big game hunting in colorado


2019 Big Game Hunting Dates

The 2019 Colorado Big Game Hunting Season starts on August 15, 2019.  Click here for a detailed list of dates.

Legal Hunting Hours

Unless noted for your specific hunting area, legal hunting hours are one and half hours before sunrise to one and half hours after sunset.  Click here to review the Colorado Parks and Wildlife 2019 Big Game Hunting Guide.

Orange or Pink

Colorado law requires that all hunters wear at least 500 square inches of Solid Day-Light Fluorescent Orange or Pink above the waist while hunting with any firearm license.  A fluorescent hat is also required.

Evidence of Sex

It is illegal to have or transport big game without the evidence of sex naturally attached.  DO NOT detach your evidence of sex after a kill.

To verify evidence of sex on a Buck/Bull, the head with horns/antlers or testicles/scrotum/penis needs to be attached to the carcass.

To verify evidence of sex on a Doe/Cow, the head, udder or vulva must be attached to the carcass.

To verify evidence of sex on a Black Bear, the testicles or penis needs to be attached to a male carcass and the vulva needs to be attached to a female carcass.

If the head is detached from the carcass another form of evidence of sex must be naturally attached to the carcass.

Carcass Tags

A carcass tag must be attached to the animals that are killed per the instructions on your tag.  All tags must be signed, dated and detached from the license immediately upon kill.  

Tags need to be attached to the carcass NOT the antlers, hides, horns or carried by the hunter. 

Tags must stay on the carcass/meat until it is processed and then remain with the meat until it is consumed.

5280 Processing will collect carcass tags at the time of drop-off and will return it to you when your order is picked up.  

Ranch Receipts

Hunters who are hunting on a private ranch must have a ranch receipt attached to the animal.  


help us get you the highest yield

Handle With Care

Properly handling your game animal in the field is one of the most important things you can do to help increase your yields.  Here are a few steps you can take to help us get you a better yield.

1. Take a Good Shot

Where you shoot and how many times you shot the animal will effect how much meat you will yield from your animal.  Excessively shot animals will not be accepted.

2. Get the Guts Out

Timely removal of the animal's guts is key to keeping your meat free from bacteria growth.  Work fast but also with care.  Cutting into entrails will lead to spoilage and possible destruction of your entire animal.  Excessively dirty animals will not be accepted.

3. Skinning

The animal's hide is their winter coat and helps create warmth to help the animal survive.  Getting the hide off as soon as possible helps prevent spoilage and bacteria growth.   After you skin the animal, cover it with a game cloth or a bed sheet to help absorb the blood and protect the carcass.  Tarps and plastic bags can actually attach to the meat and create loss due to cutting.

4. Cool Your Meat Down

Removing the guts and hide will begin the cooling process but in warm weather, the meat will still be subject to loss.  The ideal temperature your meat should be kept at is 32 to 40 degrees.  At this temperature, you are less likely to experience bacteria growth.  Store your meat in a cooler or on top of ice packs or bottles of frozen water.  Placing ice inside the cavity can also lead to bacterial growth and effect the temperature of your meat.  

Learn More

There are more tips for hunters on the Colorado Parks & Wildlife page.  

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waterfowl hunting in colorado

Things to Know

One fully feathered wing or head must be attached to the bird while in transit to 5280 Processing.

It is illegal to leave migratory birds anywhere other than your home or with someone picking, cleaning, processing or for taxidermy unless the birds or packages of birds have a tag attached.

The required tag must include the hunter's address, total number of and species of birds, date of kill, hunter's identification number and hunter's signature.



hunting outside of colorado


Wild Game

Wild Game that was killed outside of Colorado will require a license at the time of drop-off.  As the hunter, you are responsible for understanding and following the rules and regulations set forth by the state you are hunting in.

Game Ranch Animals

Animals killed on a private game ranch do not require a license.  Some ranches will provide a tag or document indicating that the animal was killed on their ranch.  If the ranch you are hunting on does not automatically provide this documentation, we strongly recommend you ask for it.

Exotic Animals

Exotic animals killed outside of Colorado do not require a license.  Some outfitters will provide you with documentation of the kill to assist you with traveling over state lines.  If your outfitter does not automatically provide this information, we strongly recommend you ask for it.

Additional Information

Each state has detailed rules and regulations set forth.  We recommend you study these documents prior to your hunt.  

You may also visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Division for more information.