Summertime means it's rattlesnake hunting season in Colorado.

When we think about hunting in Colorado we tend to think of things like deer, elk, turkey, pheasant, ducks, and squirrels. But, Colorado also has a Prairie Rattlesnake season and it's underway.

Colorado's Prairie Rattlesnake Hunting Season

The Prairie Rattlesnake season in Colorado runs from June 15 through August 15. Hunters are allowed a daily bag limit of 3 snakes and the possession limit is six. All you need to hunt rattlesnakes legally in Colorado is a small game hunting license. The snakes can be harvested by any method not specifically prohibited by law. Essentially, you can use just about any means to fill your limit.


Where Will You Find Prairie Rattlesnakes In Colorado?

Prairie Rattlesnakes in Colorado live in plains grasslands, sandhills, semi-desert shrubland, pinyon-juniper woodland, and montane woodland habitats up to an elevation of 9,500 feet. In Colorado, prairie rattlesnakes are most commonly found on the front range. Yes, you can find them in the mountains, on hiking trails, and even in bathrooms. Recently, a rattler was discovered in the bathroom at Chatfield State Park.

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What Does A Prairie Rattlesnake Look Like?

Prairie rattlesnakes can vary in color, but mostly they will be greenish-gray olive green or greenish-brown. Some could be yellowish or light brown. Their back is covered with black or brown blotches that flatten into rings on the tail, and the underbelly will be pale yellow to white. Prairie rattlesnakes can look similar to the western diamondback but tend to be thinner and longer. Diamondbacks typically have flatter heads and larger patches.


Is It Illegal to Kill A Prairie Rattlesnake In Colorado Without A License?

If you are going to hunt rattlesnakes in Colorado you have to have a small game hunting license. However, there is a Colorado statute that states "any person may kill rattlesnakes when necessary to protect life or property.” In other words, you do what you have to do in the moment.

Are Prairie Rattlesnakes Poisonous?

The prairie rattlesnake is not poisonous but it is venomous. According to Snake Facts Weekly, the prairie rattlesnake is a medium-sized snake which means the venom glands are small and contain only moderate amounts of venom. It is possible for a prairie rattlesnake to deliver a fatal bite to a human so you absolutely need to exercise caution.

Can You Eat Prairie Rattlesnakes In Colorado?

Harvesting meat from prairie rattlesnakes is the primary reason for hunting them in Colorado.  Rattlesnake is tender white meat and is said to be a cross between frog legs and turtle. Rattlesnake meat can be battered and pan-fried or deep-fried.

Bob Hansler via YouTube
Bob Hansler via YouTube

A Word About Rattlesnake Bites

When a rattlesnake bites, it releases venom through hollow cavities in its teeth - and the bite can be fatal. If you are bitten you should call 911 immediately. Be cautious when walking through thick grassy areas and shaded badlands areas.

Slither Through Some of the Snakes You'll Find in Colorado

There are a reported 28 different species of snakes in Colorado. They range from non-venomous to venomous, which are only three different types of rattlesnakes.

Take a look at the most common snakes in Colorado:

25 Crazy Wildlife Encounters That Happened in Colorado This Year

2022 has already been a wild year for Colorado wildlife. Check out some of the craziest wildlife encounters in the Centennial State in the gallery below.



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