As autumn’s chill approaches, eager hunters await the start of Colorado’s 2023-2024 hunting seasons. With majestic landscapes and abundant wildlife, the state offers premier hunting for big game, small game, and waterfowl species. This comprehensive guide provides key details on seasons, permits, and regulations to equip you for an unforgettable Colorado hunting adventure.
Big Game Season
The big game season provides opportunities to hunt impressive animals like elk, deer, pronghorn, moose, and bear across Colorado’s wilderness. Separate archery, muzzleloader, and rifle seasons allow hunters flexibility in their approach.
- Archery Season runs from September 2-30, October 1-31, and November 1-26, 2023. This longer season rewards dedicated bowhunters.
- Muzzleloader Season spans shorter periods from September 2-24, October 1-14, and November 1-19, 2023. Muzzleloader hunting offers a traditional experience.
- Rifle Season lasts from October 1 until the end of the 4th regular deer/elk combined season, annually. Popular rifle hunting draws hunters from across the globe.
- To hunt big game, you must secure a permit through the Primary Draw from April 4-May 5, 2023 or purchase any leftover over-the-counter permits starting June 21, 2023. Apply early, as demand is extremely high.
Small Game Season
For small game like rabbits, squirrels, coyotes, foxes and raccoons, the season runs from September 1, 2023 through February 2024. Marmots have a shorter season from August 10-October 15, 2023.
A Small Game License is required, except for marmots which require a Furbearer License. Both are available online or at Colorado Parks and Wildlife offices.
When pursuing ducks, geese, teal and crows, key waterfowl seasons are:
- Duck Season: October 7, 2023 – January 7, 2024
- Goose Season: November 4, 2023 – January 21, 2024
- Teal Season: September 9-24, 2023
- Crow Season: November 1, 2023 – February 2024
A Waterfowl License is mandatory for waterfowl hunters age 16+. Hunters 16+ must also carry a Federal Duck Stamp and state habitat stamp.
Regulations and Resources
All hunters need a valid Colorado hunting license. Specific permits are also required for certain species. Hunters 18+ must complete hunter education certification before hunting. Adhere to all regulations regarding shooting hours, bag limits, weapon restrictions, licensing, and permit requirements. For comprehensive season info, regulations, and application details, visit the Colorado Parks & Wildlife website at cpw.state.co.us.
With proper preparation, responsible hunting practices, and respect for the land and wildlife, Colorado’s 2023-2024Here’s some additional content continuing the article on Colorado’s 2023-2024 hunting seasons:
Colorado offers diverse terrain, providing options for various hunting methods:
- – Spot and Stalk: Hike through forests and meadows to spot animals, then strategically approach within shooting range. Effective for deer, elk, moose.
- – Stand Hunting: Sit patiently in a stand overlooking food sources, watering holes, or migration trails. Most productive for deer, bear, waterfowl.
- – Flushing: Walk areas with dense brush to flush out birds and rabbits. Bring a dog to help locate and retrieve small game.
- – Calling: Use animal calls and scents to attract predators like coyotes, foxes and bobcats within shooting range.
- – Driving: Teams of hunters walk toward stationary hunters to push deer and elk toward them. Coordination is key.
- – Tracking: Follow blood trails and other sign after making a hit to track wounded big game. Essential for ethical harvest.
Research areas you may hunt to understand population density, terrain, accessibility, weather concerns, etc:
- – Front Range: Higher hunting pressure near cities like Denver, but opportunity for deer, elk and small game.
- – Western Slope: Rugged backcountry areas with plentiful elk, mule deer herds and bighorn sheep.
- – Plains: Pronghorn antelope, dove, geese, ducks and other waterfowl abound. Flat, open terrain.
- – Mountains: Prime habitat for bighorn sheep, mountain goats and moose. Challenging high-altitude hunting conditions.
- – Public vs. Private Land: public land access varies regionally. Private ranches offer guided hunts.
With Colorado’s diverse landscapes and species, you can tailor your hunt by location and method. Do your research to make the most of the terrain and hunting opportunities in your area of interest.
Hunting Prep and Gear
Proper preparation and gear will enable a smooth, successful hunt:
- – Physical Conditioning – Hiking rugged terrain with a pack requires fitness. Train beforehand with cardio and strength exercises.
- – Navigation Skills – Study maps and navigation techniques to orient yourself in remote locations. Carry a compass, GPS device, or download offline maps.
- – Weather Prep – Check forecasts frequently and pack clothing suitable for all conditions – layer for temperature swings.
- – Equipment – Carry quality optics for spotting game. Pack a first aid kit, survival basics, and emergency signaling devices.
- – Weapon Proficiency – Practice extensively with your hunting weapon. Know its capabilities and limitations. Sight-in rifles and check arrow accuracy.
- – Field Care – Learn how to quickly and humanely harvest animals. Bone up on field dressing, quartering, caping, and packing meat.
- – Camping Supplies – For multi-day trips, carry adequate food, water filtration, camp stove, tent, and sleeping gear. Travel safely and ethically in the backcountry.
- – Licenses and Tags – Confirm you have all required permits on your person. Tags must be affixed before transporting animals.
- – Game Retrieval – Scout ahead of time how you’ll transport large game out of remote areas if harvested. Some pack out, others use horses or ATVs where permitted.
With thorough preparation and mastery of essential skills, your Colorado hunting trip will be rewarding. Familiarize yourself with the area, gear up properly, brush up on regulations and techniques, and have a backup plan to safely enjoy the hunt and handle any game harvested.