Deer Hunting in Colorado

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  • C
  • 25,000

    Est. Whitetail Population

  • 8,000

    No. Licenses Sold Annually

  • $73.75

    (Including habitat stamp)

    Resident hunting license and deer permit

  • $496.75

    (Including habitat stamp)

    Non-resident hunting license and deer permit

  • 192 1/8”

    Taken by Eddie Kinney in El Paso County in 2003 and is currently ranked 105th.

    Record B&C Typical Stat

  • 59

    Total B&C Typical Entries

  • 258 2/8"

    Taken by Michael Okray in Cheyenne County in 1992 and is currently ranked 60th overall.

    Record B&C Non-Typical Stat

  • 29

    Record B&C Non-Typical Entries

Colorado is a fine whitetail destination. (Tim Irwin photo)

Season Dates (2020):

Colorado’s plains archery season (east of I-25, except Unit 140) runs from October 1-23, November 4-30 and December 15-31. West of I-25 (and unit 140), archery runs September 2 to 30. The rifle seasons vary by unit but will be October 24 to November 1, October 24 to November 3, November 7 to 13, November 18 to 22, or December 1 to 14 for most hunters. Muzzleloader hunts (draw-only) fall in September and October. Please check the Colorado Parks & Wildlife website to confirm specific season dates.

The Grade: C

Colorado is a mule deer hotspot, but this grade is for whitetails. Whitetail populations dominate the river bottoms that stretch from the Front Range to the Kansas border. These herds have been growing in recent years causing state wildlife officials to open some unlimited whitetail-only areas to keep them from expanding westward.

Although the Centennial State boasts over 23 million acres of public ground, only a small fraction of that is located in Colorado’s river bottom whitetail country. Still, there are approximately 80,000 acres of whitetail-rich public ground. And you’d be crazy to overlook them. Great deer hunting is found along these parcels.

Deer biologists understand that the agricultural counties are the popular destinations, but don’t overlook the sand hills. That aside, drainages to focus on include parts of the Arikaree, Arkansas, Big Sandy and Platte. These areas generate lush, early successional habitat with thriving pockets of whitetails. The eastern third of the state is the only option for whitetail hunting, big or small, but Logan, Powers and Yuma Counties offer some of the biggest record-book bucks. Big deer are known to come from others as well, though, including Cheyenne and El Paso. Use Boone & Crockett records alongside the Colorado Hunting Area Atlas to find a public-land destination in an area that consistently produces good deer hunting.

Antler Nation Knowledge:

Although Colorado has numerous state wildlife areas that hold an ample supply of whitetails on the eastern side of the state, many hunters overlook the opportunities found along the Arkansas River drainage. Offering over 20 SWA’s totaling nearly 50,000 acres of public access, this region holds some of the biggest whitetails in the state. And because of its location from the populated Front Range, it often gets a pass by most whitetail hunters. Don’t be one of them.

Since tags are only offered on a draw system — often coming with a steep preference point price — and buck-to-doe ratios run about 40/100 in these river bottom regions, good whitetail opportunities abound if you’re willing to wait. Regarding 2020 licenses, payment deadlines are June 19 for primary draw and July 29 for secondary.

Colorado Harvests

  • Corey Weber

    Outside Baggs Wyoming, Colorado

  • DJ Cordova

    la Jara , Colorado

From the Realtree Trophy Den