Elk Hunting Licenses in the State of Colorado

Elk Hunting Licenses in the State of Colorado

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Colorado is one of the few states where elk hunting is available. With the high altitude and large expanses of open land, Colorado makes a wonderful place for elk to traverse the land. Thus, elk hunting licenses are popular but expensive in this mountain state. Getting a license is simple, but following the schedules requires special attention to detail.


The application for elk hunting is straightforward. The application requires basic information about the applicant and proof of registered gun ownership. This application is available online, over the phone or by mail.

Number of Seasons

The seasons for elk hunting in Colorado are short and frequent. Various seasons start in August and go through January. The first seasons are for archers, and then people who use various types of guns are able to purchase a license for seasons, usually lasting one to four weeks. In the case of rifle licenses, for example, there are four one-week seasons for elk hunting with breaks between seasons. Because elk are population-controlled, officials from the Department of Wildlife can monitor the population with these little seasons.

Over the Counter Licenses

These licenses are simpler for visiting hunters. With an over-the-counter license, you simply complete the application and pays the requisite fee. The state of Colorado does not limit over-the-counter licenses. Colorado is the only state with this option for any elk hunting seasons. Over-the-counter licenses are available for the second and third elk seasons, which are roughly mid-October to mid-November for muzzle-loading rifles, and for the archery season, which runs late August to late September.

Licensing by Drawing

When a certain animal cannot be hunted in large numbers, states will hold a drawing for a limited number of licenses. Colorado uses this system for some elk hunting licenses. All elk hunting licenses for muzzle-loading rifles are done by drawing, as are the first and fourth seasons of combined deer and elk licenses for rifle users.


The price for Colorado residents for the 2011 season is $49 for either bull elk or cow elk licenses. Non-residents will pay $354 for cow elk licenses and $554 to hunt bull elks.