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Game Damage
Game Damage

​​​​​​​​​​​​The Game Damage program is a prevention and reimbursement program in the State of Colorado that compensates ranchers, farmers and landowners for damage caused by big game animals.

Are you looking for information on the following?

Game Damage Prevention

Deliveries of Game Damage Prevention Materials 

Deliveries of Game Damage Prevention
Materials Multi-Year Overview

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) can provide immediate temporary and/or permanent solutions to help prevent big game damage. CPW distributes materials to qualified landowners for the protection of their crops and livestock. CPW travels an average of 60,000 miles throughout Colorado annually to deliver materials.

Who Qualifies?

If you meet the following criteria, you may be eligible to receive permanent prevention materials:

  • You have experienced (or there is potential for) damage to your harvested/growing crops, orchards, nursery, or livestock by these big game species: elk, mule or whitetail deer, pronghorn antelope, black bear, mountain lion, bighorn sheep, moose.

  • You do not unreasonably restrict hunting for the problem species on the property, restrict public land access, or lease hunting rights. You do not charge fees in excess of $500 per animal.

  • You agree to install the materials as specified for damage purposes only and maintain them for a specified period.​


Game Damage Reimbursement

Who qualifies for game damage reimbursement?

Ranchers, farmers and landowners may file a claim for compensation for the loss of certain crops or agricultural products.

​​​​By St​atute, Colorado is not liable for the following:

  • Damage t​o motor vehicles by wildlife. 

  • Injury/death to any person.

  • Damage if the claimant restricts big game hunting or access for the problem species unreasonably; or charges hunting fees over $500/animal.

  • Damage when Game Damage prevention materials have been offered and refused, or provided and not used or installed as specified.

​​​However, the claimants must meet​ certain legal qualifications. For example: a claimant cannot charge more than $500/person in access fees, the claimant has a duty to mitigate damage, and the claimant has filed paperwork in a timely manner.​

What types of game damage are covered?
  • Livestock (Note: claims for livestock losses are capped at $5000/animal)

  • Commercial orchards

  • Nurseries

  • Growing and harvested crops

  • Forage

  • Fences

  • Apiaries

The state is liable for claims to personal property used in the production of raw agricultural products (i.e.: apiaries). As of 2003, the state is no ​longer liable for hot tubs, tents, coolers or personal property not used in the production of raw agricultural products.

​​The State ONLY reimburses for damages
caused by native BIG GAME animals.


Damage caused by the following big game species is reimbursable:

  • Elk
  • Deer
  • Bear
  • Mountain lion
  • Pronghorn
  • Moose
  • Bighorn Sheep


Damage caused by the following animals is NOT reimbursable:

  • Dogs
  • Birds(i.e.​​: Canada geese)
  • Coyotes
  • Bobcats
  • Nuisance Wildlife
    This document contains summaries of Colorado’s most common regulations and statutes pertaining to nuisance wildlife questions.​


File a Game Damage claim​

Filing a claim entails a series of steps, including completing required paperwork and meeting certain deadlines. It is imperative that the claimant contact Colorado Parks & Wildlife immediately upon discovery of damage. CPW staff will ensure you have the correct paperwork and can answer questions regarding the claim procedures. Through the process, the claimant is responsible for timely notifications, completion of forms, efforts to mitigate the damage and assisting CPW personnel investigating the claim. The claimant must be able to prove the damage was caused by big game and that the amount of money being claimed is reasonable. Some claims will not meet the necessary criteria.

Typically, < 3% of claims are denied, mostly because the claimant could not prove that big game caused the damage. Claims over $20,000 and all denied claims are reviewed by the Parks & Wildlife Commission. This provides an opportunity for the claimant to offer additional support for the claim.

Contact your local Colorado Parks and Wildlife office to file a game damage claim.


Program History, Funding & Annual Report

Claims history graph 

Game Damage Claims – 40 Year Overview

Since the inception of the Game Damage Program in 1931, the original broad legal language has evolved to specify what game damage laws cover. Twenty years ago the program was expanded to include damage prevention. The Game Damage Prevention Program has helped to decrease the amount of damage and the amount paid out in claims by the State.

How is the Game Damage Program Funded?

The program is funded by the appropriation of sportspeople’s dollars from the Game Cash Fund.

Progress Report

In fiscal year 2018, compensation costs amounted to $786,701 in settlement of 248 claims. These costs are ~$17,891 above the previous 5-year average of $768,810 (FY13-FY17), a 2.33% increase. This increase is partially attributed to an increase in bear predation on livestock compared with last year. The total number of claims paid (n=248) in 2018 was below the previous 5-year average of 251. CPW denied 9 claims (3.6% of all claims filed). See the Game Damage Annual R​eport for details.