Colorado’s Secondary Big Game Hunting Draw

New in 2020, elk, deer, pronghorn and bear licenses not issued through the primary draw will now be available to hunters, whether you applied for the primary draw or not.
archery hunter
Photo by Vic Schendel/CPW.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never thought more about putting some healthy game meat in my freezer than I have over the past few months. My family is not exactly excited about heading into our local grocery store, and when we do, we’re finding limited selections in the meat department. Every trip makes me wish I had spent a little more time in the field last year. If I just had spent a few more days hunting pheasant, grouse, quail, deer and elk… I always feel that way to some degree, but this year it’s not just the hunting I’m missing. It’s the meat – the food.  Fortunately, some changes to Colorado’s big game license process are going to give my son and me some additional chances to harvest during the upcoming 2020 Colorado big game season.

video play button

Interested in learning about hunting?
Check out “My First Big Game Hunt,” a new 16-part video series from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, introducing nonhunters to hunting through the journey of first-time hunter Crystal Egli.

2020 Colorado Big Game Brochure

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has made a major change to the limited license application process for this year’s big game hunting season. This year, hunters have a second opportunity to draw an elk, deer, pronghorn and bear license. For hunters who have applied in the past, the new Secondary Big Game Draw replaces the leftover draw and adds some significant benefits for all hunters. The old leftover draw only offered deer and elk licenses and was only available to customers who participated in the primary draw.

There will no longer be a leftover draw;
this secondary draw replaces the leftover draw.

In addition to deer and elk, the new secondary draw offers two more species: bear and pronghorn. The secondary draw is open to all customers whether they applied in the primary draw or not.

elk hunter

Secondary draw applications are accepted June 5 – July 7, 8 PM MT. Applications for the secondary draw are only available online at or by phone at

Important things to know about the new secondary draw:

  • You must have a qualifying license to apply for the secondary draw.
  • The $7 resident and $9 nonresident application fees apply.
  • The secondary draw does not use preference points, and you cannot apply for preference points.
  • Youth receive preference for all hunt codes in the secondary draw. During the secondary draw, youth hunters ages 12–17 have 100% preference for all available licenses. What does this mean? The secondary draw processes all youth application choices before processing adult applications. This is a great opportunity to get youth hunters out in the field.
  • Applications are accepted June 5–July 7, 8 p.m. MT.

Additional Big Game License Opportunities

big-game hunter

After the Secondary Draw, there are two remaining options for getting a 2020 Colorado big game hunting license that DO NOT require the purchase of a qualifying license. If you don’t see a license you want on the secondary draw list or you don’t want to participate in this secondary draw, simply do not submit an online application! You’ll still have two great options for getting a license.

  1. Leftover-limited licenses for deer, elk, pronghorn and bear: Limited licenses that were not issued in the primary or secondary draws or will be made available beginning on leftover day, Aug. 4, starting at 9 a.m. MT. Any license that is returned before August 3rd and is eligible to be reissued will also be available August 4 at 9AM. Any license returned after this will become available starting August 11 at 9AM and will follow the reissue process. These huntcodes will be released at random times T-F 9AM-4PM through the end of the season. Visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website to learn more about the reissue process.
  2. Over-the-counter (OTC) Elk licenses: These licenses go on sale Aug. 6, starting at 9 a.m. MT. OTC licenses are unlimited in number and available without having to go through the draw(s). They do not require buying/having a qualifying license, do not use preference points and may be purchased any time through the day before the applicable hunting season begins. They’re available at over 700 sales agents around the state, at CPW locations, online at or by phone. 

Over the Counter License Availability Maps



Call a Colorado Parks and Wildlife Hunt Planner: 303-291-PLAN (7526) or 303-297-1192, 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Mon–Fri.

4 Responses

    1. Secondary Draw (bear, deer, elk & pronghorn) results will be posted to your account on July 17.

    1. You can see all of your active licenses at After you are logged in, you will see the “My Account” menu. Select the “Active Products” link to see all licenses you’ve purchased this year.

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