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Release Date: 08/29/13
Contacts: David Boyd, Public Affairs Specialist    

Access tips for hunting on BLM lands (08-29-13)

KREMMLING, Colo. -- With the big game archery season opening this weekend and the rifle seasons just around the corner, Bureau of Land Management offices across Colorado have started receiving numerous calls from hunters with hunting access questions.

More than eight million acres of BLM lands in Colorado are open to hunting, but there are a few things for hunters to understand about public access to BLM lands.

First, BLM land is open to hunting, but you have to have legal access to hunt it. Legal access to most BLM land isn’t a problem. However, some public lands are completely surrounded by private land. If there is not legal access through that private land, such as a county road, you need permission to cross the private land. You are not guaranteed access, even though you are trying to reach public lands. It is your responsibility to know where you are, so use maps and GPS units. It is illegal to post BLM land as private land, but every year a few people give it a try. If you suspect someone has posted public land as private, contact the local BLM office to clarify.

Outfitting is legal on BLM land as long as the outfitter is permitted through the local BLM office.Big game hunting outfitters provide an important service that many hunters choose to use. Check with your outfitter or guide to ensure they are permitted for the area where you are hunting. The BLM issues Special Recreation Permits to outfitters on a case-by-case basis to manage visitor use and protect resources. The BLM typically limits the number of big game outfitters permitted in a specific area to reduce conflicts, but these outfitter permits do not affect public access. Outfitters on public land do not receive “exclusive” use of public lands as they sometimes do on private lands. Call the local BLM office if you have questions about outfitting on public lands.

It is illegal to cross public land at corners. Some areas in the West are “checker-boarded” with public and private lands, or otherwise have sections of public land that are difficult to reach. When the only place tracts of public land touch is at a corner, it may seem like a logical thing to step over the corner from one piece of public land to another. Every year hunters armed with GPS units and maps give it a try. Unfortunately, it is illegal to cross at boundary corners.

Keep motorized vehicles on existing or designated roads. This includes retrieving downed game.Rules for motorized travel vary by office, and many offices are either updating or have recently updated their travel management plans. It’s best to contact the local office where you are planning to hunt to find out what is permitted.

Be sure to check with your local BLM office every year before hunting. Things like fire restrictions, road closures and rule changes can vary each year. The best way to make sure you know the latest to avoid disappointment or a citation is to check in with the local BLM office. Each office manages hundreds of thousands of acres, so be specific about where you are planning to go. You can find the local office you need by logging onto


The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

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Last updated: 08-29-2013