CDOW Small Game Walk-In Access Program

Sponsoring Agency or Organization

Contact: Ed Gorman


Phone: 970-521-0233

Program details

Colorado's Small Game Walk-In Access (WIA) Program is based on a simple concept – allow landowners an easy and beneficial opportunity to allow public hunting access, while offering the hunters convenient access to thousands of acres of privately owned land. Since Program inception, hundreds of landowners have offered land for enrollment and hunters have been given access to excellent hunting opportunities across the state.

The WIA program’s strength is the partnerships that have been created with hundreds of landowners, numerous non-profit community groups, and thousands of hunters that use the program. Colorado's program is different from some other programs in that in addition to delivering the program through our field staff, we also enter into cooperative agreements with 8-10 local non-profit service or conservation groups to assist with delivery. This greatly widens the WIA Program's exposure to landowners.

To maximize hunter convenience and opportunity, the Division targets a diverse mix of properties for enrollment, including properties for pheasants, dove, bobwhite and scaled quail, ducks, geese, and general small game. Under current regulations, access is not provided for big game, sage grouse, or gambel's quail hunting, which remain directly under the landowner's control.

Planning and Evaluation
Program objectives: 
Increase access to private lands; Ensure that the lands enrolled are of sufficient habitat quality; Offer landowners a convenient and beneficial opportunity to open their lands to the public

Manual or Plan

This program has a manual or plan: Yes

Comments: Our 'Manual', is more appropriately considered operating guidelines for our contractors and field staff. In the uploaded file, the title is "Landowner Information", as this document is printed on the rear copy of all Landowner License Agreements.


This program is evaluated: In Progress

Comments: Evaluations are ongoing but not published at this point. One of the more interesting statistics from our evaluations is that around 50% of hunters who identify themselves as pheasant hunters purchase a WIA Permit. We are also surveying hunters in our harvest surveys to determine the feasibility of obtaining harvest estimates for the WIA Program as an entity.

Metrics used to measure success and evaluate this program:
  • Number of acres
  • Habitat type or quality
  • Number of participants (landowners)
  • Number of participants (hunters)
  • Hunting access permits sold
  • General, unstructured feedback from hunters
  • Informal exit interviews with participants leaving the site
  • Formal qualitative evaluations based on participant landowner feedback
  • Informal qualitative evaluations based on participant hunter feedback
  • Hunter surveys
  • Retention rate of participant landowners
  • Other
How effective is the program at meeting your objectives?: Very effective
Would you recommend other agencies/organizations use this model?: Don't Know
General Comments: Depending on other states' unique situations, using service group contractors and state personnel to accomplish a program might be of value or an un-necessary extra layer. In Colorado, our partners allow us to run a program without burdening our field staff, with a few exceptions, in searching out landowners and properties to enroll.
Program Tips: Talk to your Purchasing, LE, GIS and Brochure folks immediately; Start simple, then consider expansions to offer more opportunity
Program Size

Minimum Property Size: 3 acres

Acres Enrolled: 220,000

Access Sites (rights of way) Established: 0

Number of Hunters Participating: 10,000+

Number of Landowners Participating: 400+

Other Program Size Information: The number of acres enrolled are currently capped by available funds. Annually we turn down thousands of acres due to lack of funds.


Cost Type: Annual cost

Program cost: $330,000