Colorado Deer Hunting Season 2023

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Ready for deer hunting season in Colorado? Colorado attracts hunters from around the US and has a wide range of big game to hunt, especially deer. It’s the place to be if you are after your trophy deer this season. Remember to have your weapon and license ready, and you will be good to go. Let’s look at what you need to prepare for the Colorado deer hunting season.

Season Dates 

SeasonSeason OpenSeason Close
Bow/ ArcherySept 1st Sept 30th
RifleOct 28th
Nov 11th
Nov 11th
Oct 28th ( Plain Deer)
Dec 1st (Late Plain Deer)
Nov 1st
Nov 17th
Nov 15th
Nov 7th (Plain Deer)
Dec 14th (Late Plain Deer)
MuzzleloaderSept 9thSept 17th

Licensing & Draw License Fees

When it comes to your licenses and draw fees, there are some licenses that you are required to purchase as a prerequisite to your specific hunting license. Here is what you can expect to buy for this year’s hunting seasons:

Limited License Draw Application Processing Fee$8 residents $10 Non-residents
Habitat Stamp- required and nonrefundable. Last for 13 months.$11.50
Lifetime Habitat Stamp$345.36

The two draws that will take place for deer will be held on June 16th at 11:59 PM and July 21st at 11:59 PM. Let’s take a look at how much your hunting license is going to cost you:

License / Tag Type / DeerFee
Resident Youth$17.57
Nonresident adult/Fishing Combo$456.14
Nonresident Youth/Fishing Combo$116.50

You must purchase a qualifying license before applying for the big game draw. 

What Weapons can you Hunt Deer Within Colorado?

Now that you know the deer hunting season dates this year, it’s time to prepare your weapon. Your weapon must meet the requirements set by the state of Colorado. If not, you might find yourself with a hefty fine. 


ShotgunsMust be a minimum of 20 gauge. Loaded with single slugs. Barrel must be a minimum of 18 inches long. The minimum overall length must be 26 inches.
Centerfire rifle 0.24 Caliber and up with a magnum load or centerfire cartridge.
Handguns43 caliber and down with a barrel no longer than four and a half inches. 

Bow and Arrow:

ArrowsArrows must be 24 inches in length.
BroadheadsBroadheads can be fixed with two blades and must be ⅞ inches wide at their widest point.
Bow characteristicsLongBow minimum draw weight for hunting deer is 35 lbs and a draw length of 28’. Recurve Bows’ minimum draw weight is 35 lbs. 


Crossbow draw weightCrossbows have a minimum draw weight of 125 lbs and must be mechanically safe. Draw length must be a minimum of 14 inches.
Arrows/ boltsThe arrow/ bolt must be at least 16 inches, excluding the broad head.
BroadheadsIt must be ⅞ inches at the widest point. 

Muzzleloading Rifle:

Powderblack powder or black powder substitute only.
CaliberA single barrel of.45 caliber or greater.
Legal projectileMuzzleloaders can be smoothbore or rifled. Must be a single barrel that fires a single round ball or conical projectile.
IgnitionMatchlock, flintlock ignition system, percussion ignition system with a primer or percussion cap, or a wheel-lock.

What Types of Deer Are Popular in Colorado?

In Colorado, there are a few antelope species that you can target. The Mule Deer and White-Tailed Deer are common. Remember that you must purchase a specific license to hunt other big game like Elk or Pronghorn. Let’s look at how to identify the Mule Deer or White-Tailed Deer.

The Mule deer is best known for their distinctive ears. Their ears are much larger than the White-tailed deer. Mule Deer can grow quite large, with males weighing up to 300 pounds when fully grown. Most male deer also have forked antlers that branch out from the central main beam. They have a grayish-brown colored coat, which can also be reddish depending on the season. They have white or light patches on their forehead, which extend above their eyes. You will find Mule deer in Colorado’s mountains, foothills, and plains.

White-tailed deer can be a great deer to target. They also can grow to be quite large, with does’ ranging from 90 to 200 pounds and stags weighing up to 300 pounds. Their most distinct feature is in their name. They have long, fluffy white tails, which they raise when alarmed, showing their white underside. Their antlers grow similarly to the Mule Deer but tend to have more branches. Their coats are reddish-brown or grayish, depending on the season or the region they are in. They have a white throat patch and white patches around their eyes. 

White-tailed deer can be found in certain parts of Colorado, mainly in the eastern and southeastern regions of the state. They are typically found in areas with river bottoms, agricultural areas, woodlands, and brushy habitats. In Colorado, they live where the landscape transitions from the plains to foothills and mountainous regions.

What Else is Popular to Hunt in Colorado?

While Colorado is a great place to hunt for deer, it also provides numerous other species you can target. Its diverse landscape will provide you with a challenge no matter what species you choose to hunt. Let’s take a look at what you can hunt in Colorado:

Big Game:

  • Mule Deer
  • White-tailed Deer
  • Elk
  • Moose
  • Pronghorn Antelope
  • Bighorn Sheep
  • Mountain Goat
  • Black Bear
  • Mountain Lion (with specific regulations)

Upland Birds:

  • Ring-necked Pheasant
  • Blue Grouse
  • Sage Grouse
  • Sharptail Grouse
  • Dusky (Blue) Grouse
  • Chukar Partridge
  • Hungarian Partridge
  • Ruffed Grouse


  • Mallard
  • Teal
  • Pintail
  • Wigeon
  • Gadwall
  • Canada Goose
  • Snow Goose
  • Ross’s Goose
  • Various duck and goose species

Small Game:

  • Rabbit (Cottontail and Snowshoe Hare)
  • Squirrel (Red and Fox Squirrel)
  • Prairie Dog
  • Coyote
  • Fox (Red and Gray)
  • Bobcat
  • Raccoon
  • Badger

Remember that you will need a different license if you target other species. There are also specific weapon regulations and restrictions placed on hunting different animals. To find these out, be sure to check the Colorado E-Regulations Page.

Hi there! I'm a passionate bowman and a fan of all target sports in general. You'll often find me at my local archery and shooting ranges honing my skills.

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