Colorado Hunting License Options and Fees

Colorado offers many different types of big-game licenses and many different options for purchasing them. To get a limited license, hunters must apply for the draw, a process that awards licenses to hunters for specific units and dates. Those who are unsuccessful in the draw process still have many options open for hunting big game throughout the state, either through the left over draw, or with a license available for purchase over-the-counter.

1.  Important Dates

License Drawing
     Application deadline- April 2nd
     Licenses in the Mail - June 14th
     Draw Results Posted Online - June 14th

Refunds in the Mail
     Elk - June 17th
     Deer - June 6th
     Pronghorn - June 27th

License Sales Cutoff Dates for Vendors
     Muzzeloading - September 13th
     1st Rifle - October 11th
     2nd Rifle - October 18th
     3rd Rifle - November 1st
     4th Rifle - November 12th

2.  Different License Options for the Draw

These are licenses that are limited in number for specific units and hunt dates. These are distributed through an application and drawing process.

These are available through the application and drawing process for specifi c units on private land and State Trust Lands not leased by CPW. Ranching for Wildlife licenses are separate from private-land-only licenses.

Public Ranching for Wildlife licenses are available only to Colorado residents. Hunters may apply for these through the drawing process for specific seasons and ranches. Each ranch has specific rules.

Elk and deer applicants can have the fi rst choice of the limited licenses left over from the drawing by checking the “left over draw” box on the application where it states, “If unsuccessful, send me...” (See the box at the bottom of this page for more.) Youths 12-17 receive priority in the left over draw. If you applied online for the draw, you can also apply online for the left over draw. Otherwise, you can participate in the left over draw by mail, so you don’t have to take the day off of work when they go on sale Aug. 6.

3.  Other Licenses

A preset number of licenses are available on a first come, first-served basis for both resident and nonresident hunters. These are called licenses “with caps.” They are sold online, by phone at 1-800-244-5613 or at CPW locations and license agents starting at 9 a.m. (MDT) July 9.

These are available to both resident and nonresident hunters starting at 9 a.m. (MDT) July 9. It is not necessary to go through the draw to purchase these licenses. They are sold online, by phone at 1-800-244-5613, at license agents and CPW locations around the state.

These are available to both resident and nonresident hunters. They are the limited licenses remaining aft er the draw and left over draw processes. They go on sale to the public at 9 a.m. (MDT) on Aug. 6. Th ey are sold at CPW locations, license agents and by phone, 1-800-244-5613. They also are available online on the CPW website starting Aug. 7.

These licenses are sold by diff erent methods at different license agents on Aug. 6. Contact the license agent you plan to go to for details.

4.  Getting a Hunt Instead of a Refund

try these options...

By checking the “Left over Draw” box on your application where it states, “If unsuccessful, send me...”, deer and elk applicants who do not draw their first license choices will be mailed in June a list of licenses (and an application) that are still available. Mailing back the left over application, you get first choice of any of the left over licenses before they go on sale in August. If you apply online for the limited license draw, you may also apply online for the left over draw.

If the left over draw isn’t for you because you’d like the flexibility of an over-the-counter license, let us know by choosing the one you want and it will be mailed to you if you are unsuccessful in the draw. There are an unlimited number of licenses for several elk and pronghorn hunts in a variety of units throughout the state. With this type of license, you can hunt more than one unit during the hunting season. Check which units are available by researching the maps in this brochure or talking to a CPW hunt planner at (303) 297-1192.

5.  License Allocations - How are Resident and Non-Resident Licenses Chosen

Nonresident allocations 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.)

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

2. 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. 

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

4. License allocations do not apply to private-land-only and Ranching For Wildlife licenses.

5. In a group of applications made up of both residents and nonresidents, all nonresidents in the group will count against the nonresident allocation.

6.  License Fees

Colorado DIvision of Wildlife Big Game Fees

7.  What you need before you Apply

     1. Current and valid photo ID
     2. Proof of hunter education (see requirements below)
     3. For residents, proof of residency (see page 14)
     4. Habitat Stamp (see requirements below)
     5. Social Security Number is required for new customers ages 12 and older

8.  License Requirements

1. Hunters must have a license to hunt. Sign it and carry the original license with you while hunting.

2. A hunter may hunt only the animal, season and units stated on the license.

3. It is illegal to give false information to obtain a license. It also is illegal to alter a license or to loan, transfer, sell or give your license to someone else.

4. If you lose or destroy your license, you can get a duplicate before the season opens from a license agent for a fee. Duplicates cost half the price of the original license, but not more than $25. Aft er the season begins, duplicate licenses are available only at CPW locations.

5. Licenses expire on the expiration date printed on them.

9.  Hunter Education (Safety) Requirements

Anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1949, must have completed an approved hunter education course sanctioned by a state or province before applying for or purchasing a license. Colorado honors hunter education courses from other states and provinces.

You must present an original hunter safety card when buying a license (unless previously verifi ed) or enter the required information when applying by mail or online.

All hunters must carry their hunter education card while hunting unless a “V” is printed on the license, which indicates hunter education has been verified at a CPW location.

Hunter education courses are online at

10. Habitat Stamp

1. Habitat Stamps are $10 and are nonrefundable. One is required per person per year, valid April 1-March 31. A lifetime stamp is $300.25.

2. Anyone 18-64 MUST purchase a Habitat Stamp in order to buy or apply for a preference point or for a hunting or fishing license.

 3. Hunters ages 18-64 applying for a limited license must purchase a 2013 Habitat Stamp to apply in the drawing process. To purchase a stamp with your draw application, include $10 in addition to your license fee when sending your application.

     NEW! Applications submitted for hunters who do not have a Habitat Stamp will be disqualified from the draw.

4. EXEMPTIONS: Anyone with a free lifetime fi shing license, a veteran’s lifetime combination small-game hunting and fi shing license, or those approved for the Big-Game Mobility Impaired Hunting Program are exempt. See for details.

All hunters must carry their hunter education card while hunting unless a “V” is printed on the license, which indicates hunter education has been verified at a CPW location.

Hunter education courses are online at

11. Felonies and Hunting

Colorado and federal laws prohibit people convicted of certain crimes, such as domestic violence, from possessing weapons even for hunting. If you’ve been convicted of a crime, check with the appropriate law enforcement authority to find out how these laws apply to you.