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.
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Game Damage Prevention
Deliveries of Game Damage Prevention Materials
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.
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?
- 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 provide and not used or installed as specified.
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 unreasonably restrict hunting, cannot charge more than $500/person in access fees, the claimant has a duty to mitigate damage, and the claiment has filed paperwork in a timely manner.
What types of game damage are covered?
Note: claims for livestock losses are capped at $5000/animal.
- commercial orchards
- growing and harvested crops
The state is liable for claims to personal property used in the production of raw agricultural products (ie: 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.
The State ONLY reimburses for damages caused by
native BIG GAME animals.
YESDamage caused by the following big game species is reimbursable:
- Mountain lion
- Bighorn Sheep
NODamage caused by the following animals is NOT reimbursable:
- Birds(ie: Canada geese)
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 reagrding 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.
Program History, Funding & Yearly Report
Game Damage Claims – 40 Year Overview
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.
In FY2011-2012, The Game Damage Program filled over 188 requests for materials at a cost of $446,070. In FY2011-2012, Colorado Parks & Wildlife paid out $1,013, 373 to settle 297 game damage claims. See the Game Damage Yearly Report for details.