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APPLICATION STRATEGY 2018: Colorado Sheep, Moose, Goat

 

2018 Colorado moose sheep goat application strategy article

Colorado's 2018 sheep, moose and goat application overview

Jump to: New for 2018 State Information Draw System Rocky Bighorn Breakdown Desert Bighorn Breakdown Moose Breakdown Mountain Goat Breakdown

Colorado offers very good hunting opportunities for moose, sheep, and mountain goats and the terrain they inhabit is some of the most scenic anywhere outside of Alaska and the Canadian Rockies. Licenses are tough to draw and the system is unique when compared to elk, deer, and antelope, but, for those lucky enough to draw, the hunting is very good.

Perhaps the biggest news in western hunting this year is that Colorado will no longer require applicants for these three species to front the cost of the licenses in order to apply. This may not sound like a big deal, but, prior to this year, you were required to submit a paper application with the license costs in the form of a check—not a credit card. That could have been up to $6,633 dollars you would have had to float from your checking account! That has changed for 2018 and although it’s likely to negatively impact odds, it does open up the opportunity to more applicants that were never in the game before.

If you have been applying—or just want to get started—we will break down the draw process for each species as well as the hunt options. We will 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 Colorado is midnight on April 3, 2018 MST. You can apply online here or via telephone at 1-800-244-5613. Paper applications are no longer available.



Why Colorado for sheep, moose, goat in 2018

Application change

As noted above, you no longer have to front the cost of the license to apply and build points.

Random chance to draw

You don’t actually go into the draw for mountain goats, moose, and Rocky Mountain sheep until you accumulate three preference points, but, after that, you have some chance to draw due to the fact that the drawing is random.

There is no point system for desert bighorn sheep and the drawing is random.

Archery only hunts

Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and mountain goat have archery only hunt options. The odds of drawing these licenses is typically better than the any weapon options.

Trophy quality moose

Opportunity for a trophy bull is better in Colorado than any other state; herds are healthy and the quality is excellent



New for 2018

Licensing system change

Colorado new licensing system

  • Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) transitioned to a licensing, pass, and reservation system in January 2018. All customers—new and existing—need to have a unique email and password to create an online profile in the new system.
  • Applications are now paperless for all species. You must apply online or via telephone.
  • You are no longer required to front the fees for licenses when applying. You will only pay the $3 application fee per species and the $10 habitat stamp. The license fees will only be charged if you successfully draw a license. There is currently no preference point fee for moose, bighorn sheep or mountain goats.
  • If you draw a license it must be paid for by May 16. If you successfully draw a license CPW will attempt to charge the credit card on file; if it’s invalid they will attempt to contact you via email and you have until May 16 to pay.
  • If you do not pay for a license you drew by May 16 you will surrender the license and lose all accumulated points.

Muzzleloader bullet change

Round ball bullets for muzzleloaders are now a minimum of .50 caliber. This applies to bighorn sheep and mountain goats. Conical bullets must still be a minimum of .40 caliber.

Overnight camping permit required

Hunters who plan to hunt or scout in this portion of S13 or G12 should be aware that a limited number of overnight camping permits will now be issued for the Conundrum Creek Valley. These federally-required camping permits are necessary year-round, cost $10 and will be available online at www.recreation.gov.

Bighorn sheep: hunts/season changes

  • Second ram rifle season now open in Units S1 and S40, S58. Starting after the first rifle season ends, the new rifle season will run from Oct. 13 to Nov. 4 in Unit S1 and combined Units S40 and S58.
  • New ram archery season now open in Units S26, S70. The Taylor Ridge and Fossil Ridge Game Management Units (GMU) will have a combined harvest limit of one ram for this archery-only season.
  • New ewe rifle season now open in Unit S29. The Alamosa Canyon GMU will have a harvest limit of one ewe for the season.
  • Rifle ram season changes in Unit S41: The season now starts two weeks later than in previous years, running from Sept. 17 to Oct. 20.
  • New split ram rifle season in Unit S61. In addition to the current ram rifle season from Dec. 1 to 31, earlier dates of Sept. 1 to 20 have been added to the Purgatory Canyon GMU hunt.

Desert bighorn sheep: hunts/season changes

CPW rotates the desert bighorn unit that nonresidents can hunt. In 2018, the nonresident license will be valid in Unit S62.

Moose: hunts/season changes

  • New bull hunt in Units 55, 551: This new hunt is available for resident archery, muzzleloader, and rifle seasons.
  • New for nonresidents: Units 76, 77, 751 Weminuche Wilderness only moose hunt.
  • Units 20 and 29 now each have a cow moose hunt. Both have a resident archery, muzzleloader, and rifle cow hunt and Unit 29 will have a nonresident cow hunt.
  • Units 41, 42, 421, and Units 52, 411, 521 have later cow hunt dates running from Nov. 3 to 18.

Mountain goat: hunts/season changes

  • Unit G7 nanny hunt available for nonresidents as well as residents in 2018.
  • Unit G18 will have no hunts in 2018.


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.

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 all Colorado species is midnight April 3, 2018 MST.
  • Apply online here or by calling 1-800-244-5613.
  • New for 2018: You no longer have to front license fees to apply.
  • All applicants must create an online account to apply online.
  • Applicants born after Jan. 1, 1949 must have completed an approved hunter’s education course before applying and you must carry your hunter’s education card with you while you hunt.
  • Hunters age 50 plus, or military personnel, who have not completed hunter’s education can take a one-time online test to test out. The cost is $24.50 and you must pass with 90%.
  • Youth ages 12 to 17 can hunt bighorn sheep and mountain goats, but must meet hunter education requirements. Youth may also apply for a bighorn sheep or mountain goat license or preference point at age 11 if they will turn 12 before the end of the season on the license. Youth cannot hunt with the license until they turn 12. Youth under 16 must hunt with a mentor.
  • You cannot apply for both desert and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. There is no point system for desert bighorn sheep.
  • There is a preference/weighted point system for bighorn sheep, moose and mountain goats. See the draw system section below for details.
  • Successful applicants will be charged between June 4 and 8. If the credit card used to apply is not valid to charge between those dates, you have until May 16 to pay for your license online, at a CPW office, or by phone. If you fail to pay you will lose the license and the preference points required to draw the permit.
  • Draw results will be posted on or before these dates: June 4 through 8.
  • You can return your license (tag) for a refund or reinstatement of points, but must submit your application at least 30 days prior to opening day. If you return a drawn permit and want your preference points reinstated, you will not receive an additional point for 2018.
  • When you draw a nonresident license it also includes an annual fishing and small game license that is valid through March 31 of the following year.
  • License price increases: Nonresident 2018 moose, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, and mountain goats licenses increased by $62. Desert bighorn licenses increased by $37.

Cost to apply

Item Cost
Application fee per species $3.00
Habitat stamp (required to apply) $10.00

 

2018 license costs

Species Resident Nonresident
Shiras moose $251 $2,211
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep $251 $2,211
Desert bighorn sheep $251 $1,471
Rocky mountain goat $251 $2,211

* License cost will be charged only if you are successful in the draw.


The draw system

Understanding the draw

Moose, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, desert bighorn sheep and mountain goat have a different draw system than the other Colorado species. Understanding how the system works is critical if you plan to apply for these species. Nonresidents are limited to 10% of the total number of moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain goat licenses.

There is no point system for desert bighorn sheep. The draw is random and every applicant that applies is on the same playing field in terms of odds. Note: you must select either Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep or desert bighorn sheep when you apply. You cannot apply for both species in the same year.

Point system

For moose, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and mountain goat there is a preference point/weighted point system. You are awarded a preference point for the first three years you apply. The maximum number of preference points you can aquire is three and you have to acquire three preference points before you are actually entered into the drawing. After that, you are entered into the draw and the drawing is random. After you have accumulated three preference points, you will then be awarded a weighted point for each subsequent year that you are not drawn.

Weighted points increase your chances of drawing a license. Here's how it works: Once you are in the draw, your application is converted into a random number, which is then divided by the number of weighted points you have plus one. This generates a new number, which is then sorted from lowest to highest with the lowest number drawing the licenses. Let’s look at an example of four hypothetical applicants:

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 15+1 10+1 6+1 0
Random number assigned 845 643 110 N/A
Random number divided by weighted 52.8 58.5 15.7 N/A
Priority number 52.8 58.5 15.7 N/A
Ranking of applicants 2 3 1 N/A

This example demonstrates that anyone with three preference points could draw a license. Statistically, you have better odds with each additional weighted point you acquire, but you do have a random chance once you are actually in the draw. If you are lucky enough to have a low random number assigned to your application, you could draw with no weighted points at all.  

If you don’t have enough preference points to be considered in the draw or you do not want to be considered in the draw and want to build points only, you can use the point only codes listed below as your first choice. Once again, there is no point system for desert bighorn sheep.  

Moose: M-P-999-99-P
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep: 
S-P-999-99-P
Mountain goat: G-P-999-99-P

2018 maximum weighted points for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep: 18
No points for Desert bighorn sheep
2018 maximum weighted points for moose: 16
2018 maximum weighted points for mountain goat: 16

Hunt choices

Every applicant’s first choice is considered before moving to subsequent choices. It is highly unlikely that there would ever be a male moose, bighorn sheep, or mountain goat license available as a second choice. Some ewe sheep licenses could slip to a second choice,  but explore the second choice standalone draw odds. If you draw any hunt as a first choice, your points will be purged. Hunts drawn as subsequent choices would allow you to retain your points and build one for that year.

Group applications

Group applications are allowed for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and mountain goat. Groups of two can apply together for those species. Residents and nonresidents cannot apply together in a group for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep or mountain goats. The group leader must apply first. All group members must use the same person as the leader and apply for the same hunt choices in order to go through the draw as a group. Groups will go into the draw with the lowest number of points of any member of the group. If one applicant does not have enough preference points to be considered in the draw, the application will only gain a point and will not be in the actual draw. We do not advise applicants to apply as a group for these species. With very few licenses available, it does have the potential to negatively impact odds. For example, if there is only one nonresident permit available for any given hunt, a group application could not draw. Colorado will not over allocate licenses to cover all applicants of the group.

Waiting periods

If you draw a desert bighorn sheep license and harvest you cannot apply again in your lifetime. If you draw a Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep license and harvest a ram of at least a half curl you cannot apply again for five years. If you draw and harvest a mountain goat you cannot apply again for five years. If you draw and harvest an antlered moose you cannot apply again for an antlered or either sex moose license again in your life. If you do not harvest, there is no waiting period to apply again for these species.

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.

Unlocking Colorado’s system

Colorado is the only state to offer archery only Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and mountain goat licenses. The odds of drawing an archery license is still low, but they are better than the rifle hunts. The harvest statistics for the archery-only hunts are typically lower than the rifle hunts, but those hunts do represent the best opportunity to actually draw a tag.

2017 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep Unit S9 rifle vs archery

Hunt code Residency Tags available First choice applicants
Rifle S-M-S09-O1R Resident 10 236
Nonresident 1 155
Archery S-M-S09-O1A Resident 9 131
Nonresident 2 78

Moose weapon/seasons are different than sheep or goat. There are a predetermined number of nonresident moose licenses for each unit and, when you apply, you must select your weapon type, although there are not separate pools of licenses for each weapon/season. Rather, every nonresident goes into the same pool for that unit. If you draw a license you can hunt the weapon/season you applied for or you could exchange it for another season as long as you do so prior to the season starting. Applying for one weapon/season over another does not increase or decrease your chances of drawing a license.   


 

Colorado's 2018 rocky bighorn sheep breakdown

Colorado rarely produces bighorn sheep that break 175”, but populations are stable and they do offer a good number of licenses. For 2018, there will be 300 licenses: 219 ram and 81 ewe.

2018 Colorado Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep license allocations

Season type Resident
quota
Nonresident
quota
Archery ram 56 7
Archery ewe 6 NA
Rifle ram 141 15
Rifle ewe 63 6
Ranching for Wildlife (resident only) 2 ewe NA
Bighorn Sheep Access Program (resident only) 2 ewe
2 ram
NA
Total tags by residency 272 28

Bighorn sheep hunting can be tough due to the steep, rugged, and heavily timbered terrain that they inhabit. Some hunts are far from a slam dunk and doing some research before you apply is worth it. 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. We recommend that you explore the harvest success rate as well as each unit profile that you are considering to make sure that it meets your objectives and abilities.

Current rocky bighorn sheep herd condition

Statewide, bighorn sheep populations are down slightly from 2015 to 2016. The most recent estimate is approximately 6,085 with another 725 that inhabit areas that cannot support hunting seasons (national parks, low population areas). Units S21, S22, S36, S41, S42, S61 all had increases in population trends, while units, S4, S25, S28, S29, S30, S32, S37, S53, S55, S57, S77 were down slightly from previous years. All other units were stable. The largest populations in the state occur in Units S61, S51, S09, S49, S32, S21, S15, S12. The number of permits is up in 2018 by 77 licenses overall.

COLORADO POST HUNT ROCKY BIGHORN SHEEP POPULATION ESTIMATE (2005-2016)

The seasons

The archery season varies between units, but most occur early to late August. Some units have late archery season dates, running mid October, November, and even into December.

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 restricts access. A few of the rifle season dates will coincide with the peak of the rut, but most will take place pre-rut.

COLORADO STATEWIDE ROCKY BIGHORN SHEEP HARVEST ALL WEAPONS - Updated 2018

goHUNT’s hit list units for trophy Colorado rocky bighorn sheep in 2018

When considering top bighorn sheep units, harvest success and population should be considered as well trophy potential. As previously noted, trophy potential is average for the most part throughout the state.

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

Unit Trophy
potential
Resident licenses Nonresident licenses Harvest success Population
S9 165"+ 9 2 10% 300
S12, S78 170"+ 9 1 40% 210
S32 170"+ 5 1 40% 250
S35 160"+ 4 1 20% 85
S44 175"+ 4 1 25% 60
S49 165"+ 5 1 80% 225

Colorado statewide rocky bighorn harvest archery - updated 2018

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

Unit Trophy
potential
Resident licenses Nonresident licenses Harvest success Population
S44 175"+ 2 0 100% 60
S50 175"+ 2 0 50% 150
S1, S18 170"+ 5 1 100% (S1)
67% (S18)
80
S9 165"+ 10 1 38% 300
S12, S78 170"+ 6 1 67% (S12)
0% (S78)
210
S21 170"+ 6 1 100% 250
S32 170"+ 5 1 33% 250
S33 170"+ 5 1 67% (first rifle)
100% (second rifle)
135


How to uncover hidden gem rocky bighorn sheep units

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 bighorn sheep unit is like. There are some bighorn sheep units that are far easier to draw in Colorado, but if the terrain is too strenuous and the bighorn sheep numbers are too low, then the odds of finding success on the hunt is minimal. Use the INSIDER tools to find the best option.  Archery choices are far easier to draw then the rifle choices, but be prepared for a tough hunt and the possibility of not having a chance to harvest.

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
El Paso 2 S5, S6, S34
Las Animas 2 S38, S48, S51, S61

Map of Colorado's Rocky Mtn Bighorn Sheep B&C all time entries 2018

TOP 10 B&C ROCKY BIGHORN SHEEP LOCATIONS SINCE 2010 - Colorado 2018



The points system

The preference point race

2018 maximum weighted points for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep: 18
To apply for a point only, use this code: S-P-999-99-P as your first choice.

Managing points and expectations

Colorado resident rocky mountain bighorn sheep weighted points going into the 2018 draw

Colorado nonresident rocky mountain bighorn sheep weighted points going into the 2018 draw

COLORADO ROCKY BIGHORN PREFERENCE POINTS GOING INTO THE 2018 DRAW

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

With zero preference points you should use the preference point code listed above as your first choice and submit your application this year. The cost is minimal ($13) for 2018. You will need to apply for three consecutive years in order to earn the required three preference points to be eligible to draw. At this level, you have no chance of drawing a Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep tag in Colorado.

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

Once you’ve built up the three preference points you are eligible to draw a bighorn sheep licence. Unlike elk, deer and antelope, the draw is random and, with three preference points, you have some chance in the draw. Applicants can adopt a couple strategies. They can apply for the best hunts and hope to get extremely lucky or review the draw odds for each hunt in the standalone draw odds page and apply for the hunts with fewer applicants and better odds. As noted, the archery only hunts typically have much better odds, but you will need to be prepared for a difficult hunt. The best hunts will have very tough odds since there are many applicants who have built up weighted points and have a better chance of drawing. Use the draw odds, Filtering 2.0, and the Unit Profiles to find the hunt that meets your objectives.

Find your resident rocky bighorn draw odds with 3 points here

Find your nonresident rocky bighorn draw odds with 3 points here

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

The more weighted points you gain, the better your odds get, but your application strategy should remain close to the same. Consider your objectives and apply for the hunt that meets those. If you want the best chance to harvest a ram, the rifle hunts have much better harvest success rates. The archery hunts have better odds, but the hunt can be very challenging and the harvest rates reflect that. Trophy potential is also worth considering once you have accumulated a number of weighted points. Although the trophy potential does not vary too much across the state, there are certainly areas that have more mature rams and better potential.

Residents

With 10 weighted points there are a number of archery hunts that have odds of 16% to 35%, including S12/S78 and S49. Both of these have good trophy potential and harvest success of 40% and 80%. There are also several other decent options if you are up for the challenge of bowhunting bighorn sheep in Colorado’s high country. There are many more rifle hunt options, most of which range in odds from about 3% to 10%. Utilize Filtering 2.0 to search the units for the best mix of harvest success, trophy potential, and draw odds.

Find your resident rocky bighorn draw odds with 10 points here

Nonresidents

With 10+ weighted preference points the best odds are for Unit S44 and S49 archery. Considering that the harvest success in S49 has been steadily increasing for the past three years and was 80% in 2016, it might be worth considering. S44 had 25% success and has good trophy potential. Both of these hunts are difficult physically demanding hunts and applicants will need to be prepared for a tough hunt.

The rifle options are all between >1% and about 4%, most are >1%. Review the odds, trophy potential and harvest success rates to find the hunt that suits you. With very little difference in odds, it may be worth applying for the better trophy potential areas.

Find your nonresident rocky bighorn draw odds with 10 points here



Colorado's 2018 desert bighorn sheep breakdown

The desert bighorn sheep population is thriving along the western border of the state. The population has more than doubled in the last 15 years from 250 to 540 in 2016. This is the only species in Colorado where the draw is completely random with no point system. Every applicant has an equal chance in the draw. For 2018, there is only one nonresident desert bighorn sheep license, which will be available in Unit S62. Colorado typically flipflops the nonresident license between Units S62 and S56 every other year. For 2019, it’s likely that S56 will have the nonresident license. Residents can apply for hunts in four different units with a total of 12 ram licenses between them.There are no archery seasons for desert bighorn sheep. All seasons are rifle only. Although desert bighorn sheep inhabit the lower river drainages of southwest Colorado, be prepared for a physically demanding hunt.

Note: Applicants cannot apply for both desert and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in the same year. If you apply for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep you will build points; there is no point system for desert bighorn.

Current desert bighorn sheep herd condition

The current estimated statewide population is 540 desert bighorn sheep with every population either stable or increasing. Trophy potential is average when compared to other states, but a mature 155” to 165” class ram is realistic. Harvest success rates are typically very good.

Colorado post hunt desert bighorn sheep population estimate - updated 2018

2018 Colorado desert bighorn sheep license numbers and populations

Unit Resident licenses Nonresident licenses Popuation
S56 4 NA 200
S62 3 1 165
S63 2 NA 75
S64 3 NA 100

The seasons

Desert bighorn hunts run Nov. 1 to 30, 2018, giving hunters the opportunity to hunt during the best portion of the rut. Desert bighorn seasons are rifle only and there is no archery only option. Scouting will certainly help, but with an entire month to hunt, hunters have a good amount of time to find and harvest the ram of their choice.

goHUNT’s hit list units for trophy Colorado desert bighorn sheep in 2018

Top hit list hunt units to consider for 155" or better desert bighorn sheep
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
potential
Harvest
success
S56 165"+ 100%
S62 155"+ 75%
S64 165"+ 67%
S63 160"+ 100%

 


How to uncover hidden gem desert bighorn sheep units

There are no secrets to drawing a desert bighorn sheep license in Colorado. The draw is random and everyone has an equal chance. For nonresidents, you can apply for the one license in Unit S62. The odds for the nonresident license in 2017 was >1% with 414 applicants vying for the one license. Resident odds were also >1% for all hunts except Unit S63 where odds were 1.4%.

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

Map of Colorado's Desert Bighorn Sheep B&C all time entries 2018

TOP B&C DESERT BIGHORN SHEEP LOCATIONS SINCE 2010 - Colorado 2018



The points system

There are no points in place for desert bighorn sheep. With only four units to choose from for residents, it's important to study the Unit Profiles and draw odds to find the best option. Note: Nonresidents can only apply for Unit S62 in 2018. Since the nonresident unit is on a rotating basis, draw odds for 2018 will be very similar to the S56 odds of 2017.

Find your resident Desert bighorn draw odds here

Find your nonresident Desert bighorn draw odds here



Colorado's 2018 Shiras moose breakdown

Colorado bull moose taken with Hill Guides and Outfitters

Colorado bull moose taken with Hill Guides and Outfitters — A goHUNT Business Member

Colorado offers better Shiras moose hunting opportunities than any other state. The populations have more than doubled statewide since 2004 and trophy quality remains high. The lack of grizzly bears and wolves is a primary advantage that Colorado has over other states like Wyoming and Idaho. Colorado also has vast amounts of quality habitat, including long healthy river and stream corridors and heavily timbered slopes and wet meadows. Moose hunting in Colorado has never been better.

Prior to this year, the cost of applying made it hard for a lot of applicants to justify it. With Colorado no longer requiring applicants to front the license costs, now is a great time to begin applying. Odds are bound to get stiffer, but, for $13, it’s worth getting into the game now, if you haven’t already.

When you apply, you must select weapon/season choices. There are not separate pools of licenses for each weapon; rather, there is one pool and lucky applicants are awarded the weapon/season they selected. There is no advantage in the draw for applying for one weapon over another.

Current moose herd condition

Moose populations are estimated at 2,995 statewide. The bulk inhabit the central portion of the state—from the Wyoming border to south-central Colorado.  Moose are managed in 12 different Data Analysis Units (DAU). The table below displays the population by DAU and the units within each group.

Colorado post hunt moose population estimate - updated 2018

2018 Colorado moose populations by DAU and units

DAU Units Popuation
1 6, 16, 17, 161, 171 700
2 7, 8, 19, 191 300
3 14, 15, 18, 27, 28, 36, 37, 181, 361, 371 360
4 65, 66, 67, 68, 74, 75, 76, 77, 79, 681, 751 450
5 41, 42, 43, 52, 411, 421, 521 680
6 12, 23, 24 150
7 20, 29, 38 70
8 39, 46, 49, 50, 500, 501 120
9 14 50
10 1, 201 15
11 44, 45 20
12 48, 55, 56, 481, 551, 561 50

The seasons

Colorado offers archery, muzzleloader and rifle hunts for moose. The archery and muzzleloader hunts occur in early September during the heart of the rut. Calling and spot and stalk hunting can both be effective. Bigger bulls should be vocal and covering terrain in search of cows. The rifle hunt occurs in early October. The rut will have cooled down by then, but some bulls may still be vocal. Spot and stalk methods are best during the later rifle hunt. Harvest success is typically very high for all hunts.

2018 moose season dates

Weapon Dates
Archery Sept. 8 to 23, 2018
Muzzleloader Sept. 8 to 16, 2018
Rifle Oct. 1 to 14, 2018

Colorado statewide moose harvest all weapons - updated 2018

goHUNT’s hit list units for trophy Colorado moose in 2018

Most of the biggest bulls are taken out of the units located in north-central Colorado, but almost every unit can produce a 40”+ bull. Colorado currently ranks fifth all time in the total amount of Boone and Crockett (B&C) Shiras moose entries, but when you look at the total number of entries since 2010, Colorado sits in fourth place. Colorado is a great state to hunt and harvest a trophy class bull—if you are lucky enough to draw a license.

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

Unit Trophy
potential
6 45"+
7, 8, 191 45"+
49, 50, 500, 501 45"+
28 40"+
41, 42, 52, 411, 421, 521 40"+
18, 181 40"+
17 40"+
76 40"+

 


 

How to uncover hidden gem moose units

Utilize the Filtering 2.0 to research unit by unit harvest success. Further exploration of each Unit Profile will allow you to find the best options for you. Consider factors like terrain, percentage of public land  and access. There are several good moose units in Colorado and just about any unit can offer a good hunt. Some areas may have access/private land issues and will require more research. Draw odds vary slightly. Review the standalone draw odds to explore the better options.

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

Map of Colorado's Moose B&C all time entries 2018

TOP B&C SHIRAS MOOSE LOCATION ENTRIES SINCE 2010 - 2018 Colorado



The points system

The preference point race

2018 maximum weighted preference points for moose: 16
To apply for a point only, use this code: M-P-999-99-P as your first choice.

Colorado resident moose weighted points going into the 2018 draw

Colorado nonresident moose weighted points going into the 2018 draw

COLORADO SHIRAS MOOSE PREFERENCE POINTS GOING INTO THE 2018 DRAW

Managing points and expectations

Find your draw odds

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

If you apply for moose for the first time in 2018 you have no chance to actually draw a license. You must build three preference points before your application will be considered in the draw. Apply with the preference point hunt code as your first choice.

What can I do with 3 moose preference points?

Three preference points gets you into the draw and, although your chances of drawing are slim, you do have some chance. Weapon/season does not impact your chance to draw. Select the season you are most interested in hunting when you apply. Review the draw odds and unit profiles prior to making your selection. Odds for nonresidents are all >1% except two hunts which are Units 41/42/52/411/421/521 and Unit 15/27. These two units have the best odds continually on up through the weighted point categories. With three preference points, the resident odds for every hunt are >1%. Given the fact that every unit has very low odds, it may make sense to apply for the very best areas and hope for the luck of the draw.

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.

Find your resident moose draw odds with 3 points here

Find your nonresident moose draw odds with 3 points here

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

Unfortunately, with 10+ weighted points, your draw odds get only slightly better. Drawing a moose license is tough and the licenses are in high demand. In fact, residents only hit double digit draw odds all the way up to the maximum point level in one unit. Relatively speaking, there are areas that have better odds for residents, including 12/23/24, 37/371, 38, 44/45. These unit groups have the best odds up through the point categories. There are also several good options with odds between the 2% to 4% range.

Find your resident moose draw odds with 10 points here

Nonresidents actually have better odds than residents for Units 41/42/52/411/421/521 and Unit 15/27. With ten points, odds are 11% for Unit 15/27 and 8.6% for the other. There may be better trophy areas, but the odds are much worse. Ultimately, you’ll need to decide if you want to play the odds or focus on trophy potential and possibly never draw a licence. Overall, the odds of drawing a moose tag are rough, but someone has to draw and, for the minimal application fee, it’s worth applying.

Find your nonresident moose draw odds with 10 points here



Colorado's 2018 Rocky Mountain goat breakdown

Colorado introduced 14 mountain goats in 1947 into the Collegiate Mountain Range. Since then, populations have grown and expanded throughout Colorado’s high country. Mountain goat populations continue to thrive, up again statewide from an estimated 1,395 to 1,560 in 2016. Colorado has massive amounts of traditional high elevation mountain goat habitat, which offers hunters the chance for a fun adventure style hunt in some very scenic terrain. Trophy potential is average throughout Colorado with most billies ranging from 8” to 9” in length. Harvest success rates are typically very good, though. Across the board, Colorado offers great mountain goat hunting. Plan on applying in 2018.

Similar to Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, Colorado offers archery only hunts for mountain goat. There are only four hunts that are archery only and only one that nonresidents can apply for. There will be two nonresident archery licenses in Unit G5. Residents can apply for archery hunts in Units G1/G14, G5, and G8. Odds for archery hunts are slightly better than the rifle seasons. All other hunts are rifle seasons.

Colorado offers two types of licenses: either sex and female goat. Either sex allows hunters to harvest a billy or nanny, while the other hunt is female only. For 2018, there are 17 either sex and three nanny nonresident licences. Residents will have 162 either sex and 27 nanny licenses.

Current mountain goat herd condition

Mountain goats continue to have solid numbers due to a very conservative management plan in place. Colorado has several herd management units; the table below displays the estimated populations for each.

TOP B&C MOUNTAIN GOAT LOCATIONS ALL-TIME

Colorado post hunt mountain goat population estimate - updated 2018

Colorado mountain goat populations

Unit Popuation
G1 30
G2 60
G3/G13/G17 300
G4 60
G5 175
G6 40
G7/G15/G16 340
G8 40
G10 50
G11 110
G12 290
G14 40
G18 15

The seasons

The archery only season occurs from Sept. 4 to Oct. 7 in Units G1/G14, G8. The archery hunt in G5 runs from Sept. 4 to Oct. 31. The rifle hunts occur from early September to late October, depending on what area and hunt you apply for. Refer to the CPW rules and regulations for specifics. The mountain goat seasons are early enough to offer hunters access into high country. Later season dates are better for longer thicker hides, but you run the risk of running into inclimate weather. For the most part, goat inhabit high elevation terrain and hides should be in good condition even during the early hunts.

One thing worth noting is that many of the mountain goat units are also popular hiking and backpacking areas for nonhunters. In Units G4, G7, G10, G15, and G16, hunting is only allowed during weekdays to avoid conflict with the recreational crowd. Plan ahead if you draw one of these hunts as hunting is not allowed on weekends.

Colorado statewide mountain goat harvest all weapons - updated 2018

goHUNT’s hit list units for Colorado mountain goat in 2018

As previously noted, Colorado does not produce many trophy quality billies. Top units are a combination of healthy populations, harvest success and some trophy potential consideration.

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. 4-14): 100%
Any legal weapon (Sept. 17-28): 100%
Any legal weapon (Oct. 1-12): 100%
Any legal weapon (Oct. 15-26): 100%
G11 9" Any legal weapon (Sept. 4-Oct. 7): 75%
Any legal weapon (Sept. 4-Oct. 7): 75%
G12 9" Any legal weapon (Sept. 4-18): 89%
G13 9" Any legal weapon (Sept. 4-21): 93%
Any legal weapon (Sept. 22 to Oct. 7): 86%

 


 

How to uncover hidden gem mountain goat units

There are very few if any hidden gems for either sex mountain goats hunts. Odds are stiff regardless of which season/unit or weapon you apply for. The real hidden gems exist in the female only hunts. Most goat hunters consider the experience and the hide the true trophy and female only hunts are worth considering if that’s the case for you. Female only hunts have better draw odds. Explore those odds within the standalone draw odds page. Also, utilize Filtering 2.0 to search by harvest success and read the Unit Profiles to better understand the opportunities within each unit.

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

Map of Colorado's Mountain goat B&C all time entries 2018

TOP B&C MOUNTAIN GOAT LOCATION ENTRIES SINCE 2010 - 2018 Colorado



The points system

The preference point race

2018 maximum weighted preference points for mountain goat: 16
To apply for a point only, use this code: G-P-999-99-P as your first choice.

Colorado resident mountain goat weighted points going into the 2018 draw

Colorado nonresident mountain goat weighted points going into the 2018 draw

COLORADO MOUNTAIN GOAT PREFERENCE POINTS GOING INTO THE 2018 DRAW

Managing points and expectations

Find your draw odds

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

Applicants with no points have no chance to draw a license. You’ll need to acquire three preference points before you are eligible to draw a mountain goat license. If you ever want to hunt a mountain goat in Colorado, now is a good time to begin applying.

What can I do with 3 mountain goat preference points?

With three preference points you are eligible to draw a mountain goat license. The odds are long, whether you apply for the archery only or rifle licenses. The archery hunts do have slightly better odds. The female goat hunts do have better odds and, if you are not hung up on killing a billy, the female is the better option to draw a license. If you are looking for a rifle hunt, study the unit profiles and apply for a rifle hunt choice that meets your physical abilities and limitations.

Find your resident mountain goat draw odds with 3 points here

Find your nonresident mountain goat draw odds with 3 points here

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

Statistically, the more weighted points you have, the better your odds, but you are never guaranteed to draw licence. In saying that, with 10 weighted points, the odds are getting better—especially for some hunts. Unit G5 archery only has 12% odds for residents and is a great option. G12 rifle hunts had 21% and 16% odds. Unit G15 rifle also has 22% odds. There are some great options for residents beyond the 10 point range. Explore the draw odds, unit profiles and harvest success rates to find the best application options.

Find your resident mountain goat draw odds with 10 points here

Nonresident odds with 10+ points still have odds that are less than 5%. The rifle hunts in G12 had the better odds with 5.2% and 4.6%. Unit G17 also had better odds than other options. If one of those hunts fits your objectives, those are the best bets; if not, use the INSIDER tools to find the best hunt option and cross your fingers.

Find your nonresident mountain goat draw odds with 10 points here

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