Colorado Hunting Licenses 101

February 12, 2024

iSportsman Staff

iSportsman Staff

Colorado beckons outdoor enthusiasts with its breathtaking landscapes and diverse wildlife. For hunters, the state offers many opportunities to connect with nature and engage in their favorite hobby. However, hunting in Colorado requires more than just enthusiasm; it demands an understanding of the state’s regulations and proper Colorado hunting licenses.

In this article, we delve into the basics of hunting licenses in Colorado, exploring the essential information every hunter needs to know before venturing into the wilderness. From license types to application processes, we will ensure you understand how to have a fulfilling hunting experience in the Centennial State. Then you can plan your trip to Fort Carson, the Air Force Academy or another wonderful Colorado destination.

Colorado Hunting Licenses

Colorado is famous for its big game, but they also have opportunities for small game, waterfowl, and turkey. When you start searching for a hunting license you’ll see all the different types of licenses. It’s important to understand the differences to can give yourself the best chance at taking down your intended prey.

Colorado has nine big game species, and hunters can choose between them along with archery, muzzleloader and rifle seasons (as well as by Game Management Units). In addition, Colorado also offers turkey, waterfowl and small game hunting

Before making any purchase or license application, every hunter will need some key pieces of info:

  1. Proof of Residency: Applicants must present proof of residency to purchase any resident license.
  2. Photo ID: All applicants must present photo identification for Colorado hunting licenses.
  3. Hunter Education: All applicants born after January 1, 1949, must have a valid hunter education card or certificate.
  4. Qualifying License: Every applicant must have a qualifying license.
  5. Social Security Number: Every applicant over the age of 11 must have a valid social security number for license purchases.

You can refer to the flowchart below to understand the big-game primary draw application process.

Colorado hunting licenses

There are four broad types of licenses: qualifying licenses, limited licenses, leftover limited licenses, and over-the-counter licenses.

Qualifying Colorado Hunting Licenses

Qualifying licenses are available starting March 1, and are for sale online, by phone (1-800-244-5613), and with in-person sales agents. These licenses are a prerequisite for any hunter applying for the big game primary and secondary draws, as well as preference point applications. These licenses are not necessary for leftover and over-the-counter licenses.

Qualifying licenses include small game and turkey licenses.

Read more about qualifying licenses on Colorado’s website.

Limited Colorado Hunting Licenses

Big game limited licenses are available starting March 1, and are for sale online, by phone (1-800-244-5613), and with in-person sales agents. The primary draw application period for limited licenses is from March 1–April 2, 2024, and will be drawn sometime in June.

The big game secondary draw application period is open from June 19–June 28, 2024, and will be drawn in July.

Fall turkey license applications are open from May 1–May 31, 2024.

These licenses determine who will be able to hunt during the upcoming season, and are drawn on a primary and secondary lottery (taking place in June and July, respectively).

Leftover Limited Licenses

Big game leftover licenses are available starting August 1, 2024, and are for sale online, by phone (1-800-244-5613), and with in-person sales agents.

These are the limited licenses that are leftover after both the primary and secondary lottery draws have been completed.

Over-the-Counter Licenses

Big game over-the-counter licenses are available starting August 1, 2024, and are for sale online, by phone (1-800-244-5613), and with in-person sales agents.

These licenses can be purchased without an application. While not being restricted in quantity, they do have other limiting factors like season, units, and manners of take.

More Information on Colorado Hunting Licenses

For detailed information on common license issues, such as refunds, reissues, reversals and exchanges, make sure to read up on Colorado’s policy here.

To learn more about on big game hunting in Colorado, read the state’s big game brochure.

For more information about Colorado turkey hunting, head to their website here.

It’s important to note that all the dates in this article are tentative. If any get updated or changed, we will edit the article to reflect the most recent information.

Read more about Colorado elk hunting on iSportsmanUSA.


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