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What Can You Hunt in Colorado? 5 Common Game Species

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hunter entering the forest

If you often get mesmerized by scenic landscapes and wide-open spaces, Colorado is the place for you. It offers many recreational outdoor activities and is home to the world’s most popular natural attractions. Colorado is also a famous destination for hunting. 

The place has a few of the most common game species. The game species in Colorado can be easily found in acres of public land, providing diverse opportunities for new and professional hunters worldwide.

If you are in Colorado or plan to visit the place soon, this article will help you explore the five common game species in the area.

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The 5 Game Species You Can Hunt in Colorado

If you want to experience high-quality hunting in Colorado, make sure you have a valid license. Without one, you may not be able to enjoy this activity to the fullest. Once you have the right permit, you can hunt any game species below.

1. Mountain Goats

mountain goat
Image Credit: Raindom, Pixabay

Mountain goats are the most adaptable game species in Colorado. They usually live 12,000 feet above the ground, making it hard for hunters to chase them.

They can easily endure brutal cold seasons and travel long distances to settle in new terrain. A mountain goat has a compact body with a heavy coat covered with white fur. Both female and male mountain goats feature muscular shoulders, a beard, and sharp horns.

If you want to hunt a mountain goat, the tips below may help you out.

  • Never let the goat see you below them.
  • Try to make an approach when the mountain goat is bedded correctly.
  • Always check the escape route of the goat so you know which areas to block to prevent the goat from running away.
  • Avoid shooting the goat on the cliff. This is important, as getting the goat out might be pretty hard then.

2. Black Bear

louisiana black bear
Image Credit: 27707, Pixabay

The Centennial State in Colorado provides an excellent opportunity to find and hunt black bears. Colorado is home to many of these bears and is very supportive of the animal’s activities.

Black bears usually like to live in solitude and reproduce quite slowly. They are typically found in aspen groves and oak brush, and their population depends on the type and quantity of food available. Bears like the wet weather, which is why most bears are hunted during September.

You must carry a hunting license when hunting them in Colorado. The bear-only rifle license is often earned through a draw. Here are some tips that can help you hunt down this animal.

  • Don’t overestimate the size of these bears. Most bears harvested in Colorado only weigh around 130–225 pounds.
  • Avoid shouting or making a noise when you spot a bear. This animal has powerful senses, and your voice may trigger them.
  • Don’t get excited and end up taking an unfavorable shot. This can result in a wounded bear, and to avoid that, retain patience and start practicing shooting.

3. Mountain Lion

mountain lion in the snow
Image Credit: Jim Cumming, Shutterstock

Mountain lions are another popular game species in Colorado. They are often referred to as cougars or pumas and are found in areas with dense vegetation, rocky hillsides, and canyons.

You can conveniently purchase a hunting license for a mountain lion and hunt them down from November to March. Most of the time, people prefer lion hunting when the ground has snow. This helps dogs to smell and track the animal quickly. However, if the terrain is rugged, hunting may become pretty challenging.

While you need a license, you also require a mountain lion education certificate to perform this task. The combination is necessary to avoid any illegal activity.

To hunt a mountain lion successfully, you should:

  • Spend a good time field scouting and evaluate the area carefully.
  • Locate signs of mountain lions present in the area.
  • Set trail cameras
  • Try using good-quality calls
  • Make sure that your calling time is longer than usual

4. Elk

A male elk with large horns
Image Credit: Josef Pittner, Shutterstock

Stalking an elk in Colorado is both mentally and physically challenging. They are often found on steep hillsides or in thick timber forests, making it hard for hunters to find and shoot them. With its long legs, an elk can easily travel fast over thick brushes and fallen trees, offering you a challenging experience.

Elk hunting isn’t easy. Elk tend to spread out at high elevations whenever the weather is hot. To reach the animal, hunters have to spend extra energy and time. Even though you successfully hunt down the animal, taking the body and packing it is far harder.

One of the best tricks for a successful elk hunt is to do this job slowly. An elk is an intelligent animal that you don’t want to scare. It also has a strong sense of smell, another factor you should avoid during hunting.

When hunting an elk, plan an entire day because the animal is most active at night. Use your mornings to evaluate the area and use binoculars to trace the animal. You can also use this time to analyze your limitations and the terrains available.

5. Deer

Deer with antlers
Image credit: hashan, Pixabay

Colorado allows you to hunt white-tailed deer and mule deer if you are a deer hunter. You can find mule deer dispersed across the entire state, while the white-tailed deers are usually spotted on the eastern plains and a few on the western slope.

A mule deer has a black forehead that looks great with a gray face. This deer also has a distinctive small tail with a black tip and a white patch.

A white-tail deer has a brown or tan body in summer but turns grayish-brown during the cold months. It has a white patch around its throat, stomach, eyes, and underside, making it distinct from the rest of the deer. The male white-tail deer also has antlers.

There are some fantastic tips that hunters use to catch these deer. For instance, always cover your noise since deer have a strong hearing, and you should avoid speaking as well. Also, try to mask your odor, as deer also have a strong sense of smell.

You should always create a calling strategy. Whether you choose rattle, grunt, or a bleating sound, make sure to be consistent.

Things to Know Before Hunting Game Species in Colorado

Here are some essential factors to know before your hunting venture.


The best location in Colorado for hunting is the one that suits your season and license requirement. Many federal lands and state parks in the area allow hunting.

For instance, some popular public parks are Barr Lake, Crawford, Highline Lake, State Forest, and Colorado River. There are also a few state wildlife areas, such as San Luis and Prewitt Reservoir.

Rules on Firearms

Colorado has placed very strict rules on the weapons one can use for hunting. There are limitations on every rifle, crossbow, shotgun, and musket. In addition, you must consider the barrel length, number of loaded bullets, and caliber to avoid any fines later.

Electronic calls are considered illegal. Even automatic rifles are prohibited in the region.

Hunting Safety

It is imperative that you go fully prepared for your hunting expedition. All hunters must wear bright pink or orange clothing if they want to hunt big games.

They should also wear a hat in the same color. Ensure your gear covers you adequately to avoid any accidents during the hunt. 

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Final Words

Colorado is a great place to experience game hunting. It has some of the most common species hunters usually seek.

This article covered the most common game species in Colorado and also discussed tips to hunt them down. Whether you are a new or professional hunter, ensure to follow the tips above and make your experience extraordinary and memorable every time.

Featured Image Credit: Amir Hosseini, Unsplash

About the Author Jeff Weishaupt

Jeff is a tech professional by day, writer, and amateur photographer by night. He's had the privilege of leading software teams for startups to the Fortune 100 over the past two decades. He currently works in the data privacy space. Jeff's amateur photography interests started in 2008 when he got his first DSLR camera, the Canon Rebel. Since then, he's taken tens of thousands of photos. His favorite handheld camera these days is his Google Pixel 6 XL. He loves taking photos of nature and his kids. In 2016, he bought his first drone, the Mavic Pro. Taking photos from the air is an amazing perspective, and he loves to take his drone while traveling.