What’s New: 2018 Colorado Big-Game Seasons

The application deadline for the 2018 big-game seasons is fast approaching! If you plan on hunting this fall, you need to be aware of some important changes that affect the upcoming seasons.

  1. LICENSE APPLICATIONS ARE NOW PAPERLESS: Beginning this year, all big game applications are now paperless. This means that you must apply online or by phone for all big game limited licenses. CPW will begin to accept applications online or by phone beginning March 1, 2018. For more information about applying by phone, please see the Big Game Brochure.

    IMPORTANT!!!
    To accommodate online applications, Colorado Parks and Wildlife launched a new integrated purchasing system this year. The system provides a one-stop shop for hunting and fishing licenses, habitat stamps, park passes, and CPW merchandise. If it’s your first time using the new system, it’s important that you set up your account well in advance of the application deadline. This will give you the chance to check preference point totals and to avoid delays or complications when submitting your application.

  2. APPLICATION DEADLINE: The application deadline for the 2018 seasons is 11:59pm MT, April 3. If you have questions about setting up your account, planning a hunt or applying for licenses, call center agents and hunt planners are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. A list of hunting resources is also available on the CPW website.
  3. LICENSE FEES NO LONGER DUE AT THE TIME YOU SUBMIT YOUR DRAW APPLICATION: Also new this year, license fees are no longer due when applying for a big game license. Instead of paying fees up front, as in years past, you will now only pay the $3 application fee per species. Hunters ages 18 to 64 will also need to purchase a $10 habitat stamp when applying. A habitat stamp will automatically be added to your application if you have not purchased a stamp previously. However, you will only be charged the full license fee if you draw a license.
  4. MANDATORY CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE (CWD) TESTING IN SELECT GMUs: Chronic wasting disease (CWD) testing is required for all deer hunters who harvest a buck in the following game management units (GMUs) – 3, 4, 5, 14, 15, 18, 27, 28, 35, 36, 37, 41, 42, 45, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96, 181, 214, 301, 361, 371, 421, 441 and 951. If you harvest the buck in these GMUs, you must submit your deer head to a CPW office for testing. Testing is free and it helps wildlife biologists monitor the health of Colorado’s deer herds and better track the spread of CWD throughout Colorado. For more information, please visit the CPW website.
  5. ROUND-BALL BULLETS FOR MUZZLELOADERS NOW A MINIMUM OF .50 CALIBER: Muzzleloader hunters who are using round-ball bullets must now use a minimum of 50 caliber balls when hunting deer, pronghorn, bear, sheep, and goat. Moose and elk hunters must now use a minimum of 54 caliber balls. This regulation change is specific to round-ball bullets only. See page 13 of the Big Game Brochure for a list of all the legal methods and seasons for all species.
  6.  SHED ANTLER/HORN COLLECTING ANNUAL CLOSURE: Beginning this year, CPW has implemented a shed antler/horn collecting closure from January through April on all public lands west of I-25. The closure helps protect wintering big-game animals from human disturbance. For more information, please see page 10 to the Big Game Brochure.
  7. ADDITIONAL SEASON AND HUNTING OPPORTUNITIES: Additional seasons and hunting opportunities have been added for most big game species in a variety of GMUs. Be sure to read the “What’s New” page in the Big Game and Bighorn Sheep and Mountain Goat Brochures for further details, as well as to see other changes that impact the upcoming seasons.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife thanks you for hunting Colorado and encourages you to have a safe and successful fall season.


Blog post and video by Jerry Neal. Neal is a videographer and information specialist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. 

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