Starting Jan. 1, the minimum wage in unincorporated Boulder County is $15.69/hour.

A partir del 1 de enero, el salario mínimo local en la zona no incorporada del condado de Boulder será de $15.69/hora.

Elk Management
Elk at Ron Stewart Preserve

Elk Management

Boulder County works closely with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to manage elk using a variety of tools.

Ron Stewart Preserve at Rabbit Mountain Elk & Vegetation Management Plan

Ron Stewart Preserve Elk Management

Boulder County manages elk at Ron Stewart Preserve at Rabbit Mountain using limited hunting and other resource management tools.

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Red Hill Elk Herd

Red Hill Elk Management

Boulder County manages elk in the Red Hill management area using limited hunting and other resource management tools.

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hunters

Info for Hunters

Frequently asked questions about hunting on open space.

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Information for Hunters

Perspective Hunters

Hunters for the 2023 hunting season has already been selected and the program is closed to additional hunters.

Individuals interested in hunting Boulder County open space must first apply for and obtain a GMU 20 (subunit) antlerless elk license with hunt code E-F-020-L3-R through the Colorado Parks and Wildlife primary draw. The primary draw application deadline is April 4, 2023, at 8 p.m. Secondary draw licenses (formerly leftover licenses), GMU 20 limited licenses, and youth hunters are not eligible to participate. For more information, see pages 35, 46, and 68 of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Big Game Brochure.

Subunit Tag E-F-020-L3-R License Holders

Boulder County will receive the list of subunit license holders in early June from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. On June 16, Boulder County will email all eligible license holders instructions for how they can declare their interest to participate in the hunting program. The deadline to declare interest is July 5. Recipients will be asked to follow a link, provide their contact information, and declare whether they want to hunt Ron Stewart Preserve, Red Hill, or both.

From those that declare interest, Boulder County will conduct a random draw of hunters on July 5 to receive access to hunt Boulder County property. This is the only way to hunt open space. No recreational hunting is permitted.

For the 2023-2024 hunting season, 33 hunters and 5 alternates will be accepted for the Red Hill elk management hunt, and 28 hunters and 5 alternates will be accepted for the Ron Stewart Preserve at Rabbit Mountain elk management hunt.

Season Dates

  • Hunting at Red Hill will be held Aug. 15 through Oct. 28.
  • Hunting at Ron Stewart Preserve at Rabbit Mountain will be held Oct. 2 through Jan. 28.

Hunting at Both Ron Stewart Preserve and Red Hill

Hunters may declare interest in hunting both Ron Stewart Preserve and Red Hill. If drawn for both, you must attend both on-site orientations and pass shooting proficiency tests for both rifle and short-range weapon of your choice. Once the calendar opens, if you have drawn both, you may choose to hunt on different weeks or the same week depending on what slots are available. The calendar sign-up system is first-come, first-served. Please remember that your tag is good for one animal only—additional tags may become available on CPW’s leftover list.

Methods of Take

For hunting at Ron Stewart Preserve, only centerfire rifles are permitted. Non-lead ammunition is required.

For hunting at Red Hill, only shotgun slug and muzzleloader are permitted. Non-lead ammunition is required. Shotgun slug and muzzleloader will be permitted throughout the hunting area.

See page 14 of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Big Game Brochure for more information on legal methods of take and compliance with Colorado state regulations. Please note that firearm regulations for this hunt are more permissive than state regulations regarding muzzleloaders. Because the E-F-020-L3-R license is a rifle season, hunters who have qualified to use muzzleloaders are also permitted to use scopes, sabots, and pelletized powder. This hunt also allows for the use of muzzleloaders outside of the general elk muzzleloader seasons for the state.

Selected Hunters & Alternates

Once the draw is conducted, we will notify everyone via email whether they were selected, selected as an alternate, or not selected.

Selected – Those that were selected will be provided access to an online calendar system, which will open to all recipients at a specific date and time. Hunters will choose their week and sign up for an orientation via the calendar system. Securing a slot is first-come, first-served.

Alternates – Those that were selected as an alternate will be given the opportunity to sign up for any remaining slots that have not been claimed a week after the calendar first opened. If there are no remaining slots, alternates will be called on in the order they were drawn if a hunter drops out.

Not Selected – Those that were not selected may attempt to access private land within the subunit with landowner permission or submit their tag for a refund (deadline July 15).

Orientation

All selected participants, including alternates, are required to attend an on-site orientation. Hunters who completed the orientation in the past two years are eligible to complete an online orientation. Orientation dates will be selected and can be reserved via the online calendar system when participants select their hunting week.

Orientation dates are still to be determined, but there will likely be three dates for each hunt. Last year Red Hill hunter orientations were held in July and August and Ron Stewart Preserve hunter orientations were held in September and October.

Shooting Proficiency Tests

The shooting proficiency tests will be administered by Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff. You will be contacted via email by Colorado Parks and Wildlife to sign up for a shooting proficiency date. Hunters must pass their proficiency test using their intended method of take and lead-free ammunition. Hunters who have successfully completed a proficiency test in the past 24 months are exempt from having to retest. More details about the qualifications will be provided in the email.

The following are requirements and suggestions for various methods of take permitted in the Red Hill elk management program. Hunters must use the method of take with which they passed their proficiency test.

Shotguns
Shotguns must comply with Colorado state regulations regarding legal shotguns as a method of take for big game. Shotguns are permitted throughout the hunt area, including areas east and west of US Highway 36.

In addition, the following are required:

  • All ammunition must be lead-free.
  • Shotguns must be 12 gauge minimum.

While not required, the following are recommended:

  • Use of slugs at least 300 grains.
  • Use of scopes.
  • Use of rifled barrels.

Muzzleloaders
Muzzleloaders must comply with Colorado state regulations regarding legal muzzleloaders as a method of take for big game during the rifle season (no .40 to .49 caliber). Muzzleloaders are permitted throughout the hunt area, including areas east and west of US Highway 36.

In addition, the following are required:

  • All ammunition must be lead-free.
  • No round ball ammunition.

While not required, the following are recommended:

  • Use of scopes.
  • Use of sabots.
  • Use of pelletized powder.

Scouting the Area

Ron Stewart Preserve is open to the public and you are allowed to scout on foot any areas open to the public outside of the hunting season (this does not include Indian Mountain and the Cushman property). During the hunting season, you may scout Thursday-Sunday only. You may not bring a weapon.

The Red Hill hunting area is closed to the public and special permission is required before scouting the area on foot.

Scouting either hunting area from the road is acceptable if a traffic hazard is not created.

Subunit Boundaries

Details of the subunit boundary can be found on the subunit map. The subunit boundary contains areas of open space that are not within the marked hunt boundary of the program and depicted on the maps provided in the hunter packet. You cannot hunt those areas.

Hunting Within Other Areas of the Subunit

Ron Stewart Preserve and Red Hill are the only public lands within the subunit that allow hunting. If you are interested in hunting private land, you must contact the landowner to receive permission.

Important Dates for 2023

Dates for 2024 will be posted soon.

  • April 4: Primary draw deadline for a E-F-020-L3-R license
  • June 16–July 4: License holders declare interest.
  • July 5: Draw to determine hunters.
  • July–Oct: Shooting proficiency tests.
  • July & Aug: Orientation for Red Hill hunters.
  • Aug. 15–Oct. 28: Hunting at Red Hill.
  • Sept & Oct: Orientation for Ron Stewart Preserve hunters.
  • Oct. 2–Jan. 28: Hunting at Ron Stewart Preserve.

Contact Us

Parks & Open Space

Jon DeCoste
elk@bouldercounty.gov
720-526-8029