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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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Elk

Hunter Exchange with Landowner Program

The program aims to pair private property owners with local subunit hunters to help manage elk on private land.

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hunters

Info for Hunters

Frequently asked questions about hunting on open space.

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Hunter Exchange with Landowner Program (HELP)

To provide an additional resource to private landowners experiencing elk damage by the Rabbit Mountain or Red Hill elk subherds, and to help local hunters who are looking for private land hunting opportunities within the E-F-020-L3-R subunit, Boulder County and Colorado Parks and Wildlife created the Hunter Exchange with Landowner Program (HELP).

The program aims to pair private property owners with local subunit hunters to help manage elk on private land. The program will run the duration of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife subunit hunting season from Aug. 15, 2020 – Jan. 31, 2021.

Private Landowners

Private landowners experiencing elk damage can register with the program to either provide hunting access or receive help with implementing non-lethal deterrence methods. This program is intended only for landowners currently affected by either the Rabbit Mountain or Red Hill elk subherds.

Landowner Registration

Hunters

Hunters interested in hunting private land within the subunit must hold a GMU 20 subunit (E-F-020-L3-R) antlerless rifle license. As landowners sign up for the program, hunters registered in the program will be randomly chosen from the list and placed in contact with a private landowner.

Please note: The program is intended to support private landowners who are experiencing game damage who are interested in lethal management. The program is also intended to protect the privacy of private landowners in Boulder County. Hunters will be randomly selected and contacted only when a landowner submits a complaint.

Hunter Registration

Information for Hunters

Individuals interested in hunting Boulder County open space must first apply for and obtain a subunit license (E-F-020-L3-R) through the Colorado Parks and Wildlife primary draw.

Secondary draw licenses (formerly leftover licenses), GMU 20 limited licenses, and youth hunters are not eligible to participate.

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

Boulder County receives the list of subunit license holders approximately two weeks after the primary draw results are made public by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Once we receive the list, we will email all recipients to request that they submit a declaration of interest if interested in hunting Boulder County property. 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, we will then conduct a random draw of hunters to receive a one-week access pass to hunt Boulder County property. For example, for the 2019-2020 hunting season at Ron Stewart Preserve at Rabbit Mountain, 200 subunit tags were available and 147 declared interest. From those 147, Boulder County drew 57 hunters and 20 alternates.

Hunting at both Ron Stewart Preserve and Red Hill

You may declare interest in hunting both Ron Stewart Preserve and Red Hill. If drawn for both, you must attend both on-site orientations and both shooting proficiency tests. 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.

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, muzzleloader, and archery will be permitted. Non-lead ammunition is required. Shotgun slug and muzzleloader will be permitted throughout the hunting area. Archery will be restricted to areas west of US Highway 36 only.

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 onsite orientation. Hunters who completed the orientation last year are eligible to complete an online orientation. Orientations are scheduled for the following dates and can be reserved via the online calendar system when participants select their hunting week. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, site tours will be limited.

Red Hill

  • Saturday, Aug. 1, from 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 5, from 4 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Aug. 15, from 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Ron Stewart Preserve

  • Saturday, Sept. 12, from 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 16 from 4 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 10 from 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

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. 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. 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.

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. 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

Archery
Archery equipment must comply with Colorado state regulations regarding legal bows and arrows as a method of take for big game during the rifle season. Crossbows are not permitted. Archery is permitted ONLY in areas west of US Highway 36.

In addition, the following are required:

  • Arrows must weigh a minimum of 400 grains
  • Broadheads must be the fixed type (no mechanical broadheads)
  • Minimum draw weight for bows is 50 pounds

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.

The Red Hill hunting area is closed to the public and special permission is required before scouting the area on foot. More information about scouting the Red Hill hunting area will be made available in the coming weeks.

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.

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. Alternatively, you may sign up for the HELP program.

Contact Us

Parks & Open Space

Jenny Dalton
Hunt Coordinator
323-420-8551
Dave Hoerath
Wildlife Biologist
303-678-6204