The 2019 Colorado big game draw results are now available for elk, deer, moose and bear. And by now, all applicants should have received an email revealing your Colorado big game license fate (results can also be found by logging into your account at CPWshop.com). If you successfully drew your license, you’re probably daydreaming about your upcoming hunt. However, for many of us – me included – luck was simply not in the numbers this year. But fear not! Failing to draw a limit license does not mean that you won’t be hunting big game in Colorado this year. Trust me, there is a lot of positive in that negative-sounding statement.
Not drawing a big game limited license (or didn’t apply) can actually be a good thing. Sometimes the challenge of finding a new hunting area is just what’s needed to add a new sense of adventure to your hunting routine.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s 5-Year Big Game Season Structure is close to being finalized, but there is still time to add your valuable input to the process. Public input is a crucial part of the planning process and up to this point, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has heard from several thousand hunters, both residents and non-residents, who have shared feedback in public meetings, telephone town halls, focus groups, and the initial public comment form. This valuable feedback has aided Colorado Parks and Wildlife in developing recommendations and alternatives for the 2020-2024 Big Game Season Structure. And in July, a 5-Year Big Game Season Structure proposal will be presented to the Parks and Wildlife Commission for final approval. But before that happens, there are still two important opportunities for hunters to participate in the planning process.
I drew my elk tag for muzzleloader in 2018, this was the first time using a muzzleloader for elk. Got this guy on the second day of the season, after not hearing or seeing an elk on the first day. The day started out great. When we got to our hunting area there were elk bugling all around us. I harvested my elk around 12 noon, after stalking him into the timber and finding him feeding with some cows. An 85 yd shot. First time hunting unit 14.
Every year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s (CPW) big-game biologists compile data on the state’s deer, elk and pronghorn herds by Data Analysis Units (DAU). These DAUs encompass several of the Game Management Units (GMU) that hunters are more familiar with.
A primary tool used in the management of Colorado’s big-game animals is a limit, or quota, on the number of licenses issued in most game management units (GMUs). When applying for a limited license, a preference point is awarded when an individual is unsuccessful in drawing their first-choice hunt code. Preference points provide a mathematical advantage when applied to future drawings.
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!
Whether you’re exploring the field for the first time or the 20-something-ith, arguably the most important part of your next Colorado elk hunt will happen during the planning stages. For more tips about getting started on your next elk adventure, read “4 Steps to the Field: Planning Your Colorado Elk Hunt”.
September in Colorado brings cooler mornings, the color change of Aspen leaves in the mountains, the fascination with pumpkin spice everything and most importantly, archery season. This year I got my first elk tag for a draw unit. In years prior, I hunted with an over the counter tag. The excitement of this hunt dwindled some as the summer passed due to the dozens of wildfires and severe drought. Hunting, in general, would be more difficult; I was going to have to work for it if I wanted a chance at harvesting a bull.
This special edition of Colorado Outdoors magazine features articles that will help you make the most of your fall and winter out in the field. Discover where species and hunting seasons align to create opportunities for multispecies hunts. Learn tactics for locating early season mule deer. And protect your investment with gear care tips and much more. Purchase your copy or an annual subscription today. Read more
For many Colorado big-game hunters, June is a time of celebration or sadness. By early June, the big game draw results will be final. For successful applicants, the planning process will continue. Summer scouting trips will be planned, valuable shooting range time will be scheduled, and diets and exercise can all be optimized in preparation for exciting fall outdoor adventures. For those that were unsuccessful in the draw, don’t be discouraged. If you have the desire to hunt and a sense of adventure, there is a very good chance that you can acquire a license and be hunting big game in Colorado this fall.