Colorado hunting regulations

Colorado Hunting Regulations

Colorado is a hunter’s state with tons of public lands and great opportunities for resident and non-residents. It has a little bit of everything with limited entry areas and some general units as well. Seasons for archery, muzzleloader and rifle give you options. In addition to the abundant elk populations and big game hunting, Colorado has some great upland and waterfowl hunting. The Colorado hunting regulations are pretty straightforward but point systems can be confusing. We talk a bit about the system below.

Species of Interest and Highlights – It’s easy to get wrapped up in the elk here. The largest elk population in the world occupies Colorado with over 250,000 total. That’s a whole lot of elk to hunt. There are also some world class mule deer and the mountain terrain produces beautiful black bears. I’ve seen a few blonde phase bears that were amazing in the Colorado high country.

Colorado Hunting License Costs


  • Elk, bull and cow – $49
  • Elk, bull/either sex OTC and leftover – $46
  • Deer and Antelope – $34
  • Deer and Antelope OTC and leftover – $31
  • Moose – $254
  • Bear – $44
  • Lion – $41
  • Spring turkey – $21
  • Fall turkey – $16
  • Small game annual – $21
  • Fishing and small game combo – $41


  • Elk, bull – $629
  • Elk, cow drawing – $469
  • Elk, bull/either sex OTC and leftover – $626
  • Deer and Antelope – $379
  • Deer and Antelope OTC and leftover – $376
  • Moose – $2,081
  • Bear – $351
  • Lion – $351
  • Spring turkey – $101
  • Fall turkey – $101
  • Small game annual – $56

Colorado Hunting Season Dates

Application Dates – The Colorado hunting application deadline is March 1 for 2018 and falls on a similar day most years. You can apply online and over the phone for limited draw areas.

Point Systems – Some Colorado hunts are so popular that you cannot draw until a minimum of preference points is reached. When you have the minimum requirement, you get a random number generator and entered into the draw. This only means you are entered and does not guarantee a tag. The total number of tags are divided between residents, non-residents and landowners. Residents typically make up the majority but landowners take a fair chunk in some units.

You earn a point each time you apply and don’t draw your first choice. You can apply only for the point as well. Accumulating points for a few years while you focus on other hunts is a great strategy. You can put a difficult draw as your first choice and collect the preference point then hunt OTC tags in other parts of the state.

These are the season dates as of 2017. There are liable to change slightly in future years.

Archery Seasons:

  • Deer and Elk – Aug 26 – Sept 24
  • Moose – Sept 9-24
  • Antelope Bucks – Aug 15-31
  • Antelope either sex – Sept 1-20

Muzzleloader Seasons:

  • Elk, Moose and Deer – Sept 9-17
  • Antelope – Oct 21-29

Rifle Seasons:

  • Limited elk 1st Season – Oct 14-18
  • Deer and Elk 2nd Season – Oct 21-29
  • Deer and Elk 3rd Season – Nov 4-12
  • Deer and Elk 4th season – Nov 15-19
  • Antelope – Oct 7-13
  • Moose – Oct 1-14

Black Bear Seasons:

  • Limited – Sept 2-30
  • Archery – Sept 2-30
  • Muzzleloader – Sept 9-17
  • Rifle unlimited with a cap seasons are the same as deer and elk seasons.

Colorado Turkey Hunting Season Dates:

  • Fall – Sept 1 – Oct 26 (apply by July 12)
  • Late Season – Dec 15 – Jan 15
  • Spring – April 14 – May 27 (apply by Feb 8)

Waterfowl – Hunting waterfowl in Colorado is a special experience. There are major bird populations and great ground for public and private land access. The seasons are different based on flyways, regions and species. You can view all of the waterfowl dates here –


Return to the Main Hunting Regulations page.