Colorado – From a Deer Hunter’s POV

Posted: 08/07/2012 in Archery, Hunting, Legal, News, Regulations
Tags: , , ,

This is an ongoing series looking at each state from the point of view of a nonresident hunter trying to find information about deer hunting, the basic explanation is HERE.


Is the information easy to find?

The Colorado Department of Natural Resources web site is the top of the search results.

Grade: A

Website: is it easy to use and understand?

There is a LOT of information on the web site, but the logical manner in which it’s presented, and the way the explanations are formatted, with ‘first you need to know this, then this, etc.’ makes the information easy to find, easy to understand, and pleasant to read.  Everything a new user would need to know to hunt deer can be found with just a few clicks.  One of the best tools is the ‘Plan Your Hunt‘ PDF file checklist with an easy to follow list of steps.

Grade: A

Does the state hold a lottery system for non-residents or are over the counter licenses available?

Colorado uses a combination system, over the counter licenses is available, and anyone not drawn in the lottery may choose to have your license fee applied to a leftover draw option, which requires flexibility in planning a hunting trip.  There are other options as well, all presented with minimum bureaucrat-speak.

Grade: B

How much does it cost to hunt, and is there a short term license available?

Resident license fees (for deer) are $34 for a buck or doe, the nonresident fee is $349 for buck or doe, and both also need to pay a $10 habitat stamp fee if this is the first license (hunting or fishing) purchased in Colorado that year.    $359 seems a bit steep, but many, many articles have been written about the quality and quantity of Colorado whitetail, so without data contradicting that, I’d say “Not bad.”  However, there are no short term options, and from what I can tell, that tag ONLY covers one deer, buck or doe.  So, it’s a bit expensive and too bad if you can only spare three to five days, you’re paying for a year, and if you tag out day one, I guess you’re sitting on your thumbs unless you purchase a fishing license or tags for something else.

Grade: C

Are the hunting seasons easy to find and laid out in a logical manner?

Season dates depend on where in the state, which season, and what hunting equipment will be used, but the seasons are easy to read and laid out in an understandable format.

Grade: A

Is public hunting available, if so, are the rules different? If the rules are different, are they easy to understand?

Colorado has an OUTSTANDING “Hunting Atlas” that allows you to use a Google Map-style interface to drill down to the area you want to hunt and see what WMA’s are in that area. Nothing indicates that the rules wildly different for public hunting.

Grade: A

Are there major issues in hunting this state as a non-resident?

Chronic Wasting Disease is present in Colorado. No other issues were found at this time.

Grade: B

Summary: Final Grade B+

The only issues for this state were Chronic Wasting Disease and the cost of a single deer license, and the fact that your $359 only buys a deer license, not a comprehensive or sportsmen’s tag.   The lottery system is well laid out, with multiple ways of hunting regardless of being drawn, and if you don’t want to use the lottery, you simply hunt a later season.

Previous states:  AlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansas, California


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