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RIFLE HUNTING IN COLORADO

Hunting in Colorado often feels boundless, with a vastness that is inspiring. Public lands that include 23 million acres of pristine pines, plentiful pocket meadows and pure-water ponds are found across the State, so it’s no wonder Colorado hosts the world’s largest elk herd and the best chance at hunting, or simply viewing, the state's numerous animal species. Excitement, adventure, epic scenery—it’s all here. There’s no better place to reconnect with nature and lose (or find) yourself in the great outdoors.


Rifles are built for distanced shots and consequently rifle hunting is a great way to introduce someone into big game hunting. The chances of success are much greater. With the area having a multitude of gullies and draws, stalking and close range options may be a bit of a struggle, so a rifle hunt may be your bread and butter.

Colorado Big Game Brochure

UNIT 80

Antelope (Buck) - Draw

Bear - Draw

Deer (Buck) - Draw

Elk (Bull/Cow) - Draw (1st and 4th season), OTC (2nd and 3rd season)

Mountain Lion - Draw

CPW Big Game Hunter Planner

RECIPROCITY

All U.S. states, provinces, and countries that have mandatory education requirements will accept the Colorado Hunter Education Certificate. Likewise, Colorado will accept Hunter Education certifications that are issued by other jurisdictions that meet official IHEA-USA requirements. (This is known as “reciprocity.”)

CLOTHING

HUNTERS MUST WEAR FLUORESCENT ORANGE OR PINK

Law requires hunters to wear at least 500 square inches of SOLID DAYLIGHT FLUORESCENT ORANGE OR FLUORESCENT PINK material on an outer garment above the waist while hunting deer, elk, pronghorn, bear or moose with any firearm license. A fluorescent orange or pink hat or

head covering, visible from all directions, is also required.


CAMOUFLAGE ORANGE OR PINK DOES NOT QUALIFY!

Mesh garments are legal but not recommended. CPW strongly recommends wearing daylight fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink clothes in

the field, even if you’re not hunting. Wearing orange or pink is for hunter safety, as big game animals don’t see these colors like we do. Movement, sound and smell are what give hunters away.

RIFLE & FIREARM EQUIPMENT REGULATIONS

1. CENTERFIRE RIFLES

  1.  Must be a minimum of .24 caliber (6 mm).
  2. Must have a minimum 16-inch barrel and be at least 26 inches long.
  3. If semiautomatic, a maximum of six rounds are allowed in the magazine and chamber combined.
  4. Must use expanding bullets that weigh a minimum of 70 grains for deer, pronghorn and bear, 85 grains for elk and moose, and have an impact energy (at 100 yards) of 1,000 ft.-pounds as rated by manufacturer.
2. It is illegal to hunt game birds, small-game mammals or furbearers with a centerfire rifle larger than .23 caliber during regular rifle deer and elk seasons west of I-25, without an unfilled deer or elk license for the season.

  1. A small-game, furbearer or unfilled big-game license is required.

NOTE: SMART RIFLES are prohibited, including any firearm equipped with a target tracking system, electronically controlled, assisted or computer-linked trigger or a ballistics computer. Any firearm equipped with a scope containing a computer processor is considered to be a smart rifle.

NOTE: FULLY AUTOMATIC RIFLES are prohibited.

2. SHOTGUNS

  1. Must be minimum 20 gauge and fire a single slug. Use of buckshot is illegal for hunting big game.
  2. Barrel must be a minimum of 18 inches long. Minimum overall length must be 26 inches.

3. HANDGUNS

  1. Barrel must be a minimum of 4 inches long. 
  2. Must use a minimum .24-caliber (6 mm) in diameter expanding bullet.
  3. Shoulder stocks or attachments prohibited. 
  4. Must use a cartridge or load that produces minimum energy of 550-ft.- pounds at 50 yards as rated by manufacturer.

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