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APPLICATION STRATEGY 2019: Colorado Elk and Antelope

2019 Colorado elk and antelope application strategy article

Colorado's 2019 elk and antelope application overview

Jump to: New for 2019 State Information Draw System Elk Breakdown Antelope Breakdown

The most recent data suggests Colorado’s elk population is at an all time high—at 305,840 total elk. That number is up almost 30,000 from the previous year. Here at goHUNT we love data, so here are a few more statistics: there were an estimated 223,269 total elk hunters that harvested 21,330 bulls, 15,564 cows and 1,661 calves. Couple those statistics with the fact that there are 11.3 million acres of public U.S. Forest Service (USFS) land and an additional 4.2 million acres of public BLM land and you can see why Colorado is one of the best places in the world if you want to hunt elk.

Colorado shines when it comes to providing an opportunity to hunt. There are several over-the-counter (OTC) options, including archery, second and third rifle seasons. In addition, there are multiple hunts that can be drawn with very few or even zero points. On the flip side, Colorado is not the best state in terms of trophy potential. There are very few units that regularly produce bulls over 340” and those that do currently require a couple of decades worth of preference points.

If you want to hunt elk, Colorado is arguably the best option. In this article we cover the details of the draw, explain how it works and how to use the INSIDER tools to help you find a hunt this year. Life’s too short not to hunt elk!

We will also break down Colorado’s antelope hunting opportunities. Antelope habitat is relatively limited and much of it is privately owned; however, there are some opportunities—you’ll just have to be more diligent in your research. Trophy potential is average, but there are a few trophy book bucks harvested every year. In all, the upside for Colorado antelope is that there is no nonresident/resident license quota split and there is an OTC archery option. Antelope hunting in Colorado definitely is not on par with its neighbor to the North (Wyoming), but it does offer an additional chance to get into the field and hunt. If you are applying for other species, antelope is definitely worth considering.

Note: The application deadline for Colorado is 8 p.m on April 2, 2019 MST. You can apply online here or via telephone at 1-800-244-5613. Paper applications are no longer available.


Why Colorado for elk and antelope in 2019

  • The opportunity to hunt elk is unmatched, easy draw hunts and many OTC options for archery and rifle hunters.
  • Ample amounts of public land.
  • Optimal archery and muzzleloader dates that occur during the rut. Good late season rifle hunt dates as well.
  • There is a good opportunity to do a combination deer and elk hunt. Deer hunts must be drawn, but there are typically OTC elk tags available for many units during the same timeframe.
  • There is no resident/nonresident split for antelope permits in Colorado.
  • There are OTC archery antelope permits available. Finding a public land spot can be challenging, but it’s an additional opportunity to hunt.

New for 2019

  • The application processing fee will increase in 2019. It will be $7 for residents and $9 for nonresidents.
  • The application and correction deadline will be 8:00 p.m. MST in 2019. Previously, it was midnight.
  • All applicants, including youth, must purchase a qualifying license to apply for the big game draw. A qualifying license is one of the following: spring turkey, annual small game, annual resident combination small game/fishing and veteran's lifetime resident combination small game/fishing. Even if you want to apply for a point only, you still have to buy one of those qualifying licenses.
  • There will not be a preference point fee for deer, elk or antelope, but applicants will have to buy a qualifying license to apply as noted above.
  • If you're successful in the draw, but don't pay for your license by the payment deadline, your license will be surrendered and you will lose both the license and any preference points you used to draw it. The payment deadline is June 21.
  • Hunters who are successful in the draw now have the option to reverse their license instead of return it. If you successfully get a license through the draw and your hunting plans change, you can now call Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) at 303-297-1192 to reverse your license rather than return it. You won't have to submit the refund paperwork or pay the $15 refund fee if you call by 5 p.m. June 14 to request a reversal.
  • Resident licenses will increase $8 in 2019.
  • The Wildlife Education Fund Fee will go up from $.75 to $1.50.

Elk

  • There are new OTC archery bull hunts in Units 44, 45, 47 and 444.
  • Unit 83 has either sex or cow hunts for muzzleloader and rifle seasons.
  • There are new bull hunts in Unit 44, 45, 47 and 444 for first and fourth rifle seasons.
  • There is a new fourth season rifle hunt in Units 55 and 551.
  • Units 53 and 63 split for the first season. Unit 63 now has its own hunt codes for first season bull and cow hunts.

Antelope


State information

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 find trophy units.

Colorado is a fairly easy state to apply in. You will have to create an online account if you have not previously done so. That can be done by going here. Or you can call 1-800-244-5613 for help getting an account.

Colorado State Profile Elk Profile Antelope Profile Draw Odds Filtering 2.0

Important dates and information

  • The deadline to apply for all species in Colorado is 8:00 p.m. MST on April 2, 2019.
  • You can only apply online here or by calling 1-800-244-5613.
  • Draw results will be available roughly June 3 to 7, 2019.
  • Drawn licenses must be paid for by June 21, 2019. Failure to do so will result in you losing both the license and any preference points you used to draw it.
  • All applicants, including youth, must purchase a qualifying license to apply for the big game draw.
  • A qualifying license is one of the following: spring turkey, annual small game, annual resident combination small game/fishing and veteran's lifetime resident combination small game/fishing.
  • Applicants can apply for a preference point only, but you still have to buy one of the qualifying licenses.
  • Applicants do not have to front the cost of the licenses that they are applying for.
  • Applicants will also be charged a habitat stamp ($10) and there will be a processing fee: residents ($7); nonresidents ($9).
  • Youth may apply for a preference point if they turn 12 before Dec. 31, 2019. Youth who are 11 years old may apply for licenses as long as they turn 12 prior to the end of the hunting season they applied for.
  • 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 over the age of 50 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%.
  • Colorado will allow you to return a drawn license, but it must be done 30 days prior to the opening day of the license. If you return a license, you may choose to receive a refund or have your preference points reinstated. If you have your preference points reinstated, you will not receive a point for that year’s application.
  • New for 2019: if you want to reverse a license that you’ve drawn you can do so prior to June 14. You will receive a refund or retain your points to a predraw level.
  • Colorado has a reissue process for return licenses. A license that took five or more preference points to draw will be allocated to the next eligible applicant. If it required less than five preference points, it will be placed on the turn back/leftover list periodically and can be purchased first come, first served.
  • Harvest reporting is not required, but you may be contacted to participate in a survey.

Preference Point codes:

  • D-P-999-99-P (deer)
  • E-P-999-99-P (elk)
  • A-P-999-99-P (antelope)
  • M-P-999-99-P (moose)
  • S-P-999-99-P (sheep)
  • G-P-999-99-P (mtn goat)

Cost to apply

Item Resident Nonresident
Application fee $7.00 $9.00
Qualifying license/annual
small game hunt license
$29.75 $81.75
Youth qualifying license/annual
small game hunt license
$1.25 $1.25
Habitat stamp $10.00 $10.00
*Elk bull adult $54.75 $661.75
*Elk either sex adult $54.75 $661.75
*Elk cow adult $54.75 $496.75
*Elk youth $15.50 $101.50
*Antelope adult $39.75 $396.75
*Antelope youth $15.50 $101.50

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

The seasons

Dates for elk seasons in 2019*

Season Dates
Archery Aug. 31 to Sept. 29
Muzzleloader Sept. 14 to 22
First rifle season Oct. 12 to 16
Second rifle season Oct. 19 to 27
Third rifle season Nov. 2 to 10
Fourth rifle season Nov. 13 to 17

* Unless otherwise noted in the brochure tables

Colorado statewide elk harvest - updated 2019

Dates for antelope seasons in 2019*

Season Dates
Archery Aug. 15 to Sept. 20
Archery OTC Aug. 15 to Sept. 20
Muzzleloader Sept. 21 to 29
Rifle Oct. 5 to 11

* Unless otherwise noted in the brochure tables, there are some late rifle seasons.

A few thoughts on elk seasons

The archery season is just shy of a full month long and hunters have the chance to hunt the pre-rut and the rut. Most hunters what the chance to experience a hunt where the bulls are bugling and they can interact by calling or simply chasing bugles. We often get asked what the best dates are for hunting the rut. That can vary some, but typically Sept. 15 to 24 you can expect rutting behavior. You might have also noticed that the muzzleloader hunt also runs concurrently with the archery hunt during good rut dates. The muzzleloader hunts can be very good; however, you’ll want to do some research into the muzzleloader weapon restrictions to see if it’s right for you before you apply.

The first rifle seasons are draw licenses and have dates that are early enough that hunters may still encounter a bugling bull or two. Elk are still going to be close to where they rutted. Some of the bigger bulls will have pulled away from the cows, but satellite and young bulls are likely to still be hanging with large cow-calf herds. Spot and stalk hunting is going to be the best bet for success.

The second and third rifle seasons are where you’ll see the bulk of the OTC opportunity. Elk are typically in transition into winter range and the bulls will have pulled away from the cow/calf herds and are usually in small bachelor herds or off by themselves. Your best bet is to cover country and put your optics to work. Remote pockets of cover with close feeding areas can be productive. You have to consider that most bulls have lost a significant amount of body weight during the rut and are looking to pack the calories back on without having to expend much energy. Early snow and cold weather can help immensely in pushing bulls into more accessible and visible locations.

The fourth rifle season is a draw hunt and cold snowy conditions will make or break it generally. The more snow in the high country, the better the opportunities. Similar to the third season, cover ground and glass, glass and glass some more. There’s always an opportunity for an older age class bull to pop up after a good winter storm.

2019 winter precipitation

Colorado snow water equivalent percent of normal as of March 2019

Colorado snow water equivalent update as of March 20, 2019. Source: National Resources Conservation Service

2018 winter precipitation

Colorado snow water equivalent as of late March 2018
Colorado snow water equivalent update as of March 15, 2018. Source: National Resources Conservation Service
Intermountain west February 2019 precipitation as a percent of normal
February 2019 precipitation as a percentage of normal. Photo credit: Colorado State

The draw system

Understanding the draw

Nonresidents can be allocated up to 35% of the elk licenses for each hunt code unless the hunt has taken residents at least six years or more to draw on average over a three year period. In these cases, nonresidents can be allocated up to 20% of the total licenses for those hunts.

There is no resident/nonresident allocation split in licenses for antelope.

Point system

Colorado utilizes a true preference point system to allocate elk and antelope licenses, meaning the applicants with the most points that apply for any given hunt draw the licenses. There is no random draw for licenses. Preference points are acquired by either being unsuccessful in the draw for your first hunt choice or simply using the preference only code as your first hunt choice. Those codes are listed below. You cannot build more than one preference point per year.

Elk preference point only code: E-P-999-99-P

Antelope preference point only code: A-P-999-99-P

What about the hybrid draw?

Colorado has a hybrid draw for some deer, elk and antelope hunts. If a hunt has required ten or more resident preference points to draw on average over a three-year period, up to 20% of those licenses will go in a random draw called the hybrid draw. A minimum of five preference points is required to be considered in the hybrid draw. Group applications are not permitted in the random hybrid draw. Residents that meet the minimum five points have a slim random chance to draw some of the best hunts in the state if they choose to apply for them.

So why do nonresidents not have a chance in the hybrid draw?

The random hybrid draw occurs after the regular draw and the nonresident quotas are already met in the regular draw for almost every hunt so there are no nonresident permits available for the hybrid draw. The only hunts that could be drawn under the current system by nonresidents are antelope hunts, which do not have a nonresident quota.

Hunt choices

You can include up to four choices in the draw, but every applicant’s first choice will be considered before moving to the second, third or fourth hunt choices. In essence, in order to draw a license as a second choice there must be licenses remaining after every applicant’s first choice has been considered.

If you draw your first choice, your points will be purged. If you draw a license as your second, third or fourth choice you will retain any points you have, get one for that year’s application and receive the license to go hunting. You can apply with the preference point code as your first choice and still apply for hunts as second, third and fourth choices. Utilize our standalone Draw Odds page and Filtering 2.0 to help you to filter out hunt choices that you can draw based on your personal preference point level.

One of the best-hidden gems in Colorado is that there are licenses that can be drawn as a second choice, which will allow you to go hunting while still building points for a future hunt. You can quickly explore the odds of drawing hunts as a second choice within your INSIDER account by using the standalone Draw Odds. Select “Draw Odds,” then Colorado and then your residency. Select elk or antelope as the species. When the odds open, on the right filter portion of the page, find the “Select Your Draw Choice” drop-down menu and change it to second choice. Very quickly, you will see many realistic second choice hunt options.

Pay close attention to the season description in the regulations when you apply; there are hundreds of hunt codes. Double check to make sure you are applying for the hunts you want.

Group applications

There is no limit to the number of applicants that can apply for elk and/or antelope as a group. A group application goes into the draw with the lowest number of points of any single applicant in the group. For example, if a group of three apply with five, one and nine preference points, that application will go into the draw with one point. Nonresidents and residents can apply together as a group for elk and/or antelope. In the case that residents and nonresidents apply and draw as a group, all nonresidents in the group will count against the nonresident allocation. Every applicant in the group must apply for the same hunts at each choice. A hunt leader must apply first and all other group members must use the same person as their group leader to go into the draw. Colorado will not over allocate to give everyone on a group application a license if there are not enough licenses in the quota.

License returns

If you drew a license you would like to return, payment for the license is still required first. You can then return it for a refund or preference point restoration. You must relinquish your license and carcass tag at least 30 days before opening day of the season for which the license is valid. The license must be accompanied by a completed request form obtained at a CPW location or the website. Most refunds are subject to a $15 processing fee. Preference points are reinstated to a pre-draw level and you do not receive an additional preference point for 2019.

Hunters who are successful in the draw, but whose hunting plans have changed, can also now call CPW at 303-297-1192 to have their license reversed instead of returning it through the process described above. It must be done by June 14.

What happens to leftover or returned licenses?

Applicants unsuccessful in the primary draw can have the first chance at the limited licenses that are remaining after the draw. When you apply, applicants can select the “if unsuccessful, send me” checkbox and the leftover list of licenses will be emailed to you in June. You can then apply for leftover licenses. The leftover draw application deadline is 8 p.m. MST on June 26. The leftover draw payment deadline is Aug. 2.

Leftover licenses remaining after the initial and leftover drawing will be available on a first come, first served basis in person at a CPW office, by phone, or online at 9:00 a.m. Aug. 6, 2019. All returned licenses that take four or fewer preference points in the current year’s draw will be available for purchase the week after they are returned and processed. Reissued licenses will be available starting Aug. 13, 2019. That list will continue to release Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., as licenses are turned in until the end of the season. The reissued list is a decent way to pick up a license if you did not draw one and are looking for an opportunity to go hunting.

If you buy a leftover license, your preference points are not used. If you buy a returned license, your points will not be used.

Landowner permits

Colorado offers landowner permits. For the past several years, a third party cannot broker the sale of a landowner license like they used to. Currently, the landowner or designated land manager must transfer the voucher directly to the hunter. Landowners can list their vouchers on sites, but you will need to contact them to purchase one. There are still hundreds of landowner licenses out there and, with some research, you can typically find opportunities for a license.

Final thoughts on the draw

Every year prior to the draw, we receive feedback from members who only want to hunt the best Colorado hunts and want to know how to draw. It’s understandable, but, to those applicants, it’s vital to remember that Colorado is a true preference point state and the licenses for those hunts are going to be given to the highest preference point applicants. With the number of applicants in the system, it's almost impossible to ever catch up and draw many of those licenses.

For example, let’s look at nonresident archery elk Unit 10:

There were two total tags that went to applicants with 25 and 24 preference points. If you added the number of applicants that applied at the 15 point level on up you’d see that it could take someone at that 15 point level another 22 years to draw that hunt. That would be a grand total of 37 years to draw a Unit 10 archery elk tag. Just for fun, if you only started applying last year, it could take 73 years, meaning you could be 85 years old before you had a tag. We advise you not to chase these type of hunts for obvious reasons.

While checking your draw odds be sure to further investigate the Draw Odds detail page of each unit you are interested in. That can give you a detailed breakdown of how many applicants are at each point level. Use those to determine how long it may take to actually draw the license you want.


Colorado's 2019 elk breakdown

Last year was extremely dry across the entire state. This winter has been much better in terms of snowpack and moisture. Every part of the state is well over 100% of annual precipitation and some areas are as high as 150%, including the Gunnison and Dolores/San Juan areas of southwestern Colorado. Temperatures have not been severe and/or prolonged enough that crusted snows have made it tough for elk to access feed and, as such, winter mortality should not be a significant issue. The spring and summer ranges should be in phenomenal conditions this year.

Colorado post hunt elk population estimate - updated 2019

CPW has tried to reduce overall elk numbers in recent years, but, according to survey estimates, populations are at an all-time high. Local guides and some hunters would debate that, but, according to the numbers, Colorado has over 300,000 elk statewide. Colorado manages their herds in 31 different Data Analysis Units (DAU) with the various units placed in unit groups. The following tables will give you the estimated populations for the top DAUs and the units within each group.

Colorado elk populations by unit-2019

Colorado elk Data Analysis Units

Colorado elk data analysis unit map
Source: Colorado Parks and Wildlife

The goHUNT hit list units for Colorado elk in 2019

Top hit list hunt units to consider for 320" or better bulls
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
potential
Seasons
offered
Resident points
to draw
Nonresident points
to draw
201 370"+ Archery
Muzzleloader
Early rifle
22 (75%)
23 (41%)
24 (69%)
26 (50%)
27 (100%)
27 (8%)
851* 370"+ Archery
Muzzleloader
First rifle
Second rifle
Third rifle
Fourth rifle
9 (43%)
10 (67%)
15 (34%)
16 (40%)
18 (34%)
18 (100%)
14 (100%)
16 (100%)
22 (100%)
23 (100%)
24 (100%)
25 (100%)
2 360"+ Archery
Muzzleloader
Early rifle
20 (43%)
21 (58%)
22 (19%)
26 (100%)
26 (50%)
26 (7.7%)
40 360"+ Archery
Muzzleloader
First rifle
Second rifle
Third rifle
Fourth rifle
7 (60%)
7 (69%)
10 (63%)
8 (89%)
8 (45%)
8 (67%)
11 (10%)
18 (100%)
23 (67%)
15 (50%)
13 (33%)
12 (67%)
10 350"+ Archery
Muzzleloader
Early rifle
18 (31%)
21 (41%)
21 (30%)
24 (13%)
26 (50%)
26 (31%)
61 350"+ Archery
Muzzleloader
Early rifle
First rifle
2nd/3rd/4th rifle
13 (31%)
16 (77%)
17 (11%)
11 (48%)
8 (88%)
21 (24%)
23 (67%)
24 (11%)
21 (25%)
20 (40%)
1 350"+ Archery
Muzzleloader
Early rifle
19 (100%)
11 (50%)
15 (14%)
NA
NA
26 (50%)
49 340"+ Archery
Muzzleloader
First rifle
2nd/3rd/4th rifle
4 (23%)
6 (71%)
8 (54%)
4 (38%)
4 (5.1%)
11 (67%)
12 (65%)
4 (44%)
76 340"+ Archery
Muzzleloader
Early rifle
First rifle
Second rifle
Third rifle
7 (70%)
8 (80%)
16 (45%)
6 (43%)
5 (50%)
5 (33%)
13 (17%)
19 (7.1%)
22 (100%)
15 (96%)
12 (25%)
11 (50%)
20* 330"+ Archery
Muzzleloader
First rifle
Second rifle
Third rifle
Fourth rifle
Late rifle
3 (33%)
4 (100%)
4 (67%)
4 (100%)
4 (90%)
3 (43%)
4 (32%)
7 (100%)
8 (67%)
16 (100%)
8 (40%)
6 (100%)
4 (100%)
5 (30%)
501 330"+ Archery
Muzzleloader
First rifle
2nd/3rd/4th rifle
2 (18%)
2 (33%)
3 (23%)
2 (95%)
2 (10%)
6 (40%)
4 (100%)
1 (23%)
69/84 330"+ Archery
Muzzleloader
First rifle
Second rifle
Third rifle
Fourth rifle
2 (67%)
3 (9.8%)
4 (43%)
2 (26%)
3 (50%)
2 (16%)
2 (69%)
4 (71%)
4 (43%)
3 (83%)
3 (33%)
3 (100%)
66 320"+ Archery
Muzzleloader
First rifle
Second rifle
Third rifle
Fourth rifle
1 (38%)
4 (55%)
0 (59%)
0 (100%)
0 (53%)
0 (47%)
5 (45%)
16 (100%)
2 (78%)
0 (56%)
1 (80%)
1 (33%)
67 320"+ Archery
Muzzleloader
First rifle
Second rifle
Third rifle
Fourth rifle
1 (20%)
3 (77%)
0 (88%)
0 (100%)
0 (40%)
0 (50%)
3 (57%)
6 (50%)
0 (45%)
0 (100%)
0 (43%)
0 (56%)

* Unit 20 archery hunt code E-M-020-01-A is valid in the entire unit. Unit 851 Bosque Del Oso SWA only is a 30,000-acre State Wildlife Area (SWA). Annually, elk move off of the adjacent private lands and winter on the SWA. The third and fourth rifle seasons here offer very good low-pressure hunts for great bulls. There are other hunts also, but the better hunts are later in the season.

How to uncover hidden gem elk units

Colorado’s best-hidden gems are likely in OTC hunts and the hunts that can be drawn within the one to five point range. There are not many good options in the six to 15 points range and, in reality, the trophy potential in those areas is not a whole lot better than it is in the easier to draw options. In our opinion, it may be worth hunting easier to draw units more often and getting to know those units and herds better.

More than half of the units offer OTC archery, second and third season rifle opportunities. Repeatedly hunting the same unit or units year after year will allow you to learn the unit, elk behavior and, ultimately, could be the key in allowing you to harvest a mature bull on an OTC hunt. Utilize our Filtering 2.0 feature to find OTC seasons that have trophy potential of 310” or better. Additionally, the harvest success and public land filters can assist you in narrowing down the best-hidden gem options. Visit the unit profiles, which offer terrain and other information like bull:cow ratios, which can help you determine what unit is right for you. There are very good OTC options to hunt elk in Colorado.

Weapon and season are worth some research. Consider primitive weapon hunts (archery and muzzleloader). The season dates for these weapons provide very good opportunities to find and hunt bulls during the rut. The bulk of Colorado’s upper elevation summer range is public land. Utilize Filtering 2.0 and the filters provided to find those hunt opportunities. On the flip side, some units have good portions of transition and winter range and can offer good mid to late season rifle hunts. It depends on the type of hunt you are looking for; however, our advice would be to pick a weapon/season and then dig into the research to help you find the best unit(s) for that season.

One final important factor: in Colorado, the state collects harvest data specific to the unit even though hunters can hunt a variety of units within most unit blocks. For example, the fourth season rifle hunt in Units 12, 13, 23 and 24 is valid in all of those units. Harvest success was highest for Units 13 and 12 at 32% and 20%. The other two units’ success was only 10% for Unit 23 and 15% for Unit 24. If you review the historical data this is typically the case and can give you an idea on where to hunt when.

Percent of COLORADO ELK TAGS DRAWN 1ST - 4TH CHOICE - updated 2019

TOTAL NUMBER OF COLORADO ELK TAGS DRAWN 1ST - 4TH CHOICE - updated 2019

Good OTC hunts to consider
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
potential
Harvest
success
Bull:cow
ratio
3 320"+ Archery: 10%
Second rifle: 12%
Third rifle: 8%
20:100
14 280"+ Archery: 11%
Second rifle: 14%
Third rifle: 23%
20:100
16 300"+ Archery: 10%
Second rifle: 9%
Third rifle: 24%
23:100
161 280"+ Archery: 9%
Second rifle: 22%
Third rifle: 10%
23:100
18 310"+ Archery: 4%
Second rifle: 10%
Third rifle: 15%
37:100
28 310"+ Archery: 4%
Second rifle: 14%
Third rifle: 7%
42:100
25 300"+ Archery: 11%
Second rifle: 10%
Third rifle: 16%
21:100
26 300"+ Archery: 7%
Second rifle: 6%
Third rifle: 14%
21:100
30 320"+ Archery: 13%
Second rifle: 12%
23:100
31 310"+ Archery: 17%
Second rifle: 14%
Third rifle: 19%
23:100
32 310"+ Archery: 19%
Second rifle: 22%
Third rifle: 11%
23:100
36 310"+ Archery: 8%
Second rifle: 13%
Third rifle: 9%
27:100
444 310"+ Archery: 7%
Second rifle: 18%
Third rifle: 12%
22:100
62 320"+ Archery: 14%
Second rifle: 12%
Third rifle: 6%
16:100
78 300"+ Archery: 13%
Second rifle: 15%
Third rifle: 12%
20:100
521 310"+ Archery: 14%
Second rifle: 10%
Third rifle: 9%
27:100
751 290"+ Archery: 9%
Second rifle: 13%
Third rifle: 17%
20:100

B&C entry trends for Colorado elk

Units listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Units in this table are included if any part of the unit is found within the county. Data provided below courtesy of the Boone and Crockett Club.

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

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Moffat 6 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12,
13, 201, 211, 301, 441
Mesa 4 30, 31, 40, 41, 42, 60, 61,
62, 411, 421
Park 4 39, 46, 49, 50, 500, 501, 57, 58, 581
Grand 3 18, 27, 28, 37, 181
Jefferson 3 29, 38, 39, 46, 391, 461, 501

Map of Colorado's typical elk B&C all time entries 2019

Top 10 B&C typical elk locations since 2010 - Colorado 2018 app strategy

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

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Las Animas 5 85, 133, 134, 136, 137,
140, 141, 142, 143, 147, 851
Fremont 3 58, 581, 59, 591, 69, 691, 84
Moffat 2 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12,
13, 201, 211, 301, 441

Map of Colorado's nontypical elk B&C all time entries 2019


The points system

The preference point race

2019 maximum preference points for elk: 32

COLORADO RESIDENT ELK POINTS GOING INTO THE 2019 DRAW

COLORADO NONRESIDENT ELK POINTS GOING INTO THE 2019 DRAW

COLORADO ELK PREFERENCE POINTS GOING INTO THE 2019 DRAW

Managing points and expectations

I have 0 to 5 elk preference points. What can I expect?

Applicants with a few preference points should consider the fact that, currently, there are very few good hunts that can be drawn in the five to 15+ point range and the best hunts are probably not within reach in your lifetime. Before you start down the road of banking points we highly encourage you to explore the options first.

Currently, when reviewing the odds, it makes more sense to draw a permit every few years and go hunting. Listed below are some of the best opportunities with five or fewer points. There are also many more options that can be explored within Filtering 2.0 and the standalone Draw Odds.

Good archery elk hunts to consider with five or fewer preference points
(not in order of quality)

Unit/hunt Trophy
potential
Resident points
required
Nonresident points
required
49 archery 340"+ 4 (23%) 4 (5.1%)
4/5/441 archery 300"+ 0 (22%) 2 (77%)
12/23/24 archery 280"+ 0 (57%) 2 (41%)
67 archery 320"+ 1 (20%) 3 (50%)
69/84 archery 330"+ 2 (67%) 2 (69%)
501 archery 330"+ 2 (18%) 2 (10%)

Find your resident archery elk draw odds with zero points here

Find your nonresident archery elk draw odds with zero points here

Good muzzleloader elk hunts to consider with five or fewer preference points
(not in order of quality)

Units Trophy
potential
Resident points
required
Nonresident points
required
3/301 muzzleloader 320"+ 2 (100%) 2 (33%)
54 muzzleloader 300"+ 0 (100%) 4 (33%)
55 muzzleloader 300"+ 0 (41%) 3 (45%)
69/84 muzzleloader 330"+ 3 (9.8%) 4 (71%)
71/72/73/711
muzzleloader
300"+ 0 (52%) 3 (47%)
77/78/771
muzzleloader
300"+ 0 (100%) 3 (39%)
80/81 muzzleloader 300"+ 1 (51%) 4 (26%)
500 muzzleloader 300"+ 1 (11%) 3 (69%)
501 muzzleloader 330"+ 2 (33%) 6 (40%)

Find your resident muzzleloader elk draw odds with zero points here

Find your nonresident muzzleloader elk draw odds with zero points here

Good rifle elk hunts to consider with five or fewer preference points
(not in order of quality)

Units Trophy
potential
Resident points
required
Nonresident points
required
48 1st rifle 310"+ 2 (76%) 3 (40%)
57/58 1st rifle 310"+ 2 (34%) 3 (71%)
69/84 1st rifle 330"+ 4 (43%) 4 (43%)
49 2nd rifle 340"+ 4 (38%) 4 (44%)
69/84 2nd rifle 330"+ 2 (26%) 3 (83%)
49 3rd rifle 340"+ 4 (38%) 4 (44%)
57/58 3rd rifle 310"+ 2 (23%) 2 (27%)
49 4th rifle 340"+ 4 (38%) 4 (44%)

If you are starting from scratch, then you really should view Colorado as an opportunity state. Use our Filtering 2.0 feature to find an option that will be a good fit for you or search our Outfitter Directory to find an outfitter that leases a ranch with great hunting.

Find your resident rifle elk draw odds with zero points here

Find your nonresident rifle elk draw odds with zero points here

I have 6 to 10 elk preference points. What can I expect?

Within this range, there are very few hunts that are equal to the number of points it takes to draw. If you find yourself within this range it’s worth looking at the number of points and the detailed draw odds pages of the hunts you're thinking about drawing to see if it’s realistic that you will ever catch up. It’s likely that it isn’t and, in that case, it’s time to find a hunt and go hunting.

For residents, consider archery hunts in Units 40, 76 and 851. Muzzleloader hunts in Unit 40, 49, 76 and 851 might be worth a look. Consider first season rifle tags in Units 40, 49 and 76. Second and third season rifle tags in Units 40 and 61 can be good. Fourth season rifle in Unit 61 is also a nice option.

Nonresidents within in this range should consider the following: 66 archery, 4/5/441, 12/23/24, 20, 23/24/33, 48, 67, 501 muzzleloader, and Unit 20 second and fourth rifle.

Find your resident elk draw odds with 10 points here

Find your nonresident elk draw odds with 10 points here

I have 11 to 15 elk preference points. What can I expect?

Once again, there are not many quality hunts representative of the number of points it takes to draw them. Research the point creep on the top tier hunts to see if banking points is worth it. If you want to draw a hunt, the best options within this range for residents are Unit 61 archery, Unit 1, 851 muzzleloader and Units 40, 61, 851 first rifle.

Nonresidents might consider Units 40 and 851 archery. Muzzleloader hunts in Units 12/23/24, and 49 are good. First rifle hunts in Units 49 and 76 can be drawn. Unit 40, 76 second and third rifle seasons are worth a look.

Find your resident elk draw odds with 15 points here

Find your nonresident elk draw odds with 15 points here

I have 16 to 25 elk preference points. What can I expect?

If you are toward the upper end of this point range, you are most likely looking at the top tier Units 2, 10 and 201. If you are in the 15 to 20 point range, those hunts could still take a couple of decades to draw and you might consider a few of the other options like Units 851, 61, 76 or 40. Overall, this point range is a tough spot to be in. Your only real options are to sacrifice points to go on a hunt that takes far fewer points to draw or stay the course and hope to last long enough to draw a good license.

Find your resident elk draw odds with 25 points here

Find your nonresident elk draw odds with 25 points here


Colorado's 2019 antelope breakdown

Colorado’s antelope population and trophy potential are underwhelming in comparison to its neighboring state to the North (Wyoming). Still, the population is improving and Colorado represents an additional opportunity to apply for and hunt antelope. Since we all have to buy a small game license in order to apply in Colorado now, we might as well build a point for the minimal application fee.

The statewide estimated population is approximately 85,280, which is up about 5,000 from the previous year. The largest populations of antelope occur in the northwestern portion of the state in Units 3, 4, 5, 13, 14, 214, 301 and 441. Just shy of 25% of the state’s population occurs within those units. The bulk of the rest of the population occurs across the eastern plains. Smaller pockets of antelope exist throughout the state, but are far more scattered and isolated. Units 3, 301 and 10 (new hunt 2019) can all be good options. Units 79, 80 and 81 in the south-central part of the state have decent populations and decent trophy potential. In the eastern plains, the best public access is within the National Grasslands, the Pawnee and Comanche. Units 87, 88, 135, 136, 137, 138 and 144 all have a fair amount of national grasslands. So find an opportunity to hunt, which brings us to the next point.

One of the biggest issues with hunting antelope in Colorado is finding somewhere to hunt. Many of the areas are comprised of all private land or a complex mix of public and private. Access can be spotty and it’s likely to take some research to find access and somewhere to hunt and, in a lot of cases, it may not be possible without private access.

Colorado offers limited quota hunts for archery, muzzleloader and rifle antelope. In addition, there are also units where you can archery hunt with an OTC license. Finding a place to hunt on public land is very challenging for OTC archery hunts, but there are some opportunities if you are willing to do some real research and are handy with a GPS and land ownership layer. The better rifle hunts will require points to draw, but the muzzleloader and archery hunts can be drawn much quicker. The harvest success for those hunts is lower; however, it’s one way to hunt better units with far fewer points.

The draw system for antelope is similar to elk and deer; it works on a preference point system where the applicants with the most points draw the permits. The only real exception is that there is no resident/nonresident quota split for antelope. Overall, Colorado is far from a premier antelope hunting destination. Instead, it should be looked at as another fun opportunity to hunt.

Current antelope herd condition

Populations are up overall. The table below will offer you the populations and buck:doe ratios by unit groups.

Colorado post hunt antelope population estimate - updated 2019

Colorado antelope populations by unit-2019

Colorado Antelope Data Analysis Units

Colorado antelope data analysis unit map
Source: Colorado Parks and Wildlife

goHUNT’s hit list units for antelope in 2019

Top hit list hunt units to consider for 75" or better antelope
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
potential
1/2 80"+, 75"+
3/301 80"+, 75"+
6/17/161 75"+, 75"+, 80"+
11 80"+
67 80"+
80 80"+
81 80"+
87 80"+
50 75"+

How to uncover hidden gem units

The real hidden gems for antelope are within the limited quota archery and muzzleloader hunts. Generally speaking, Units 3, 6, 16, 17, 161, 171, 11, 67, 80, 81, 87, 88, 2 and 201 have large enough tracts of public land to offer a good hunt. Out of the OTC archery units, the Comanche National Grasslands located in Units 135, 130, 137, 144 and 145 are decent options.

For the limited quota archery, muzzleloader and OTC archery permits, use the Filtering 2.0 tool to search by draw odds and season. Then, filter down by harvest success and trophy potential to find those units that offer the best option.

Beyond that, some map and GPS work will allow you to whittle those units down to specific areas to hunt.

Percent of COLORADO Antelope TAGS DRAWN 1ST - 4TH CHOICE - updated 2019

TOTAL NUMBER OF COLORADO ANTELOPE TAGS DRAWN 1ST - 4TH CHOICE - updated 2019


B&C entry trends for Colorado antelope

Units listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Units in this table are included if any part of the unit is found within the county. Data provided below courtesy of the Boone and Crockett Club.

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

County No. of
entries
Units found
within county
Las Animas 12 85, 128, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137,
140, 141, 142, 143, 147, 851
Moffat 7 1, 2, 3, 4, 511, 12,
13, 201, 211, 301
Huerfano 5 84, 85, 128, 133, 861
Jackson 4 6, 16, 17, 161, 171
Lincoln 4 106, 107, 111, 112, 113, 114, 119, 120, 121
Park 4 394649505005015758581
Rio Grande 3 76, 78, 79, 80, 81, 791

Map of Colorado's antelope B&C all time entries 2019


The points system

Managing points and expectations

2019 maximum preference points for antelope: 31

COLORADO RESIDENT ANTELOPE PREFERENCE POINTS GOING INTO THE 2019 DRAW

COLORADO NONRESIDENT ANTELOPE PREFERENCE POINTS GOING INTO THE 2019 DRAW

COLORADO ANTELOPE PREFERENCE POINTS GOING INTO THE 2019 DRAW

Find your draw odds

I have 0 to 5 antelope points. What can I expect?

There are some options. By using the Draw Odds portion of Filtering 2.0, you’ll find that there are permits you can draw for every season and weapon. Good options include archery hunts in Units 3/301, 6/16/17/161/171, 49/50/500/501, 57/58/581, 80, 81, 82/861. Muzzleloader hunts in Units 4/5, 6/16/17/161/171, 49/50/57/58/500/501/581, 87/88/89/90/95/951 are good hunts. Hunts in Unit 4/5, 18/27/28/37/181, 87, 88 are good options for rifle hunters.

Find your resident antelope draw odds with zero points here

Find your nonresident antelope draw odds with zero points here

What can I do with 6 to 10 antelope points?

Consider archery hunts in Units 11, 79/791, muzzleloader hunts in Units 3/301, 11, 68/79/80/81/82/83/681/791 and 551. Rifle hunters might consider Units 4/5, 8, 12/211, 57/58/581, 82/681.

Find your resident antelope draw odds with 10 points here

Find your nonresident antelope draw odds with 10 points here

What can I expect with 11 to 15 antelope points?

The best options within this range are likely the rifle hunts in Units 3/301, 6, 11, 16/17/171, 80, 81 and 161. Most hunts will not yield a B&C buck, but it will be a fun hunt and a good opportunity for success.

Find your resident antelope draw odds with 15 points here

Find your nonresident antelope draw odds with 15 points here

What can I expect with 15 to 20 antelope points?

The archery hunt in Unit 2/201 is good. Unit 1/2/201 muzzleloader and rifle hunts in Units 2/201, 11, 67, 68/681/682, 79/791 and 551 are good hunts. There are good amounts of public land, trophy potential is good and these units will all offer a fun hunt.

Find your resident antelope draw odds with 20 points here

Find your nonresident antelope draw odds with 20 points here

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