirrel hunting requires patience and stealth, as these animals are quick and elusive. Rabbit hunting, on the other hand, generally takes place in open fields, making it important to have a good pair of binoculars to spot your prey. Quail hunting can be quite challenging, as these birds are very fast and often flush in large groups. Dove hunting requires quick reflexes, as these birds fly quickly and erratically. Lastly, pheasant hunting often takes place in wooded areas, making it important to be aware of your surroundings at all times. No matter what type of small game you are hunting, Colorado is sure to offer an enjoyable and challenging experience.

Big Game Hunting in Colorado

Though there are many big game animals to hunt in Colorado, certain species are more popular than others. Elk, mule deer, moose, mountain goats, and bighorn sheep are all big game animals that are commonly hunted in the state. Each species has its own unique challenges, and hunters often specialize in one or two types of animals. Elk are the most popular game animal in Colorado, with hunters often pursuing them in the Rocky Mountains. Mule deer are also commonly found in the Rockies, and their populations extend into the Western Slope and Eastern Plains. Moose can be found in the San Juan Mountains and parts of the Western Slope, while mountain goats are typically found in the high country. Bighorn sheep populations are found throughout Colorado, but they are most concentrated in the West Elk and Sangre de Cristo mountains

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Where are the Best Areas to Hunt in Colorado

Colorado offers great hunting opportunities across the state, both on public and private land. We’ve included some of the best areas for public hunting below and as we have access we’ll be adding more private land too.

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Popular Public Hunting Land in Colorado

Colorado is home to some of the best hunting in the country, and there are many different types of public land available for hunters to explore. The San Juan Mountains offer a challenging hunt for elk and mule deer, while the White River National Forest is a great place to pursue deer, bear, and small game. The Gunnison National Forest is known for its trophy elk and mule deer, and the Uncompahgre National Forest is a popular destination for antelope and elk hunters. Finally, the Rio Grande National Forest is home to a variety of big game, including bighorn sheep, moose, and deer. With so many great options available, it’s no wonder that Colorado is one of the most popular states for hunting.

1. San Juan Mountains
2. White River National Forest
3. Gunnison National Forest
4. Uncompahgre National Forest
5. Rio Grande National Forest

Hunting Private Land in Colorado

Since the majority of Colorado is private land getting access for hunting can be very appealing. When you hunt private land, it’s not only less crowded, the animals also tend to be less skittish and this means you’ll have a better day out in the field.  Traditionally, accessing private land for hunting has been complicated and expensive.  You either needed to join a club, hire a guide, or start knocking on doors.

Fortunately Wing It is simplifying this for hunters and outdoor enthusiasts of all types. We’re adding new land every day and if we have some in your area, you’ll see some options great below.

More Private Hunting Land

• 80 acres •
  • Hunting
  • Others activities
    • Woodchuck and rabbit hunting
  • Hunting
  • Others activities
    • Woodchuck and rabbit hunting
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