Colorado / Trophy Analysis

Colorado is a state that most archery hunters should be applying in. Averaging around 115 total P&Y entries each year, no state puts more 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, moose, 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 2019, Colorado will require applicants to purchase a nonrefundable $10 habitat stamp as well as either a $151.75 spring turkey license or a $81.75 annual small game license to participate in the big game draw or to apply for preference points. Additionally, Colorado will begin charging $100 per species to purchase a preference point for rocky mountain bighorn, mountain goat and moose. There are no preference point fees for elk, deer & pronghorn. Nonrefundable application fees for all species have increased from $3 to $9. These changes have drastically increased the cost to build preference points in Colorado, making it the second most expensive state in the Rockies to be building points in.

More in Colorado

Elk

Archery State Records

TypicalMontrose County, 1986393 1/8”

Non-typicalDouglas County, 1998389 5/8”

Number of P&Y Entries (260” Typical, 300” Non-typical)

Long Term(2012-2017)367

Short Term(2015-2017)141

Number of Trophy P&Y Entries (360” Typical, 385” Non-typical)

Long Term(2012-2017)14

Short Term(2015-2017)4

Average P&Y Bull

Long Term(2012-2017)307 6/8”

Short Term(2015-2017)308 3/8”

Biggest P&Y Bull

Long TermGarfield County, 2015383 4/8”

Short TermGarfield County, 2015383 4/8”

Mule Deer

Archery State Records

TypicalWhite River N.F., 1979203 1/8”

Non-typicalMorgan County, 1987274 7/8”

Number of P&Y Entries (145” Typical, 170” Non-typical) Includes Velvet Entries

Long Term(2012-2017)163

Short Term(2015-2017)62

Number of Trophy P&Y Entries (180” Typical, 215” Non-typical) Includes Velvet Entries

Long Term(2012-2017)30

Short Term(2015-2017)13

Average P&Y Buck

Long Term(2012-2017)170 0/8”

Short Term(2015-2017)171 1/8”

Biggest P&Y Buck (Includes Velvet Entries)

Long TermGarfield County, 2012236 0/8”

Short TermLarimer County, 2017230 5/8”

Pronghorn

State Record

Kit Carson County, 200487 4/8”

Number of P&Y Entries (67”)

Long Term(2012-2017)69

Short Term(2015-2017)40

Number of Trophy P&Y Entries (80”)

Long Term(2012-2017)2

Short Term(2015-2017)0

Average P&Y Buck

Long Term(2012-2017)71 3/8”

Short Term(2015-2017)70 1/8”

Biggest P&Y Buck

Long TermJackson & Las Animas Counties, 201281 2/8”

Short TermMoffat County, 201576 4/8”

Rocky Mountain Bighorn

State Record

El Paso County, 1983191 3/8”

Number of P&Y Entries (140”)

Long Term(2012-2017)31

Short Term(2015-2017)14

Number of Trophy P&Y Entries (175”)

Long Term(2012-2017)12

Short Term(2015-2017)7

Average P&Y Ram

Long Term(2012-2017)168 5/8”

Short Term(2015-2017)169 3/8”

Biggest P&Y Ram

Long TermEl Paso County, 2013188 1/8”

Short TermEl Paso County, 2015185 5/8”

Desert Bighorn

State Record

Mesa County, 1998163 3/8”

Number of P&Y Entries (120”)

Long Term(2012-2017)1

Short Term(2015-2017)0

Number of Trophy P&Y Entries (165”)

Long Term(2012-2017)0

Short Term(2015-2017)0

Average P&Y Ram

Long Term(2012-2017)146 2/8”

Short Term(2015-2017)No Entries

Biggest P&Y Ram

Long TermSan Miguel County, 2013146 2/8”

Short TermNo Entries 

Mountain Goat

State Record

Park County, 198852 4/8”

Number of P&Y Entries (40”)

Long Term(2012-2017)15

Short Term(2015-2017)7

Number of Trophy P&Y Entries (47”)

Long Term(2012-2017)1

Short Term(2015-2017)0

Average P&Y Goat

Long Term(2012-2017)42 7/8”

Short Term(2015-2017)42 1/8”

Biggest P&Y Goat

Long TermGunnison County, 201447 4/8”

Short TermPark County, 201544 2/8”

Moose

State Record

Park County, 2015192 0/8” (World Record)

Number of P&Y Entries (125”) Includes Velvet Entries

Long Term(2012-2017)34

Short Term(2015-2017)17

Number of Trophy P&Y Entries (140”)

Long Term(2012-2017)20

Short Term(2015-2017)9

Average P&Y Bull

Long Term(2012-2017)148 6/8”

Short Term(2015-2017)148 2/8”

Biggest P&Y Bull

Long TermPark County, 2015192 0/8”

Short TermPark County, 2015192 0/8”

Colorado is a top destination for archery elk hunters. Currently, the state is home to over 275,000 elk, easily the highest elk population of any state in the country. Colorado issues around 225,000 elk licenses each year and has a total annual harvest of around 40,000 each season. Managed primarily on hunting opportunity, it ranks #1 in total P&Y elk entries by averaging over 60 a year and accounts for a quarter of all P&Y elk entries entered from the rocky mountain states each year. The downside to such great hunting opportunity is obvious when looking at the average size of Colorado’s P&Y entries. At 307 6/8”, no state’s average P&Y bull is smaller. Top end bulls are few and far between as well. Considering that there have been a total of seven bulls taken from Colorado that broke the 380 mark, along with the fact that the top hunts require over 20 points to draw and it’s pretty tough to recommend waiting out a ‘top end’ unit for that kind of upside. Rather, it may be worth considering a middle of the road area in hopes of a shot at a 330”-350” class bull. There are plenty of counties turning out that type of bull each year, often in areas that take less than 5 points to draw.

County Long Term Number of Entries+260″ Typ. P&Y, +300″ Non-typ. P&Y, 2012-2017 Short Term Number of Entries+260″ Typ. P&Y, +300″ Non-typ. P&Y, 2015-2017 Long Term Percentage of Trophy Entries+360″ Typ. P&Y, +385″ Non-typ. P&Y, 2012-2017 Short Term Percentage of Trophy Entries+360″ Typ. P&Y, +385″ Non-typ. P&Y, 2015-2017 Long Term Average P&Y Score2012-2017 Short Term Average P&Y Score2015-2017 Long Term Best P&Y Bull2012-2017 Short Term Best P&Y Bull2015-2017
Alamosa 1 1     301 5/8 301 5/8 301 5/8 301 5/8
Archuleta 5       290 6/8   357 5/8  
Boulder 2 1     336 1/8 354 354 354
Clear Creek 2       316 3/8   332 2/8  
Conejos 4 1     280 2/8 264 311 4/8 264
Costilla 13 11     314 2/8 314 3/8 357 3/8 357 3/8
Custer 2 1     305 6/8 337 6/8 337 6/8 337 6/8
Delta 4 1     292 5/8 267 1/8 309 267 1/8
Dolores 6 3     315 1/8 298 345 6/8 313 3/8
Douglas 4       330 4/8   351 1/8  
Eagle 14 4     303 5/8 312 5/8 339 332 6/8
El Paso 2       305 4/8   308 2/8  
Fremont 2       310 1/8   327 6/8  
Garfield 18 10 6% 10% 305 310 383 4/8 383 4/8
Gilpin 2 1     274 7/8 260 2/8 289 4/8 260 2/8
Grand 18 8     308 2/8 314 4/8 359 1/8 359 1/8
Gunnison 23 10     298 295 3/8 335 2/8 335 2/8
Hinsdale 5 1     288 5/8 269 321 1/8 269
Huerfano 7 3     310 314 3/8 350 6/8 350 6/8
Jackson 10 5     299 3/8 294 3/8 332 332
Jefferson 12 3 17%   321 2/8 312 4/8 378 5/8 349 1/8
La Plata 10 4     286 7/8 289 6/8 322 7/8 322 7/8
Lake 2       293   301 5/8  
Larimer 19 6     317 3/8 329 6/8 362 3/8 355 5/8
Las Animas 19 7 5%   318 6/8 324 3/8 375 4/8 350 1/8
Mesa 24 13     315 1/8 305 3/8 354 4/8 343 2/8
Mineral 11 5     303 2/8 287 7/8 344 3/8 303 4/8
Moffat 28 10 14% 20% 325 7/8 338 4/8 380 7/8 380 7/8
Montezuma 3 1     302 6/8 333 333 333
Montrose 13 5     302 7/8 294 2/8 336 336
Ouray 2       303 7/8   314 1/8  
Park 8 2 13%   315 3/8 297 6/8 363 2/8 303 6/8
Pitkin 7 4     298 3/8 307 7/8 356 5/8 356 5/8
Pueblo 2       302 2/8   331  
Rio Blanco 13 1 8%   301 1/8 276 4/8 360 3/8 276 4/8
Rio Grande 3       282 2/8   305 6/8  
Routt 24 9 13%   303 300 365 4/8 334 4/8
Saguache 6 4     309 6/8 305 7/8 338 4/8 337 4/8
San Juan 2 1     288 301 1/8 301 1/8 301 1/8
San Miguel 4 2     277 2/8 262 7/8 298 7/8 264 5/8
Summit 2       281 4/8   282 7/8  
Teller 9 3 11% 33% 323 5/8 347 5/8 364 3/8 364 3/8

Colorado mule deer hunting is as good as it gets in the west! Offering a rare combination of tops in number of entries as well as some of the biggest bucks taken in any state in recent years, everyone should be building points for mule deer in Colorado. It is the owner of the pending non-typical mule deer world record and of the Rocky Mountain States, over a third of all P&Y mule deer entries come out of Colorado. Despite a dip in the number entries over the last few seasons, it still leads the way with around 27 a year. About five of those hit trophy minimums and usually one of these is a non-typical giant scoring in the mid 220’s”. Best of all, only three archery hunts in the state require more than ten points to draw and most require two or less points to draw. Throw in an average archery harvest rate of almost 30% on draw hunts and there’s a lot to be excited about hunting mule deer in Colorado. If you want to hunt mule deer in the Rockies, along with spending time in some of the most pristine landscapes the country has to offer, put Colorado at the top of your list!

County Long Term Number of Entries+145″ Typ. P&Y, +170″ Non-typ. P&Y, 2012-2017 Short Term Number of Entries+145″ Typ. P&Y, +170″ Non-typ. P&Y, 2015-2017 Long Term Percentage of Trophy Entries+180″ Typ. P&Y, +215″ Non-typ. P&Y, 2012-2017 Short Term Percentage of Trophy Entries+180″ Typ. P&Y, +215″ Non-typ. P&Y, 2015-2017 Long Term Average P&Y Score2012-2017 Short Term Average P&Y Score2015-2017 Long Term Best P&Y Buck2012-2017 Short Term Best P&Y Buck2015-2017
Arapahoe 1       168 6/8   168 6/8  
Archuleta 3 3 100% 100% 192 192 194 7/8 194 7/8
Boulder 1 1     169 2/8 169 2/8 169 2/8 169 2/8
Chaffee 1       155 1/8   155 1/8  
Cheyenne 5 1 20%   173 2/8 147 227 1/8 147
Conejos 1   100%   184 6/8   184 6/8  
Delta 6 2     157 4/8 157 1/8 178 4/8 161 5/8
Douglas 8 4 25% 25% 172 6/8 166 7/8 192 5/8 181 3/8
Eagle 5   40%   176   228 3/8  
El Paso 4 2     181 168 7/8 208 1/8 172 1/8
Elbert 7 4     176 2/8 176 7/8 212 192 4/8
Fremont 1       151 2/8   151 2/8  
Garfield 8 3 25%   180 1/8 163 6/8 236 174 6/8
Grand 1   100%   186 2/8   186 2/8  
Gunnison 9 4     159 3/8 167 3/8 192 3/8 192 3/8
Hinsdale 1   100%   185 4/8   185 4/8  
Huerfano 1       174 6/8   174 6/8  
Jefferson 6   17%   169 6/8   188 3/8  
Kit Carson 1 1     159 5/8 159 5/8 159 5/8 159 5/8
La Plata 12 6 42% 33% 179 3/8 171 1/8 228 6/8 195 5/8
Larimer 8 5 13% 20% 175 5/8 175 4/8 230 5/8 230 5/8
Las Animas 6 3 33% 33% 169 4/8 168 4/8 193 5/8 187 4/8
Lincoln 1       155 3/8   155 3/8  
Logan 1       147 4/8   147 4/8  
Mesa 13 4 8%   163 3/8 160 6/8 232 3/8 167 2/8
Moffat 3       154 2/8   160 1/8  
Montezuma 1   100%   186 4/8   186 4/8  
Montrose 4 1     165 153 6/8 178 2/8 153 6/8
Morgan 1 1     206 206 206 206
Park 5 1     153 5/8 151 1/8 166 6/8 151 1/8
Prowers 7 2 14% 50% 168 3/8 171 7/8 203 5/8 193 7/8
Pueblo 2       160 3/8   168 5/8  
Rio Blanco 7 2     155 3/8 161 4/8 169 7/8 169 7/8
Routt 1 1     153 4/8 153 4/8 153 4/8 153 4/8
Saguache 2 1 50% 100% 177 6/8 187 2/8 187 2/8 187 2/8
San Juan 1       150 2/8   150 2/8  
San Miguel 1 1     168 5/8 168 5/8 168 5/8 168 5/8
Sedgwick 1 1 100% 100% 220 220 220 220
Teller 7 3 43% 67% 187 6/8 206 225 3/8 225 3/8
Washington 1       160 7/8   160 7/8  
Weld 5 3     164 1/8 160 7/8 178 5/8 169 1/8
Yuma 3 2     152 7/8 153 7/8 160 5/8 160 5/8

Colorado pronghorn hunting probably doesn’t get quite as much attention as it deserves. Viewed by many as the worst state in the Rockies to chase speedgoats, only Wyoming & Montana turn out more P&Y entries each year. Most of the units with the highest archery success rates take the most points to draw although there are a few hunts that are averaging solid success rates and can be had with 4 or less points. As is the case with most pronghorn hunting, private land can be an issue. But, with a little homework and a land ownership chip in your GPS, hunting Colorado pronghorn can be a great experience!

County Long Term Number of Entries+67″ P&Y, 2012-2017 Short Term Number of Entries+67″ P&Y, 2015-2017 Long Term Percentage of Trophy Entries+80″ P&Y, 2012-2017 Short Term Percentage of Trophy Entries+80″ P&Y, 2015-2017 Long Term Average P&Y Score2012-2017 Short Term Average P&Y Score2015-2017 Long Term Best P&Y Buck2012-2017 Short Term Best P&Y Buck2015-2017
Elbert 3 2     70 6/8 69 7/8 72 4/8 70 6/8
Fremont 1       67   67  
Gunnison 1 1     70 4/8 70 4/8 70 4/8 70 4/8
Huerfano 2       74 5/8   75 2/8  
Jackson 2   50%   78 4/8   81 2/8  
Larimer 1       68 2/8   68 2/8  
Las Animas 15 8 7%   72 68 5/8 81 2/8 71
Logan 1       75 6/8   75 6/8  
Moffat 26 18     71 1/8 71 3/8 76 4/8 76 4/8
Otero 2 1     70 2/8 67 73 4/8 67
Park 1       73 4/8   73 4/8  
Pueblo 1 1     70 6/8 70 6/8 70 6/8 70 6/8
Routt 2 2     70 1/8 70 1/8 71 2/8 71 2/8
Weld 11 7     69 6/8 69 3/8 73 2/8 71 4/8

Colorado comes in at #1 in P&Y bighorn entries and accounts for half of all recent bighorn sheep entries in the lower 48. El Paso County leads the Rockies in both quantities of P&Y bighorn entries as well as total number of P&Y rams exceeding 175”. While the average scoring ram is 168 5/8, middle of the road compared to other states, that number is steadily trending upward. Rams exceeding 180” do exist in some of the better units, with one archery ram going an impressive 185 5/8” in 2015. Colorado is the only state that offers archery only sheep hunts, further improving archery hunters chances of drawing a license by keeping the vast majority of any weapon hunters out of the archery permit pools.

Colorado provides horn measurements for every sheep taken in each unit. We provide that information in the bighorn sheep Unit Analysis table. Most archery hunters just want to fill a tag when it comes to hunting sheep. If that’s the case for you, look at a unit with a good balance of draw odds and harvest success. If you want to draw a unit with the best chance at a bigger ram, start by looking at the units with the best bases. Field judging sheep is a tricky endeavor and the most difficult part of that is judging base mass. This measurement also happens to be the single most important factor in a higher scoring ram. Judging horn length will be a little easier with some practice. If you can pull a unit with good bases and are willing to stick it out and hunt hard, the payoff can be incredible!

County Long Term Number of Entries+140″ P&Y, 2012-2017 Short Term Number of Entries+140″ P&Y, 2015-2017 Long Term Percentage of Trophy Entries+175″ P&Y, 2012-2017 Short Term Percentage of Trophy Entries+175″ P&Y, 2015-2017 Long Term Average P&Y Score2012-2017 Short Term Average P&Y Score2015-2017 Long Term Best P&Y Ram2012-2017 Short Term Best P&Y Ram2015-2017
Boulder 1 1 100% 100% 182 182 182 182
Chaffee 1       169 1/8   169 1/8  
Clear Creek 2       158 2/8   165 4/8  
Costilla 1       161 7/8   161 7/8  
Custer 1 1     151 1/8 151 1/8 151 1/8 151 1/8
Eagle 1 1 100% 100% 182 4/8 182 4/8 182 4/8 182 4/8
El Paso 9 5 67% 80% 176 4/8 176 188 1/8 185 5/8
Fremont 1   100%   181 2/8   181 2/8  
Huerfano 1       167 6/8   167 6/8  
Larimer 5 2 20% 50% 160 6/8 162 6/8 176 3/8 176 3/8
Las Animas 4 2 25%   168 4/8 170 6/8 181 4/8 172 1/8
Mineral 1       165 7/8   165 7/8  
Park 1 1     158 5/8 158 5/8 158 5/8 158 5/8
Saguache 1   100%   176   176  
Summit 1 1     149 4/8 149 4/8 149 4/8 149 4/8

There has only been one P&Y desert sheep taken from Colorado since 2004 and only four have ever been recorded in the state. Considering that you may only apply for rocky bighorn OR desert sheep each year, and that only one nonresident is awarded a desert sheep permit each year, it is hard to recommend taking on the steep odds for that tag. But, if you’re up for a challenge, try to draw AND harvest a desert sheep with your bow in Colorado!

County Long Term Number of Entries+120″ P&Y, 2012-2017 Short Term Number of Entries+120″ P&Y, 2015-2017 Long Term Percentage of Trophy Entries+165″ P&Y, 2012-2017 Short Term Percentage of Trophy Entries+165″ P&Y, 2015-2017 Long Term Average P&Y Score2012-2017 Short Term Average P&Y Score2015-2017 Long Term Best P&Y Ram2012-2017 Short Term Best P&Y Ram2015-2017
San Miguel 1       146 2/8   146 2/8

Colorado easily leads the way in total P&Y mountain goat entries over the last few years. They account for almost half of all goat entries annually taken in the Rockies. As strong as Colorado is in opportunity, it is equally as weak in trophy potential and ranks poorly in average size of entry. As is the case with sheep, most archery hunters are more into the challenge of hunting goats in the extreme terrain that they call home and don’t need to kill a giant. Draw odds for some units can be steep but there are a few severely underrated any weapon hunts that offer decent draw odds!

County Long Term Number of Entries+40″ P&Y, 2012-2017 Short Term Number of Entries+40″ P&Y, 2015-2017 Long Term Percentage of Trophy Entries+47″ P&Y, 2012-2017 Short Term Percentage of Trophy Entries+47″ P&Y, 2015-2017 Long Term Average P&Y Score2012-2017 Short Term Average P&Y Score2015-2017 Long Term Best P&Y Billy2012-2017 Short Term Best P&Y Billy2015-2017
Chaffee 4 2     42 7/8 41 2/8 44 6/8 41 4/8
Clear Creek 2 1     41 7/8 42 4/8 42 4/8 42 4/8
Gunnison 2   50%   44 7/8   47 4/8  
La Plata 3 2     42 1/8 41 3/8 43 4/8 42 6/8
Park 2 1     43 1/8 44 2/8 44 2/8 44 2/8
Pitkin 1       42 4/8   42 4/8  
San Juan 1 1     42 4/8 42 4/8 42 4/8 42 4/8

Colorado is as good as it gets for archery hunting moose. With success rates at near or at 100% in every unit and the average P&Y entry well beyond the B&C minimum, there isn’t a better place to draw a moose permit right now. In 2011 the new archery state record Shiras was taken in Grand County, scoring a whopping 185 3/8”. That record would not stand for long however. In 2015 the new archery world record shiras was taken in Park County scoring an incredible 192”! Jackson County is one of the hottest places in the country right now for quantity of P&Y moose but trophy bulls exist in nearly every unit in the state. The biggest challenge in hunting moose in Colorado simply lies in drawing the tag! Throw your name in the hat in hope of being one of the lucky nonresidents that will be hunting moose in Colorado this year!

County Long Term Number of Entries+125″ P&Y, 2012-2017 Short Term Number of Entries+125″ P&Y, 2015-2017 Long Term Percentage of Trophy Entries+140″ P&Y, 2012-2017 Short Term Percentage of Trophy Entries+140″ P&Y, 2015-2017 Long Term Average P&Y Score2012-2017 Short Term Average P&Y Score2015-2017 Long Term Best P&Y Bull2012-2017 Short Term Best P&Y Bull2015-2017
Boulder 6 4 67% 75% 152 4/8 153 2/8 165 164
Clear Creek 1   100%   171 4/8   171 4/8  
Eagle 2   100%   158 7/8   176  
Grand 6 2 50% 50% 139 6/8 139 4/8 163 3/8 152 1/8
Gunnison 1 1 100% 100% 166 6/8 166 6/8 166 6/8 166 6/8
Hinsdale 1 1     130 2/8 130 2/8 130 2/8 130 2/8
Jackson 8 5 50% 40% 143 5/8 140 1/8 160 3/8 155 2/8
Larimer 4 1 75% 100% 158 7/8 176 6/8 176 6/8 176 6/8
Mineral 1       130 6/8   130 6/8  
Park 1 1 100% 100% 192 192 192 192
Routt 1 1     129 2/8 129 2/8 129 2/8 129 2/8
Saguache 1   100%   149 6/8   149 6/8  
Summit 1 1     132 3/8 132 3/8 132 3/8 132 3/8

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