Colorado is a hunter’s haven, with over 22 million acres of public and divided into 185 game management units (GMUs). So you won’t have any issues hunting squirrels or other small game animals. Here’s everything you need to know about hunting in the Centennial State.
Colorado Squirrel Hunting Season
The state offers hunting enthusiasts the opportunity to hunt Albert’s squirrels from November 15 – January 15, 2023. Fox and Pine squirrel hunting season begins October 1 – February 28, 2023. During these dates, it is legal to hunt statewide, with a daily bag limit of five squirrels and a possession limit of 10, regardless of species.
It is illegal to trap, kill or harm the Northern Flying squirrels in most states because they are endangered, so check the laws in your area.
All residents and non-residents must possess a valid hunting license regardless of age. Although you must be 12 years of age to hunt big game, there are no age restrictions for small game hunting.
Before we discuss the hunting regulations and laws, let’s look at the types of squirrels that reside in the state and the best places to hunt them.
Types of Squirrels In Colorado
The Centennial state is home to five types of tree squirrels and several species of ground squirrels. These include some of the following:
- Albert’s squirrel (tree squirrel)
- Pine or Chickaree Squirrel (tree squirrel)
- Fox (tree squirrel)
- Thirteen-Lined squirrel (ground squirrel)
- Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel (ground squirrel)
As mentioned above, only the pine, fox, and pine squirrels are categorized as small game.
Where To Hunt Squirrels In Colorado?
There is no shortage of hunting grounds in Colorado. Whether you’re a seasoned or beginner hunter, there are several places to hunt squirrels and other small game animals.
According to several online forums, some of the best places for squirrel hunting are the following:
Central Flyway Properties (East of Continental Divide)
- Whitehorse State Wildlife Area
- Boyd Lake State Park
- Banner Lakes State Wildlife Area
- Centennial Valley State Wildlife Area
- Jackson Lake State Wildlife Area
Pacific Flyway (West of Continental Divide)
- Colorado River Island State Wildlife Area
- Highline Lake State Park
- Franklin Island State Wildlife Area
- Horsethief Canyon Wildlife Area
- James M. Robb – Colorado River State Park 34 Road
The hunting areas above require you to make reservations 14 days before your hunting trip. You can make your reservations online by visiting this site.
The Colorado Hunting Atlas, provides more detailed mapping of these and other Parks and Wildlife properties available to hunting enthusiasts.
Colorado Squirrel Hunting Regulations
Hunters are responsible for understanding and abiding by the hunting rules and regulations. This entails when hours you can hunt, private and public land, bag limits, etc.
Many people enjoy hunting squirrels, but the laws differ in every state. Here’s what we found when researching the Colorado squirrel hunting regulations.
Do You Need A License To Hunt Squirrels In Colorado?
Anyone 12 years and older must possess a valid hunting license during the regular hunting season.
At the time of this writing, Colorado residents can purchase the following types of hunting licenses:
- Colorado Resident: Anyone who has resided in the state for at least six months or meets the state’s requirements for new residents.
- Non-Resident Hunting License: Anyone who has not lived in the state for at least six months. Non-residents ages 18-64 must purchase the Habitat Stamp before applying for a hunting license.
- Youth Hunting License: Residents under 18 years of age or non-residents ages 12-18.
- Senior Hunting License: Hunters born before August 1, 1953, or turn 65 years of age before purchasing a license.
- Military and Veteran License: Active duty military members stationed at any of the six military bases in the state can purchase a resident hunting license.
How To Purchase A Colorado Hunting License
You can purchase a hunting license online by visiting the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website or calling 1-800-244-5613.
The table below shows the license type, dates, and bag limits.
|Species||Season Dates||Daily Bag Limits||Daily Possession|
|Prairie Dogs: Gunnison’s, White-tailed, & Black Tailed||June 15 – February 28, 2023||N/A||N/A|
|Wyoming (Richardson’s) ground squirrel||June 15 – August 15 annually||N/A||N/A|
|Fox & Pine Squirrels||October 1 – February 28, 2023||5 (of each species)||10|
|Marmot||August 10 – October 15 annually||N/A||N/A|
|Albert’s Squirrels||November 15 – January 15, 2023||5||10|
Hunting seasons are subject to change, so make sure you check them annually.
Do I Take A Hunters Education Course to Get A Hunting License?
Anyone born on or after January 1, 1949, must complete an approved hunter education course before applying for a Colorado hunting license.
The state offers individuals the hunter education course in the following formats:
- Classroom-Based: The individual attends a traditional classroom environment to obtain the education card.
- Hybrid: Consists of online and in-person training.
- Bowhunter Education Course: Not a requirement. It is an opportunity to help improve your skills.
For those that require special accommodations due to disabilities, you can contact the Hunter Education Office or the Hunter Education Instructor at 303-291-7470 or 303-291-7233.
The daily bag limit for all squirrels, regardless of species, is five, with a daily possession limit of 10. Hunters can legally hunt these squirrels during the regular hunting season.
Homeowners can legally hunt, kill or trap tree squirrels, Richardson’s ground squirrels, and the thirteen-lined ground squirrels to protect their property without acquiring a license or permit.
Colorado Small Game Animals
Whether you enjoy hunting squirrels or not, Colorado has several small game animals you can hunt.
Below is a table of the small game animals and dates for Colorado residents and non-residents.
|One Day Small Game License||$17.64||$14.46|
|Small Game & Fishing Combo||N/A||$52.60|
|Colorado Waterfowl Stamp||$10.59||$10.59|
|Youth Small Game & Furbearer License (under 18)||$1.31||$1.31|
|Small Game & Fishing Combo||N/A||$52.60|
All licenses excluding the youth and stamps are subject to a .25-cent search and rescue fee and an additional $1.50 Wildlife Council surcharge. The fees are subject to change, so make sure you check the official Colorado Parks & Wildlife website to see the updated prices.
There are no restrictions for shoot hours during squirrel hunting season. That said, the best time to hunt for squirrels is either early or late in the day. Squirrels are more active at dawn and dusk.
Depending on your skill level, legal hunting methods for hunting squirrels in Colorado include archery equipment, slingshots, etc.
Additionally, cage-type traps are allowed as a hunting method, but you’ll need to check the trapping laws. The state requires individuals to apply for and possess a trapping license.
It is legal for homeowners to trap nuisance squirrels out of season without a permit.
Can You Use A Dog To Hunt Squirrels In Colorado?
According to “§ 33-4-101.3, CRS” 2 Colo. Code Regs. § 406-0-IV-004, dogs can only be used as an aid to pursue, retrieve, point, flush, or bring to bay small game, waterfowl, and furbearer animals.
Allowing your dog to hunt or take tree squirrels or other wildlife is illegal.
Hunters must abide by the rules and regulations of the hunting area. Failure to do so can result in fines.
Can You Hunt From A Motorized Vehicle In Colorado?
The laws will vary depending on where you’re hunting. However, it is illegal for hunters to chase or harass wildlife with an off-highway vehicle (OHV). The use of OHVs is limited to transporting hunters.
Individuals with impairments or disabilities must obtain a special permit from the Division of Wildlife to shoot and hunt from a stationary vehicle.
Understanding the laws and regulations, failure to do so can result in harsh penalties and fines.
Do You Have To Wear Orange Or Camouflage To Hunt Squirrels?
According to Colorado Senate Bill 16-068, hunters are authorized to wear fluorescent pink or orange garments to hunt big or small game.
Camouflage orange or camouflage pink-colored garments are not legal.
These laws specifically state hunters must wear 500 square inches of solid daylight fluorescent clothing above the waistline to make themselves visible to other hunters. Unfortunately, the law only discusses big game hunters, but it’s not a bad idea for all hunters.
Anyone who causes harm for negligence and failure to abide by the rules is punishable by law in a civil action for injuries or wrongful death.
Equipment and Gear
Equipping yourself with the right gear can make all the difference in your hunting experience. Here is some essential hunting gear:
- Hunting License and Permit: A valid hunting license and a small game permit are required to hunt squirrels.
- Boots: Sturdy and comfortable boots are essential for walking and hiking in the woods.
- Game Bag: A bag or backpack to carry hunting gear and harvested squirrels.
- Binoculars: for scouting squirrel activity from a distance.
- Knife: A sharp knife is necessary for field dressing and skinning squirrels.
- Hunting Clothing: Camouflage clothing that matches the environment can help blend in and stay hidden from squirrels.
- Ammunition: Depending on your weapon of choice or bow used, appropriate ammunition or bolts are necessary for hunting squirrels.
- Map and Compass: A map and compass can help you navigate in the woods and find your way back to camp or your vehicle.
Safety Tips and Considerations
Following safe hunting practices and being aware of squirrel conservation efforts is essential when hunting in Colorado.
Since some squirrel species in the state are protected, understanding local regulations and conservation initiatives is crucial.
Colorado classifies pine, Albert’s, and fox squirrels as small game animals. Licensed hunters can legally hunt them statewide during the regular hunting season. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Service has implanted hunting laws and regulations to ensure the safety of all hunters and protect the squirrel population.
Hunters must abide by Colorado’s rules and regulations to ensure that they have a safe and successful hunting experience.
Failure to do so can result in fines, penalties, or even jail time. So always know the laws before you set out for your next hunt. Good luck!
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