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Hunting, Fishing, and Wildlife in Colorado

Hunting, Fishing, and Wildlife in Colorado

Pictured: Chad, Arica (Broker|Owner of Code of the West), and their two kids


There’s so much to do and see in beautiful Colorado! Colorado mountain properties provide easy access to hunting, fishing, and viewing wildlife. Before you grab your fishing gear and hit the road, it’s important to be aware of the rules surrounding hunting and fishing.





Let’s review some of the hunting requirements in Colorado:


  • Education—Hunters need education certification before applying for big game draw(s) or purchasing a hunting license if you were born after January 1, 1949. You must carry proof of hunter education in the field when you hunt.
  • Species—Colorado offers 10 big-game species. The Colorado Division of Wildlife publishes a hunting brochure each year that lists detailed hunting rules and options for deer (mule and whitetail), elk, pronghorn, moose, and bear.
  • Location—Colorado is divided into hunting areas called game management units (also called GMUs). Be aware of the boundaries of your hunting area, including private land boundaries. Check out the state map and unit descriptions for more details.
  • Dates—Typically the deer, elk and bear hunting/archery season starts in early September and lasts almost a month. Muzzleloader season starts in the middle of archery season, and four rifle seasons follow that. The first rifle season is limited to elk and bear hunting only. The second, third and fourth rifle seasons are for elk, bear and deer hunters, who are in the field at the same time.
  • Weapon—Colorado has seasons for archery, muzzleloader and rifle hunting. Review the Colorado Division of Wildlife publishes a hunting brochure for specific legal requirements for the various methods and transporting weapons in the field.
  • Licenses—Each year, a limited number of licenses is allotted to each game management unit (GMU). You can apply for big game draw(s) to get one of these limited licenses, or after the draws are over, you can purchase a remaining limited license (leftover limited license) when they go on sale. Some licenses for elk, pronghorn, and bear are also available without needing to enter the draw(s) and are not restricted in quantity (unlimited). These can be purchased over the counter after they go on sale in person, online, and at sales agents around the state.




You’ll need a license in order to fish in Colorado. To snag a fishing license, you’ll need:


  • ID—Secure and verifiable ID (See for specifics)
  • Proof of Residency for Colorado residents—Refer to the Colorado Division of Wildlife for details about this requirement.
  • Habitat stamp—You’ll need a 2020 or lifetime Habitat Stamp prior to buying a license for anyone ages 18–64. One will be automatically added to your purchase, if applicable. NOTE: A Social Security number is required for new customers age 16 and older (age 12 for a second-rod stamp)


Types of Fishing Licenses


Colorado waters are open to taking fish, amphibians, and crustaceans day and night, year-round, except if otherwise stated by the CDW’s Fishing Brochure. Licenses last from March 1 until March 31 of the following year. CDW offers several licenses:


  • Adult—People 16 and older need to buy and carry a fishing license to fish or take fish, amphibians, and crustaceans, except as prohibited. Cost varies depending on license type and residency.
  • Youth—Residents ages 16-17 can purchase a fishing license for $9.85. Those under 16 can fish without a license. However, they must have a second-rod stamp if fishing with a second line.
  • Seniors—Colorado residents age 65 and older can get an annual senior fishing license for $9.85 or an annual senior combo small game/fishing license for $29.75.
  • Second-rod Stamp—Anglers can use a second rod, hand line, or tip-up by purchasing a second-rod stamp. One stamp is allowed per season and is non-transferable.




Colorado has plenty of places to view wildlife! You can watch wildlife in eight National Wildlife Refuges, hundreds of State Wildlife Areas, 12 National Parks and National Monuments, 41 Colorado State Parks, and millions of acres of National Forest and other public lands. Remember to keep a safe distance from the animals. Never feed, pet, chase or harass wildlife in order to keep you and the animals safe and healthy. Check out Colorado Parks and Wildlife for some great wildlife resources!


The Colorado Division of Wildlife is a phenomenal resource for all the outdoor activities we love to do in Colorado! And Code of the West Real Estate is a phenomenal resource for all of your real estate questions. Feel free to contact us—we’d love to help you find your dream home in Colorado!