HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (KDVR) — Colorado is home to some of the finest world-class hunting in the country, but you might be shocked to discover that you do not have to actually leave the metro area to find it.

The mile high state has been a destination for big game hunting for generations, but folks living in Highlands Ranch do not have to travel very far at all to realize that.

World-class hunting, world-class conservation and education is minutes from Highlands Ranch. How is that possible? Good planning 20 to 30 years ago by the county and the developers.

Eight thousand acres owned by the Highlands Ranch Community Association since 2010 provided recreation, education, and conservation.

“Over the last decade, since we have owned the property, we’ve done a ton of habitat work improving the habitat for game and non-game species alike,” said Mark Giebel, backcountry wilderness area director.

Most folks are simply unaware of this beautiful land that time forgot, but the world class elk hunting takes a little time to sink in.

Highlands Ranch is 23,000 acres large, and a whopping one-third of that is dedicated to open space.

“Twenty-five miles of trails, summer camps for equine and for environmental education, lots of different hikes and opportunities to get outdoors and explore,” said Geibel.

But if you want to hunt here, you must be a Highlands Ranch resident to participate in the elk tag drawing. Odds are good though, around 200 applicants are trying to bag one of the 20 available tags.

If you just want to play in the outdoors, well, come on down.