Colorado Outfitters and Guides


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For many of Colorado's hunters, finding a quality and reputable Colorado outfitter can be a daunting task. To save you time and effort, we have provided an avenue for matching your personal hunting criteria with Colorado outfitters that meet that criteria. Whether you want a fully guided hunt with 5-star accommodations or just a drop camp and a few necessities way out yonder, we can find a Colorado outfitter for you.

However, unless you are a seasoned Colorado hunter, you may want to review our FAQs as well as scroll down and read the many topics concerning outfitters. This will help you up the learning curve so that you can make informed decisions about the hunt and outfitter you want, all within realistic expectations.

 

 

Please note that all Colorado outfitters that use our services must comply with our Outfitter's Code of Conduct, which include the following:

  • Legally Compliant
  • Ethical
  • Experienced
  • Licensed
  • Permitted
  • Insured
  • Recommended

Every year, or more frequent for cause, we review all of the Colorado outfitters in our database to ensure compliance. If you are a Colorado outfitter and would like to participate in our services, please go to for Outfitters. For questions, please view our FAQs page.

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Colorado Outfitters & Guides: Why

Hunting in Colorado can be expensive and physically demanding. The required hunting gear and necessary equipment can also be extensive. Traversing mountainous terrain while hunting can be hazardous to your health...travelling to and from your camping site to your hunting grounds can also be hazardous...many Colorado hunters lack the experience and skills to safely overcome many of these obstacles. If your version of a successful Colorado hunt means filling a tag, then success is hugely dependent upon experience and knowledge of the terrain, animals, weather possibilities, etc.

Each of Colorado's big game species has its own nuances that make it a challenge for anyone. Colorado outfitters typically specialize in just a few animals; sometimes just one.

Colorado Outfitters & Guides: Benefits

If you are in no position to handle the Why, then you probably need to consider using one of the many Colorado outfitters. They have the experience, skills, and equipment to turn your hunt of a lifetime into an adventure of a lifetime. For Colorado outfitters, they don't outfit just because it's a job. They do so because of their passion for the outdoors and the thrill of hunting in Colorado. So, if you're on the bottom of the learning curve, the benefit is obvious. On the other hand, even for seasoned hunters, using Colorado outfitters to fill any gap that you no longer want to self-fulfill has its own rewards.

Colorado Outfitters & Guides: Costs

The cost of using Colorado outfitters is fairly broad and is dependent upon several factors. For example, the game you choose to hunt is a factor. One of the most popular animals to hunt is elk and pricing among different Colorado outfitters is similar. On the other hand, if you choose to hunt cougar or mountain lion, this is more of a specialty hunt and all things being equal, it will cost more. One of the most obvious cost factors is whether you want a drop-camp, semi-guided hunt, or a fully-guided hunt. The cost of an outfitter provided semi-guided or fully-guided hunt also depends upon the accommodations, such as wall tent with cook and horses or a luxurious log lodge, full-time chef, and truck transportation. There may also be a price difference in whether one hunts on public land or private land. For private land hunts, many Colorado outfitters don't own the private land they hunt on so they have to pay landowner leasing fees. Colorado Outfitters have a pricing schedule that is fairly inclusive of most items. However, always ask about optional items and don't assume everything is included in the package.

Colorado Outfitters & Guides: Choices and Options

What most hunters want in Colorado outfitters are determined by adjectives: reputable, knowledgeable, experienced, likeable, honest, integrity, etc. For the thousands that have used Colorado outfitters in the past, the vast majority would say those qualities are a given. As with any industry, however, there will always be the rare exception to the rule. However, Colorado outfitters are in this for the long haul - their success depends upon all of the above and not taking shortcuts or not playing by the rules. So, your choices and options are really determined by the prior discussions and are summed up in the phrase, "What type of hunt do you want?" All of this is covered under for Hunters

Colorado Outfitters & Guides: Drop Camps

Drop camps are synonymous with do-it-yourself hunters. And, most hunters that use drop camps are either elk hunting or mule deer hunting. This style of outfitter-based hunt is the most affordable and challenging. Unless you are hunting on private land, your camp will typically be in a remote location on public land, either national forest or BLM land, close to prime elk and mule deer habitat. That does not mean you will not see any other hunters, but your odds are much less. The biggest advantage is that your outfitter will provide you with details on where and how to hunt the area.

The real question with using a drop camp has to do with the supplies provided by the outfitter. Don't assume anything! Get a complete checklist of all the supplies/services that you may need and then find out who provides what, and get it in writing. Generally, you will have to provide all your food and cooking, hunting equipment and personal items. But, for example, who provides things such as toilet paper, field dressing your elk or who is responsible for cleaning up camp afterwards? What about hunting during real hot weather and cooling down your meat becomes an issue? What are your options?

Colorado Outfitters & Guides: Semi-Guided Hunts

This is a type of hunt that is almost seamless in difference from a fully -guided hunt. The amenities provided by the outfitter are extensive. There is little that you have to do other than hunt for your elk, mule deer, or whatever quarry you have tags for. The major difference has to do with the extent that you hunt with a guide. Many archery hunts are 2/1 or 3/1, that is, there are two or three bow hunters per guide. Of course, depending upon whether you are placed in a stand or spot-stalk with your guide, you may or may not have a guide with you at all times, or you may have to take turns with another hunter. Muzzleloading and rifle hunts can follow a similar setup although there are variations to this general description. If you are considering this type of hunt, make sure you understand what equipment/services the outfitter provides and the extent you'll be hunting with a guide specifically for your benefit.

Colorado Outfitters & Guides: Fully-Guided Hunts

This is the cadillac version of outfitter-based hunting - the ultimate! The outfitter, guides, wranglers, and cooks have one task - to spoil you. It is unlikely that you will need to provide anything other than your hunting equipment and personal items. Of course, you always want to ensure this is the case and never assume anything. Although this is the ultimate hunt, your amenities could still range from being out in the boonies in a wall tent setup or in a luxurious mountain log home. So, you will have to decide how you like being spoiled.

Colorado Outfitters & Guides: Regulation

Just like all other states, the outfitting business in Colorado is highly regulated. However, there is a slight difference in who is regulated as compared to some other states. Colorado outfitters are the ones who are regulated and guides operate under an outfitter's license and permits, and outfitters are ultimately responsible for the actions of his or her guides. An outfitter is defined as one who provides outfitting services on land that such individual does not own. So, if one provides outfitting services on his or her own property, by definition, this person is not classified or regulated as an outfitter.

Colorado outfitters are regulated by the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), under the Division of Registrations. There are basically two areas of interest for hunters in case you want to ensure that an outfitter is operating lawfully. The first is to verify that an outfitter is currently licensed by clicking "Verify a Person or Business Regulated by the Division" under INFORMATION FOR CONSUMERS. Since only persons can be licensed, you will need the outfitter's real name or (preferably) use the outfitter's license number. The second would be to get informed about the legal requirements for Colorado outfitters. Scroll down to "SELECT A PROFESSION" under LICENSEE/APPLICANT SERVICES - select Outfitters. On this next page, you can view information about applicable laws, rules, licensing, etc. For example, all Colorado outfitters are required to have the following: proof of their registration at all times while providing outfitting services; written contracts per 12-55.5-109 CRS; documentation of liability insurance (min $50,000) and surety bond (min $10,000); and, guides must possess a valid first aid card.

The whole state of Colorado is divided into Game Management Units (GMUs). All Colorado outfitters who guide on public land owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are required to have a Special Recreation Permit (SRP). If you want to ensure that your outfitter has a current SRP and is operating lawfully on BLM land, you can contact the field office with jurisdiction over the GMU you are hunting. If you are unsure about which office has jurisdiction, you can contact any BLM field office and go from there. In addition, all Colorado outfitters operating on National Forest or National Grassland are required to have a Special Use Permit. To check whether your outfitter is operating lawfully on National Forest land, you can contact the local office with jurisdiction. Go to the National Forest Service website, then click Colorado, then click the National Forest you are hunting on.

Colorado Outfitters & Guides: About

Below is a list of Colorado outfitters. All of them are not in our database for various reasons. Some only cater to a small group or clientele, most of whom are repeat customers, and others fill up every year from referrals. Of course, we don't recommend calling each of these individually because you will be wasting a lot of unnecessary time. Instead, go to for Hunters and do a Search to find an outfitter that'll meet your needs.

Another resource for one wanting unbiased information about Colorado outfitters is the Colorado Outfitters Association (COA). It is an association of like-minded persons who come together for the common cause of promoting their profession. One can request information about specific Colorado outfitters, report incidents, etc. In a manner of speaking, it is similar to a Better Better Bureau of Colorado outfitters.