Attention Hunters: CPW is considering changes to big game hunting licenses

Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s big game license distribution and preference point comment form is live until February 20, 2023
Colorado Big game hunter
Photo by Jason Duetsch/CPW

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is considering changes to policies and regulations that direct the distribution of big game hunting licenses in Colorado. To help inform this process, they are looking for input from residents and nonresidents interested in big game hunting in Colorado.  

Colorado Parks and Wildlife encourages the public to complete the Big Game License Distribution comment form and share their thoughts on the current big game license distribution process. The comment form will be open through February 20, 2023. Results from this comment form will be shared with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission and will inform their decision-making process on big game license distribution.

Changes Being Considered

  • A preference point banking system
  • Averaging group applicant preference points
  • Updating the high-demand hunt code split from 80% to residents and 20% to nonresidents to 90% for residents and 10% for non-residents
  • An across-the-board license allocation of 75% to residents and 25% to nonresidents 

These topics under consideration were requested by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission. The results of the comment form will be discussed with the Commission at its March 15-16, 2023, meeting

Changes Already Made

In November 2022, the Parks and Wildlife Commission approved an update to big game license allocation. The three-year preference point average used to determine high-demand hunt codes that are allocated 80% to residents and 20% to nonresidents was updated such that Colorado Parks and Wildlife will use the most recent three years (with a one-year lag). 

Video: November 17, 2022, Parks and Wildlife Commission Meeting. To learn more, read November 2022 PWC Meeting License Distribution Recommendations (beginning on page 2).

The Commission decided to retain the six preference point threshold used to determine high-demand hunt codes, which added about 1,200 deer and elk hunt codes to the 80/20 allocation of high-demand hunts. This change will be effective for the 2023 big game hunting season.

Why is CPW evaluating big game license distribution now?

Due to the complexity of the subject as well as ongoing interest from stakeholders, the Parks and Wildlife Commission requested that license distribution be reviewed separately from the upcoming Big Game Season Structure. Members of the Colorado General Assembly also showed interest in making changes. 

IMPORTANT: Please use the Big Game License Distribution Comment Form for to provide any feedback. Comments on this post will not be considered part of the process.


Written by Joey Livingston. Joey is a statewide public information officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

2 Responses

  1. I have land holding at 8200 feet. I would love to hunt deer on my property but you tag allocation is after the deer migrate. Can you think about a tag allocation that allows hunting on private land at an earlier date

    1. One possibility is hunt the September archery season if they’re on the property then. There are deer at over 8200 feet year round in many places. They surely haven’t migrated that much before the October seasons are over. They should be migrating TO your elevation in November and December. Your problem isn’t migration, it’s something else.

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