What's New for 2023?
Mount Evans Hunting Closure Adjustment
New Boundaries for Mt. Evans:
- Hunting is strictly forbidden in two specific areas:
- The area encompassing the Mt. Evans Summit Lake cirque.
- The vicinity within a quarter-mile of either side of the Mt. Evans Highway's centerline.
- Hunting is strictly forbidden in two specific areas:
- Note that the previous restriction range of a half-mile has been revised to a quarter-mile.
HIP Registration Changes
Exemption for Certain Furbearer Hunters:
- Hunters exclusively pursuing furbearers, except coyotes, are no longer required to register with the Harvest Information Program (HIP).
Mandatory HIP for Others:
- Small game and waterfowl hunters, as well as those targeting coyotes, must still register with HIP.
State Wildlife Areas Regulations Revision
- Updates have been implemented to standardize and elaborate on the wording of regulations pertinent to allowable activities across numerous state wildlife areas.
Check Before You Go:
- It’s important to examine the specific restrictions for the State Wildlife Area (SWA) you intend to visit, as rules regarding access and permissible activities might have been amended.
- Refer to the "Land-Use Rules" section, spanning pages 17 to the back cover, for detailed regulations.
- For comprehensive regulations, consult the Colorado State Recreation Lands brochure available at: cpw.info/rec-lands-brochure.
Access Licenses and Passes via myColorado™ App
- CPW Resident Fishing Licenses: Available for in-app access.
- Small Game Licenses: Obtainable through the app for easy carry.
- Small Game & Fishing Combination Licenses: Integrated within the app for convenience.
- Keep Colorado Wild Pass: Newly added for digital access through myColorado™.
For additional details and app usage, visit myColorado.gov.
Regulation Brochures for Recreational Activities
- Big Game Regulations: Essential for hunters pursuing large game.
- Fishing Regulations: Guidelines for anglers in Colorado's waterways.
- Colorado State Recreation Lands Regulations: Information for various activities on state lands.
Harvest Information Program (HIP) Registration
Annual Registration Requirements
- Small-game, furbearers, migratory bird hunters, and falconers must enroll in HIP annually for their license to be valid.
- Registration for the 2022–2023 HIP number opens on April 1 but is available anytime post-April 1 and pre-hunting.
Recording Your HIP Number
- Your new HIP number must be written on your respective hunting license.
How to Sign Up for HIP
- To register, call 1-866-265-6447 (1-866-COLOHIP) available from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
- Alternatively, sign up online at colohip.com.
- Provide basic harvest information from the previous season and the intended species to hunt in the current season.
- Understand a "season" spans from September 1 to March 15 of the following year.
HIP Registration Availability
- Live operator assistance is not available overnight (10:30 p.m. to 7 a.m.) or during major holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day).
- Online registration remains open 24/7, even during holidays and overnight hours, at colohip.com.
Walk-In Access Program Details
Hunting Opportunities and Season Dates
- The Walk-In Access (WIA) program offers hunting for small game, migratory game birds, and furbearers.
- Hunting of Gambel’s quail and greater sage-grouse is not permitted on WIA lands.
- Regular season for WIA properties spans from September 1st through the end of February.
- Late cropland season is active from the opening day of pheasant season till the end of February.
- Extended WIA property access runs from the start of pheasant season until the end of March.
Access Rules and Timing
- Foot access only is granted on WIA properties, restricted to one hour before sunrise up to one hour after sunset.
- Extended access hours, two hours before sunrise until two hours after sunset, apply for hunting waterfowl, deer, elk, or pronghorn.
Licenses and Stamps
- A valid small-game license and a Habitat Stamp are prerequisites for hunting on WIA properties.
Property Identification and Restrictions
- marked with Walk-In Access signs, enrolled properties are listed in the WIA atlas.
- Access may be denied during active crop harvesting, as indicated by signage.
Atlas Publication and Availability
- Two editions of the WIA atlas will be published for the 2022–2023 season:
- The 2022 REGULAR WALK-IN ATLAS, available in late August, details properties accessible starting September 1st.
- The 2022 LATE CROPLAND ATLAS, released in late October, provides updates on property availability.
Additional Hunting Options
- Select eastern Colorado WIA properties that permit both small-game and big-game hunting under the Big Game Access Program.
Wildlife Donation Guidelines
Conditions for Donating
- Wildlife donations are permissible when the edible portions of the animal are gifted.
- The donor may transfer the game to a recipient with a like-license, matching in species, sex, licensed dates, and method of take.
- Alternatively, wildlife donations are allowed at the recipient's residence, regardless of the recipient’s license status.
Limitations and Legal Requirements
- Both donors and recipients must adhere to established bag and possession limits.
- All donated birds must bear proper tagging to ensure compliance with regulations.
Addressing Wildlife-Induced Property Damage
Rights of Landowners in Colorado
- Landowners in Colorado are legally entitled to safeguard their private property against damage caused by most wildlife species.
Information and Assistance
- Landowners seeking guidance on dealing with wildlife damage can contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) at 303-297-1192.
- For comprehensive regulations and updates on the matter, visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website at cpw.state.co.us/regulations.
- Specifically, Chapter W-17: Game Damage, provides detailed information regarding trapping regulations and handling small-game property damage.
Mandatory Utility Notification for Hunters
Requirement for Waterfowl Hunters in Colorado
- Before excavating any hunting pits, waterfowl hunters must contact the Utility Notification Center of Colorado.
Preventing Utility Line Damage
- Calling before digging helps prevent unintended disruptions to electric, gas, water, and various other underground utility lines.
- To fulfill this legal requirement, call the Utility Notification Center of Colorado at 1-800-922-1987.
Game Meat Safety Precautions
Addressing Disease Concerns in Wildlife
- Recognizing potential diseases in wild animals that might be transmissible to humans is important.
- Game meat, when well-handled and cooked, typically has no greater disease risk than domestic meats.
Seeking Disease Information
- Hunters should contact local public health authorities or Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) offices for region-specific wildlife disease information.
Recommended Safety Measures
- Avoid Contact with Diseased Wildlife: Do not handle visibly ill wildlife or carcasses. Report such cases to CPW offices.
- Storage Conditions for Game: Maintain game meat in a state that is cool, clean, and dry.
- Hygiene During Game Processing: Refrain from consuming food or beverages and avoid smoking while handling the game.
- Protective Gear: Utilize disposable gloves when dressing game to minimize direct contact.
- Handwashing: Thoroughly wash hands with soap and water or use alcohol wipes after processing the game.
- Cleaning Tools and Surfaces: Immediately clean all equipment and surfaces used, first with hot soapy water followed by a disinfectant solution of 10 percent chlorine bleach.
- Cooking Game Meat: Ensure game meat reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit; cooked juices should run clear.
- Avoiding Raw Consumption: Do not consume game meat in its raw form.
- Pet Safety: Keep domestic pets safe by not feeding them raw wild game.
Colorado General Hunting Regulations
Property Management and Firing Lines
- Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) reserves the authority to establish firing lines on CPW properties.
Prohibitions Involving Motor Vehicles and Aircraft
- Engaging in activities such as killing, capturing, injuring, or harassing wildlife via motor vehicles or aircraft is strictly illegal.
- Discharging firearms or releasing arrows from these modes of transportation is also prohibited.
- Operating aircraft with the intent to interact negatively with wildlife is forbidden.
Public Road Safety Regulations
- It is unlawful to fire a weapon or release an arrow from, on, or across public roads.
- Rifles, handguns, shotguns with slugs, and archery equipment use are banned within 50 feet of the center line on either side of a public road, including divided road medians.
Firearm Transport in Motor Vehicles
- All firearms, except for pistols and revolvers, must have an unloaded chamber during transport in motor vehicles.
- When employing artificial light from a vehicle, it's prohibited to possess a loaded firearm or an armed and strung bow unless encased.
Ethical Wildlife Harvest and Possession
- All edible parts of the game are to be taken for human consumption.
- A diligent effort must be made to track and dispatch any wounded game.
- Simply possessing wildlife can legally imply that hunting activity has taken place.
Clothing Recommendations for Hunters
- Solid, fluorescent orange or pink attire is not mandatory for small-game and migratory bird hunters, but wearing these colors is strongly recommended for safety.
Regulatory Checkpoints and License Points System
- Hunters must comply with CPW check stations upon request.
- Wildlife law violations accrue points against hunting licenses, potentially leading to suspensions; 20 points within five years could result in multi-year suspensions.
Off-highway vehicle (OHV) Firearm Regulations
- During certain big-game seasons, firearms (excluding handguns) should be unloaded in both chamber and magazine while transported on OHVs.
- Firearms and bows must be fully encased; open-ended scabbards are not permitted.
- Landowners or their representatives are exempt from this when dealing with depredating wildlife on properties they own or lease.
- Hunting game birds, small-game animals, or furbearers with a centerfire rifle larger than .23 caliber west of I-25 is illegal during regular rifle deer and elk seasons unless carrying an unfilled license for that season. A small-game license is still necessary.
Legal Hunting Hours in Colorado
Small Game and Waterfowl
- Hunting hours are established from one-half hour before sunrise until sunset.
- Extended hunting hours for furbearers are from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
- Specific species—such as raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, striped skunks, beavers, and various foxes—may be hunted at night.
Light Goose Conservation Season
- During this season, hunting is permissible from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
- For sunrise and sunset times, along with further details, visit cpw.state.co.us/huntingresources.
Colorado Hunting and Fishing License Restrictions
Child Support Compliance
- A Social Security number is a mandatory requirement for purchasing a hunting or fishing license.
- Though not displayed on the license, the Social Security number can be accessed by Child Support Enforcement if needed.
- Licenses will not be issued to individuals suspended due to child support delinquency.
- Any licenses held become void if the holder is non-compliant with child support obligations.
Weapons Possession Compliance
- Laws at both the state and federal levels restrict individuals with certain convictions (including domestic violence) from possessing firearms.
- Affected persons should verify their eligibility for weapons possession for hunting purposes with relevant law enforcement agencies.
Hunting Aids for Small Game and Waterfowl in Colorado
Use of Dogs
- Dogs may be deployed for hunting small game, waterfowl, and furbearers, specifically to pursue, bring to bay, flush, retrieve, or point.
- It's illegal to use dogs for hunting cottontail rabbits, snowshoe hares, and tree squirrels in areas where regular deer, elk, pronghorn, or moose hunting seasons are active.
Decoys and Ferrets
- Hunters are allowed to use artificial decoys.
- European ferrets are approved for use in hawking; these ferrets must be neutered, tattooed on the left inguinal area, and have a dyed body section for identification.
- Mechanical wildlife callers are permitted.
- Use of recorded or electronically amplified calls is restricted to hunting furbearers and crows.
Hunting Migratory Game Birds
- Hunting over standing crops or feed used in regular agricultural activities is permissible.
- Baiting migratory game birds is strictly prohibited.
- Utilizing drones for scouting, detecting, or searching for wildlife as an aid in hunting is illegal.
Colorado Small-Game Hunting Laws
Legal Hunting Methods for Small Game
- Permitted air guns include rifles or handguns of .177 caliber or larger.
- Must use pellets, slugs, or roundball ammunition powered by high-pressure air or compressed inert gas.
- Includes pellet guns and pneumatic weapons.
- A shoulder-fired bow with a perpendicular attachment to its stock and a mechanical device to keep the string cocked.
- Longbows and compound bows are allowed, provided the string is drawn or held manually.
- Permitted handguns include pistols and revolvers, without a shoulder stock or attachment.
Rifles and Shotguns
- Rifles must have a rifled bore, a barrel at least 16 inches in length, and a total length of 26 inches or more.
- Shotguns should have a smooth bore, with an 18-inch minimum barrel length and over 26 inches in total length.
- Slingshots drawn or held manually with elastic bands for launching projectiles; wrist braces and non-elastic pouches are standard components.
Pre-Charged Pneumatic Air Guns
- Air guns charged from an external high-pressure source, like an air compressor, tank, or hand pump.
Traps and Live Traps
- Live traps (cage or box) are designed to close upon entry, capturing the animal without injury.
- Ordinary traps are for trapping as a method to take wildlife.
Canada Lynx Recovery Area
- Specific regulations exist within this area, delineated by the San Juan and Rio Grande national forests and associated highlands.
Legal Bag and Possession Limits
- Daily Bag Limit defines the maximum number of wildlife one can harvest per day, inclusive of consumed or donated specimens.
- Possession Limit sets the total number of wildlife one can own at any given time, whether in the field, during transport, or stored.
Categories of Small Game
- Dusky, mountain sharp-tailed grouse; greater sage-grouse; white-tailed ptarmigan; pheasant; quails; chukar partridge; greater prairie-chicken.
- Cottontail rabbit; snowshoe hare; various jackrabbits; marmot; different squirrels; prairie dogs; Richardson’s ground squirrel.
Other Small Game
- Prairie rattlesnake and common snapping turtle.
- Various foxes, skunks, marten, badgers, beaver, muskrats, weasels, coyotes, bobcats, opossum, ring-tailed cats, and raccoons.
Hunting and Harvesting Sacraments
- Falconry or hawking (with a trained raptor) is acknowledged.
- One is obligated to take the pelt of furbearers if hunting for this purpose.
Colorado Legal Migratory Bird Hunting Methods
- Shotguns exceeding 10 gauge are prohibited.
- Capacity is restricted to a maximum of three shells, inclusive of both the chamber and magazine.
- Any shotguns with larger capacities must have a one-piece filler in the magazine that cannot be removed without disassembling the firearm.
- Shotguns must be fired from the shoulder, and the use of slugs is illegal for waterfowl hunting.
- Hand-held bows are permissible, provided they are not drawn or held mechanically.
- Use of bows is illegal on firing lines set by the Parks and Wildlife Commission.
Hunting From Blinds and Concealment
- Hunting waterfowl in the open, from blinds, or other concealed locations is legal, excluding sink boxes.
- Camouflaging must not lead to exposing or scattering grain or feed.
- Hunting from stationary vessels with non-operational motors or furled sails is allowed.
- Legal hunting from drifting or hand-propelled vessels is permitted.
- Use of motorized vessels is only for retrieving downed birds or handling decoys.
Regulations on Hunting Over Crops
- Legal harvesting of migratory birds, including waterfowl, is allowed over specified lands and crops that are not baited.
- The distribution of seeds or grains from normal agricultural activities does not constitute baiting.
- Baiting and baited areas are subject to specific definitions and restrictions, with baited areas remaining restricted for ten days after bait removal.
Allowed Hunting Aids
- Hawking or falconry is approved.
- The use of dogs, artificial decoys, and natural duck or goose calls is legal.
- Recorded or electronically amplified calls are restricted to hunting common crows.
Plumage and Skins Transport
- No permit is needed to possess or transport the plumage or skins of lawfully harvested migratory birds for personal use.
- Ownership, disposal, and transportation of feathers from legally taken wild ducks and geese are permitted without a permit, with stipulated uses for feathers.
Light Goose Conservation Order Season
- During this season, specific allowances are made for the use of recorded or amplified calls and shotguns with more than a three-shell capacity.
- Expanded hunting hours from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset are observed.
- A Colorado waterfowl stamp is required, yet a federal migratory bird stamp is not.
Applicable Laws and Regulations
- The stricter of state or federal laws will always prevail.
- Further details can be found on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website at cpw.state.co.us/waterfowlhunting and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service at www.fws.gov/hunting/whatres.html.
- Additional rules may apply to National Wildlife Refuges open for hunting, accessible at www.fws.gov/refuges.
Prohibited Migratory Bird Hunting Methods in Colorado
- Baiting migratory game birds and waterfowl is illegal.
- It is prohibited to hunt by the aid of baiting or on/over a baited area when knowingly or under circumstances where one should have known the area is baited.
- The direct or indirect placement of bait to hunt or attempt to hunt migratory birds with the aid of bait is unlawful.
- For comprehensive federal baiting laws, visit www.fws.gov/le/waterfowl-hunting-and-baiting.html.
Use of Prohibited Equipment and Substances
- Artificial light as an aid in hunting migratory birds is illegal.
- Hunting with traps, snares, nets, rifles, pistols, swivel guns, punt guns, battery guns, machine guns, fish hooks, poisons, toxicants, explosives, or any stupefying substances is not allowed.
- Utilizing live, tame, or captive ducks and geese as decoys is forbidden.
- Limitations exist on retaining tame or captive birds near hunting areas; they must be isolated 10 days before hunting commences.
- Leaving decoys or decoy-like items in state wildlife areas overnight is prohibited.
Federal Reservations and Wildlife Refuges
- Hunting migratory birds on federal reservations or lands closed by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act requires specific permissions.
- For regulations on national wildlife refuges, contact points are provided for Alamosa, Monte Vista, Browns Park, and Arapaho NWR.
Area-Specific Hunting Limits
- Hunting within designated proximity of public roads and dwellings is subject to stringent restrictions, with the need for explicit permission from homeowners or occupants.
Legal Possession and Transport
- Possessing or transporting illegally taken migratory birds, their parts, nests, or eggs is illegal.
- Migratory birds must be killed immediately upon injury and counted towards the bag limit.
- It is unlawful to buy, sell, barter, or propose such transactions involving feathers or mounts of migratory birds.
Transportation Tagging Requirement
- Migratory birds must be tagged for transportation as mandated by regulations.
Special Sandhill Crane Considerations
- Endangered whooping cranes are protected and not to be hunted; they may be present during the Colorado sandhill crane season.
Compliance with Most Restrictive Laws
- Adherence to the most restrictive laws, whether state or federal, is mandatory.
- Visit www.fws.gov/hunting/whatres.html for detailed federal regulations.
Regulations for Tagging and Transporting Game Birds in Colorado
Mandatory Carcass Tags
- Attach a carcass tag to wildlife species that require it as specified by law.
- License holders must accompany wildlife that doesn't necessitate a carcass tag, with certain exceptions noted in the regulations.
Identification During Transport
- Until reaching a home or commercial processor, one head or fully feathered wing must remain on birds in transit for species identification.
Shipping Migratory Birds
- Packages must be externally marked with the sender and receiver's names, addresses, and bird numbers by species.
- Documentation such as licenses, photocopies of licenses, or carcass tags must accompany wildlife shipped by a common carrier.
Tagging for Birds Not at Home
- When left at locations other than your residence or with another person, birds require a tag with the signer's details, bird count and species, kill date, and hunting license number.
Receiving Migratory Birds
- Accepting someone else’s migratory birds is allowed only if they are appropriately tagged according to requirements.
Migratory Bird Preservation Facilities
- Facilities must maintain records that detail species count, receiving and disposal dates, and recipient information.
- Records should be kept for one year following the last entry.
- Authorized personnel must be given access for inspection of records and premises.
Importing Limits from Foreign Countries
- Weekly importation limits exist, excluding specific exemptions from Canada and Mexico.
- A fully feathered wing must remain attached to birds during transport and shipping from entry points to homes or facilities.
- Importing someone else’s birds is illegal.
Legal Possession and Transport
- Possession or transport of illegally obtained migratory birds, parts, nests, or eggs is prohibited.
- You must dispatch injured migratory game birds immediately after recovery.
- No special permit is needed for the possession or transport of legally acquired plumage and skins for personal use.
- Feathers from legally hunted wild ducks and geese or seized birds can be used for specified commercial purposes, excluding millinery or decoration.
- Transactions involving buying, selling, bartering, or attempting to trade feathers or mounted specimens of migratory game birds are unlawful.
Mandatory Bird Species Identification for Hunters in Colorado
- During transit to a residence or a commercial processing facility, birds (with specific exemptions) must retain one fully feathered wing or head for species identification.
Exemptions and Alternatives
- Turkeys, doves, and band-tailed pigeons are exempt from this requirement.
- For pheasants, visibility of the spur on a retained foot is an acceptable substitute.
Dressed Doves Regulation
- All dressed doves, including Eurasian collared doves, must be considered part of the daily bag and possession limits during the September 1st to November 29th dove season.
- Eurasian collared doves should remain fully feathered in the field or while transported outside of the specified dove hunting season.
Colorado Guidelines for Hunting Invasive Bird Species
Invasive Species Designation
- Eurasian collared doves, European starlings, and house (English) sparrows are classified as invasive in Colorado.
- These invasive bird species can be hunted at any time, with no seasonal restrictions.
Licensing and Education Requirements
- No hunting license or Habitat Stamp is needed to pursue these invasive species.
- A hunter education card is required and must be in possession while hunting.
Harvest and Method of Take
- There are no limits on the number of these invasive birds that can be harvested.
- Any legal big or small-game hunting methods are permissible for taking these species.
- Artificial light and night vision equipment may be utilized for hunting these species at night.
Commercial Activity and Compensation
- Commercial hunting of these invasive birds is not allowed.
- It is unlawful to receive or attempt to receive compensation for hunting invasive bird species.
Transporting Eurasian Collared-Doves
- Outside the specified dove season, Eurasian collared doves must be transported fully feathered.
- During the Sept. 1st - Nov. 29th dove season, these doves can be counted towards the bag and possession limits for mourning and white-winged doves.
Definitions Essential for Migratory Bird Hunting in Colorado
- The combined daily maximum number of animals that may be harvested by a single hunter, irrespective of species differences.
Daily Bag Limit
- Sets the daily cap on the number of wildlife an individual can harvest, which includes wildlife consumed or gifted on the day of capture.
- Central Flyway: Defined as the region east of the Continental Divide.
- Pacific Flyway: The area located west of the Continental Divide.
- Light Geese: Includes lesser snow geese (and its blue variant), greater snow geese, and Ross’ geese.
- Dark Geese: Encompasses Canada geese, white-fronted geese, brant, cackling geese, and other geese species except for those classified as light geese.
Manipulation and Vegetation
- Manipulation: The act of altering either natural vegetation or crops, excluding the distribution of grain or seed post-harvest.
- Natural Vegetation: Plants that are non-agricultural and native or naturally derived without intentional planting in the given season.
Definition of Migratory Game Birds
- Includes certain bird species outlined in international treaties with the U.S., such as various waterfowl, doves, sandhill cranes, American coots, rails, snipe, band-tailed pigeons, and crows.
Regulations and Practises
- Nontoxic Shot: Shot types that have been ratified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for use in migratory game bird hunting.
- Normal Agricultural Operation: Recognized farming procedures in compliance with established federal guidelines for planting and harvesting.
- Normal Soil Stabilization Practice: Agricultural methods for controlling soil erosion following federal guidelines.
- Dictates the maximum number of wildlife that can be owned at any given time, factoring in various states of transport or storage.
- A floatation device allowing a hunter to remain concealed below water level; the utilization of a sinkbox is prohibited in bird hunting.