2019 Colorado Big Game Leftover License Tips

Leftover day is the day when Colorado Parks and Wildlife makes all remaining big game hunting licenses available for purchase.
big-game hunter

What and When is Leftover Day?

Leftover day is the day when Colorado Parks and Wildlife makes all remaining big-game hunting licenses available for purchase. This year, leftover licenses go on sale Tuesday, Aug. 6 at 9 a.m (MDT).

At 9 a.m., licenses will be available for purchase online (CPWshop.com), in person at CPW offices and license retailers (sporting goods stores, hunting and fishing supply stores, etc.), and by phone at 1-800-244-5613. While there are no guarantees that you will get a license on leftover day, there is a great deal of opportunity for big-game hunters looking to get a license to hunt in Colorado this year.

A QUALIFYING LICENSE is NOT required to purchase a leftover limited license, reissued license or an over-the-counter license.

What is the Leftover License List?

Leftover licenses are the remaining limited licenses available after the draw and leftover draw are completed. The official 2019 leftover big-game limited licenses list for deer, elk, bear and pronghorn is now available. These remaining limited licenses provide hunting access on specific Game Management Units (GMUs) and offer Colorado big-game hunters some great opportunities this big-game hunting season.

Now it’s time to figure out which licenses will work best for you.

What types of big-game licenses are available on the leftover list?

Limited Licenses

This year, there are more than 54,500 big-game hunting limited licenses available on the leftover list.

  • Deer – more than 10,200 limited licenses available
  • Elk – more than 30,600  limited licenses available
  • Pronghorn – more than 7,700 limited licenses available
  • Bear – more than 6,000 limited license available

Reissued Licenses

Don’t be surprised if a limited license that you, a family member or friend failed to draw in April appears on the leftover list. This may happen if someone drew a license and chose not to pay or decided to return a license. The leftover list includes reissued hunt codes that were processed prior to the creation of the leftover list. For more info on the reissue process including which licenses are eligible for reissue, please visit the License Refunds, Reissues, Reversals and Exchanges page on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website.

What do you need to do before leftover day?

 Before leftover day arrives, research and select multiple license “hunt code” options. Many of the available licenses will sell out in the first minutes of leftover day. If you are looking at licenses with a small “AVAILABLE QUOTA” (number of licenses), you should try to find multiple “Hunt Code” options for each species that you would like to hunt.

hunt codes

Common Question: What does FLOAT mean in Available Quota?
FLOAT = A hunt code is part of a float group. Refer to first hunt code in group for quota (total number of license available). In the example below, two hunt codes DE018P2R and DE018P3R are in a “Float Group.” The “Available Quota” for the two hunt codes is 106 licenses.

float group

​​Once you’ve identified hunt codes that work for you, you’ll need to confirm that you are ready to make your purchase.


Confirm that you have access to high-speed internet.
The CPWshop.com is designed for high-speed internet connections. If you are on a dial-up connection, you may time out before you are able to complete your transaction. If you do not have a high-speed internet connection, you may want to check with your local library to see if they have computers and high-speed internet that you can use to submit your application.

Validate or create your customer account.
If you are planning to make your purchase online, please confirm the following info before Aug. 6.

  • Existing Customers – Log in to CPWshop.com to confirm that you can access your account. If you forgot your password, use “FORGOT PASSWORD” link to update password.
  • New Customers – If you are a new customer (you have never used the CPW IPAWS site, purchased a CPW wildlife license, or do not have a Reserve America account), please create an account. If you are experiencing issues creating an account, please call CPW at 303-297-1192 (M-F, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. MT) or Aspira at 800-244-5613 (24/7) for assistance.
  • Unsure – If you do not know whether you are a CPW customer with an account, please use the “LOOK UP” link to see if you have an existing account. IMPORTANT: Do not create multiple accounts. Purchasing licenses with multiple accounts could potentially invalidate your sale
2019 Big Game Leftover Purchase Guide

Review the 2019 Big-Game Leftover Purchase Guide.
To see exactly what the purchasing process will look like, follow this step-by-step guide that includes screenshots and additional leftover day tips.


Locate a CPW office (including many state park offices) or license retailers and confirm that they will be open at 9 a.m. on Aug. 6 AND that they will be selling leftover licenses.  Check with purchasing agent location to inquire about leftover day sale procedures. Not all locations operate on a first-come first-served basis, so make sure you know how your location works. For example, CPW’s Northeast region office uses a lottery system for ordering customers for purchase.

What do you need to do ON leftover day?

Once sales start at 9 a.m. on Aug. 6, the leftover list will refresh every 5 minutes. If the hunt code you were looking for is no longer on the list, the license has sold out. The license may become available later in the season as a reissued license, but you will not see it appear on the list again on Aug. 6.

Online Customers:

If you have logged into CPWshop.com before 9 a.m. and are waiting for leftover licenses to go on sale, only go as far as the residency page. If you go past this page prior to 9 a.m. in an effort to get ahead and purchase faster, you will need to log out and back in once leftover licenses are on sale in order to purchase. 

Work Fast!!!
Licenses are limited in quantity so you need to COMPLETE YOUR TRANSACTION AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE! And the license in your cart is not yours until you have completed the transaction. Several customers may be in the process of purchasing the same license that is in your cart, so it’s essential to complete your transaction. Again, putting a license into your cart does not mean that you have your license. You only have a license after you have completed your purchase. CPWshop.com allows multiple customers to add a tag to their cart. If there is only a single license available, the first individual to complete the sale will be awarded the license (you will receive an email confirmation to the email address you have on file).

IMPORTANT: Connection Speed and Timeout Info
Since  CPWshop.com is designed for high-speed internet connections, you may time out if you are on a dial-up connection. And remember, you must be prepared to make your purchase before you log into the system. Customer can stay in CPWshop.com (static) for 15 minutes before their connection will timeout and they have to log back in.

Have a valid credit card available at the time of purchase!
You will need to enter your credit card information when you check out (VISA, MASTERCARD OR DISCOVER). Your credit card on file will not be charged automatically.

Phone Sales Customers

Licenses can only be purchased over the phone at 1-800-244-5613. Licenses cannot be purchased by contacting (303)297-1192. 

Group Purchases
For groups of hunters looking to purchase licenses together, be aware that phone sales agents must talk to each person purchasing a license. So phone purchases are limited to 4 individuals per call. 

Gift licenses
Gift licenses will NOT be sold over the phone.

What do you do AFTER leftover day?

If you are unsuccessful on leftover day, there are still two great options that will guarantee your big-game hunting in Colorado this season.

Reissued Licenses – All additional reissued hunt codes that aren’t on the initial leftover list will be randomly added starting Aug. 13. When reissued licenses are available, the new hunt codes will appear on the list Tuesday thru Friday (throughout the season) from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. There is no preview list, so you never know which licenses will appear from week to week. But there are amazing opportunities for hunters with flexible schedules and they will appear throughout the season. Reissued licenses will include hunt codes that took four or fewer preference points to draw and the licenses will appear on the leftover list the week after they are processed. Visit the CPW website to learn more about the reissue process.

Over-the-Counter (OTC) – OTC license sales begin on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019 at 9 a.m. (MDT). Big-game hunting license options include Unlimited OTC licenses for cow, bull, and either-sex archery elk, bull elk in the 2nd and 3rd rifle seasons, either-sex elk in the plains, either-sex archery pronghorn, and doe and either-sex whitetail deer licenses. OTC licenses are great options for hunters that are looking to start planning today. OTC hunts are restricted to certain units and manners of take. Please visit the CPW website for more information about OTC season dates and big game hunting opportunities.

If you’ve ever thought about hunting bear in Colorado, this is the year. There are more licenses available (increased quota),and hunters can now get up to two bear licenses, one List A and one List B or two List B, with in an increased number of GMUs. See the hunt code tables and chart on pages 57–59 of the 2019 Colorado Big-Game brochure.

NONRESIDENT BEAR LICENSE FEE REDUCED TO $100 Nonresident bear licenses still have the $1.50 Wildlife Education Fund and $0.25 search-and-rescue fees.

Take a Friend Hunting

Do you have a friend that has been asking you about hunting? Colorado Parks and Wildlife, along with our hunting partners, is encouraging hunters to take a friend into the field. As a reward for taking time to teach a new hunter, CPW has created a contest for mentors who pass on their knowledge. Take a novice hunter out and be entered to win some great prizes by submitting a photograph and brief story about your experience. Learn more in the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website. And first-time hunters can take advantage of the Apprentice Hunter Certificate​ – a free one-year hunter education requirement waiver ca​n only be obtained once and is valid from April 1 to March 31.​ That makes 2019 the perfect year to mentor a new hunter and share your outdoor adventures.

Good luck!

39 Responses

  1. Question: If I purchase a left over limited elk tag, do I forfeit my preference points for that tag?

    1. Preference points are not used or required to purchase a leftov​er or an Over-the-Counter big game license.

  2. If you are a Colorado resident do you still have to obtain all the additional charges like small game licence to apply for the leftover license?

  3. Instructions for an established account holder to access leftover license product NOT CLEAR. When I sign in I am just taken to my account information (which has been currently verified). Then when I reach the RESIDENCY page it DOES NOT reflect that I have been signed in????? I understand the instructions NOT TO proceed past the RESIDENCY page until 9AM but would like a a better step by step instruction.

  4. Any speculation on comparable speed of online vs in person, assuming you’re first in line in person and have high speed internet at home?

    1. high-speed internet at home is your best bet. Connection speeds vary by CPW office and license vendor, so your best bet is to purchase where you know you have a high-speed connection.

      1. That answer isn’t exactly true in my experience. Yesterday, I was at the office on Sherman and logged into to the site. Doubling down on my chance, so to say. I got my tags at teth same time number 14 in line completed their transaction. Yes, internet speeds will vary, so maybe that will give you a frame of reference.

  5. Makes you want to print off all the rules and regs and just staple them on your buck instead of a tag.

  6. Looking to get a deer tag non resident for my 16 yr old step son that has just moved to here with us ? What is the best way to get that? Can I get on the left overs tags tomorrow..or because he is youth can we get another way?

    1. A leftover license can provide great youth opportunity. Pick the correct license and your stepson can participate in the extended season. He must first purchase a limited license for antlerless deer. If the original license remains unfilled when the season ends, then he can hunt the same species during the extended season. To see a list of Extended Youth Season Deer Hunts by GMU please visit the following link – https://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/Hunting/BigGame/Youth/Extended-Youth-Deer-Hunts-GMU.pdf

  7. Can you buy a leftover license if you already purchased a tag? Example: I have an over the counter Archery Either Sex Tag – Can I buy a left over Rifle Bull Tag?

    1. Elk tags 2019: 1 – A and 1 B tag or 2 – B tags per year. Your archery either sex tag is an A tag. You will not be able to get an A rifle tag unless you turn in your archery A tag first. This process takes a few days. You will not be able to get an A rifle tag tomorrow. You can however buy an elk B tag tomorrow.

    1. A parent or legal guardian can purchase the license. Make sure you have the child’s social security number and proof of hunter education (hunter ed card). Also, make sure you come prepared with your hunt codes. All offices will be crowded tomorrow.

  8. There are 3 of us that intend to nonresident OTC archery hunt next month. However,with the availability of leftover tags, we all would like to try for muzzleloader tags. It appears we must all apply individually on-line. But what happens if only one of us get a muzzleloader tag…..can it be refunded and turned back in for someone else?

  9. if I have limited “A” license already, can I still purchase a leftover “A” license and refund or exchange my current license??

  10. I wish Colorado was more sympathetic to disabled individuals. I am 69 years old, and find it incredibly difficult to navigate the terrain. After 5 or 6 trips, I’ve not even seen an elk. No more expensive trips for me from Pennsylvania. Dave Reid

    1. Contact an Organization I volunteered with call Outdoor Buddies. They help many people with just your situation. Most of the hunts are on private land and there is a ton of help. Just Google Outdoor Buddies. Great Organization.

  11. I drew a deer tag but would like to switch it, must i somehow cancel my issued tag before being allowed a leftover tag?

  12. What a joke, I got on the web at 9:00 am sharp to enter the leftover licenses, wouldn’t you know it they put me on a 5 min. waiting time, which turned out to be 12:00 minutes and the tags were gone, good job DOW.

  13. CPW, I hope you read this.

    I’ve been looking forward to getting a leftover elk tag for a while now. I read through your step-by-step instructions. Seems simple, log on before 9am, then I can move forward from the residency page at 9am…. no problem!

    I go to get a leftover tag this morning, goes on sale at 9am MST right? I log in to CPWShop.com at exactly 8:59AM MST according to Time.IS (exact time based on atomic clock), and… what’s that? I’m in a queue? An online queue, to buy a leftover tag, which goes on sale at 9am. But the queue started before 9am?

    When did this queue start? 8:50am? Or does CPW follow some other clock, not an official atomic clock? Hold on, since when do online sales have queues? This was not in the step-by-step instructions…. how can we follow the rules if we don’t know them?

    By the time I got through at 9:13am, my options were sold out. Go figure. There’s always next year to try my luck at getting in a queue that starts at an unknown time…

    1. Yes, I logged in at 9 am and was placed in a queue. That only lasted a minute. But then, there was no inventory to purchase. The every time I clicked on Deer, the wait icon would appear and last several minutes, then tell me there were no tags available. After many attempts and 15 minutes, it allowed me to enter in the hunt codes. I was successful in getting a tag, but by that time, the choice ones had been claimed. CPW, if you are listening, it is possible to scale up your web servers to be able to handle the demand. It shouldn’t take 15 minutes from your announced start time to display inventory. Also, why not allow the leftover tag list to be downloaded in a spreadsheet? A pdf document is OK for viewing and is searchable, but a spreadsheet allows sorting and filtering, which makes searches more efficient.

  14. I have tried to open the leftover license list for days and the .pdf will not open. I wish I could have gotten involved with this…

  15. I had same problem punch at 9:00 AM atomic clock and got send to the back of the line,by the time I got back my picks were gone, maybe they need clock on there end.

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