Colorado Hunting Licenses
The State of Colorado offers many options for purchasing licenses. Hunters—resident and non-resident—can select from rifle, muzzleloader, and archery seasons by species and by specific units (or "hunting units", "Game Management Units", "GMUs").
- Limited Licenses (available through the spring application process-deadline April 3)
- Over-the-Counter Licenses (available in July)
- Leftover Limited Licenses (available in August)
To ensure you have the license you want come this fall, apply in the spring!
The first opportunity to purchase big game licenses is through a "drawing" (lottery-like drawing) that comes after the application deadline.
Applications are due before midnight on the first Tuesday in April, each year. (April 3 for 2012)
You can submit your application online or by mail (a mail-in application comes with the Colorado Big Game Brochure; available in mid-February each year).
Application allows you to request up to four hunt code choices, and other license choices (see Additional Application License Choices, below).
- License prices are published in the Colorado Big Game Brochure (page 2) and on the Big Game Season Dates and Fees page. Apply early to avoid any last minute online rush!
These are big game licenses that are limited in number for specific units (GMUs) and hunting seasons. These are distributed through the license application and drawing process.
Youth (youth are 12 to 17 years old) limited licenses are available at a reduced cost. Youth can also benefit by receiving preference for many draw units (see the Colorado Big Game Brochure (page 3) for details.
Other Types of Limited Licenses
Private-Land Only Licenses: These licenses are limited in number for specific units and are to be used only on private land and State Trust Lands that are not leased by the Division of Wildlife. They have specific season hunt dates. You must obtain landowner permission before hunting on private land.
- Ranching for Wildlife Licenses: Available only to Colorado residents, hunters may apply for these licenses through the application and drawing process for specific seasons and ranches. Each ranch has specific rules for hunting on their property; these are not private-land-only licenses. Check the Ranching for Wildlife restrictions before applying.
Would You Rather Hunt Than Get a Refund?
If you are unsuccessful in getting your first choice in the application and drawing process—you have options! To use one of the following options, check the appropriate "If unsuccessful, send me . . ." option on the application (available for elk, deer, and pronghorn).
Leftover Draw Option (Elk and deer applications only)
Elk and deer applicants can have first choice of the limited licenses that are leftover from the drawing process by checking one of the choices under the "Leftover Draw" option box on the application. In June, you will be mailed the list of the leftover limited licenses still available and an application. Return that application so you get first choice of any of the leftover licenses before they go on sale to everyone in August.
Don’t see anything you want on the leftover list? You can still purchase an Over-the-Counter (OTC) license or request a refund.
Elk or Pronghorn Over-the-Counter Licenses
OTC antlered (bull) elk licenses are available for your choice of 2nd or 3rd rifle season. These licenses can be used to hunt in 93 GMUs across Colorado.
For pronghorn hunters, OTC either-sex, archery licenses allow you to hunt in numerous units around the state.
If you choose this "if unsuccessful" option, your license will be mailed directly to you—no need to visit a DOW office or agent, or phone-in or purchase on-line. (see License Available Starting July 10, below.)
The applicable maps for these OTC licenses are in the "species" sections of the Colorado Big Game Brochure(starting on page 24) and can be downloaded online. (Map of bull and either-sex elk units offering OTC licenses& a Map of either-sex elk units.)
Preference points (see page 11 of the Colorado Big Game Brochure) increase your chances of drawing a limited license and are awarded by species. Preference points are earned automatically when you don't get your first hunt choice. They cannot be used the same year they are earned. If you can't hunt this year, but intend to in the future, you can apply for just a preference point by entering the "preference point only" hunt code in the "1st choice hunt code" boxes on the application and submitting it with the license payment for each species. The license portion of the payment will automatically be refunded to you. (If you do not qualify for a free preference point, a $25 charge will be taken from the refund; see the Colorado Big Game Brochure for details).
Over-the-Counter Unlimited Licenses: These are antlered (bull) elk licenses available to resident and non-resident hunters for 2nd or 3rd rifle season. These licenses can be used to hunt in 93 GMUs across Colorado.
The OTC either-sex, archery, pronghorn licenses allow hunting in numerous units around the state. The applicable maps of these units are in the species sections of the brochure and can be downloaded online. (Map of bull elk units offering OTC licenses)
No application is necessary to purchase OTC licenses—they go on sale at 9 a.m. MST, July 10. These are sold online, by phone (1-800/244-5613), at license agents, and at DOW offices around the state. OTC licenses provide you the flexibility to discover new units, scout different habitat, and, potentially, combine your elk hunt with the opportunity to hunt another species.
- Over-the-Counter Licenses with Caps: A preset number of bear, antlerless elk, and either-sex elk licenses are available for specific units and specific seasons on a first-come, first-served basis for resident and non-resident hunters. These are called licenses "with caps". They are sold online, by phone (1-800/244-5613) or at DOW offices and license agents starting at 9 a.m. MST, July 10.
- Leftover Limited Licenses: These are the limited licenses remaining after the limited license draw and leftover draw processes. They go on sale to the public at 9 a.m. MST, August 14. They are sold at license agents, CPW offices, and by phone (1-800/244-5613). They are available for online purchase starting August 15.
Before You Buy: Required Information
Hunter Education: Everyone born on or after January 1, 1949, must hold a valid hunter education card/certificate before applying for or purchasing any hunting license or before applying for a preference point. Your hunter education card/certificate and the appropriate license(s) must be in your possession while hunting. For details, see the Hunter Education pages.
Social Security Number: As required by the Colorado Support Enforcement Act, established by HB 97-1205 and implemented through 24-33-110 C.R.S., your Social Security Number (SSN) is required to purchase or apply for all DOW licenses. Your SSN is not shown on your license. It is provided, when requested, to the Colorado Department of Human Services, Child Support Enforcement, as required by law and is used to enforce the law.
- Photo I.D.: Be aware, also, that a photo I.D. is required for all license purchases. Proof of residency is also required for Colorado residents.
Information originally published at: http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/PlanYourHunt/Pages/BGLicenseOptions.aspx