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 10 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 10 points, or you are charged with multiple violations of the same kind, or later down the road you commit or are charged with any additional violations, you could be facing a hearing with the Wildlife Commission.
C.R.S. 33-6-107. Licensing violations: More than one Small Game hunting license in a calendar year.
Procuring more than one license per calendar year of the same kind is a misdemeanor under Colorado law. Additionally, a conviction of the violation relating to anything other than big game carries ten license suspension points.
C.R.S. 33-6-124(2)-(4) Use of a Motor Vehicle or Aircraft
- It is unlawful for a person to hunt, take, or harass wildlife from or with a motor vehicle.
C.R.S. 33-6-124 deals with the use of motor vehicles while in pursuit of wild game. Note that this rule does not specifically relate to only firing from a vehicle, but using a vehicle to hunt or harass game animals whatsoever.
- Unless otherwise permitted by commission rule, it is unlawful for any person to discharge a firearm or release an arrow from a motor vehicle with the intent to take wildlife.
This is an interesting restriction that limits the use of motor vehicles while hunting. Notice that the statute requires that the hunter have the intent to take wildlife when the shot is made. Now, there may be other restrictions, statutes, or ordinances that regulate firing from a vehicle in a non-wildlife related manner, but for hunting, this is the statute you should be referencing.
- 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 Use of wildlife as bait
- It is unlawful for any person to use wildlife as bait unless otherwise provided by rule or regulation of the commission.
Any individual who is charged with using wildlife as bait in Colorado faces 10 license suspension points.
C.R.S. 33-6-111 Failure to tag - Eluding an officer
- Any person who fails to void his license or carcass tag as required by commission rule or regulation is guilty of a misdemeanor.
This provision relates to carcass tags and licenses that require attaching said tags to the animal once it has been killed and reduced to possession by the hunter. Failing to do so tells the game warden that there is a likelihood that you intended to use the license again in order to unlawfully harvest an additional animal. Best practices in order to avoid this type of violation usually include tagging the animal as soon as is possible after killing.
- It is unlawful for any person to elude or attempt to elude by any means a Colorado wildlife officer or other peace officer after having received a visual or audible signal such as a red or red and blue light, siren, or voice command directing him to stop.
If you see the lights of an officer, hear his voice or other signal for you to stop or come to an officer, the best practice is to comply with their request. Attempting to elude an officer will likely not get you very far and only makes you look a whole lot worse when fighting the charges.
C.R.S. 33-6-128. Damage or destruction of dens or nests
- Unless permitted by the division, it is unlawful for any person to willfully damage or destroy any wildlife den or nest or their eggs or to harass any wildlife.
Any wildlife in Colorado that have nests, eggs, burrows, or dens, have those particular areas of their reproduction cycle and habitat protected. Destroying the eggs of any waterfowl or game bird, destroying bear dens, or in any way infringing on those areas subjects the individual to potential liability for those actions.
Additionally, harassing wildlife is a separate, all-encompassing violation that includes all activities seen by game wardens as those that may be harassment. The most common area that this comes up in is during shed season, when some impatient shed hunters will chase or otherwise bother big bull elk or buck deer in order to induce the dropping of antlers by stress.
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 wildlife other than big game carries an assessment of 10 license suspension points.
C.R.S. 33-6-115. Tampering with trap
- It is unlawful for any person to interfere with, disturb, remove, or otherwise tamper with any trap, snare, or other device that has been legally set.
Trappers often have areas they return to trap every season, as they are confident those areas can produce plentiful game. However, finding someone else’s traps in areas that you normally set yours can often be frustrating. Moving those traps in any way can open up the possibility of being cited with a hunting violation under this article.
C.R.S. 33-6-112. Evidence of wildlife sex and species
- The commission may establish by rules or regulations requirements for preserving the evidence of sex or species or both sex and species of wildlife taken under the provisions of articles 1 to 6 of this title. It is unlawful for any person to possess any wildlife or considerable portion thereof in violation of such rules or regulations. For the purposes of this section, the evidence of species or sex may be one or more of the following: Head, antlers, horns, testes, scrotum, udder, spurred leg, wing, skin, or plumage in sufficient amount to allow the evidence of species or sex to be determined by ordinary inspection.
Maintaining evidence of sex and species while transporting and possessing any kind of game is of utmost importance. The general rule of thumb is to be able to give any game warden the ability to do their job in an efficient manner that removes all doubt as to whether you complied with the law. In this regard, you are only helping yourself if you are able to show the warden your cooler full of cleaned pheasant with the spurs and wings attached, or your elk quarter with the testes intact.
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.