Game Damage Program Updated:08/2015

The Game Damage Program is a prevention and reimbursement program in the State of Colorado that compensates ranchers, farmers and landowners for damage caused by big game animals.

Are you looking for information on the following?

  • Prevention
  • Reimbursement
  • Program history, funding and yearly reports
  • Resources

Game Damage Prevention

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) can provide immediate temporary and/or permanent solutions to help prevent big game damage. CPW distributes materials to qualified landowners for the protection of their crops and livestock. Colorado Parks and Wildlife travels an average of 60,000 miles throughout Colorado annually to deliver materials.

Who Qualifies?

If you meet the following criteria, you may be eligible to receive permanent prevention materials:

  • Have experienced (or the potential for) damage to your harvested/growing crops, orchards, nursery, or livestock by these big game species: elk, mule or whitetail deer, pronghorn antelope, black bear, mountain lion, bighorn sheep, moose.
  • Hunting on the property for the problem species is not unreasonably restricted, public land access is not restricted, and hunting rights are not leased. Fees in excess of $500 per animal are not charged.
  • You agree to install the materials as specified for damage purposes only and maintain them for a specified period.

Request prevention materials:

Qualified landowners must complete a Request for Materials & Cooperative Agreement and submit the form to your local Colorado Parks and Wildlife office.


Game Damage Reimbursement

Who qualifies for game damage reimbursement?

Ranchers, farmers and landowners may file a claim for compensation for the loss of certain crops or agricultural products.

However, the claimants must meet certain legal qualifications. For example: a claimant cannot charge more than $500/person in access fees, the claimant has a duty to mitigate damage, and the claimant has filed paperwork in a timely manner.

What types of game damage are covered?

  • livestock (Note: claims for livestock losses are capped at $5000/animal)
  • commercial orchards
  • nurseries
  • growing and harvested crops
  • forage
  • fences
  • apiaries

The state is liable for claims to personal property used in the production of raw agricultural products (i.e.: apiaries). As of 2003, the state is no longer liable for hot tubs, tents, coolers or personal property not used in the production of raw agricultural products.

By Statute, Colorado is not liable for the following:

  • Damage to motor vehicles by wildlife. Injury/death to any person.
  • If the claimant restricts big game hunting or access for the problem species unreasonably; or charges hunting fees over $500/animal.
  • When Game Damage prevention materials have been offered and refused; or provided and not used or installed as specified.

The State ONLY reimburses for damages caused by native BIG GAME animals.

  • YES - Damage caused by the following big game species is reimbursable:
    • Elk
    • Deer
    • Bear
    • Mountain lion
    • Pronghorn
    • Moose
    • Bighorn Sheep
  • NO - Damage caused by the following animals is NOT reimbursable:
    • Dogs
    • Birds(i.e. Canada geese)
    • Coyotes
    • Bobcats

File a Game Damage claim:

Filing a claim entails a series of steps, including completing required paperwork and meeting certain deadlines. It is imperative that the claimant contact Colorado Parks & Wildlife immediately upon discovery of damage. CPW staff will ensure you have the correct paperwork and can answer questions regarding the claim procedures. Through the process, the claimant is responsible for timely notifications, completion of forms, efforts to mitigate the damage and assisting CPW personnel investigating the claim. The claimant must be able to prove the damage was caused by big game and that the amount of money being claimed is reasonable. Some claims will not meet the necessary criteria.

Typically, < 3% of claims are denied, mostly because the claimant could not prove that big game caused the damage. Claims over $20,000 and all denied claims are reviewed by the Parks & Wildlife Commission. This provides an opportunity for the claimant to offer additional support for the claim.

Contact your local Colorado Parks and Wildlife office to file a game damage claim.


Since the inception of the Game Damage Program in 1931, the original broad legal language has evolved to specify what game damage laws cover. Twenty years ago the program was expanded to include damage prevention. The Game Damage Prevention Program has helped to decrease the amount of damage and the amount paid out in claims by the State.

How is the Game Damage Program Funded?

The program is funded by the appropriation of sportsmen’s dollars from the Game Cash Fund.

REMINDER: This listing is a free service of ColoradoLandCAN.
Game Damage Program is not employed by or affiliated with the Colorado Land Conservation Assistance Network, and the Network does not certify or guarantee their services. The reader must perform their own due diligence and use their own judgment in the selection of any professional.


Contact Game Damage Program

Colorado Parks and Wildlife
1313 Sherman Street
6th Floor
Denver, CO  80203
Phone: 303-297-1192

Service Area

Statewide Program in:
  • Colorado