Colorado Interactive GMU Map
Welcome to hunting in Colorado! We are going to provide you a general overview of a multitude of topics, many of which will lead you to other areas of the website with more specific and detailed information. If you feel that we have left out a valuable topic, please contact us and we'll get the skinny from local experts and cover that as well.
Colorado Hunting: The Dream
Admit it, hunting in Colorado is a dream come true for many. Heck, for those of us who live here, we are living the dream. We have met hundreds of hunters over the years. Some used to be clients from guiding, many we've met while hunting, and others just from casual conversations, which eventually turned to Colorado hunting. The common thread of all these friends and acquaintances is that they all want to be part of the Colorado hunting dream.
Many that live here, at one time, lived somewhere else and dreamed of becoming a permanent resident of this awesome and beautiful land. The stories varied greatly but the dreams were similar and the results were the same. Now, our backyard is also our playground, just waiting for our next adventure. Of course, our dream is all about Colorado hunting. Although elk is the most popular big game animal, there are a total of 10 species of big game animals; one would have to travel outside the lower 48 states to find another hunting paradise of equal caliber.
Colorado Hunting: GMUs
The whole state of Colorado is divided into Game Management Units (GMUs), the boundaries of which are defined by rivers, drainages and mountain ridges for the purpose of managing wildlife in geographically differentiated areas. As of this writing, there are 183 GMUs. For anyone taking a Colorado hunting trip, knowledge about these GMUs is a must. You can go to The Colorado Division of Wildlife's website under Big Game Brochures and find two great resources to help you up the learning curve. The first is the "Big Game Hunting Interactive Brochure, " which shows all the various GMUs and descriptions. If you want a hard copy, just call the Colorado Division of Wildlife and request one. The second is the "Interactive GMU Maps." This electronic mapping system can give you the skinny on the lay of the land as well as migration routes and ranges. Of course, don't forget about using Google Earth.
Colorado Hunting: Tag Options
Colorado is the only state that still offers over-the-counter bull elk tags, which allows you to hunt in most of the state's GMUs just by applying for it. Other than that, it's pretty much by draw only unless you apply for a bear tag with caps, which means tags are on a first-come first-served basis until a specific number is reached. For someone that may have missed the drawing, and depending upon the GMU, there may be some leftover tags. To learn more about the Draw system, you can go to the Hunting section of the Colorado Division of Wildlife. You can also ask to be put on their mailing list to receive an annual big game hunting brochure.
Another option is to participate in a draw for private land hunts via Ranching For Wildlife (RFW). Private ranches with at least 12, 000 acres may partner up with the Colorado Division of Wildlife to provide Colorado hunting opportunities to help manage game on large tracts of private land. Currently, there are over one million acres of available hunting land in the RFW program.
All private landowners in Colorado with at least 160 acres can register their property with the Colorado Division of Wildlife and apply for special vouchers. Up to 15% of hunting tags per species (only in limited draw areas) may be allocated to private land owners who can apply for his or her share of vouchers (up to a max of six) via the lottery or draw system. Any Colorado hunting adventure that includes private property will certainly add more hunting options. Interested hunters must contact the landowner for permission to hunt and to receive a voucher, which will probably mean paying a fee. For more information about where you may hunt (private land vs. public land) with a private land voucher, please go to our FAQs page.
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