4 Significant Changes For Colorado Big Game Hunters

The release of Colorado’s Sheep & Goat and Big Game brochures brings the promise and excitement of new hunting seasons. With over-the-counter maps, hunt codes, season dates and fees, the brochures confirm that what we’ve done in the past is still available, aid us in finding new opportunities and help support a strategy to secure…

The release of Colorado’s Sheep & Goat and Big Game brochures brings the promise and excitement of new hunting seasons. With over-the-counter maps, hunt codes, season dates and fees, the brochures confirm that what we’ve done in the past is still available, aid us in finding new opportunities and help support a strategy to secure a license for the upcoming seasons. Most years, we dive in with purpose, flipping to the sections that we know will help us get the job done (or scrolling if you’re looking at the brochures online). I caution you – do not take that approach this year!

There are a number of substantial changes that will affect all hunters planning to apply for this year’s limited-license drawing. To make sure that you are prepared for the change, I strongly recommend that you take some time to thoroughly read the “What’s New” section found on pages 1-2 of the 2019 brochures.

Colorado 2019 Big Game Brochure Cover
2019 Colorado Sheep and Goat Brochure Cover

Below, I’ve highlighted four major changes that are likely to impact your hunting plans.

1. Qualifying License Requirement

New this year, all applicants, including youth, must purchase a qualifying license in order to apply for the 2019 limited license draw. This new requirement is intended to ensure hunters are not accumulating preference points without making a financial contribution to wildlife conservation in Colorado.

Qualifying licenses include:

Your qualifying license must be valid for the current license year, April 1, 2019–March 31, 2020. Qualifying licenses can be purchased starting March 1, 2019 and can be completed in the same CPWshop.com transaction with your big game application, but the qualifying license MUST be added to your cart first. Applicants must purchase a qualifying license even if applying for a Preference Point.

Over-The-Counter (OTC) licenses offer great options to hunt big game in Colorado and do NOT require the purchase of a qualifying license. OTC licenses do NOT require or use preference points and the hunter is making a financial contribution to wildlife conservation by purchasing the OTC license. See the OTC maps in the big game brochure for season dates and GMU maps.

2. Changes to Preference Point Fees

In 2019, preference point fees will only be charged for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, moose and mountain goat applications. There are no longer preference point fees for elk, deer, pronghorn or bear. Preference point fees for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, moose and mountain goat will be $50 for residents and $100 for nonresidents. Youth ages 12-17, residents who are in the military and on active duty outside of Colorado and lifetime license holders are exempt from the preference point fee requirement.

3. Expanded Youth Hunting Opportunities

Opportunity leads to success, and CPW has structured youth big game licenses to maximize hunting opportunities. Offering more chances for youth success is one of the foremost goals at CPW. By expanding youth opportunity, CPW is helping to turn our first-time hunters into lifelong sportsmen and women. And this year, youth ages 12-17 will find more opportunities than ever before to harvest a big-game animal. If they are unsuccessful with their original license, they will have the opportunity to keep hunting IF they have the correct license. The key is to apply for the correct license. To participate in the extended season, children and teens ages 12-17 must purchase a limited license for antlerless deer, antlerless or either-sex elk or pronghorn. With the correct license, you will have a number of opportunities to get out in the field and help build the foundation of solid hunting skills and pass down the appreciation of the outdoor lifestyle we have all learned to cherish. And remember, sometimes the best measure for success is simply finding ways to enjoy your time in the field. For more information on how you can take advantage of the youth hunting opportunities in Colorado, please visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website.

4. Application and Correction Deadline Change

Draw applications and any corrections to the applications must be submitted by 8 P.M. MT on April 2, 2019. This is four hours earlier than in years past. With all of the changes to this year’s process, it’s best NOT to wait until the last minute. I highly recommend completing your application closer to March 1 than April 2. You can login to your CPWshop.com account today and make sure that all of your information is up to date and accurate (including preference point totals).

Avoid Payment Pitfall

Hunters who are successful in the limited drawing must pay for licenses by June 21. The payment deadline is final and failure to pay by this deadline will result in a forfeit of your license and preference points. To avoid any issues, when completing your application, make sure that your account information is up to date – credit card information, phone number, mailing address, email address and other contact information. Customer purchasing multiple big game licenses (deer, elk, pronghorn) have reported issues with banks rejecting cards as a result of multiple charges over a short period of time. So play it safe and check your draw results online in your CPWshop.com account. Results will be available by June 7. While you’re there, check your post draw preference point levels and confirm that your payment was successful before the June 21 payment deadline.

Why So Many Changes?

Last year, the Colorado legislature passed the Future Generations Act, granting the Parks and Wildlife Commission authority to adjust pricing to meet the pressures of increased management costs and resource usage across the state. These adjustments allow Colorado Parks and Wildlife to continue its​ conservation mission, while also ensuring transparency and accountability in working to achieve the ten key goals​ laid out in the bill. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​For more details about the 2019 pricing adjustments, please read the Future Generations Act Changes FAQ​. And visit the CPW website to view a complete list of big game license fee changes.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife thanks hunters and anglers for their ongoing support. The additional revenue from license sales and application fees helps to support wildlife populations and habitat, and provide greater access for hunting and fishing.

Additional Resources For Hunters:

Good luck in the draw and have a safe and successful fall season!

Video by Jerry Neal. Neal is a videographer and information specialist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. 

11 Responses

  1. The new preference point fees for Moose, Sheep and Goat are outrageous. These tags can take decades worth of points to draw, you’re potentially spending thousands of dollars on points before ever drawing a tag. Who can afford this every year? Thanks for making it a rich mans hunt!

    1. Totally agree with both. Pretty sad when Colorado thinks they own all the animals on public ground which is supposed to be everyone’s to enjoy. A normal working person doesn’t even have a chance to enjoy or hunt in the outdoors in your state without breaking the bank. If the license fee isn’t enough, now you can’t even apply without buying a qualifing license. Obiously having a big game license the year before means nothing.

  2. I can’t even apply for an elk preference point this year without spending $82 on a small game permit. I won’t even be in that state this year and they are charging me $82 for the “luxury” of being able to apply for a permit. CO is absurd.

  3. So I have to BUY a license in addition to BUYING a habitat stamp, paying an Application fee, AND a preference point fee. This is ludicrous. It now costs me over $100 just to get a big game preference point. CO has gotten greedy and is going to run off all the hunters.

  4. I live in Colorado and have hunted every year for meat, not as a sport. The current attitude of the Parks and Wildlife is that no matter what we charge, they will continue to come. Not so. You have finally priced me out of the outdoors. You have lost a license buyer with your greed, and have erected financial barricades to prevent future clients (our youth) from getting interested or participating.

  5. I agree with ALL previous comments. I’ve been hunting with father (88yrs old) , brother, son, and son-in-law for 30 yrs. I’m not a resident of CO but was born and raised in CO. Colorado holds a special place in my heart but $400 + for the “privilege” of spending time with family is just too much. My son can’t afford the price and I choose NOT to. Sorry Colorado- you’ve lost at least 5 lifetime hunters– two resident and 3 non-resident. I suggest you rethink your extortion policy $$$$$$ – if it looks like a duck, smells like a duck its probably a duck ($$$$$)

  6. 4 more from Kansas will not be returning, been hunting elk since 1995
    Lost tax revenue on hotels, meals, gasoline, sporting merchandise
    Colorado residents will be called upon to take up the slack, get ready for tax increases

    Is the entire state “hi”???

  7. I can’t agree more with the above comments. My group (8) have driven from Michigan for 10 years to hunt elk in Colorado. When one of us can’t make it, they put in for a preference point. NO MORE!!! The greed of CO will no longer get our hard earned Michigan dollars. I’m sure one of your neighboring states can use our money.

  8. Do your self a favor and save the preference point money and apply it toward a destination hunt. It will end up costing about the same price without waiting 30 years to get the tag. For example, you could save the money from moose points and get a tag in Newfoundland or Canada and the entire trip would probably cost less than the accumulated point cost and could happen during the year of choice rather than at some unknown point potentially in the future. Almost said, just my two cents…not anymore…

  9. This Colorado resident is no longer hunting, tag bureaucracy/stress and price is set for upper middle class/affluent. Is this New York State now?

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