Night Hunting in Colorado | What You Need to Know 

 July 7, 2021

By  Daniel Gray

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Last updated on June 27, 2022

Most states vary in individual hunting laws, and Colorado is no exception. 

Night hunting in Colorado has its own set of rules and regulations. Before heading out, we recommend familiarizing yourself with said rules. 

To help out, we've written this article to cover everything you need to know about night hunting in Colorado. 

Basic Hunting Regulations

Before going into night hunting specifics, we'll cover a few basics of hunting that will also apply to your nighttime experience.

hunting regulations in colorado

What Are the Legal Hunting Hours?

Legal hours for hunting are half an hour before sunrise until sunset. However, furbearers have extended hunting hours until half an hour after sunset. 

Does Colorado Allow Electronic Game Calls? 

Yes, e-callers are allowed for fur-bearing animals. Otherwise, you'll need to use mechanical devices.

Does Colorado Allow Decoys?

Yup, you can certainly use artificial decoys. 

Can You Use Suppressors in Colorado? 

Absolutely. It's allowed for any game animal. 

What Are the Regulations for Hunting Contests?

In Colorado, it's illegal to advertise, conduct, participate, or even offer to conduct competitive events involving killing furbearers or small game species who don't have a possession or bag limit (i.e., coyotes or prairie dogs). 

Contests with monetary or valuable prizes for small game or game birds are also illegal. Certificates or items of recognition aren't considered valuable under Colorado law. 

For authorized contests, hunters are limited to killing 5 of each species during their event. 

Does Colorado participate in a bounty program?

No, there is not a bounty program in the state of Colorado. 

Can You Hunt At Night In Colorado?

It sure is, but you're restricted to a certain subset of furbearers

More on this in our next section. 

Specific Regulations for Night Hunting in Colorado

Night hunting in Colorado has additional regulations you'll need to know, such as artificial light, special permits, and animal restrictions. 

What Animals Can You Hunt At Night? 

You can hunt beavers, bobcats, coyotes, raccoons, striped skunks, and red, gray, and swift foxes.

However, night-hunting permits will not be issued on public land for bobcats in Canada lynx recovery areas or known areas where lynx reside. 

If a hunter kills any Canada lynx throughout hunting season, Colorado Parks & Wildlife will ban night-hunting permits for bobcats for the remaining calendar year. In addition, Colorado Parks & Wildlife will void previously issued night permits for bobcats. 

canadian lynx

What Weapons Are Authorized For Night Hunting in Colorado? 

When hunting fur-bearing animals at night, hunters may use any crossbow, handheld bow, handgun, rifle, or shotgun. 

Cage and box traps are the only live traps authorized.

Is It Legal to Spotlight in Colorado?

Artificial light is legal on private land with the explicit permission of the landowner. 

When it comes to public land, you'll require a permit issued by an area wildlife manager or local district. These permits will have limitations on the time and place. 

Is It Legal to Shine Artificial Light From Your Vehicle?

No, hunting with a light permanently attached to or projecting from inside your vehicle is illegal. 

How Close Can Furbearers Come to People Dwellings?

Fur-bearing animals cannot come within 500 yards of buildings, campgrounds, residences, or any other area that could threaten human safety. Keep this in mind when leading animals with artificial light. 

Do I Need to Carry My Permit If Using Artificial Light? 

Yes, you should always be prepared to present your permits to law enforcement if requested. 

Is There Any Point An Artificial Light Night Hunting Permit Isn't Valid? 

Yes! These permits are invalid 24 hours before or any time during elk, deer, or pronghorn rifle seasons. They're also invalid the opening weekend of waterfowl, pheasant, and quail seasons. 

Can Colorado Parks & Wildlife Deny A Permit? 

CPW can deny permits on the grounds of wildlife management. 

Are Night Vision Scopes Legal in Colorado?

On public land, it is illegal for hunters to use any night vision equipment, thermal scopes or imaging devices, or any other electronically boosted light-gathering devices at any time. 

However, if you have received permission to hunt on private land, you can use night vision optics, thermal imaging scopes, etc. 

Regulations on Coyote Hunting 


If you're a Colorado resident (especially along the Front Range), chances are you've had your very own coyote encounter. They aren't afraid of living close to people, especially those with livestock or domestic pets. 

Landowners already have permission to kill coyotes without a license on their land if their livestock or property is threatened. But what are the laws for hunters? 

We'll tell you!

Do You Need A Separate License to Hunt Coyotes?

No, but you can get a “Furbearer Only” license which includes fur-bearing animals, like coyotes. 

You can hunt them without a small-game license. This is only if you have an unfilled big-game license for that same unit and season. Once that's filled, you'll have to purchase a small-game one for coyotes. 

What Is the Best Time for Hunting Coyotes?

Since coyotes are nocturnal predators, the best time would be around dusk and dawn. This is when they'll be out hunting their own wood. 

In terms of season, coyotes are active all year, but winter months often prove more fruitful. This is because they'll become less nocturnal and are more prone to traveling together during winter. 

What Is the Best Area For Coyote Hunting? 

According to ESPN, one of the best spots is in the eastern Pawnee National Grasslands. 

When Can You Hunt Coyotes? 

You can hunt coyotes year-round; there is no designated season. 

If I'm Not A Colorado Resident, Can I Still Hunt Coyotes? 

Of course, but you'll need to obtain a valid license.

Do Coyotes in Colorado Have A Bag Limit? 

Nope, it is unlimited. 

Does Coyote Hunting Have Ammunition Restrictions?

It's illegal to hunt coyotes, other fur-bearing or small-game mammals, and game birds during elk and deer seasons west of I-25 with a centerfire rifle bigger than .23 caliber. 

What Are the Regulations for Transporting Pelts or Dead Coyotes Across Colorado State Lines? 

If your game doesn't have a carcass tag, it must be accompanied by the personal license holder. 

Game shipped by a common carrier must either have a photocopy of the license or the license itself.

Coyote pelts do not have to undergo an inspection and sealing process before you transport or ship them.

Can You Use Baiting While Coyote Hunting? 

Yes, but it can only contain animals and plants. 

It's illegal to bait with cardboard, glass, metal, paper, plastic, or porcelain.

When using wildlife as bait, you're restricted to carcasses or parts of legally hunted furbearers or carp, longnose suckers, shad, and white suckers. Additionally, you can use the inedible bits of any legally taken game birds, game mammals, or game fish.  

Can You Use Dogs For Coyote Hunting? 

Yes, with a few stipulations. 

Dogs can only be used to pursue, bring game to bay, retrieve, point, or flush. This is restricted to furbearers, small game, and waterfowl. 

Final Thoughts

The state of Colorado is a popular hunting spot thanks to its hunter-friendly laws. 

We hoped to have condensed Colorado's night hunting laws into easy information. For your own safety, we recommend going over regulations with your local Colorado Parks & Wildlife Office. 

Happy hunting!

About the author 

Daniel Gray

As a digital marketing manager, Daniel is responsible planning and managing marketing campaigns at Smart Scouter. He has a masters degree from Indiana University and over 20 years of experience in the thermal imaging industry. In his spare time he likes hiking and traveling around South America.

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