Rabbit Mountain Elk Management Plan
Elk at Rabbit Mountain

Rabbit Mountain Elk Management Plan

Public comments are being accepted on a proposed plan that will allow limited hunting at Rabbit Mountain Open Space.

Draft Management Plan

The Rabbit Mountain elk population has grown exponentially in the past several years and elk are staying on or around Rabbit Mountain year-round. Because this elk herd has stopped migrating, they are reproducing more rapidly and causing extensive damage to the highly diverse native plants and wildlife habitat of Rabbit Mountain.

According to a Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2009 Report, Rabbit Mountain is one of only two foothills areas rated B1. Rabbit Mountain and Red Hill South of Lyons are the only areas in Boulder County rated B1: Outstanding Biodiversity Significance, where foothill shrublands contribute significantly to the vegetation mosaic on the landscape. In addition, the elk have caused substantial and increasing damage to neighboring residential fences, landscaping, and agricultural crops.

After careful consideration of many options and techniques in consultation with Colorado Parks & Wildlife, staff believe it is imperative to re-establish seasonal migration in this elk herd. Staff believe the most appropriate method to achieve this goal is by allowing limited hunting on county-owned Rabbit Mountain Open Space as part of the state’s existing subunit surrounding the open space property during the state’s regulated hunting season.

If approved, hunting would be combined with other efforts that address the resource and private land damage concerns. These may include limited fencing, hazing, possible alternative crops, and other efforts to restore damaged habitats.

Elk at Rabbit Mountain graph

Rabbit Mountain elk herd minimum counts and projected population growth.

Telemetry locations of four female elk

Telemetry locations of four female elk from the spring of 2015 to the spring of 2016.

Public Meetings

POSAC on April 27

Staff will present the draft plan to the Parks & Open Space Advisory Committee on on April 27. Public comments will be accepted, but please sign up in advance.

Learn More


Staff will present the draft plan to the Board of County Commissioners in May or June. Public comments will be accepted and more details will be announced soon.

Open House on April 6

Staff hosted an open house on April 6 and presented the draft plan.

Public Comment

Public comments can be submitted using the form below. All comments are considered items of public record. Your name and comments will be displayed publicly, but your email address will be hidden. View Submitted Comments.

The deadline to comment is April 26.

Fill out my online form.

Contact Us

Parks & Open Space

Therese Glowacki