NewsCovering Colorado


Big game applications open March 1st, hunters urged to study changes in license requirements

Posted at 3:35 PM, Feb 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-17 17:39:05-05

COLORADO – Colorado Parks and Wildlife is urging hunters to study the changes made to license requirements and fees prior to the March 1st opening of big game applications.

The CPW Commission recently approved a number of changes to big game fees following the passage of the “Hunting, Fishing, and Parks for Future Generations Act,” by the 2018 Colorado General Assembly.

Among the changes is the requirement that all applicants, including youth ages 12 – 17, must buy a qualifying license prior to applying for the big game license draw. Qualifying licenses are spring turkey, annual small game, annual resident combination small game/fishing, and veteran’s lifetime resident combination small game/fishing.

These licenses must be valid for the current license year, which is April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020. Qualifying licenses will be available to purchase starting March 1st.

“The philosophy behind requiring hunters to obtain a qualifying license is to make sure wildlife management is the foundation of our hunting opportunities,” said John Howard, chairman of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission. “License revenue is the primary funding source for wildlife conservation in Colorado. Applicants who are only seeking preference points are not currently contributing to those efforts.”

CPW said the qualifying license approach is used in several other states and replaces the former “pay-to-play fee” for deer, elk, pronghorn, and bear applicants who were unsuccessful in the drawing or who applied for a preference point as their first choice and did not hold a qualifying license.

CPW said another important change is the application and correction deadline. Under the new system draw applications and corrections must be submitted by 8 p.m. on April 2nd. This is four hours earlier than in previous years.

Those applying to hunt moose, bighorn sheep, or mountain goats must now pay a preference point fee. Hunters who are unsuccessful in drawing their first choice hunt, or if they apply for a preference point hunt code as their first choice, will automatically be charged a $50 resident or $100 nonresident fee. No other big game species have preference point fees attached.

“It’s very important all hunters read the 2019 Colorado Big Game brochure, which will be available online Feb. 14 at the CPW website at,” said Cody Wigner, assistant area wildlife manager in Colorado Springs. “We don’t want hunters to be caught off-guard by the new fees and deadlines. “There are two full pages of changes in the brochure. We want everyone to have the best possible hunting experience and that includes getting their applications for the draw in early and accurately.”

Wigner also urged hunters to check their online accounts to ensure their contact information is current and credit card information is up-to-date, as well. “Then check your account after the draw to see the draw results, your preference point levels and the status of your payments,” Wigner said.

You can find more details on fee changes here: