The Rules for Hunting Coyotes in Colorado

There are a few rules for hunting coyotes in Colorado. Colorado has it all—desert, river canyons and snow-covered mountains. But, before you join the Mile High Predator CLub, make sure you review the regulations below. And check frequently for updates and changes. 

Hunting coyotes in Colorado
Rules for hunting coyotes in Colorado.

coyotes may be taken year-round in Colorado with either a small game or a furbearer license. Landowners may kill coyotes, without a license, on their land if the coyotes threaten their property or livestock. Bag limits are unlimited.

Purchase a license here.

Check out the Colorado hunting seasons.

Related: Learn the rules for fox hunting in Colorado.

Related: Learn the rules for bobcat hunting in Colorado.

Legal hours for hunting coyotes in Colorado.

Legal times to hunt small game and/or waterfowl are one- half hour before sunrise to sunset.

An exception is made for furbearers, which can be hunted from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, striped skunks, beavers and red, gray or swift foxes can be hunted at night. See Furbearers under Small-Game Hunting Laws on page 5 for details.

Limited places to hunt? Need more land to hunt on? Check out these articles.

Related: Don’t over hunt the land you have! Read this article.

Related: How far apart should your stand be? Find out here.

Related: Need access to more properties? Find out how to ask for permission here.

Rules for hunting coyotes in Colorado.

Electronic callers. All forms of predator callers are legal.

Related: Which two sounds bring in the most coyotes?

Related: Here are three sound you can make with an open reed caller today.

Related: What is the best closed reed caller? Read this article and watch the attached video onhow to use the best closed reed caller.

You can check Amazon for prices for electronic callers here.

Decoys. Decoys are legal in Colorado.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on decoys. Read why here.

Check Amazon for decoy prices here.

NOTE: SMART RIFLES are prohibited, including any firearm equipped with a target tracking system, electronically controlled, assisted, computer-linked trigger, or a ballistics computer. Any gun equipped with a computer processor scope is considered a smart rifle.

Using bait when coyote hunting in Colorado.

Can you use bait while hunting coyotes in Colorado? Yes, with the following restrictions:

 Furbearers may be taken with the aid of baiting. Where permitted, baits shall consist solely of material of animal or plant origin and shall not contain any materials of metal, glass, porcelain, plastic, cardboard or paper. Wildlife used as bait shall be the carcass, or parts thereof, of legally taken furbearers, carp, shad, white and longnose suckers, and nonedible portions of legally obtained game mammals, birds and game fish.

Using artificial light when hunting coyotes in Colorado.

Can you use artificial light when hunting coyotes in Colorado while on private land?

Artificial light (private land) may be used at night to take beaver, bobcat, coyote, gray fox, raccoon, red fox, striped skunk and swift fox on private land with written permission of the landowner, designated agent, lessee, or authorized employee.

Related: Going the budget route? Make sure you pick the right color lens.

Related: Infrared riflescopes for new predator hunter good for 200 yards? Check out this article.

Related: Thinking you want a low budget thermal good for 150 yards? Check out this article.

Can you use artificial light when coyote hunting in Colorado on public land?

Artificial light (public land) may be used at night to take beaver, bobcat, coyote, gray fox, raccoon, red fox, striped skunk and swift fox on public lands by permit only, as follows:

a. Each permit shall be valid only for the time, species, and location specified on the permit. No permit will be valid during any deer, elk or pronghorn rifle season or during the 24-hour period prior to the opening weekend; nor during the opening weekend of any grouse, pheasant, quail, turkey or waterfowl season in those areas where such seasons are in progress.

b. An artificial light which is permanently attached to, or projected from within a vehicle is prohibited.

c. Taking shall not be permitted within 500 yards of a dwelling, building, or other structure, or in any area of public concentration where human safety would be jeopardized.

d. Such permit shall be carried while hunting and available for inspection upon demand.

e. Area wildlife managers and district wildlife managers may deny a permit where there is a potential that night hunting activities may result in significant adverse impact on wildlife resources by causing movement of large numbers of big game or otherwise.

Provided further that night hunting permits for bobcat will not be issued on public lands in the Canada lynx recovery area where Canada lynx are known to be present. When one Canada lynx has been taken by a bobcat hunter during the current year’s hunting season no night hunting permits for bobcat will be issued for the remainder of the calendar year in the Canada lynx recovery area or in the area outside the Canada lynx recovery area where the Canada lynx was taken. In such instance, any night hunting permits for bobcat already issued under this provision shall be terminated.

f. A permit shall not be required of any person, member of the person’s family, lessee, designated agent, authorized employee, or identified designee with written authorization when necessary to protect such person’s property. Refer to Chapter W- 17, Damage Caused by Wildlife for applicable regulations.

Can use use suppressors when hunting coyotes in Colorado?

Yes. As long as you have a valid permit and license.

Can you use night vision, infrared, or thermal scopes when hunting coyotes in Colorado?

On private land, yes. On public lands, it appears the answer is no. Unless otherwise provided by commission rule and except as provided in section 33-6-107 (9) for persons owning or leasing land, members of their family, or their agents, it is unlawful for a person to utilize electronic night vision equipment, electronically enhanced light-gathering optics, or thermal imaging devices as an aid in hunting or taking wildlife outside legal hunting hours according to commission rules.

Legal methods of taking when hunting coyotes in Colorado.


1. Any rifle or handgun.

2. Any shotgun.

3. Handheld bows and crossbows.

4. Any air gun, except that for coyote or bobcat the air gun must be a pre-charged pneumatic air gun .25 caliber or larger.

5. Live traps, limited to cage or box traps. All live-trapped wildlife shall be released immediately or dispatched by any legal method of take for that species in regulations #303.E.1-4. If local ordinances or public safety prohibit all legal methods of take from being used, American Veterinary Medical Association Guidelines for Euthanasia of Free- Ranging Wildlife, as provided in S7.6 of the 2013 edition of the AVMA Guidelines for Euthanasia of Animals, may alternatively be used to the extent allowable by law.

6. Electronic call devices.

Coyotes are becoming a problem in Colorado.

Colorado has a lot of coyote/human conflicts. The state recommends its residents take the following action to reduce coyote versus human conflicts.

All Front Range communities are home to coyotes!

Coyotes in populated areas are less fearful of people. They have been known to attack pets and approach people too closely.

Your Home & Coyotes:

· Never Feed Coyotes!

· Remove attractants from your yard, including pet food, water sources, bird feeders, and fallen fruit.

· Secure trash in a container with a locking lid or put trash out on the morning of pick up.

· Deter coyotes with a 6 foot privacy fence.

· Never approach wildlife. If a coyote approaches, yell, throw rocks or sticks at it, spray with a hose, or bang pots and pans.

If a Coyote Approaches You:

· Do not run or turn your back

· Be as big and loud as possible

· Wave your arms and throw objects

· Face the coyote and back away slowly

· If attacked, fight back

Protect Your Pets:

· Keep pets on a short (6-foot) leash

· Use extra caution dusk through dawn

· Avoid known or potential den sites and thick vegetation

· Do not allow dogs to play or interact with coyote

· Pick up small pets if confronted by a coyote.

· Alw​ays supervise your pet when outside, especially at dawn or dusk.

· Neve​r leave cats or dogs outside after dark.

· Don’t leave pet food outside.

· If you must leave your pet outside, secure it in a fully enclosed kennel.​

Be Prepared!

If you have concerns about an encounter with a coyote:

· Recreate during daylight hours.

· Walk with a walking stick.

· Keep a deterrent spray handy.

· Carry noise makers or rocks to throw.

General hunting rules for Colorado.


1. Colorado Parks and Wildlife can post firing lines at its properties.

2. It is illegal to kill, capture, injure or harass wildlife from a motor vehicle or an aircraft. It is also illegal to operate aircraft with intent to injure, harass, drive or rally wildlife. It is illegal to discharge a firearm or release an arrow from a motor vehicle or an aircraft.

3. It is illegal to discharge a firearm or release an arrow from, on or across a public road. Hunting with rifles, handguns, shotguns firing a single slug and archery equipment is prohibited within 50 feet on each side of the center line of any public road. On a divided road, the prohibition includes the median, and the 50-foot requirement is measured from the center line of both roads.

4. It is illegal to carry or have a firearm, except a pistol or revolver, in or on a motor vehicle unless the chamber is unloaded. While using artificial light from a vehicle, it is illegal to have a firearm with cartridges in the chamber or magazine, or possess a strung bow unless the bow is cased.

5. You must take edible parts of game meat home to eat or provide it for human consump- tion. Do not leave wounded wildlife (or wildlife that might be wounded) without attempt- ing to track and kill it.

6. Possession of wildlife is evidence you hunted.

7. Small-game and migratory bird hunters are not required to wear solid, fluorescent orange or pink clothes. However, CPW encourages you to wear fluorescent orange or pink clothes for safety.

8. You must stop at CPW check stations when told to do so.

9. Violations of Colorado wildlife laws carry point values. You can face suspension of license

privileges for up to five years or more if you accumulate 20 or more points in five years.

10. During deer, elk, pronghorn and bear seasons, firearms (except handguns) must be unloaded in the chamber and magazine when carried on an off-highway vehicle (OHV). Firearms (except handguns) and bows carried on an OHV must be fully enclosed in a hard or soft case. Scabbards or cases with open ends or sides are prohibited. This regulation does not apply to landowners or their agents carrying a firearm on an OHV for the purpose of taking depredating wildlife on property owned or leased by them.

11. CALIBER RESTRICTION: It is illegal to hunt game birds, small-game animals or furbearers with a centerfire rifle larger than .23 caliber in regular rifle deer and elk seasons west of I-25, unless you have an unfilled deer or elk license for the season you are hunting. A small- game license is required.

State Specific rules for hunting in Colorado.

It’s Unlawful to. . . 

  • ​​Have a loaded (having a round in the chamber) rifle or shotgun in or on a motor vehicle. ​’Motor vehicle’ includes motorcycles and ATVs. Similarly, muzzleloading rifles cannot be primed (cannot have a percussion cap on the nipple or powder in the flashpan) while in or on a motor vehicle. 
  • Carry firearms (except handguns) on an off-highway vehicle (OHV) during deer, elk, pronghorn, and bear seasons unless they are unloaded in the chamber and magazine. Firearms (except handguns) and bows carried on an OHV must be fully enclosed in a hard or soft case. Scabbards or cases with open ends or sides are prohibited. This regulation does not apply to landowners or their agents carrying a firearm on an OHV for the purpose of taking depredating wildlife on property owned or leased by them. 
  • Hunt carelessly or discharge a firearm or release an arrow in a manner disregarding human life or property. 
  • Operate or ride on a snowmobile with a firearm unless it’s completely unloaded and cased; bows must be unstrung or cased. Compound bows must be cased, not unstrung. 
  • Shoot from or use a motor vehicle, motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle, snowmobile, or aircraft to hunt, harass, or drive wildlife. 
  • Use aircraft to hunt, to direct hunters on the ground, or to hunt the same day or day after a flight was made to locate wildlife. 
  • Hunt under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance. 
  • Use artificial light to hunt wildlife. Having a firearm with cartridges in the chamber or magazine, or loaded with powder or a ball, or a strung, uncased bow while trying to project artificial light into an area where wildlife can be found is prima facie evidence of a violation.
  • Use dogs or bait to hunt bears, deer, elk, pronghorn, or moose. Bait means to put, expose, deposit, distribute, or scatter salt, minerals, grain, animal parts, or other food so as to constitute a lure, attraction, or enticement for big game on or over any area where hunters are attempting to take big game. 
  • Use poison, drugs, or explosives to hunt or harass wildlife. 
  • Leave an unattended fire that is not completely extinguished. 
  • Not make a reasonable attempt to track and kill an animal you wounded. If the animal goes on private property, you must contact the landowner or person in charge before pursuing it. 
  • Not wear at least 500 square inches of solid daylight fluorescent orange or solid florescent pink material above the waist on an outer garment while hunting deer, elk, pronghorn, bear, or moose during a muzzleloading or rifle season. Part of the fluorescent orange must be a hat or head covering visible from all directions. Camouflage orange or camouflage pink ​​does not meet this requirement. Mesh garments are legal but not recommended. Bowhunters are not required to wear fluorescent orange during archery seasons. Colorado Parks and Wildlife strongly recommends wearing daylight fluorescent orange or florescent pink ​clothes in the field even if you’re not hunting. For details about the florescent pink alternative hunter safety color approved in 2016, please read the Authorized Fluorescent Pink fact sheet​.
  • Fail to use wildlife meat for human consumption. Internal organs are not considered edible portions. 
  • Shoot from, across, or on a public road with a firearm, bow, or crossbow. People firing a bow, rifle, handgun, or shotgun having a single slug must be at least 50 feet from the centerline of the road. 
  • Party hunt, which means to kill someone else’s game or allow someone to kill your game. 
  • Interfere with hunters. That includes, but is not limited to, alarming, distracting, or frightening prey; causing prey to flee by using light or noise; chasing prey on foot or by vehicle; throwing objects; making movements; harassing hunters by using threats or actions; erecting barriers to deny access to hunting areas; and intentionally injecting yourself into the line of fire. Violators face criminal prosecution and may have to pay damages to the victim, as well as court costs. Learn more on this topic by reading the Hunter Harassment page.

​Violations That Are​​​​ Felony Offenses

  • ​Killing and abandoning big game wildlife. Taking big game, removing only the hide, antlers, or other trophy parts and leaving the carcass in the field. 
  • Selling, purchasing, or offering to sell or purchase big game. 
  • Soliciting someone to illegally take big game for commercial gain or providing outfitting services without required registration.

​If convicted of these violations, you may face a life-time hunting license suspension in Colorado.  

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr.

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr. is a former Marine Sergeant and the author of several books, including two on night hunting coyotes and red and gray fox. He has written several hundred articles on predator hunting for

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