Colorado was a big frontier back in the days of the Wild West. The area sits where the Great Plains come crashing into the majestic Rocky Mountains, and this gives the state a diverse amount of areas for wildlife to roam. In fact, Colorado has ten species of big game, most notably:
- black bear
- mule deer in the mountains
- whitetail deer in the plains
Seasoned hunters are also pleased to find grounds for a plethora of birds, including
Colorado hunting, no doubt, is a notorious sport throughout the Centennial State. Generations of people hunt animals in these regions. The decades that have come to pass showcase a wide scope of how and why residents and outsiders flock to Colorado for the wild game. Certainly, there have been some sharp shifts in Colorado hunting over the years, and it hasn’t always been smooth.
Let’s mosey through history and see how hunting in Colorado has changed over the years. We’ll also give you an inside look at hunting in Colorado today.
Native American Hunting Habits in Colorado
There are a variety of Native American tribes that call Colorado home. Their histories extend for many generations and while they’re all quite different in culture and customs, they are very similar with respect to how they hunt in the great state of Colorado. Many of their traditions have been passed on to their future generations, well. Some tribes live out on the plains, others spent more time in the mountains, and long ago some even carved their homes into cliffs.
One trait that most of the tribes followed was that they were sustainable with their hunting practices. Many of them had traditions and spiritual beliefs that lent their respect to the ecosystem where they lived. They didn’t overhunt their prey, and they tended to be very resourceful about using as many parts of the animal as possible.
Overall, they did an excellent job of having a small impact on the ecosystem.
In Came the Wild West
As you know, Native Americans were eventually joined by people coming from other parts of the planet. People came for many different reasons, but most of them were not very concerned about the ecosystem, and their hunting practices made that pretty obvious. They didn’t have moral or spiritual reasons to be more responsible for hunting, and there wasn’t any sort of governing body telling them what to do. It was the Wild West, after all.
There were a few different types of people hunting at the time in Colorado.
For example, there were the settlers who were only concerned with getting food to survive. Or, there were trappers and other types of professional hunters who were trying to get fur pelts and other parts of animals to send east and sell. They were interested in catching as many furry creatures as possible. There were also soldiers, who at the best of times had to feed large groups of people, and at the worst tried to exterminate species in order to starve their enemies.
Colorado Hunting Changed
The government stepped in and began mandating and regulating hunting.
Fortunately, we’ve moved into a sort of third stage, where we are today. The intention of the government was preserving and protecting the animals, as well as the ecosystem they live in. In the United States, hunting is both a wildlife management tool and outdoor recreation. As part of the enforcement, there are seasons of hunting that help to control and sustain wildlife populations. With few exceptions, everyone who hunts in a particular region of the U.S. must have a license(s) within that state.
This benefits Colorado hunters as much as it does the animals and people living in the areas because it makes sure that one animal doesn’t become overpopulated and leads to starvation problems among others.
How the Hunting System Works
The system is a little bit complicated, but that’s what it takes to organize such a big state. It depends on the type of animal that a hunter wants to go after (and the season in which they hunt), but they generally are required to have a license to be allowed to hunt. There are strict penalties for anyone caught with an animal for which they don’t have a license.
For many of the big game types of animals, they hold a sort of lottery.
If they’re lucky, they win the right to hunt in certain areas of the state, but they have to stick to the specific area that their license covers. Hunters can’t always get the license for the animal they’d like in the place they want, but they can accumulate points that will give them better odds in future years.
Colorado Hunting Now
There are ten big game species that they like to chase. As we mentioned, some of the favorites are elk, deer, and bears. Also, hunters celebrate various types of bird prey. They even hunt small animals, such as rabbits.
Times may have changed, but Colorado hunters are still going after many of the same animals. Curious to learn more about obtaining a hunting license in Colorado? Check out the state’s regulation and information page on obtaining a hunting license.
Colorado hunting is a paradise for many outdoor enthusiasts and well-versed hunters. For one, the state has a variety of terrain that makes it ideal to explore different regions without traveling too far. For instance, the eastern part of Colorado consists of high plains, which are a mix of prairie, forests, buttes, and canyons. The western half of Colorado is covered by the southern Rocky Mountains. Colorado also has some of the most mountainous country in the U.S., including over fifty peaks that are 14,000 feet or higher in elevation, also known as “fourteeners.” These mountains are largely covered in conifer forests and aspen stands, providing a haven for elk and other wildlife.
Not Just Bullets
No matter how many things change, some things will just stay the same, and this whole concept has another example of that. Guns are the most common weapon used for hunting these days, but they aren’t the only type. Bows and arrows are still very popular, but they’re far more advanced than what was seen on the plains a few hundred years ago!
Colorado Hunting Licenses for Non-Residents
Many states only allow local residents to receive hunting licenses, but that’s not the case in Colorado. Because of this, it’s just like the old days. There are still plenty of adventurers coming from far and wide to try their skills against a wild animal.
The Modern Days of the Wild West
We may have missed out on living in the exciting days of the Old West, but there are still surviving parts of it. Hunting has gone through some big changes, but you can still try to learn the skills you would’ve needed had you been roaming the plains or exploring the mountains as an old explorer.
And, on the bright side, you have something that those people didn’t. After your big adventure, you can come visit us at the Grizzly Rose for another great Western experience!