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Walk-in Access Program
Walk-in Access Program
Hunter, Nathane, poses with his harvested birds next to a walk-in access program sign. Photo by Ed Gorman, CPW
Continuing in 2021: Big game will be included on many Walk-in Access Programs!​

Colorado Parks and Wildlife expanded the big game access component within the Walk-In Access Program (WIA) to the entire eastern plains, totaling approximately 130,000 acres for big game in 2021

The big game program will allow public access to specified Colorado WIA properties for deer, elk and antelope hunting within specified big game season dates, from Sept. 1 -Dec. 31, 2021. 

Big Game and Small Game Property SignHow to know what species can be hunted

Hunters should be aware that many WIA properties will be open for both small game and big game, while other properties will remain small game only. 

IMPORTANT: Big game hunters thinking of applying for licenses in 2022, on the basis of hunting on Walk-In Access properties, must consider that each property is enrolled on an annual basis in July of each year. There can be significant turnover in properties that are available each year.  

Please see the Regular Walk-In Access brochure for additional details and properties. Note: All big game properties are enrolled for the Regular Walk-in Access Brochure. Some big game properties will be added to the Late Cropland Walk-In Access brochure.









​Habitat Conditions and Forecast

Walk-In Access is in a transition period as we move through the 2021 hunting seasons, with the expansion of the big game access and continued loss of habitat across the core range of the program. 

Habitat conditions are highly variable in 2021, although observers could easily use “average” to describe it. 2021 had a dry winter, in some areas a record wet May, and summer in which conditions dried out considerably. 

Colorado has seen a relatively large number of Conservation Reserve Program land (CRP)* expirations in 2021, which has had a significant impact on the quantity and quality of enrolled land available, and ultimately, reduced some wildlife populations. Regardless, there will be some good hunting opportunities available and some new habitats are in development. CPW will provide a more detailed pheasant and quail forecast in October.


Program Details

Hunters note: Access dates for WIA properties do not supersede normal small game hunting season dates. Regardless of access dates for WIA properties, when a particular game species season is closed, hunters cannot pursue that game species on the basis of the WIA program’s access dates.   

Public access is allowed to these properties during one of four timeframes:

    1. From September 1 through the end of February annually for lands enrolled and posted as Regular Season Walk-In Access properties;

    2. From the opening day of pheasant season through the end of February annually for lands enrolled and posted as Late Season Cropland Walk-In Access properties;

    3. From the opening day of pheasant season through the end of March annually for lands enrolled and posted as Extended Walk-In Access properties;

    4. From September 1 through the end of December annually for lands enrolled and posted as Big Game Walk-In Access Properties.

Access is by foot only. Access is for hunting only; all other activities are prohibited. Additional regulations can be found in either Walk-In Access Atlas. 

In addition, some properties are signed and regulated to reduce conflicts with landowners whom are harvesting crops. This is most often a concern early in the pheasant season when landowners are still combining corn in center pivot circles with pivot corners planted to habitat and opened for access. When you see landowners harvesting crops, please respect that crop harvest is a very stressful time for landowners and give them the space they need to safely harvest. 

Closed walk-in sign In most cases, corners will only be closed for a day or two while the landowner completes harvest. All sprinkler corners will be posted with closure signs in addition to regular boundary signs. Adhering to this temporary closure will help us maintain excellent working relations with landowners, and will contribute to keeping high quality sprinkler corners open to public walk-in hunting.

Hunters may download individual maps (to the right on a computer, bottom of the page in mobile). 

Hunting licenses and habitat stamps are available for sale online & by phone. Remember, licenses are now by season-year. See "License Requirements" within the Small Game and Waterfowl Regulations Brochure

Guidelines 

Hunters can contribute greatly to the Walk-In Access Program's success by remembering one of the program's core rules: Be considerate of the landowners who choose to participate in the program and those who do not participate. Other guidelines for the use of these properties include: 

  • Public access to these private parcels will be permitted for hunting small game, waterfowl and furbearers only. Some properties are open to big game hunting, as well.

  • All hunting must occur during established seasons as listed in the Small Game and Waterfowl Regulations Brochure or Big Game Brochure

  • Park where there is no danger of fire. This is always crucial in Colorado!

  • Leave no trash in fields. 

  • Do not clean game in or along the edges WIA properties.  

  • Determine field boundaries before hunting.  

  • Small game hunters will have access to Walk-in properties during big game seasons.  

  • Hunters must walk into enrolled properties.  


*The Conservation Reserve Program, commonly known as CRP, is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency. Landowners offer their land for enrollment, and when accepted, agree to establish cover for the life of the agreement, in return for an annual rental payment. CRP fields, when seeded to beneficial cover, can be critical habitat for many species of wildlife.