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Youth Hunting Opportunities
Youth Hunting Opportunities

​​Youth Extended Seasons

Colorado Parks and Wildlife offers youth 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 sportspeople. 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 all December seasons in the state, as well as the season in units 9 and 191 that runs until Jan. 31, 2025.

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

Know the Basics

  • Youth 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, youth must first draw a limited license for: antlerless deer, or 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 after they convert their original license to a female (antlerless) license.

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

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

    • Youth can easily convert their unfilled limited either-sex elk or either-sex pronghorn license (where the season has ended) to a female (antlerless) license through the new Youth Extended Hunt License Conversion Request form online. Licenses can also still be taken into a CPW office in person to be converted.

  • 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

Youth can continue hunting deer or elk during an antlerless hunt in any regular rifle season, with a few exceptions. Youth 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:

  • 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 18 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.


​Rules for youths hunting pronghorn in the December season have been updated in May 2023. 

Pronghorn Map

  • View a list of eligible youth late pronghorn​ hu​nts​.

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

  • Unfilled either-sex limited 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.