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Ranching for Wildlife
Ranching for Wildlife


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Habitat, Hunting, and Heritage

Ranching for Wildlife (RFW) started as a pilot program in 1986 with the intent to improve public hunting access to private land and to form a wildlife management partnership with participating landowners.​

The program ​provides Colorado residents a unique opportunity to hunt on private ranch land normally closed to the public. Participating ranches provide public hunting recreation access to their land free of charge to those who draw licenses.

Public licenses on each ranch are available through the Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s (CPW) draw process. The number of licenses on each ranch is determined by negotiations between the landowner and CPW.  

Through this program, hunters can play ​​an important role in helping CPW and landowners manage wildlife populations on private land. In addition to providing public hunting access to successful applicants, participating landowners are required to improve habitat on their ranch for both game and non-game animals. These efforts help preserve and enhance open spaces for wildlife to live and thrive and​​ keep the hunting heritage alive for you and future generations. 

For a more detailed description of information relevant to hunters interested in the RFW program, visit Hunter Information​​. 

Program Impact

  • 25​ ranches currently enrolled.

  • ​Around 1 million acres of public access provided. 

  • More than 50,000 acres per year with active wildlife habitat improvements applied. 

  • Improved livestock grazing systems on about 85 percent of the lands enrolled.  

  • Seasons and license allocations in place to improve game movement and enhance hunter harvest both on and off ranches. 

  • About two thirds of the ranches actively participate in exceptional youth hunting opportunities.

  • About one third of the ranches donate hunts to conservation organizations for them to auction or raffle off to help raise funds for habitat improvement on private and public lands elsewhere​ (separate from CPW's auction & raffle program).​