Colorado Tag and Drawing System

Colorado is known for offering an incredible array of hunting opportunities. There are not only many different species to hunt--elk, deer, pronghorn, mountain lion, moose, etc--but also many ways to get a tag in your hands and your boots in the field. Keep reading to find everything you need to know about buying or applying for tags in Colorado.

Overview

Colorado is both an over-the-counter (OTC) and draw/lottery state, depending on the game species, hunting method, and unit. The preference point system works on the basis of allotting a "point" to hunters who are unsuccessful in drawing their first-choice unit. Each year that a hunter is unsuccessful in the draw, they are awarded with a preference point which adds to their odds of drawing the following year. Hunters can also purchase one preference point per year in the first-second quarter application period. For most species, with the exception of moose, mountain goat, and bighorn/desert sheep, there is not a minimum number of points required to draw a tag--some hunters even draw with zero points--but it serves as a way to offer a drawing advantage to those who have acquired points over time. Some species, such as elk, also have over-the-counter (OTC) tags available for direct purchase, without the need to apply in the draw system. 

Elk Tags

How do you get an Elk Tag in Colorado?

Hunters can get tags for both bull and cow elk in Colorado. The state classifies licenses as either List A, B, or C, and hunters are allowed only one List A tag, but can also get one List B as a second tag, or simply get two List B tags. In most cases, List B tags are for cows, so a hunter can realistically expect to get one bull and one cow tag, or two cow tags if they wish. The great benefit of this is that you can keep hunting even if you put a bull down early in the hunt, or simply add more meat to your freezer if that's your priority. At Ivory & Antler Outfitters, we offer hunts for both bull and cow elk to give you this opportunity.

Elk tags can be bought either over-the-counter (OTC) or can be acquired by drawing through the lottery tag system. Both bull and cow elk licenses/tags are $57.90 for residents, and non-residents will pay $700.98 for a bull tag or $526.17 for a cow tag (prices subject to change annually).

All hunters, including youth, must also purchase a qualifying hunting license if they want to apply for the big game draw--this does not apply to Unlimited or OTC Licenses. A list of qualifying licenses can be found here.

All hunters are also required to purchase a $10 Habitat Stamp.

OTC tags include archery and second and third rifle seasons. Limited licenses (lottery) are needed for muzzleloader, and first & fourth rifle seasons. Our 55,000 acres of private land fall under units 16, 17, and 171, which limited license/application hunters will need to specify on their applications. This historic area in Jackson County, CO, is known for its large elk herds and incredible hunting, so whether you are bow hunting, rifle hunting, or muzzleloader hunting, getting your tag won't be a wasted effort.

Learn more on the CPW website.

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Monster Colorado Mule Deer

How do you get a Deer Tag in Colorado?

Just like elk, the state classifies licenses as either List A, B, or C, and the same limitations apply. However, unlike elk, tags cannot be acquired through over-the-counter (OTC) methods--hunters must acquire limited draw permits, find leftover post-draw tags, or acquire a landowner voucher. Deer hunting licenses are $42.01 for residents or $420.23 for non-residents, and as with other species, a $10 Habitat Stamp must be purchased as well as a qualifying hunting license. A list of qualifying licenses can be found here.

Although most popular for mule deer hunting, Colorado whitetail hunting shouldn't be overlooked--there are some big bucks to be hunted. At Ivory & Antler Outfitters, we offer fair chase hunts on large pieces of private land for monster mule deer and monster whitetails with comfortable lodging. No matter which one you wrap your tag on, it will be well worth the trip.

Learn more on the CPW website.

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Colorado Pronghorn Buck

How do you get a Pronghorn/Antelope Tag in Colorado?

Antelope tags cannot be acquired through over-the-counter (OTC) methods--hunters must acquire limited draw permits, find leftover post-draw tags, or acquire a landowner voucher. The state classifies licenses as either List A, B, or C, and hunters are allowed only one List A tag, but can also get a List B as a second tag, or simply get two List B tags - just like elk and deer. In most cases, List A tags are buck tags and List B tags are doe tags. Pronghorn/antelope hunting licenses are $42.01 for residents or $420.23 for non-residents, and as with other species, a $10 Habitat Stamp must be purchased as well as a qualifying hunting license. A list of qualifying licenses can be found here.

Quality limited draw tags for pronghorn/antelope in Colorado can be difficult to get your hands on, but thankfully Ivory & Antler has access to a plentiful number of landowner vouchers which they can acquire for their clients, in some cases at no additional cost. Plus, we have plenty of big bucks to chase! CO antelope/pronghorn hunts are definitely not something to overlook.

Learn more on the CPW website.

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Moose Tags

How do you get a Moose Tag in Colorado?

Shiras moose can only be hunted in a select few states, so tags are hard to come by - even for Colorado residents. If this is a hunt that you are serious about going on, you better start applying and building up points now. It takes most hunters years, if not decades, to draw a bull Shiras moose tag in CO. There are certain ways for this process to be somewhat expedited, such as randomization during the weighted draw, but getting a tag ultimately comes down to patience and consistent annual applications to build up points. Because Colorado moose tags are so limited, there is no need to add a second, third, or fourth choice on your application as only first picks will be considered.

Shiras moose hunting licenses are $319.58 for residents or $2,343.10 for non-residents. Draw application fees are $7 or $9, and preference point/weighted point fees are $50 for residents and $100 for non-residents. As with other species, a $10 Habitat Stamp must be purchased as well as a qualifying hunting license. A list of qualifying licenses can be found here.

When you do finally draw a moose tag, you only have one chance at filling it, so you need to make it count. Our 55,000 acres of private land in Units 17 and 171 have some of the best Shiras moose populations and trophy quality in the country, so you will have a great opportunity at a trophy moose. We also hunt over 1,000 acres of BLM land and hundreds of thousands of acres in the Routt National Forest, which reaches elevations of 10,000 feet and holds some great bulls.

Learn more about CO Shiras moose tags on the CPW website.

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Bear Tags

How do you get a Bear Tag in Colorado?

Unlike moose tags, bear tags are very easy to get in CO. Hunters can get tags via draw, over-the-counter, or as an "add-on" to any elk or deer tag depending on the unit. There are limited licenses and secondary draws for bear tags if you are looking to hunt a quality unit with a sole focus on bear, but most hunters are more than happy with their add-on or OTC tag. Bear hunting licenses are $40.45 for residents or $103.60 for non-residents, and as with other species, a $10 Habitat Stamp must be purchased as well as a qualifying hunting license. A list of qualifying licenses can be found here.

At Ivory & Antler, we only offer bear hunts as add-ons to elk hunts, but our extremely healthy population of bears means you will likely have an opportunity on a great boar. If you are looking to get a little more out of your hunt, snagging a bear tag is a great option.

Learn more about CO bear tags on the CPW website.

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Mountain Lion

How do you get a Mountain Lion Tag in Colorado?

Mountain lion tags in Colorado can be purchased over-the-counter (OTC), which sounds easy, but there's a catch. Before hunters can buy a mountain lion license, they must take and pass an exam in order to acquire a Mountain Lion Education Certificate, issued by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). This exam tests the hunter's knowledge of mountain lion hunting regulations as well as methods for identifying the sex of a cat. It can be taken online and a score of at least 80% is required to pass.

Mountain Lion hunting licenses are $51.68 for residents or $351.75 for non-residents, and as with other species, a $10 Habitat Stamp must be purchased as well as a qualifying hunting license. A list of qualifying licenses can be found here.

At Ivory & Antler, we offer blood-pumping mountain lion hunts across thousands of acres of pristine lion hunting country. If you want to make your mountain lion certification worth the effort, come join us for an adventure hunt in Colorado!

Learn more about CO Mountain Lion tags on the CPW website.

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Turkey

How do you get a Turkey Tag in Colorado?

Merriam Turkey Tags in Colorado are available both over-the-counter (OTC) and through the limited license draw depending on the hunting unit and hunt dates. They can be hunted in both the Fall and the Spring, but as with any state or species of turkey, the Spring is the most ideal time to hunt them. Merriam Turkey hunting licenses in Colorado are $31.41 for residents or $160.67 for non-residents (prices vary for Youth tags). Draw application fees are $7 or $9, and as with other species, a $10 Habitat Stamp must be purchased as well as a qualifying hunting license. A list of qualifying licenses can be found here.

Where we hunt at Ivory & Antler, only an OTC tag is required to hunt turkey. We hunt an 800-acre ranch with ideal turkey habitat and a large population, so odds for success are high.

Learn more about CO Merriam turkey tags on the CPW website.

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Colorado Big Game Tag Application Deadlines

2022 Big Game Limited Draw Application Deadline: April 5th, all applications must be submitted by 8:00PM

Draw Results Posted online: May 31 - June 3 , all limited licenses must be paid for by June 17

Limited Licenses Mailed Starting: June 3 - June 24

Left Over Limited Licenses Available: August 2

Unlimited Licenses Available: August 2

Reissued Licenses available: August 12

You can purchase your Over-the-Counter License/habitat stamp here.

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