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Hidden Gold in the Colorado Leftover List


Did you know that every Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. all returned Colorado big game licenses for deer, elk, pronghorn and bear have been available for reissue to the fastest person to complete the online process, regardless of how many points they have and how many points the license originally took to draw? Up until now, you could have grabbed a returned license that originally took 15 points to draw, even if you had no points. In 2016, 53 licenses that took 10 points or more in the draw were reissued this way and a total of 4,401 licenses were reissued overall, less than 1/3 of what was available.

Getting a reissued license does not affect your preference points. The only qualification, assuming you are legally able to buy a license, is that you cannot have been drawn or bought an A-List license (almost always meaning limited antlered game) or two B-List big game licenses (usually doe or cow licenses) during that year. Details about license lists are in the front of the Colorado Big Game booklet each year.

elk-hybrid-draw-resultsThis first-come, first-served process was just changed in November and will continue as before except that on hybrid draw licenses and Ranching for Wildlife licenses the CO CPW will now contact the next person that would have drawn the license in the draw, going down the list until it reissues the tag, the same system it uses for trophy species. The few hybrid licenses are listed on page seven of the Colorado Big Game Hunting booklet and below. This is still a fantastic deal and is open to both Colorado residents and nonresidents.

Another major change is that licenses must be returned at least 30 days prior to the start of the season. Only in extreme cases like death or deployment will refunds be given for licenses returned after that time. You must choose between a restoration of preference points and a refund. There is a $15 fee.

Reissued limited and OTC with caps licenses will still NOT require the use of preference points but the reissue of a hybrid license, public RFW or trophy species license will.

The State posts newly returned licenses every Monday on a reissue list at http://cpw.state.co.us/thingstodo/Pages/BigGame.aspx. The next day, Tuesday morning, the reissue list disappears and is incorporated with the leftover list on the same page. When the clock strikes 9:00 a.m., it is every man and woman for themselves – fastest completely through the process (not just putting the tag in your cart) wins.

Make a note to yourself so that come August, you start checking the reissue list every Monday afternoon and are ready to go Tuesday morning if you find what you want. Good luck.


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  1. I am in total agreement with how they are reissuing the returned licenses now. However they do need to tweak it some. Several times this past year I had an opportunity to get one of these licenses on one but the check out process took so long that by the end it said that they were sold out. I had the license in my cart. It’s my opinion that they should only allow the number of licenses available to be placed in online carts and give those people who get them in their cart 5 minutes to check out. Similar to how seats are sold for a big sporting event or concert…

  2. Colorado had a lot of complaints from people in that same situation – in the cart but gone by the time they went to pay for them, so i stressed that in the article.

    If you have a really fast internet connection somewhere like work or at a Google Fiber facility, that might help, but there is probably just a huge spike in traffic and that makes it a little bit like a lottery.

  3. Bradley Gabrielski

    This article is not 100% correct. Not ALL elk, deer, pronghorn and bear licenses are returned to the leftover list. Please view the license refund regulations by visiting the following Web address; http://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/RulesRegs/Regulations/Ch16.pdf. The refund regulations may also be changing in 2017, but the reissue process can offer some great hunting opportunities without using preference points.

  4. Let’s hope for an updated article mid year ’17 to enable hunters to be better informed about this process & able to get more of these tags. The system of acquiring them via the net needs change to allow hunters to lock in these tags as they are working on them to finalize the acquisition. Otherwise it is just a mob scene on the net !

    • Any suggestions on how to change it for the better? The mob scene does create a certain amount of excitement and gives the leftover list more exposure because of it. They would like not to have so many tags left sitting and this probably helps a little.

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