DENVER - The big game application deadline for 2015 is midnight, April 7, but don't wait until the deadline to apply: Colorado Parks and Wildlife has a variety of resources for hunters to complete their applications now. "CPW's website offers essential information for preparing for the big game season as well as a secure license application portal to submit applications," said CPW spokesman Matt Robbins. First, prospective hunters must determine their hunter education needs. A Hunter Education certification and card number are required before applying for or purchasing a Colorado hunting license if you were born on or after Jan. 1, 1949. Colorado honors hunter education certifications from other states, countries and Canadian provinces. Read more or find a class at CPW's Hunter Education page. Choose the animal to hunt. Colorado offers draws for eight big game species as well as turkey. The Big Game brochure contains regulations for deer, elk, pronghorn, moose and bear and the Sheep and Goat brochure contains regulations for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, desert bighorn sheep, and mountain goat. Brochures are available online or in print at CPW offices or any of the 750 license vendors throughout the state. . Decide where to hunt Colorado is divided into hunting areas called game management units (GMUs).
Each year, a limited number of licenses are allotted to each GMU. Colorado also offers some over-the-counter that are not limited in number. Familiarity with your hunting area increases your chance for success. It is important that every hunter know the boundaries of their hunting area. Check out state maps and unit descriptions in the brochure or online. . Pick Your Hunting Season Season dates differ by species, but, in general, archery season starts in late August and lasts almost a month.
Muzzleloader season starts in the middle of archery season, and four rifle seasons follow that. The first (Oct. 10-14) rifle season, is limited to elk hunting only.
The second (Oct. 17-25), third (Oct. 31-Nov. 8) and fourth (Nov. 11-15) rifle seasons are combined seasons, where deer and elk hunters are in the field at the same time. The Colorado Big Game Hunting Planner lists season dates, fees, and application dates and deadlines. The five-year season structure overview is a useful long-range season date planner.
Select Your Method of Take Colorado offers distinct seasons for archery, muzzleloader and rifle hunting. Legal requirements for the various hunting methods and transporting them in the field are in the brochures. . Select Your Hunt Code
The hunt code includes the species, sex, game management unit, season/dates and method of take and is required for applying. Applications are species-specific and you may choose up to four hunt codes for each application and fee. Remember that you may only submit one application per species, per year. . Obtain and Understand Preference Points Over ninety percent of Colorado's big game draw hunts require no preference points or just a single preference point in order to successfully draw a license. One preference point is awarded to an applicant who applies properly and is unsuccessful in drawing a license for their first choice hunt code or entered the preference point hunt code as their first choice. Preference points are species specific, but may be used for any sex, unit, or season within a unit. If an applicant draws their first choice hunt code, all preference points for that species become void. Many hunters collect points and also hunt each year. Researching the number of points required for the GMUs you want to hunt is useful before applying. Go to http://cpw.state.co.us/thingstodo/Pages/Statistics.aspx and learn more. . Study the Statistics Colorado publishes several statistical reports that contain the license quotas, application stats, post-draw stats, minimum number of preference points used to draw each license and harvest estimates. Learn how to read the reports online. Studying the statistics of unit(s) can help hunters refine application choices.
. Unsuccessful options
If unsuccessful in the draw for first choice hunt code, applicants who select the 'Leftover draw' box on the application where it states, "If unsuccessful, send me.." are mailed a list in June of limited licenses that are still available and another application. Submitting this second application means applicants will go through another draw process called 'Leftover Draw.' CPW also offers an unlimited quantity of over-the-counter (OTC) bull elk rifle licenses during the second and third rifle seasons because Colorado has the largest elk herds in North America. These OTC licenses do not require an application or preference points to purchase, however, you can get them as an unsuccessful option through the draw. Request this license option on your application by checking the box that says "If unsuccessful, send me." "X" Antlered Elk, 2nd or 3rd Season, etc. It will automatically be awarded if a limited license is not drawn. . Fill Out Your Application and have the following information handy:
. Current and valid photo ID and/or Customer Identification number (CID)
. Proof of Hunter Education certification (card number)
. Proof of Colorado residency (if applicable)
. A 2015 Habitat Stamp, which will be automatically added to your online application if required. It can also be purchased separately.
. Social Security number for customers 12 years and older, unless already on file.
. Hunt Codes (up to four for each species)
. Credit card (Mastercard, Visa or Discover)
"Video tutorials and hunt planners are also at their fingertips," added Robbins. "A little time spent planning will pay off with a memorable Colorado hunt this fall." Hunters can also purchase an over-the-counter bull elk tag, available for the second or third rifle seasons, starting on July 21 online, by phone at 1-800-244-5613, at any license agent, or at CPW offices. Colorado's over-the-counter bull elk license is unique in that it allows a hunter to hunt anywhere in 93 units, which includes some of the best elk hunting in the state.
Information about season dates and license application requirements can be found in CPW's 2015 Colorado Big Game and 2015 Colorado Sheep and Goat brochures. Big game includes information needed to apply for elk, deer, bear, pronghorn and moose licenses. The brochure includes easy-to-read tables, maps, information about changes to hunting seasons this year and a reference page with important details about Colorado hunting regulations..
Customer service representatives are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. MDT at 303-297-1192 and specially trained Hunt Planners are available to assist hunters by phone at 303-291-7526. Hunters can also get personal assistance at one of CPW's regional service centers in Denver, Grand Junction, Colorado Springs or Durango or any CPW office or State Park.
To view the interactive version of the 2015 Colorado Big Game brochure or download the PDF, go to: http://case.epaperflip.com/colorado/Parks-and-wildlife/