There are several ways that you can lose your hunting and fishing privileges in Colorado. If you receive any combination of offenses totaling 20 points or more in any five year period, you will be given notice of a possible suspension. Some hunting violations are worth 15 points, meaning that one single violation of this kind will not necessarily mean you will lose your hunting or fishing privileges. However, if you have any previous violations worth at least 5 points, or you are charged with multiple violations of the same kind, you could be facing a hearing with the Wildlife Commission.
C.R.S. 33-6-107. Licensing violations: More than one Big Game license in a calendar year.
Procuring more than one license per calendar year of the same kind is a misdemeanor under Colorado law. For big game licenses, such as when an individual is accused of purchasing or otherwise acquiring more than one bull elk license that is not allowed under Colorado law such as any List A license, the violation comes with 15 licenses suspension points.
C.R.S. 33-6-124(2)-(4) Use of a Motor Vehicle or Aircraft—Electronic Devices
- It is unlawful for any person airborne in any aircraft to spot or locate any wildlife and communicate its location to a person on the ground as an aid to hunting or pursuing wildlife; and it is unlawful for such airborne person or person on the ground receiving such communication to pursue, hunt, or take game on the same day or the day following such flight.
33-6-124 deals with the use of aircraft while in pursuit of wild game. Anyone using an aircraft to spot game may not communicate with anyone on the ground for the purposes of hunting or pursuing any wildlife. Additionally, aircraft may be used to spot game, but anyone using any aircraft to spot game and hunt the same game on any one particular day may find themselves accused of hunting violations.
- It is unlawful for two or more people on the ground, in a motor vehicle, or in a vessel to use electronic devices to communicate information in the furtherance of a violation
This restriction limits the ability of outdoorsmen and women to use any kind of electronic communication to commit any kind of violation. While it may seem redundant, officers use this particular statute to listen on electronic band channels for hunters engaging in unlawful conduct.
- A person who violates section 33-14.5-108(3)(a) while engaged in the act of hunting, fishing, trapping, or a related activity at the time of the unlawful activity.
The referenced statute within this regulation states: it is unlawful for a person to operate a motor vehicle on any federal public land, trail, or road unless the federal public land, trail, or road is signed or otherwise authorized for such use. Any person who violates this statute while they are engaged in any of the listed outdoor pursuits may find themselves facing hunting tickets in addition to the charges brought under the original statute.
C.R.S. 33-6-119 Pursuit of wounded game—Waste of edible wildlife
- It is unlawful for a person who shoots at, wounds, or may have wounded game wildlife to fail to make a reasonable attempt to locate the game wildlife suspected of injury and take it into his or her possession.
- It is unlawful for a person to fail to reasonably attempt to dress or care for and provide for human consumption the edible portions of game wildlife.
When hunting, game can often run or fly a good distance after being shot. It is the responsibility of the hunter to make every reasonable attempt to locate that particular animal and either apply their tag for the animal, or count that animal into their bag limit. Failing to make a reasonable attempt can land a hunter in trouble. Additionally, a hunter must make every effort to safeguard all of the edible meat on the animal. Leaving an animal to rot in the sun or even running out of time to clean animals at home is a violation under Colorado law. In order to remain legal, hunters should not only get to a downed animal as quickly as possible, but also once the animal is found, make every effort to preserve the edible portions of that animal. For example, downing an elk in a remote area where the animal must be packed out during the warmer months may mean packing out the meat before packing out the antlers and hide.
C.R.S. 33-6-125 Possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle
- It is unlawful for an individual to possess or have under his control any firearm, other than a pistol or revolver, in or on any motor vehicle unless the chamber of such firearm is unloaded.
- For the purposes of this section, a "muzzle-loader" shall be considered unloaded if it is not primed, and, for such purpose, "primed" means having a percussion cap on the nipple or flint in the striker and powder in the flash pan.
33-6-125 is not only a requirement of law, but a great safety practice for hunters in Colorado. Anytime you are in your vehicle, check your firearms for any rounds in the chamber. While accidental discharges are rare, they are not impossible. Before even opening the door to your vehicle, check the chambers of your gun as well as the chambers of the guns of any of your hunting partners riding in your vehicle. Importantly, this regulation is different for OHV vehicles in Colorado. When operating any OHV vehicle, your firearm must be completely unloaded, including the magazine.
C.R.S. 33-6-120 Hunting, trapping, or fishing out of season or in a closed area
It is unlawful for any person to fish, trap, hunt, or take any wildlife outside of the season established by or in an area closed by commission rule.
Always make sure that the areas you are hunting or fishing in are open during the time of your hunt. Colorado has many special rules involving when certain areas such as Trust Lands or Wildlife Management Areas are open to hunting. Certain closures occur even during hunting season. Any violation of this statute related to the hunting or taking of big game carries an assessment of 15 license suspension points.
If you are charged with any Colorado Hunting or Fishing Violations, it is in your best interest to consult with an attorney before deciding whether to fight the ticket or charges, or just pay and plead guilty. Colorado Hunting Violation Lawyer Nathaniel Gilbert has helped hunters, fishers, guides, and outfitters with their Colorado and Kansas Hunting Violations and can help you make the best decision for your unique matter.