Hunting in Colorado Information…what can I expect?
Those who enjoy the sport of hunting will find a plethora of opportunities to pursue their avocation in southwest Colorado.
Colorado provides hunters the chance to bag a wide variety of big game, including deer, elk, black bear, antelope, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat and mountain lion. All except moose and antelope are available in abundance in the four corners area.
Throw in turkey, waterfowl and small game and the avid hunter can stay afield year round.
In 1999, the Colorado Division of Wildlife estimates the state’s deer herd to be 547,000 strong. That is down somewhat from previous seasons, but still considered a good overall population. IN 1999, the DOW has gone to a draw system for all hunters in an effort to bolster the deer herds.
Colorado’s elk herds are strong and healthy. The estimate of 216,000 animals statewide ranks Colorado as one of the leading states for elk hunting. Colorado is one of a very few states which still sells over-the-counter bull elk licenses for all seasons. Archery season for big game is generally form last week of August through the last week of September, with a ten day period in the middle of those four weeks where muzzleloading season runs concurrently.
There are three combined rifle seasons in the fall, with the first being a five day season the second week of October. The second season is a ten day period starting the third week of October. The third is a seven day season beginning the last weekend of October. The third is a seven day season beginning the last weekend of October and running into the first week of November.
Deer and elk must be hunted in the same rifle season. The exception is if a hunter drew a license to archery or muzzleload hunt elk or deer. Then the other specie can be hunted in any of the rifle seasons.
Bear must be hunted in conjunction with a deer or elk license valid for the same season, same hunting unit and same manner of take. If the deer or elk license is a private-land-only license, the bear license is also restricted to private land in that unit.
Sheep and goat licenses are obtained by draw only. Those seasons are also in the autumn.
Two turkey seasons, spring and fall, provide an opportunity for hunters to spend a month at a time trying to call in the wiley gobblers. Methods of take include shotguns, hand-held bows, crossbows, rifles and handguns. Rifles and handguns are not allowed in the spring season, but are legal in the fall season.
A wide variety of ducks and a steady population of the Canada goose provide waterfowlers many an opportunity to go afield. Both public and private waterways give waterfowl hunters plenty of divers settings in which to pursue their sport.
Small game seasons year round will allow the avid hunter an opportunity to get out on the weekends and enjoy the beauty of southwest Colorado. In addition to rabbits, squirrels, coyotes, bobcats and raccoons (to name just a few!), there are seasons for grouse, dove, pheasant and quail in this part of the state.
There are even seasons for hawking/falconry for a number of species of birds and mammals statewide, including the four corners.
Those who want to engage in the trapping of furbearing mammals have plenty of opportunity to “get out of the house” throughout the year.
Seasons and bag limits set by the Colorado Division of Wildlife ensure that residents and visitors will be able to hunt the pristine mountains and valleys of this area for many generations to come.
Written by Larry E. Whiteside, Former Manager
Gardenswartz Sporting Goods
863 Main Avenue
Durango, Colorado 81301
Phone: (970) 247 2660