Turkey Hunting in Colorado

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  • B
  • 30,000-35,000

    Wild Turkey Population

  • Merriam's and Rio Grandes

    Turkey Subspecies

  • 16,000 (turkey)

    Number of Licenses Sold Annually

  • Varies (see regulations)

    Cost of Resident License and Permit

  • Varies (see regulations)

    Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit

Merriam’s are Colorado’s prime species and are located west of Interstate 25, and along the southern portions of the Front Range.

Rios are also present but limited to the river bottom habitat of the Platte and Arkansas rivers, as well as other tributaries in the eastern portion of the state.

Most of the western portion of the state is National Forest, BLM and state lands. As a result, finding a place to hunt with good populations is typically not a problem.

You can take one Colorado turkey with an over-the-counter license. An additional bird can be killed with a so-called "limited license."

The latter licenses are limited in number by regulation and issued through a draw process. Hunters must apply and draw successfully (unless the license is purchased as a leftover or reissued license after the draw). Limited licenses are valid on public or private land within the unit(s) listed, unless otherwise specified. Landowner permission is required before hunting on private land.

Without question, the best locations for the over-the-counter hunter to bag a Colorado Merriam's are the Southwest and Western regions, and along the Southern Front Range.

Top-producing counties include Archuleta, Delta, Garfield, Mesa and Yuma. Not only do the Southwest and Western regions boast the greatest density of Merriam's turkeys but it's also where public-land hunters find the highest success.

The Merriam's population lives in some rugged country. Their nomadic traits can really spread them out and test your physical endurance. So there's that if you want a challenge.

Recent harvest data as I write this (early 2022), lists 6,479 birds taken during the 2020 season.

– Steve Hickoff

Turkey Hunting in Colorado © John Hafner photo

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