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Youth Hunting Opportunities
Youth Hunting Opportunities

​​Youth hunting expands!

Colorado Parks and Wildlife now offers youths more opportunities than ever before to head into the field to harvest a big-game animal. One of the foremost goals at CPW is to expand youth opportunity and turn first-time hunters into lifelong sportsmen and women. Offering more chances at success builds the foundation of solid hunting skills and passes down the  appreciation of the outdoor lifestyle we cherish.

The former late-season elk hunts are now an extended season, giving youths a chance to harvest antlerless deer or elk throughout the rifle seasons, and doe pronghorn during December.

Below are explanations and documents to help youths purchase a license and plan where to hunt during the extended season.

Know the Basics

  • Youths ages 12-17 have an opportunity to keep hunting if they don’t harvest a deer,  elk or pronghorn with their original license. See below for specific details.

  • To participate in the extended season, youths must first purchase a limited license for: antlerless deer, antlerless or either-sex elk or pronghorn. If the original license remains unfilled when the season ends, then the youth can hunt the same species during the extended season.

    • Limited licenses can be purchased through the draw, the leftover draw, vouchers, from the leftover list​.

    • Youths with unfilled antlered tags for elk or deer and buck pronghorn may not participate in extended season hunting.

  • Youth hunters must be accompanied by a mentor who is 18 or older and also meets hunter education requirements. Youths and mentors must be able to see and hear each other while hunting.

Elk and Deer

The biggest changes allow youths to continue hunting deer or elk during an antlerless hunt in any regular rifle season, with a few exceptions. Youths may choose to hunt in multiple antlerless rifle hunts to take full advantage of the extended season. If a youth doesn’t harvest with the original license, they have the potential to continue hunting the first-rifle season, second-rifle season, third-rifle season and fourth-rifle season (as long as there are eligible hunts available) until they harvest an animal.  

Here’s how to get the most out of the extended season:

  • ​​Choose your species. Decide before you buy your original limited license what species you want to hunt in the extended season. If you buy an elk tag, you can only hunt elk in the extended season. If you buy a deer tag, you’ll hunt deer in the extended season.

  • Buy your tag. Purchase a limited license that meets the requirements listed above. 

    To help plan where to buy your original license, these lists compare where your original license is good and where you’ll be able to hunt in the extended season:

    - ​2017 Elk - exten​ded season hunts
    2017 Deer - extended season hunts​

    Conversely, if you already know where you’d like to hunt during the extended seasons — and you’ve made sure there’s an antlerless season going on there — then these lists will tell you which limited license you should purchase in order to get the extended hunt you want: 

    2017 Elk - What to buy first?
    2017​ Deer - What to buy first?​ ​

  • Choose when to hunt. If your original license r​emains unfilled when your season ends, you then have the option to hunt an antlerless animal during any open rifle season where there is an antlerless hunt taking place for the species on your original lice​nse. (Does not include Ranching For Wildlife.)

  • Choose where to huntExtended season hunting is outlined on these maps. Youths may hunt during the extended season in any GMU within the red border that also contains the GMU where their original license was valid. This information is on page 6 of the Big Game brochure​.

    Youth Extended Deer season hunting Map
  • Follow the rules! No matter what the original license, youths must follow all the rules of rifle hunting if they participate in the extended season. This includes wearing legal hunter orange and following any unit restrictions where they choose to hunt (such as descriptions of hunting boundaries, private-land-only and Whitetail only designations). Remember, unfilled either-sex elk licenses must be taken to a CPW office for conversion to an antlerless license before hunting any extended seasons.

​Pronghorn​

​Rules for youths hunting pronghorn in the December season have not changed from years past. View a list of eligible youth late pronghorn​ hu​nts​.​​

  • Youths must purchase an original license for doe or either-sex pronghorn for anywhere in the state. Buck licenses are not eligible.

  • Pronghorn MapIf that season ends and the license remains unfilled, then the youth may hunt in any December doe pronghorn season in the following units: 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143,  145, 146 or 147.

  • Unfilled either-sex licenses must be taken to a CPW office to be converted to a doe license before hunting in a December season. Doe licenses do not need to be converted and may continue to be used as-is during the December season.

  • Youths must follow all of the rules for the December season they hunt, including unit boundaries and private-land designations.