Hunt, Fish, Watch: A Guide to Your Colorado Wildlife Experience

Hunt, Fish, Watch: A Guide to Your Colorado Wildlife Experience

DENVER, CO - 3/15/2016 (PRESS RELEASE JET) -- When it comes to hunting, fishing, and viewing wildlife, Colorado is the land of exceptional experiences. Walk quietly through a pristine pine forest. Watch the Sandhill cranes at dusk after a day of foraging in the San Luis Valley. Witness trout feasting on the latest Caddis-fly hatch while you're floating down one of Colorado’s stunning streams or rivers. Whether it's a peek at wildlife or the adrenaline-filled pursuit that thrills you, Colorado promises a nature experience that is invigorating, inspiring and unforgettable.

Just the Facts

When it comes to wildlife experiences, Colorado offers extraordinary access for viewing, hunting and fishing as Colorado is home to:

  • 260,000 members of North America’s largest elk herd
  • 960 wildlife species
  • 322 miles of Gold Medal waters hosting 60 lbs. of trout per acre
  • 6,000 miles of fishable rivers/streams with public access
  • 40 species of warm and cold water fish
  • 493 species of birds
  • 40 birding trails


The magic of witnessing wildlife is made all the more sublime when species are in their natural habitat. In Colorado, this means they are making their way across sweeping prairies, drinking from streams brimming with snow runoff, or scaling the sides of monumental mountains, like those celebrated in Colorado’s National Parks and wildlife viewing areas. En-route to the parks and traveling between them, drive the state’s scenic byways for wildlife sightings. At Arena Dust Tours, view Lesser Prairie Chickens during their mating rituals on quiet, crowd-free private property. At Zapata Ranch, sign up for the Sandhill Crane Photography Workshop and capture breath-taking images during the birds' spring migration. For a desert backdrop and the opportunity to expand your repertoire, visit the Canyon of the Ancients for 8 photography sessions in prime, picturesque southwest locations. Witness the mating dance of what Lewis and Clark called “The Cock of the Plains” – the Greater Sage Grouse— in Craig, Colorado. If it is elk you are after, travel from Redstone to Crawford and beyond on the West Elk Loop Scenic and Historic Byway. Head to High Lonesome Ranch, in DeBeque, for prime elk watching and other wildlife activities. The Lost Creek Wilderness Area near Bailey offers intimate visits with the resident mule-deer, elk, bighorn sheep and black bears. At the Soapstone Natural Prairie Area, outside Fort Collins, watch American bison take to the short-grass, prairie ecosystem of northern Colorado.  Head east for a self-guided birding tour through Pawnee National Grassland.


For many wildlife enthusiasts, time spent in the wilderness is all about the pursuit, but the adventure doesn't stop there. Colorado offers a variety of ways to enjoy the catch. At Viceroy Snowmass, take advantage of their “You Catch, We Cook” program that offers a day of hunting paired with a lesson and meal. Chef Will Nolan will show you how to prepare the birds you have bagged durring a cooking lesson with your bounty. If you’re trying to find unique ways to store and savor your success, try Steve’s Meat Market, in Arvada, where you can choose between 28 different types of sausage and jerky. Catch fresh lake trout and have it smoked during a stay at Tarryall Outfitters, or let Rainbow Trout Ranch cook up your catch. At C Lazy U, an Orvis-recognized fishing lodge, the chef will prepare quail, partridge, pheasant or fish for dinner; or, if you’d prefer to keep your catch as a souvenir, take one of his signature trout recipes home with you. In Carbondale, Chef Mark Fischer is credited with initiating the Roaring Fork Valley’s farm-to-table movement, and, with the help of Chef Jon Little, he brings freshly hunted and harvested goods – like goat and rabbit, kale and Concord jam – to your plate.

Exceptional Educations

Both hunting and fishing are world-class in Colorado, so the addition of “extra-curriculars” adds an extra layer of excitement and interest to your wilderness pursuits. Purchase your license online, brush up on the finer details or delve into a new passion with hunter and angler education classes offered by the Department of Parks and Wildlife


The success of a hunt can only be heightened and enhanced by the quality of the experience surrounding it. At Bid-U-Well Guest Ranch, 122 acres of pastoral setting and panoramic views compliment old-fashioned, farm-to-table cuisine prepared from scratch using local product. For the avid golfer who enjoys perfecting their swing as much as their shot, head over to Newman Adventures in Holyoke, where the Daily Double combines a morning of pheasant and quail hunting, a hot afternoon meal, and 18 holes at the Ballyneal private golf course. Hunting with Halfmoon Packing & Outfitting means getting to choose between four levels of support, and having a hunt catered perfectly to your needs. In Dolores, the Circle K Guest Ranch and Outfitters is a non-structured guest ranch where you can tailor your vacation to your style and budget—complete with high-country horseback rides, elk and mule-deer hunting, and guiding fly fishing trips. Tucked into the stunning San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado, Colorado Hunting Expeditions offers exclusive elk and deer hunting on thousands of prime private acres, and accommodation options that range from lodges to remote cabins and tents. For your fill of dove, pheasant, quail, chukar, and goose, head over to Longmeadow Game Resort and Event Center, where avid sportsmen and novice hunters alike can find a package to suit their needs. Enjoy privacy in Craig while hunting mule-deer, elk and antelope on Pinnacle Peak Adventure’s unique private property. An outdoor enthusiast’s playground, Colorado is the only state that offers an unlimited number of bull elk hunting licenses during its second and third rifle season.


Fishing from the banks may have a quiet, serene allure, but Colorado offers the opportunity to experience fishing from a new and exciting perspective: in the water. In Gunnison, savor the ultimate in cuisine, comfort and fly-fishing on a 3-day Gunnison Gorge and Ouray rafting trip with the Arkansas River Tours. Make your basecamp Gunnison River Farms and float/fish through the steep-walled Gunnison Gorge in a National Conservation Area. If you are in it for the hike, let the llamas from Kirks Flyshop lighten the load, and enjoy a pack-trip excursion for an overnight mountain hike without the hassle. At Rawah Ranch, travel with a professional fly-fishing guide on gentle mountain horses or on foot into the Rawah Wilderness. And on a Rawah Fly Fishing Safari, you’ll fish some of North America’s most coveted waters for Colorado’s elusive greenback cutthroat. If you are new to the sport, mosey over to the Frisco Bay Marina for classes, rentals and safe lakeside fishing for the kids. In Durango, La Posta Ranch, just south of Blue Lake Ranch, offers wheelchair access to the Animas River, and a fully stocked trout pond for practice casting. At the Rifle Gap State Park's 350-acre reservoir, camp year-round, catch trout, bass and perch, and enjoy some of Colorado’s best waterskiing and windsurfing. Cast from your cabin’s front door and relax in the riverside Bath House at Taylor River Lodge. Fish private trout streams on the historic ranches of Park County through South Park Fly Fishers.


Celebrate Colorado’s wildlife riches with more than 30 nature events and festivals throughout the year dedicated to celebrating wildlife, birding, hunting and other outdoor excursions. Highlights include:


Karval Mountain Plover Festival, April 29 ‐ May 1 (Karval, CO)

Ute Mountain‐Mesa Verde Birding Festival, May 11 – 15 (Cortez, CO)

Estes Park Elk Fest, October 1‐2 (Downtown Estes Park, CO)

Colorado Owl Festival, October 7‐8 (Pueblo, CO)

Georgetown Bighorn Sheep Festival, November 12 � (2nd Sat. in Nov.) (Georgetown, CO)

Colorado is unrivaled in its organic offerings, from stunning scenery to amazing animals to adrenaline-filled pursuits. On your upcoming Colorado-cation, pack your bags with curiosity, but leave room for the unique interactions, exciting chases, exceptional memories, and unforgettable flavors that you will return home with after any time spent in the Colorado wilderness.


Colorado is a four-season destination offering unparalleled adventure and recreational pursuits, a thriving arts scene, a rich cultural heritage, flavorful cuisine, and 25 renowned ski areas and resorts. The state's breathtaking scenic landscape boasts natural hot springs, the headwaters of seven major rivers, many peaceful lakes and reservoirs, 11 national parks and monuments, over 850 farm and ranches that are open to visitors, and 58 mountain peaks that top 14,000 feet.

For more information or a copy of the Colorado Official State Vacation Guide, visit or call 1-800-COLORADO. Follow Colorado on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Foursquare, Flickr, Tumblr and YouTube.
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