Home / General / Colorado App Explosion: Part Two

Colorado App Explosion: Part Two


Rocky Mtn. sheep and goat licenses in Colorado exploded this year, 279% and 467%, creating an enormous logjam of new license seekers that will make it far more difficult to draw a license for Rockies or goats in Colorado if you are not already sitting on weighted points.

Last week the results came out for moose, deer, elk, pronghorn and black bear. So, what happened?


If you thought the 467% jump in mountain goats was big, Shiras’ moose applications jumped 567%. New applicants for moose in 2019 will start out behind nearly 41,000 resident and 12,000 nonresident applicants from 2018. Good luck with that.

Black Bear

Limited black bear applications jumped 64% and 277%. But, licenses offered moved up 29% or 1,944 licenses. The State feels there are too many black bears but because of the new pay policy not to require license payments upfront the jump in applicants far exceeded the jump in licenses.


The picture starts to get better with the prairie speedsters. Licenses increased 7.7% while resident and nonresident applications were up 23% and 146%. With points for good units already well into double digits, you would think a lot of people would turn to Wyoming, but I suspect nonresidents are already applying there in addition to Colorado.


Now for the big boys. Elk licenses provide a whopping 67% of revenue from the sale of limited licenses by Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW). Given that licenses and taxes from the sale of certain sporting goods are by far the major revenue source for CPW, you can see how dependent it is on elk, especially nonresident elk licenses. 

The jump for applications for limited elk licenses was pretty tame, relatively speaking – 5% for residents and 33% for nonresidents. That said, elk was the only species that had a decrease in the number of limited licenses, down 711 tags, not counting youth or landowners.


Deer account for 27% of CPW limited license revenue, so add that to the 67% for elk and you can see that 94% comes from just those two species. Bear and antelope are just shy of 4% between them and all the trophy species amount to roughly 1.5%. It may be that those are now the only two species worth applying for if you’re a nonresident just starting to apply in Colorado.

Deer applications were up just 5% and 33%, so the feedback from residents on the new draw policy may not be too negative. As usual, the bar fell heaviest by far on out-of-staters. Add in the fact that application fees for next year go from $3 no matter where you live to $10 for residents and $20 for nonresidents, and you can see that the extra costs for nonresidents just keeps on going and even gets worse.

How Did CPW Fare?

Colorado Parks & Wildlife saved $3 million by not processing big license costs upfront. They also generated tens of thousands in new habitat stamp payments times $10 and Lord knows how many extra fishing license sales and increased preference point purchases. But, it was a win for the Department’s revenues and a huge loss for nonresidents on trophy species, including moose.

Make Yourself Heard

The Commission is studying all this and forming a committee to look into improving the draw and come up with different ideas.




About Dave Hoshour

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  1. OK, a whole lot more people applied because they didn’t have to come up with the money up front. Fine. Now we will see if those people were actually interested in hunting or just applying. If the returned tags are also up by similar percentages due to non-payment, perhaps those people should get either points taken away, or have to sit out next years draw.

    • The way I look at is this: it does not matter if the “NEW” applicants intend to pay for the license/tag or not. Granted some will not pay for the tag if drawn and go back in the pool perhaps, but the chances of alot of those zero points newby apps getting drawing is pretty low. Either way is was a jacked up way for CPW to glom onto a few extra million dollars and mess up a the points and good draw system for years to come.

      • Not everyone with zero points is a newby. All of us are once we draw. That is where I am at. I applied for a GMU where there are usually a few leftovers. I had one PP and still didn’t draw. Now, after all the tags are returned, I have to fight again for a tag I should have drawn.

        • Paul, Not meaning newb as “new hunter”, just “new to the draws” as in putting in for tags due to no tag or license fee up front. It seems that evidence suggests alot of “first time applicants”. This is what screwed up the system for ones with low points and your case exactly. Hope you can get a 2nd chance tag after the draws, or go OTC.

    • Paul considering that the HUGE increases were from nonres applications it makes me wonder if some how the huge none hunting crazy PETA crew is somehow involved. Last I heard the number of kids taking the hunters safety course was way down. This is really a mystery to me. As others have said this is going to screw up things for years. One reason I believe there is some outside force at work here is the Mule Deer increase was up 33% and Colorado is the premiere mule deer hunting state so you’d think that would be up more than the Sheep which are an astronomical draw at .01 in many cases. I hope this is an anomaly.

    • Darin DeNoble

      I agree if you do not purchase a tag that has been drawn you should loose all your points and have to start over!!!

  2. Your description of the moose draw is incorrect as Moose are the same as sheep and goats and requires 3 preference points to qualify, then weighted points are accumulated. Weighted points normally will also not help you much based on how the system is setup.

    • David L Hoshour

      Yup, spaced that one out. Thanks for the correction.

      The way the weighted draw system works is that after you earn three preference points, the next point is a weighted point and you increase those each year you are unsuccessful. Each year, random numbers are reassigned the day of the draw and everyone’s new random number is divided by their number of weighted points. Tags are awarded in order of lowest to highest result.

      So, like a bonus point draw there is no certainty in drawing with a certain number of points. The difference is that you can’t draw at all until you start getting weighted points.

      • That is not true, either. Look at the draw recap and you will see 56 people were successful with 3 or less preference points and no weighted points.

      • This is from the Big Game guide: You can have a maximum of three points for
        moose. If you have three and you fail to draw a first-choice license, you receive weighted prefer-
        ence for moose.
        It doesn’t say you have to have 3 before you can draw.

  3. David L Hoshour

    Well, you are right. That’s embarrassing. Shows how much memory can deceive you.

    Here is is quoted from the Big Game Application Booklet:
    There are three species of big-game animals
    that use the weighted preference point
    system to award licenses in Colorado:
    moose, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and
    mountain goat.
    Weighted preference increases your probability
    of drawing and applies to both bull
    and cow licenses. Here’s how it works:
    Hunters can only accumulate up to three
    points for moose. If you have three preference
    points and you fail to draw a first-choice
    license, you will receive weighted preference.
    Weighted preference is calculated by
    converting your application number into a
    different, random application number, then
    dividing that new application number by the
    number of weighted points you have, plus
    one. Individuals with three preference points
    and no weighted preference will have their
    application number divided by one.
    This generates another new application
    number. Applications are sorted by this new
    number from lowest to highest, and low
    numbers for each hunt code are awarded

    • For crying out loud who picks there tags Houdini? I didn’t understand any of what you explained.

  4. David L Hoshour

    Here’s my formula for whether relying on memory can deceive you. I keep forgetting to use it.

    Take your age and divide by 100. If your answer is 20% or less, stop. Your chances of being wrong are zero. If your answer is between 20% and 80%, that’s your chance of needing to look it up. Stop thinking you’re brain is still 20. Like someone said once, “I’m not young enough to know everything.”

    • I’m in the 20% or less crowd but, I’m too old to remember what the answer is or if I was right or wrong.

  5. Jeremiah McFee

    How bout we cut the number of issued non resident tags down to 1/8th of what they are now, and charge them an app fee. Then we can issue someone that lives in Colorado, me…a tag, I live here, my house sits 400 yards from the junction of 4 game management units, and I have to drive 2 hours to hunt in an OTC unit full of private property owners that drive the animals back into their ranches with vehicles , animals, and weapons. It’s to bad that colorado residents that pay crazy amounts of money to live in colorado aren’t as valued as non resident people.

    • Cutting Nonres tags is going to do what? Give 3-5 tags for some hunts? Remember nonres tags are a tenth of res tags. So if you have 100 res tags there can’t be more than 9 nonres tags.

    • Nikolas Diemer

      Jeremiah McF,
      You’re a short-sighted idiot. Without Non-res hunter money, your tag would cost you 1000% more. Why do you think they did what they did this year??? $$$$$$$
      And you don’t think that lost revenue in NR tags wouldn’t be made up elsewhere? If its not coming in from NR hunters then the resident hunters will pay more.

      And then there’s that little issue of federal lands that are lands held by everyone, including non-Coloradan’s. Federal tax money supports that land, which comes from Federal income tax etc, paid for by……wait for it…….wait…….people that dont live in Colorado.

      • Robert & Linda Bentley

        OH…….Surprise, ND ……………..The animals, Big and Small GAME that live in Colorado ARE OWNED by THE PEOPLE OF COLORADO…….PERIOD!!!


    As a non resident applying for the coveted goat and sheep tags, with 15 yrs of “paying up front”, and having accrued a pile of preference points, I am all about non residents paying up front. I have been applying more than 15 yrs; if I don’t draw within the next two yrs, I will likely never the draw the tag, no matter how many weighted points I have accumulated.

  7. Isn’t Colorado 1/3 federal land

  8. The sheer mass of this years zero point applicants for sheep, goat, and moose will certainly and severely skew the results of the draw to their subset (3+1) in 2021. Weighted points will help individuals but those individuals wont be able to overcome the statistical chance of a 3+1 getting a very low randomly generated application number.

  9. Alan, it is basically. And, the CPW is now charging license plated vehicles, pickup trucks etc, to traverse some of COs full sized passes on Dept of Ag/USFS land. If driving on the pass, you must have an OHV sticker evenif you already have a street legal license plate. Reference stay the trail and full sized vehicles. So in essence, CPW is now charging access to hunt these areas if you want to drive there. It never ends with CPW.

  10. I think if out of state hunters quit buying these constant increased non res. Licenses maybe they would come back to reality and stop raping the non resident Hunters who are really the one footing there bills and be real on the elk numbers that they say there is,but aren’t there! It’s all bull just to make more money period! Greedy politics!

  11. Wow someone has an anger issue. The NVA ain’t looking for you in the bush tonite. It’s only hunting for heavens sake. We’re all in on this dog screwing together. The point system has turned hunting into bullshit. I have points in many states, and I will die of old age without drawing a goat, sheep, or moose tag. That is reality. But, I love the hunt. I will do it till I can’t. CO is not the only state doing it. All the states are. The game commissions don’t give a rats rear about hunters. So, we better start sticking together on this, and take care of each other. residents or non-residents we need to put the game departments feet to the fire. Quit pissing all there money away studying predators, and tell the U.S.F.W.S. to stick it in their ear.!

  12. They need to make it where you loose all your points regardless of 1st, 2nd or 3rd choice you draw.

  13. Unfortunately WI is not jacking up the nonresidentprices

  14. We have hunted Colorado for over 25 years. Our group is slowly dropping out because of the high license fees. I have already got my tag for this year, but it will probably be our last year. $1500 a year is to much to hunt. let the residents support the game commission. Want to bet they don’t so they will have to do something different in future years.

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