Colorado hunting is declining in popularity.

I remember my first big game hunt in Colorado. It was way back in the late 80s. My father and I traveled from Missouri and met up with other hunters from Kansas City at a ranch and outfitter on the front range southwest of Colorado Springs. I had secured my combo elk and deer tags and was excited to bag a couple of trophies. While scouting from horseback I had spotted a nice bull however never saw the big fella once the season opened. I did wind up taking a nice mule deer buck but more importantly, I will forever have the memories of those 5 days of big game hunting in Colorado.

Less and less are taking to the mountains on similar adventures. Colorado hunting is on the decline. It's that way across the country too. According to a 2016 US Fish and Wildlife survey only about 5% of Americans hunt. Since 1980, the number of hunters in the US has dropped from nearly 18 million to about 10.5 million. Recent Colorado Parks & Wildlife data reflects a similar situation.

Colorado hunting by the numbers...

501,168 hunting tags were sold in 2017

$70 million Is the total revenue generated from hunting license sales. That number was $45 million in 1990. However, adjusting for inflation, that number is down from 30 years ago.

22 million Is the number of acres of public hunting land in Colorado. That's a considerable number per hunter.

228,390 Is the number of elk tags sold in Colorado. It's the states most popular big-game animal.

88,710 That's the total on non-resident elk, deer and pronghorn tags sold in 2017. Hunters from out-of-state are a big part of GP&W's revenue.

Credit: Out There Colorado