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APPLICATION STRATEGY 2017: Colorado Sheep, Moose, Goat

 

Large mountain goat
Photo credit: Getty Images

Colorado's sheep, moose and goat application overview

Jump to: New for 2017 State Information Draw System Rocky Bighorn Breakdown Desert Bighorn Breakdown Moose Breakdown Mountain Goat Breakdown

When someone thinks about hunting Colorado for the big three… you can’t help but think about the amazing terrain these animals live in. The scenery is breathtaking and access to animals is ideal, especially for Rocky bighorn sheep and mountain goats. Hunting these species in Colorado is like no other state in the west.

The draw system is handled a little differently than other western states. After you've accumulated three preference points, there is a random chance for drawing a license for bighorn sheep, moose or mountain goat. For this reason, in a sense you're never too late to get in the game of applying for these species in Colorado. Also, there isn’t a points system in place for desert bighorns. Below we will break down some great options, and also show you how to navigate the tools on INSIDER to find the best unit to apply for based on your personal hunt criteria.

Note: The application deadline for all species in Colorado is midnight MST on April 4, 2017. Nonresidents must apply using a paper application found within the regulations brochure while residents may apply online here. All paper applications must be postmarked by midnight on April 4, 2017.



Why Colorado for sheep, moose, goat in 2017

Archery only hunts

Both Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and mountain goat have hunt choices that include archery-only options. Typically the odds of drawing the archery-only hunt choices are significantly easier than rifle.

Big bull moose

The bull moose harvested in Colorado are among the largest anywhere in the West. The last available harvest data from 2015 showed that the average bull harvested was 40.33" wide with the largest bull going 56 1/8".

Random chance to draw

All of the sheep, moose and goat species in Colorado can be drawn randomly with just a little bit of luck.

No points system for desert sheep

The desert sheep of Colorado are limited in number, but have no point system in place so your odds are just as good as the next applicant.



New for 2017

Licensing system change

  • Colorado is transitioning to an upgraded system in 2017/2018
  • Everyone will need to have an email and password to apply in the new system

Going paperless in hunting license applications in 2018

  • 2017 is the final year you can apply on paper

Changes to license refund, reissue and exchange policies

  • All license exchanges will be charged a fee of 50% of the cost of the original license, not to exceed $25. Read more here.

2017 license reissue policy

  • Any license that is returned to CPW that took 5 or more preference points to draw will be manually reissued to the next eligible person based on the residency status of the returned license. So if a resident license is returned, it will be reissued to a resident. If a nonresident license is returned, it will be reissued to a nonresident.
  • For each license returned, CPW will contact the next five people from the current year’s draw order.
  • If one of those individuals accepts the license from the manual reissue process, all of that person’s preference points will be used.
  • If a person has a current conflicting license for that species, they may exchange their current license for the one being offered. The exchange fee will be assessed, which is 50% of the cost of the original license, not to exceed $25.
  • If none of those five people accept the license from the manual reissue process, it will be place onto the leftover list at random intervals.
  • Any license that is returned to CPW that took fewer than 5 preference points to draw will automatically be placed on the leftover list at random intervals.
  • Customers who obtain a license from the leftover list will NOT have to use their preference points.

Hunter pink is now an alternative to hunter orange

  • It’s legal to wear solid fluorescent pink clothing as an alternative to solid fluorescent orange.

Exemptions to hunter education requirements

  • Test-out option available for hunter education requirements, as well as an apprentice certificate for new hunters.

Definition of hunting over bait has been expanded

  • It's illegal hunt big game over bait, whether or not the person hunting personally placed the bait. Bait means to put, expose, distribute or scatter salt, minerals, grains, animal parts or other food as an attraction for big game. Salt or mineral blocks used for normal agricultural purposes are not considered bait. Scent sticks that smell like food are illegal for bears.

Several rocky bighorn sheep units now combined

  • Hunters in units S12, S30 and S60 can now hunt in an additional unit.

Archery season dates for Unit S57 changed

  • The dates for the bighorn ram season in S57 have been moved from Sept. 6–Oct. 9 to Dec. 1–31; the dates for the bighorn ewe season in S57 have been moved to Dec. 8–31 (the ewe season starts one week after the ram season begins).

Nanny-only mountain goat licenses now available for Unit G7

  • These licenses help manage population abundance and the male mountain goat age structure in the unit.

Second rifle goat season added in Unit G12

  • A season from Sept. 20 to Oct. 8 has been added in Unit G12.

Boundary changes to Units G10 and G11

  • The southern boundary of G10 has been extended; the subunit descriptions for G11 have been clarified. Hunters should familiarize themselves with the new boundary details.

Moose Unit 161 open for hunters with unfilled 2016 licenses

  • Some, or all, of the 2017 moose license quota may be used by 2016 hunters opting to hunt in 2017. The portion of the 2017 quota available to these hunters will be determined at the Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting in May 2017. Check the CPW website for updates.

Brainard Lake restrictions for moose

  • There are boundaries in place for hunting near Brainard Lake. Unit 20 and 29 moose hunters: weekday construction closures are planned for the Brainard Lake Road.

Caution: Low density moose units

  • Units 1, 20, 29, 38, 39, 46, 201, 500 & 501 have low density moose populations and some moose habitat occurs on private land. Be sure to get landowner permission before hunting on private land.

Experimental hunts for moose

  • Units 48, 55, 56, 65, 68, 74, 75, 79, 481, 551, 561 and 681 have low density moose populations and are subject to modifications in coming years. Currently, there is very little harvest history for these hunts and any CPW guidance will be limited.

NOTE: Lifetime bag limit for antlered moose

  • The lifetime bag limit for antlered moose is one. All licenses available by draw. If you’ve harvested a bull, you may not apply for an either-sex license.

New: Unit S42 is under new mandatory orientation

  • All bighorn sheep hunters that hunt in unit S42 near Waterton Canyon must attend a mandatory unit-specific hunter orientation prior to hunting. The S42 orientation will be held July 18 in the Denver Metro area. Details on location, time and agenda will be sent to all S42 hunters by early June.

New bighorn hunt for residents only — Chancellor Ranch Pilot Program

  • Bighorn sheep hunting is now available on Chancellor Ranch Unit S61 (on State Land Board property) as part of a pilot program for Colorado residents only. Get detailed information about the ranch and find ranch contacts here.

Unit S61 Chancellor Ranch State Land Board property only

  • Season dates: Sept. 1–30 and Dec. 1–31
  • 1 Ram
  • Hunt code: S-M-S61-S1-R


State information

It is important to understand the way that the tags are drawn for Colorado bighorn sheep, moose and goats. The method of a calculating who is drawn for these species is different than how deer, elk, and antelope are drawn. Check out the Understanding the Draw section below for the method behind this calculation.

Applying as a resident or nonresident

Residents

Residents can apply online here.

Nonresidents

Since nonresidents can apply for sheep, moose, and mountain goat via paper applications only, it’s important that you gather these applications from the regulation handbook and carefully fill out your application. 2017 is the last year for paper applications. You must postmark on or before midnight April 4. Note: Midnight postmark is acceptable.

Mail sheep applications to:

Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Attn: Bighorn Sheep
P.O. Box 173757
Denver, CO 80217-3757

Mail goat applications to:

Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Attn: Mountain Goat
P.O. Box 173758
Denver, CO 80217-3758

Mail moose applications to:

Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Attn: Moose
P.O. Box 173782
Denver, CO 80217-3782

Note: Customers with errors on their paper applications will NOT be contacted to fix those errors prior to the draw; those applications will be disqualified from the draw. Application correction requests can be submitted until April 10 here.

To view important information and an overview of Colorado’s rules/regulations, the draw system and preference points, tag and license fees and an interactive boundary line map, check out our State Profile. You can also view the Species Profiles to access historical and statistical data to help you identify trophy areas.

Colorado State Profile Rocky Bighorn Profile Desert Bighorn Profile Moose Profile Goat Profile Draw Odds Filtering 2.0

Important dates and information

  • The deadline to apply for Colorado deer is midnight MST on April 4, 2017.
  • Residents may apply online here or by paper.
  • Nonresident applicants must apply on paper for these three species.
  • Only the original paper application found in the regulation handbook or ordered from the division offices may be used for the paper application submission.
  • If you apply by paper, then your application must be postmarked by midnight MST on April 4, 2017.
  • You can return your license (tag) for a refund or reinstatement of preference points, but must submit your application at least 30 days prior to opening day.
  • The application to turn your license in can be found here.
  • The maximum number of weighted points for Rocky Mountain bighorn is 17.
  • The maximum number of weighted points for mountain goat and moose is 15.
  • There is no point system in place for desert sheep.
  • Application corrections and amendments are due by April 10, 2017.
  • You can apply for a preference point only by submitting the following codes:
    • S-P-999-99-P for Rocky Mountain bighorn
    • G-P-999-99-P for mountain goat
    • M-P-999-99-P for moose
  • Preference points are usable on the first choice only.
  • Any choice drawn as a second choice will not impact preference points and an additional preference point will be awarded should you draw a second choice.
  • Only certain units are available for nonresident applicants for sheep, moose, and mountain goat. Check the sheep and mountain goat regulations here and the moose regulations here.
  • You are required to front (submit) the entire license fee at the time of application, even if applying for points only.
  • You will be refunded the entire amount less the application fee and preference point fee.

The impact of wolves on Colorado’s herds

Luckily, Colorado does not have any established wolf numbers, which means that predation is not an issue (at this time). Hopefully, this continues for the foreseeable future. With that being said, you can check out a few recent news articles we covered on Colorado wolves below.



The Rich Outdoors Podcast

EP 109 - Hunting in Colorado, tips for planning your Colorado hunting adventure with Brady Miller and Brandon Evans

Cody is joined by Brady Miller and Brandon Evans of goHUNT to get some tips on hunting Colorado and how to apply. Overall they focus most of this episode on those looking to hunt over-the-counter deer and or with very few points. Also covered is application info for moose, sheep and mountain goat.

You can find the podcast index for all of the episodes on The Rich Outdoors Podcast websiteiTunes, Stitcher and Overcast.



The draw system

Understanding the draw

These three species have a different draw system in place than other animals in Colorado. It is critical for all applicants to understand that you must acquire three preference points before you are eligible to draw a license for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, mountain goat, or moose. After you have accumulated three points, then you will be awarded a weighted point for each subsequent year that you are not drawn. These weighted points will be used as your divisor in your application calculation by the drawing computer. What this means is that the higher your number of weighted points, the greater your divisor and the greater your chance of getting a lower final number in the drawing. With these species, the lower final number is key to getting drawn because the applicant with the lowest final number is granted the first tag. For more information on how this works, visit our Colorado State Profile. This illustration will help to explain how this formula works.

How the Rocky Mountain bighorn, mountain goat, and moose draw works 

  Applicant A Applicant B Applicant C Applicant D
Preference points accumulated 3 3 3 1
Weighted points accumulated 12 4 2 0
Random number assigned 930 1204 81 N/A
Random number divided by weighted 77.5 301 40.5 N/A
Add one for current year 78.5 302 41.5 N/A
New priority number 78.5 302 41.5 N/A
Ranking of applicants 2 3 1 N/A

 

Desert sheep are treated entirely different than the other three species mentioned above. Desert sheep are the only species that has no preference point system in place. What this means is that all applicants are on equal ground in the draw. Note: you must select either Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep or desert sheep when you apply. You cannot apply for both species in the same year.

Here's why that matters

Obviously, the key to drawing a tag with the weighted points system is to get beyond the three year probationary period so you can become eligible. Once you are eligible to draw, raw luck in getting assigned a low random number is as important as accumulating the weighted points for a divisor.

What you’re after is a combination of luck, being assigned a super low random number and a high number of weighted points as your divisor. Keep in mind that there is a random chance at drawing after just three years of applying, which makes this a great state to apply in.

  • 2017 maximum weighted points for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep: 17
  • **No point system for desert sheep
  • 2017 maximum weighted points for moose: 15
  • 2017 maximum bonus points for mountain goat: 15

Unlocking Colorado’s system

The key to finding better draw odds with Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and mountain goat is to be proficient with a bow and to apply for the archery-only choices. The odds of drawing are still low, but significantly better than the rifle hunt choices.

Moose does not offer a separate nonresident quota for archery or muzzleloader. As a nonresident, you will simply apply for the hunt choice (regardless of weapon type) and if you are selected early enough, you will draw whatever weapon type you applied for. This is how the moose draw differs from the others.

If you are fortunate to have drawn a Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep tag and harvested one in Colorado, then make sure you apply for the desert sheep in Colorado since it is completely random without a point system in place. The trophy quality for desert sheep in Colorado might not be comparable to other states, but it’s still a chance to draw a desert sheep tag.


 

Colorado's 2017 rocky bighorn sheep breakdown
 

John with a Colorado rocky bighorn taken with Compass West Outfitters
John with an 8.5 year old Colorado rocky bighorn taken with Compass West Outfitters — a goHUNT Business Member

While Colorado is not known for the highest scoring bighorns, it offers a lot of tags across the state. In total, there are 223 Rocky Mountain bighorn ram tags available for 2017. The resident hunters will get 202 tags while the nonresident hunters will get 21. This is slightly better than 10% for nonresidents. Listed below is a breakdown of the Rocky Mountain bighorn tags by weapon and season type. Even though Colorado rams are not the highest scoring, most everyone is just looking to draw a ram tag at some point in their life and they would be happy with any tag in Colorado.

Colorado Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep license allocations

Season type Resident
quota
Nonresident
quota
Archery bighorn 57 6
Rifle bighorn 138 15
Ranching for Wildlife 4 0
Bighorn Sheep Access Program 2 0
Chancellor Ranch Pilot Program 1 0
Total tags by residency 202 21


The terrain and vegetation can make for a challenging hunt to locate rams and the harvest success over the years in some units shows this. While most of the rams will be hunted at high elevation with steep terrain, some of the rams can be found among timber in units with lower elevation. In order to determine the difficulty of a hunt, research historic harvest success. You can easily access this information in Filtering 2.0 using the sort function. Use this link to jump to that filter search that will show the units sorted by harvest success from highest to lowest.

Current rocky bighorn sheep herd condition

The Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in Colorado are in great shape. Overall numbers are up and so are tag numbers once again in 2017.

The seasons

There are two seasons available for bighorns and 19 of the bighorn sheep units have an archery-only season and 58 any legal weapon units. This archery only season is unique to Colorado and is a great way to allow bowhunters a chance to hunt sheep without other tag holders carrying rifles at the same time, plus it helps increase draw odds.

The rifle seasons vary by unit. Most of the seasons take place throughout the month of September to allow better access into the high elevations before snowfall restrict access. A few of the rifle season dates will coincide with the peak of the rut, but most will take place pre-rut. Also, there are five units with December season dates, you can see that filter result here.

2016 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep Unit S12 rifle versus archery comparison 

Hunt code Residency Tags
available
First choice
applicants
Rifle S-M-S12-O1R Resident 4 224
Nonresident 1 257
Archery S-M-S12-O1A Resident 9 90
Nonresident 1 70


goHUNT’s hit list units for trophy Colorado rocky bighorn sheep in 2017

Some of the best units for trophy sheep are listed below. Not all of the units are available for nonresident applicants. We have added a column on the right side to show nonresident availability. What we consider to be a top unit isn’t always driven solely by trophy potential. Harvest success year after year is also a major factor.

Top hit list hunt units to consider for 160" or better rocky bighorns
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
potential
Nonresident tag
available?
S32 170"+ Yes, archery and rifle
S44 175"+ Yes, archery
S54 165"+ No
S41 160"+ No
S9 165"+ Yes, archery and rifle
S36 160"+ No
S50 175"+ No
S12 170"+ Yes, archery and rifle
S39 165"+ No
S37 160"+ No
S69 160"+ No
S74 165"+ No
S35 160"+ Yes, archery
S49 165"+ Yes, archery

 



How to uncover hidden gem rocky bighorn sheep units
 

Colorado Rocky bighorn taken with Roosters Guide and Outfitting Adventures
Colorado Rocky bighorn taken with Roosters Guide and Outfitting Adventures — A goHUNT Business Member

What makes a sheep unit a hidden gem is when you find a hunt that fits your limitations and capabilities. Sheep units are like hiking boots. If the unit is a good fit, then the experience will be enjoyable. If the unit is too strenuous or difficult, then it will only bring frustration and pain. For this reason, it is important to utilize our Filtering 2.0 tool and focus on the harvest success trends as well as what the terrain and access for a given sheep unit is like. There are some sheep units that are far easier to draw in Colorado, but if the terrain is too strenuous and the sheep numbers are too low, then the odds of finding success on the hunt is minimal.

Archery choices are far easier to draw then the rifle choices. The illustration above on Unit S12 indicates this.

Colorado's top Boone & Crockett producing counties since 2010 for rocky bighorn sheep

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Huerfano 4 S8, S9, S38, S50, S51
Larimer 3 S1, S18, S19, S37, S40S57, S58
Eagle 2 S59
Las Animas 2 S38, S48, S51, S61

* Four other counties with one entry each
 


The points system

The preference point race

2017 maximum weighted points for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep: 17
To apply for a point only, use this code: S-P-999-99-P as your first choice.

Managing points and expectations

Note: For another view of the bonus point breakdown using tables, visit the Colorado Rocky Bighorn Sheep Species Profile. The table view will allow for an easier readout of the higher point totals.

Find your draw odds

I have 0 rocky bighorn sheep preference points. What can I expect?

With zero preference points, you will need to apply, but you’re out of the game for three years. You will need to apply for three consecutive years in order to earn the required three preference points to be considered eligible to draw. At this level you have no chance of drawing a bighorn sheep tag in Colorado.

What can I do with 3 rocky bighorn sheep preference points?

After putting in your time for three years, you now have a chance to draw a tag. At this stage, you do not have any weighted points built up, but you are now eligible to draw. Luck will have to be on your side if you want to draw a bighorn sheep license with zero weighted points, but it can be done. That’s the great part about Colorado’s sheep system. Note: once you’ve earned the three preference points, the draw is random and the weighted points just improve your chances. Check out your draw odds for residents here and nonresidents here.

What can I expect with 10 or more rocky bighorn sheep weighted points?

With 10 weighted points, your odds are getting slightly better. But your strategy should still be the same regardless of your level of weighted points. Just know that the higher your weighted point level, the better your odds are of having a lower final application number. Remember that your weighted point level is used as your divisor once the draw computer assigns your application a random number.

Residents

If you just are looking to draw a tag, there were 13 hunts that had 15% or better draw odds last year. You can see that list here. Keep in mind that the archery hunts are going to have better draw odds on average.

Nonresidents

Draw odds are still very low for a nonresident with 10 points. Last year the hunts with the best draw odds were Unit S44 at 9.2% and Unit S49 at 4.5%. The best strategy is to pick the unit that will match your hunting style and hope you get drawn with the Colorado draw system.



Colorado's 2017 desert bighorn sheep breakdown

This is the true random species that Colorado offers. There are no bonus or preference points for any applicants, which means that everyone is equal. Colorado residents have four units to select from (S56, S62, S63, S64) while the nonresident applicants have just one unit (S56) to apply for. All desert sheep seasons are rifle licenses that run the entire month of November. Remember that you can only apply for desert sheep if you are not applying for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. You cannot apply for both sheep species in the same year.

The desert sheep units in Colorado have rough terrain that is typically along river drainages. The elevations are lower than the Rocky Mountain sheep, but still plan on a strenuous, rugged hunt if you are lucky enough to draw. Local outfitters in the area have proven track records of taking some great rams. A ram scoring 155-160” B&C is a trophy for Colorado. There are only 12 total resident desert bighorn ram licenses and one nonresident license. It will take a lot of luck to be drawn for a desert bighorn tag in Colorado.

Current desert bighorn sheep herd condition

The desert sheep in Colorado are doing fairly well. There hasn't been a major population growth since the 2011/2012 years, but 2015 saw a slight increase.

The desert sheep in Colorado were originally transplanted from the Kofa units in Arizona back in 1979. Since then, other transplants have occurred, bringing additional sheep from Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. Today, there is a total of roughly 520 sheep that live among the four desert sheep units in Colorado; the original management objective called for 1,200 total sheep. It is worth noting that Unit S63 is the only unit that saw a population increase recently. Unit S56 has the highest population of sheep, while Unit S62 is second in total numbers. Unit S63 and Unit S64 are actually the same herd and have the lowest numbers.

The seasons

The desert bighorn sheep seasons are all rifle and run the entire month of November. Unlike Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, there are no established archery-only seasons set aside for desert sheep. With a season that runs an entire month you will have plenty of time to locate sheep and harvest a ram.

goHUNT’s hit list units for trophy Colorado desert bighorn sheep in 2017

The current unit for nonresidents for 2017 is S56.

Top hit list hunt units to consider for 160" or better desert bighorn sheep
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
potential
Harvest
success
S56 165"+ 100%
S62 155"+ 100%
S64 165"+ 0%*
S63 160"+ 100%

* There was only one tag offered in this unit in 2016. So this harvest success shouldn't be too alarming for someone looking to apply here.
 


How to uncover hidden gem desert bighorn sheep units

There is not a secret formula to use to select a special unit. Nonresident only have one annual tag offered and the unit is already selected for them. The resident applicants can select from four units. The key to narrowing the search is truly in the draw odds. For nonresidents, in 2016, there were 369 first choice applicants for the one tag available.

Colorado's top Boone & Crockett producing counties since 2010 for desert bighorn sheep

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Mesa 3 S56, S62
San Miguel 2 S63, S64
 
 


The points system

There are no points in place for desert sheep in Colorado. With only four units to chose from for residents, and one for nonresidents, it's important to study the Unit Profiles to find the right unit and study the Draw Odds. The direct link to the standalone draw odds for residents can be found here and nonresidents here. Note: Nonresidents can only apply for Unit S56 in 2017. You'll see that in the standalone draw odds table, the unit that was available last year is shown. Since the nonresident unit is on a rotating basis... draw odds for 2017 will be very similar since this is the only hunt a nonresident can apply for.

Find your draw odds



Colorado's 2017 Shiras moose breakdown

If you are after big trophy Shiras moose, then you must be applying for Colorado moose. Colorado currently ranks fifth all time in the total amount of B&C Shiras moose entries, but when you look at the total number of entries since 2010, Colorado sits in 4th place. Why is Colorado gaining ground? The lack of wolves is a huge benefit for Colorado compared to neighboring states with high wolf numbers. There is plenty of public land to allow for great access to hunt moose with only a few units that have private land restrictions. Heavy timbered areas and river drainages hold the majority of the moose. All serious moose hunters should apply for Colorado.

There are a few moose units to watch out for in Colorado. While they are capable of producing a great bull, the number of moose are low, which means hunters can have a low harvest success. Some of these units will also have private land limitations. Be cautious of the following units: Units 1, 20, 29, 38, 39, 46, 201, 500 and 501 have low numbers of moose and some moose habitat is on private land. Be sure to get landowner permission before hunting on private land.

It is also important to note that Units 48, 55, 56, 65, 68, 74, 75, 79, 481, 551, 561 and 681 have low density moose populations and are subject to modifications in coming years. Currently, there is very little harvest history for these hunts and information is very limited since these are experimental units.

Current moose herd condition

Thanks to the lack of wolves, moose numbers are doing great across the state. Trophy quality is also holding steady thanks to great genetics. In 2015 the statewide harvest success for bulls was 88% and 70% for cows.

The seasons

Colorado offers an archery, muzzleloader, and a rifle season for moose hunting. The archery and muzzleloader seasons overlap and have the best chance to catch peak rut action. Expect bulls to be vocal and covering ground during September in search of cows. If you are fortunate enough to draw a tag and you select either of these two seasons, then you should plan on an exciting hunt. The rifle season takes place in early October and will still have rut behavior, but this will be the later part of the rut cycle. Bulls will still respond to calls, but may not be as vocal as in mid September. The rifle season is a great way to harvest a great bull, too.

2017 moose season dates

Weapon Dates
Archery Sept. 9 to 24, 2017
Muzzleloader Sept. 9 to 17, 2017
Rifle Oct. 1 to 14, 2017

 

goHUNT’s hit list units for trophy Colorado moose in 2017

Access and success are the key factors in deciding a unit to apply for and, ultimately, hunt. Obviously, trophy quality should also be considered. Below is a list of units that we feel provides a good blend of the three criteria and a chance to harvest a bull with a spread of 45” to 50” or greater.

Top hit list hunt units to consider for 40" or better moose
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
potential
6 45"+
17 45"+
7, 8, 191 45"+
39, 46 40"+
76, 77, 751 40"+
18, 181 40"+
41, 42, 52, 411, 421, 521 40"+
15, 27 40"+

 


 

How to uncover hidden gem moose units

Your INSIDER membership and INSIDER tools are the key to discovering a great moose area to hunt. Use Filtering 2.0 to find units that have a stable to rising harvest success. Once you locate these, study each of those unit profiles to see what the terrain and access is like. The five year trend of harvest success listed in the unit profile will also be helpful to get an idea of your chance at success. There are a lot of good moose units in Colorado.

Colorado's top Boone & Crockett producing counties since 2010 for moose

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Grand 11 15, 18, 27, 28, 37, 181, 361
Jackson 10 6, 16, 17, 161, 171
Larimer 7 7, 8, 19, 20, 191
Mesa 3 41, 42, 411, 421
Park 3 39, 46, 49, 50, 500, 501
 


The points system

The preference point race

2017 maximum weighted preference points for moose: 15
To apply for a point only, use this code: M-P-999-99-P as your first choice.

Managing points and expectations

Note: For another view of the bonus point breakdown using tables, visit the Colorado Moose Species Profile. The table view will allow for an easier readout of the higher point totals.

Find your draw odds

I have 0 moose preference points. What can I expect?

Just like with rocky bighorns, if you’re thinking about applying for the first time for Shiras moose in Colorado, you will need to apply, but you’re out of the game for three years. You will need to apply for three consecutive years in order to earn the required three preference points to be considered eligible to draw. At zero points, you have no chance of drawing a Shiras moose tag in Colorado.

What can I do with 3 moose preference points?

With three preference points, you’re finally in the game. After putting in your time for three years, you now have a chance to draw a tag, but it will take luck because weighted points are needed to greatly improve your chances. The weapon type that you apply for will not matter for moose and will not increase your odds of drawing. This is where Colorado moose is unique since they draw applicants by the unit and then assign the weapon/season type based on which season was applied for. It is possible for all hunters drawn for a unit to hunt with the same weapon type and season dates. Note: You can exchange your moose license for a different method of take. Take your tag to a CPW location before Sept. 9 to exchange it to hunt in a different season.

Note: once you’ve earned the three preference points, the draw is random and the weighted points just improve your chances. Check out your draw odds for residents here and nonresidents here.

What can I expect with 10 or more weighted moose points?

At 10 weighted points, your odds have increased “slightly” but lots of luck will be needed to draw. Make sure you select the weapon type and season dates that fit your time availability and weapon preference. You can also look to our hit list in the table above for options. Just know that the higher your weighted point level, the better your odds are of having a lower final application number. Remember that your weighted point level is used as your divisor once the draw computer assigns your application a random number.

Residents

Like the theme for most moose units in the west, even with 10 points you're looking at draw odds less than 10%. A good strategy here is to check out the number of applications, the terrain of the unit and the draw odd trends to hopefully find a unit that might be slightly undersubscribed. With that being said, you'll still need plenty of luck to pull a moose tag. You can study the draw odds tables at the 10 point level here.

Nonresident

Draw odds are all below 10% for a nonresident with 10 points. Study the Draw Odds tables and Unit Profiles to find a hunt that meets your criteria.



Colorado's 2017 Rocky Mountain goat breakdown
 

Colorado mountain goat taken with Flat Tops Wilderness Guides
Colorado mountain goat taken with Flat Tops Wilderness Guides, LLC — A goHUNT Business Member

Colorado is a great destination for mountain goat hunters. Mountain goats live in the worst areas and at the highest elevations, but the harvest success rates are good considering the physicality of the hunts. Similar to the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, there are also archery-only hunt choices available in some units. The resident archery only units are: G1, G14, G5, G8 and for nonresidents the archery only unit is G5.

Colorado is also home to many 14,000’ plus peaks studded throughout the Rockies. Tourists come from all over to hike as many of the “Fourteeners” as possible. Most of these hikers are out there on weekends and, for this reason, Colorado separates some of the mountain goat units as “weekday only” hunting. This helps to avoid the potential conflict between hiker and hunter. Some of the mountain goats are very docile because they are used to people recreating regularly. This can make the hunt very easy. The weekend only units are: G4, G7, G10, G15 and G16.

Current mountain goat herd condition

Mountain goats continue to have solid numbers due to a very conservative management plan in place by CPW. The latest post hunt population estimate that is available showed a slight increase in a statewide population.

Don’t let the B&C record book fool you, even though Colorado only has 18 total mountain goats entered into the B&C record book, a trophy mountain goat is judged on a lot more than inches. In 2015, 77 billies were harvested with a harvest success of 85%.

TOP B&C MOUNTAIN GOAT LOCATIONS ALL-TIME

The seasons

The archery-only seasons are by far the easiest to draw, but they are also the most difficult to find success due to the fact that the terrain is very rugged and challenging.

Regardless of the weapon type, the seasons are generally in the month of September except for a few options available in October. The longer you can wait to harvest your goat, the longer the hair will be and the more impressive the mount. Yet, the more tricky the terrain could be.

The rifle seasons are far more difficult to draw, but have a much higher chance at success. It is important for rifle hunters to be very careful when they select a goat to shoot. A ram that is lying in a location where humans cannot access due to the terrain can be very dangerous to retrieve after you shoot it.

goHUNT’s hit list units for Colorado mountain goat in 2017

The top units for mountain goats are listed below. When determining what we consider to be a top unit, we look for units that have consistent harvest success and mature goats. Colorado is not known for high scoring mountain goats, but the majestic scenery found throughout the unit choices is second to none.

Top hit list hunt units to consider for 9" or better mountain goat
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
potential
Harvest
success
G5 9" Archery: 94%
Any legal weapon: 100%
G7 9" Any legal weapon (Sept. 5-15): 100%
Any legal weapon (Sept. 18-29): 60%
Any legal weapon (Oct. 2-13): 67%
Any legal weapon (Oct. 16-27): 100%
G16 9" Any legal weapon (Sept. 5-15): 100%
Any legal weapon (Sept. 18-29): 100%
Any legal weapon (Oct. 2-13): 80%
Any legal weapon (Oct. 16-27): 67%
G4 9" Any legal weapon (Sept. 18-29): 100%
Any legal weapon (Oct. 2-13): 83%
Any legal weapon (Oct. 16-27): 75%
G12 9" Any legal weapon (Sept. 5-19): 86%
G2 9" Any legal weapon (Sept. 5-Oct. 8): 88%

 


 

How to uncover hidden gem mountain goat units

Finding a hidden gem mountain goat opportunity is going to be tough in any state. The biggest thing you should keep in mind is the terrain of units. Some units are more rugged and steep than others. That can sometimes make draw odds better. When it comes to mountain goats, it’s the experience that truly matters. The differences between an 8” goat compared to a 9” goat is very minimum, so most people aren’t too concerned with finding a trophy, rather they’d just like to draw a tag. Utilize Filtering 2.0 to search by harvest success and read the Unit Profiles to better understand the terrain that you will deal with.

Colorado's top Boone & Crockett producing counties since 2010 for mountain goat

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Clear Creek 2 G4, G7, G15, G16
Summit 2 G6, G7, G10, G15, G16, G18
Chaffee 1 G1, G2, G3, G13, G14
Grand 1 G6, G15
Park 1 G4, G16
 
 


The points system

The preference point race

2017 maximum weighted preference points for mountain goat: 15
To apply for a point only, use this code: G-P-999-99-P as your first choice.

Managing points and expectations

Mountain goat taken in Colorado with Flat Tops Wilderness Guides

Mountain goat taken in Colorado with Flat Tops Wilderness Guides, LLC — A goHUNT Business Member

Note: For another view of the bonus point breakdown using tables, visit the Colorado Mountain Goat Species Profile. The table view will allow for an easier readout of the higher point totals.

Find your draw odds

I have 0 mountain goat preference points. What can I expect?

Once again, just like with Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and Shiras moose, you have zero chance to draw a tag if you’re just applying. You’ll need to get to acquire three preference points before you are eligible to draw a mountain goat license and begin to earn weighted points. If you ever want to hunt a mountain goat in the lower 48, it’s best to start applying now.

What can I do with 3 mountain goat preference points?

At the three point level, you now actually have a chance to draw. If you want better odds to pull a mountain goat tag, you might want to look at the archery only unit. Most of the time you can have better odds for the archery only hunt, but not all the time in this mountain goat example (especially when it comes to a nonresident). See the example in the 10 point section below. If archery is not your preferred hunt, then apply for a rifle hunt choice that meets your physical abilities and limitations and cross your fingers. Check out the draw odd here for residents and here for nonresidents. Once you're at that link, you can enter your points in. This will help you when you click on a unit to see how the unit is trending.

What can I expect with 10 or more weighted mountain goat points?

If you have accumulated this many points, then you are bound to get some luck soon! You are never guaranteed to draw with more weighted points, but your odds do mathematically increase. Look to the units and hunt choices that you can physically hunt, and apply. This just may be your year!

At 10 points, a nonresident is only sitting at 2.5% odds for the archery only unit. And surprisingly, some of the rifle units have better draw odds than the archery only unit. For example: In 2016 Unit G5 archery only hunt recieved 134 nonresident applicants for two tags with a draw odds of 2.5%. Compare that to Unit G13 with 75 nonresident applications for two tags and draw odds of 4.8%. In fact, in both 2015 and 2016 Unit G13 had better draw odds than the archery only Unit G5.

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