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5-Year Big Game Season Structure
5-Year Big Game Season Structure
Elk Herd

In January 2023, Colorado Parks and Wildlife launched the planning process for the 2025-2029 Big Game Season Structure.

Please see the Final Approved 2020-2024 Big Game Season Structure for more detail on the current big game season structure. 

What's the purpose of the Big Game Season Structure Process?

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) uses a five-year Big Game Season Structure (BGSS) as a framework for annual big game hunting regulations. 

Establishes a multi year big game hunting framework:

  • What types of hunting opportunities will be available.
  • When opportunities will be available.
  • Where opportunities will be available.
  • How the opportunities will be divided amongst methods of take.

What's the process look like for 2025-2029 BGSS planning?

Big Game Season Structure Timeline

Big game management in Colorado is built on several planning processes, all of which are approved by the Commission:

  • Herd Management Plans (HMPs) establish long-term objectives for big game species in specific geographic areas (Data Analysis Units) through a public process, using the best scientific information on populations and habitat conditions.

  • Annual license recommendations are set annually via regulation and are based on HMP objectives.

  • BGSS policies define a framework for achieving HMP objectives through a ​variety of hunting opportunities and seasons. ​

What are the 2025-2029 BGSS topics?

CPW presented an initial list of topics for discussion to the Commission at the January 18 Commission meeting, and requested guidance from the Commission to move forward with these proposed topics for public and stakeholder engagement. See the full m​emo sent to the Commission​.

BGSS topics being considered include: 

  • Alternatives regarding over-the-counter archery and rifle elk licenses

  • Alternatives for rifle season date structures for deer and elk

  • Adding rifle deer opportunities to the first regular rifle season

  • Adding a second regular rifle buck and doe pronghorn season

  • Early season (archery and muzzleloader) date structures

  • Current weighted-point draw system for bighorn sheep, mountain goat and moose

The Commission approved including all staff-recommended primary and administrative topics in the 2025-2029 BGSS process. (Updated 3/16/2023)

Public Input 

During this process the public​​ will have a lot of opportunities to share their ideas and input on how we can improve our season structure. This critical feedback helps shape how CPW conserves and manages our herds into the future.

As part of the BGSS planning process, CPW hosted a series of in-person open house and town hall meetings across the state as well as virtual meetings for big game hunters to voice their opinions about current BGSS topics under consideration.

In August 2023, CPW staff authored a summary report of public involvement conducted to date as part of this BGSS process. Staff presented to the Commission on the BGSS and public input received at their August ​24-25, 2023 meeting.​

​Next Steps

Based on the public input gathered and guidance from the Commission during the August 2023 meeting, CPW staff will begin developing draft BGSS recommendations and alternatives this fall for Commission consideration and approval in the spring of 2024.

Continue to check our Engage CPW webpage​ for up​dates and additional public involvement opportunities for the 2025-2029 BGSS process.

Additionally, hunters and affected communities ar​e encouraged to share their general comments about BGSS with the Parks and Wildlife Commission (PWC). For information on how to share written or oral comments with the PWC please see the Submit Public Comments webpage. To receive email updates about the PWC and other relevant topics please complete the Email Updates Form.




View the 2010-2014 Season Structure General Dates 

Nomination Process for Total Limitation of Elk Units

Historically, CPW accepted public nominations for total limitation of elk units on a DAU-by-DAU basis. However, CPW is currently developing the 2025-2029 Big Game Season Structure (BGSS) framework, which is considering a statewide elk limitation of over-the-counter archery and rifle licenses. Therefore, DAU-level nominations will not be considered until after the 2025-2029 BGSS framework is finalized. To learn more about the 2025-2029 BGSS process and ways to be involved, please visit CPW’s Big Game Season Structure Engage CPW webpage.