Colorado (Demo) / Rules & Regulations

Colorado is a state that most archery hunters should be applying in. Averaging around 120 total P&Y entries each year, no state puts more P&Y entries in the book annually. Colorado is a state whose game management program is focused mostly on hunter opportunity and it leads the way in elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep & mountain goat entries year in and year out. Despite catering heavily towards hunting opportunity, it turns out giant archery mule deer and bigger moose than any other state! It is also the only state that offers archery rocky mountain bighorn hunts and an archery mountain goat hunt, improving the odds of drawing one of these coveted tags as a bowhunter.

New in 2018, Colorado won’t require that applicants front the entire tag fee upfront to apply. Rather, they will charge $10 for a habitat stamp along with $3 for each species being applied for. This has drastically reduced the upfront cost to apply, making it a good idea for every hunter to be building points in Colorado!

Fees & Deadlines

2018 Colorado Application Fees & Deadline

Nonresident License/Permit

Habitat Stamp (required)




Rocky Mountain Bighorn*

Desert Bighorn*

Mountain Goat*


Preference Point**

Online App. Deadline (midnight MST)

April 3

April 3

April 3

April 3

April 3

April 3

April 3

April 3

April 3











2017 Results Made Available


June 1

June 1

June 1

May 3

May 3

May 3

June 1


*If you participate in the hunt drawing, you will be charged a $3 nonrefundable application fee for each species you apply for. You will not be charged a permit fee unless you draw a permit.

**Elk, deer & pronghorn only. There is no point fee for sheep, goat or moose.

Application Information

All hunting license applications for the draw are now available ONLINE at, or by phone 1-800-244-5613 only.

Application deadline for all species is April 3. Nonrefundable application processing fee for all species is $3. Habitat Stamps are REQUIRED for hunters and cost $10; only one is required per person, per year for anyone ages 18–64. You must purchase a stamp before buying or applying for a preference point or a hunting or fishing license. When you submit your application for the draw online or by phone, a 2018 Habitat Stamp ($10) will be automatically added if you haven’t purchased one already. Stamps went on sale Jan. 10, 2018, and are nonrefundable, even if you are unsuccessful in the draw.

If you draw a license, the credit card on file in your CPW account will be charged between June 4-8. The preference point fee for elk, deer & pronghorn will still be charged if you are unsuccessful in the draw. There is no point fee for bighorn sheep, mountain goat or moose.

Step-by-step guides for setting up your account & applying for the draw:

Preference Points

If you do not hold an active 2017 annual or biggame license, or do not receive a license through the draw for the species, you will be charged $40 PER SPECIES (for deer, elk, pronghorn and bear), for which you get a preference point. For example: If a nonresident (who isn’t exempt from the fee) receives a point for all four species, they will be charged $160. The preference point fee will be charged to the credit card you have on file in your CPW account after the draw. Points accumulate unit you draw a first-choice license. You may apply for points only for any species except for desert sheep.

  • One preference point is awarded to hunters who apply properly and are unsuccessful in drawing a license for a first-choice hunt code for big-game species in this brochure. You may apply for a preference point as your first-choice hunt code.
  • If you are issued a first choice license, all accumulated preference points for that species become void and return to zero.
  • Points accumulate until you draw a first-choice license. If an applicant both fails to apply for a species and has not purchased a license for that same species during any given 10-year period, all accumulated preference points for that species become void.
  • Priority goes to those with the most points, except when the license quota or nonresident cap would be exceeded.
  • Second, third-, fourth-choice, over-the-counter and leftover hunts don’t use or generate points.
  • Weighted preference increases your probability of drawing a rocky mountain bighorn sheep, mountain goat or moose license. It is calculated by converting your application number into a random draw number, then dividing that new number by the number of weighted points you have, plus one. This generates your draw order number. Applications are sorted by lowest draw order number to highest, with the lowest numbers drawing first. You can have a maximum of three points for rocky mountain bighorn sheep, mountain goat or moose. If you have three and you fail to draw a first-choice license, you receive weighted preference.
  • Preference points don’t apply to desert bighorn sheep.

Refunds or Points Reinstatement

To get a refund OR preference point(s) restored, you must relinquish your license and carcass tag at least 30 days before opening day of the season for which the license is valid. License must be accompanied by a completed request form obtained at a CPW location or the website. Most refunds are subject to a $15 processing fee.

Preference points are reinstated to a pre-draw level, you do NOT receive an additional preference point for 2018.

Requests must be postmarked at least 30 days before the season starts. If there isn’t enough time to request a form, mail your license and carcass tag with a letter to CPW. It must be postmarked 30 days before the season for which the license is valid starts.

Nonresident License Allocations

Nonresident allocations for elk, deer & pronghorn are determined by the average number of preference points a Colorado resident needed to draw a specific license during a 3-year period that ended with the 2009 drawing. (Units with low numbers of available licenses may not have any remaining for nonresidents after resident licenses are drawn.)

For elk and deer hunt codes that required six or more points for a Colorado resident to draw, up to 20 percent may go to nonresidents. These hunts are designated in unit tables by a + under the SEX column.

For hunt codes that required fewer than six points for a Colorado resident to draw an elk or deer license, up to 35 percent may go to nonresidents.

Nonresident allocations may increase if licenses remain after all Colorado resident first choices have been drawn for that hunt code.

There is not a nonresident allocation limit for pronghorn.

Ten percent of limited moose, sheep and mountain goat licenses are allocated to nonresidents.

Group Applications

The group leader must apply first. All group members must use the same person as the leader in order to go through the draw as a group. Priority is based on the member with the fewest points.

Hunter Education Requirements

Anyone born on or after January 1, 1949, must have a hunter education card to hunt in Colorado. A hunter education card is needed to apply for or buy a license. Your hunter education card must be carried while hunting.

License Requirements

You can apply for one bighorn sheep license and one mountain goat license each year. You cannot apply for a Rocky Mountain bighorn and desert bighorn in the same year.

Bighorn Sheep

If you harvest a Rocky Mountain bighorn ram (must have a half-curl or more), you must wait five years (sixth year after harvest) before applying for another Rocky Mountain bighorn ram license. During the five-year waiting period, hunters may apply for ewe licenses, but cannot accrue preference points.

Desert Bighorn Sheep

If you harvest a desert bighorn sheep, you cannot participate in future desert bighorn sheep drawings.

Mountain Goat

If you harvest a mountain goat, you must wait five years (sixth year after harvest) before applying for another mountain goat license.


The lifetime bag limit for moose is one. All licenses available by draw. If you’ve harvested a bull, you may not apply for an either-sex license.

Private Land

It is illegal to hunt on private land without first obtaining permission from landowner or person in charge.

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