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APPLICATION STRATEGY 2019: Colorado Mule Deer

2019 Colorado mule deer application strategy

Colorado's 2019 mule deer application overview

Jump to: New for 2019 State Information Draw System Mule Deer Breakdown

Colorado has a larger mule deer population than any other state and the trophy potential is generally really good. Nowhere else in the West can you easily draw a permit and have a reasonable expectation to see and hunt a mature buck. Colorado offers a variety of seasons: archery, muzzleloader, early rifle and second, third and fourth rifle seasons that run well into the rut. Colorado has so many areas and seasons that anyone can draw a tag and hunt no matter where you fall in the point scheme. Whether you have been applying for years—or if you have never applied and want to hunt mule deer for for the first time—there are good opportunities in Colorado in 2019. Below, we will cover all the changes for 2019, outline the details of how to apply and give you the inside track on how to find an opportunity this year.

Top B&C typical mule deer locations since 2015 - Colorado 2019 app strategy

Top B&C nontypical mule deer locations since 2015 - Colorado 2019 app strategy

Let’s be honest: mule deer are king in Colorado, but whitetail inhabit most of the eastern plains and there are always a few really good bucks harvested most years. The critical factor is finding a place to hunt. Most of eastern Colorado is private land and most of the public land is either tough to access or just doesn’t hold deer. If you can book a hunt with an outfitter or find some access, consider whitetail hunting in Colorado. If you are interested in hunting eastern plains deer or whitetail, utilize the tools within Filtering 2.0 and the unit profiles to find the best opportunity. Remember a guide is your best bet in the plains for a good buck.

Note: The application deadline for all Colorado species is 8:00 p.m. MST on April 2, 2019. You can apply online here.


Why Colorado for mule deer in 2019?

  • Colorado is the land of mule deer hunting opportunity. If you have been building points or even if you have never applied, you can hunt deer in Colorado in 2019.
  • Colorado has archery, muzzleloader, early rifle, second season rifle, third season rifle and fourth season rifle. Basically, Colorado has a season for every type of hunter.
  • It’s a bit cliché, but everyone has heard that a trophy buck can come from just about any unit. The reality is that it’s true. A trophy buck can come from any unit and they regularly do. Some hunts make it easier to find them, but every unit in the state has good trophy potential.
  • Public land is plentiful throughout western Colorado, especially during the early hunt when deer are up at higher summer range elevation. The late season hunts can be somewhat challenging in terms of land/access, but there is a lot of public land to hunt.
  • If you are a western big game hunter who doesn’t want to travel east to hunt whitetail and don’t mind going on a guided hunt, Colorado offers good whitetail hunting.

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 on April 2 in 2019. Previously, it was midnight. Apply online here.
  • 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.
  • In 2019, CPW will require mandatory submission of chronic wasting disease (CWD) test samples (heads) from all deer harvested during any of the rifle seasons from select Game Management Units (GMU). Hunters who harvest a deer in the specified hunt codes (all of the plains GMUs and some GMUs west of I-25) will be required to submit their deer head to a CPW submission site for testing. See regulations for details.
  • Resident licenses will increase $8 in 2019.
  • The Wildlife Education Fund Fee will go up from $.75 to $1.50.

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 here. Or you can call 1-800-244-5613 for help getting an account.

Colorado State Profile Mule Deer Profile Whitetail Deer Profile Draw Odds Filtering 2.0

Colorado is one of the easiest states to apply in. The main thing to understand is that your first choice on the application is everything. The only way that a second choice is even drawn is if that particular hunt choice had tags available after everybody’s first choices were considered. You’ll hear this as being an undersubscribed unit. Make sure that you look at our draw odds and find only hunt choices that have 100% second choice draw odds during prior years when you are looking for a second choice hunt.

Important dates and information

  • The deadline to apply for Colorado deer 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 from 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 and 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
Deer adult* $39.75 $396.75
Deer youth* $15.50 $101.50

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

The seasons

The archery season is nearly a month long while the muzzleloader, second rifle and third rifle are all nine days. The highly sought after fourth season rifle hunt is only five days long, but should occur in conjunction with the mule deer rut.

Dates for deer seasons in 2019*

Season Dates
Archery Aug. 31 to Sept. 29
Muzzleloader Sept. 14 to 22
Second rifle deer season (west of I-25) Oct. 19 to 27
Third rifle deer season (west of I-25) Nov. 2 to 10
Fourth rifle deer season (west of I-25) Nov. 13 to 17

* Unless otherwise noted in the brochure tables

For a season-by-season weapon breakdown, check out our Colorado mule deer species profile.

Colorado statewide deer harvest- Updated 2019

A few thoughts on seasons

The archery and muzzleloader will give hunters the opportunity to hunt early season. One of the advantages of those hunts is that bucks are often more regular in their routine and display more fidelity to an area. Bucks are also often in small bachelor herds or solo and are often a lot easier to locate this time of year. Spot and stalk is a good method, but, before going all in on a unit, consider the type of vegetation and topography. If a heavily-timbered plateau comprises most of the summer range, it could be tough to hunt. Conversely, alpine canyons, peaks or a mosaic of timber and open feeding areas are better suited for these type of early seasons.

There are several early rifle season hunts and those can be good options while the bucks are still in their summer range. Review the topography, vegetation and draw odds to see if one of these hunts is right for you.

The second rifle season is an intriguing option. The second rifle season licenses can regularly be drawn with far fewer points than a third or fourth season license. A second season hunt might allow you to hunt a better unit with a higher buck:doe ratios much more often than waiting for a third season license. Second season does have its challenges. Typically, October is a tough time to locate trophy bucks. They are transitioning into rut/winter range and are often solitary, spending the bulk of their time feeding and bedding in preparation for the rut. Still, second season can offer a good hunt for those willing to work at it. Hunting pressure can be very heavy.

The third rifle season is probably the best middle of the road option. Most units will require more points than the second season, but far fewer than the fourth season. The dates are good— pre-rut mostly—but some years with cold snowy weather can turn into a great rut hunt. Bucks are moving more and are often easier to locate during the third season. One other advantage of the third season over the fourth is that it’s nine full days. Nine full days is a generous amount of time to rifle hunt this time of year. Many of the deer will have transitioned into mid to low elevations. There are often bucks that hang in the higher aspen range, but a lot are moving into more traditional pinyon, juniper and sage winter range. Public land and access are worth considering before picking a hunt. Hunting pressure can be heavy.

The obvious advantage of the fourth rifle season is the dates. The rut is rolling and bigger bucks should have moved into areas where does are concentrated. If you find the does, the bucks should be close by. Bucks are often moving most of the day in search of does or have found a group of does and will be relatively close by. A lot of the deer will be on rut/winter range and it’s worth looking at land access and ownership before embarking on a fourth season hunt. The fourth season hunts are generally the toughest to draw; however, hunting pressure is much less.


The draw system

Understanding the draw

Nonresidents can be allocated up to 35% of the deer 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.

Point system

Colorado utilizes a true preference point system to allocate deer licenses, meaning the applicants with the most points that apply for any given hunt draw the licenses. There is no random draw for nonresident deer 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. That code is listed below. You cannot build more than one preference point per year.

Deer preference point only code: D-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. Then pick mule deer 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.

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

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

A deer application can include mule deer only hunt choices, whitetail deer hunt choices or a combination of hunt choices. 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 deer 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 six, three and nine preference points, that application will go into the draw with three points. Nonresidents and residents can apply together as a group for deer. 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.

Returning a license

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?

Deer 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

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 Unit 2.

There were two licenses that went to two of the three applicants that applied with 21 points. There could be 24 applicants going into the upcoming draw with 15 plus points. At that rate, with two licenses annually, it would take those with 15 points another 12 years to draw. If you are just starting to apply, at a minimum, it could take 60 years to draw.

Do not play that game. Use the detailed draw odds pages to see how many applicants are ahead of you for the hunt you are considering. Apply for hunts that make sense. Hunting mule deer in Colorado is too good even in mediocre units to wait that long.


Colorado's 2019 mule deer breakdown

Similar to other western states, 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 131%. Temperatures have not been severe and/or prolonged enough that crusted snows have made it tough for deer to access feed and, as such, winter mortality should not be a significant issue.

Colorado post hunt deer population estimate - Updated 2019

Snowpack map

2019

March 2019 Colorado snow water equivalent percent of normal

Colorado snow water equivalent update as of March 11, 2019. Source: National Resources Conservation Service

2018

Colorado snow water equivalent as of March 2018
Colorado snow water equivalent update as of March 9, 2018. Source: National Resources Conservation Service

Deer population

Colorado’s deer population has been relatively stable over the past 12 years, hovering around the 415,000 level, give or take a few thousand. Generally speaking, that’s a good number, but herds were estimated to be over 600,000 in the early 2000s. Some areas have taken a harder hit than others. For quick reference, we have included the 2006 estimated population and the 2017 statistics, which is the most recent estimate.

Colorado mule deer populations by unit


The goHUNT hit list units for Colorado mule deer

For the past couple years the third and 4th rifle seasons have been warm and dry. There is a correlation between the hot dry conditions and the number of big bucks harvested during those hunts. It’s been several years since snow and cold weather have arrived early enough in the year to provide an exceptional 3rd or 4th season hunt. Some of the biggest bucks harvested in recent years have been harvested during the muzzleloader or archery hunts. On the right year with the right conditions, Colorado late season can still be amazing.

Top hit list hunt units to consider for 190" or better bucks
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
potential
Buck:doe
ratio
Public land
%
21/30 190"+ 31:100 87.6%
44 190"+ 41:100 81.5%
54 190"+ 35:100 78.7%
55 190"+ 31:100 89.4%
66 190"+ 40:100 80.6%
67 190"+ 40:100 82.6%

 

Top hit list hunt units to consider for 180" or better bucks
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
potential
Buck:doe
ratio
Public land
%
1 180"+ 38:100 90.9%
2 180"+ 38:100 91.2%
10 180"+ 52:100 78.3%
22 180"+ 30:100 73.4%
30 180"+ 31:100 74.8%
40 180"+ 34:100 62.6%
52/521 180"+ 28:100 47.7%
54.9%
53 180"+ 32:100 77.4%
61 180"+ 33:100 84.6%
65 180"+ 37:100 52.6%
68/681 180"+ 31:100 86.9%
87.6%
70 180"+ 25:100 69.7%
71/711 180"+ 25:100 84.2%
61.7%
74 180"+ 25:100 85.9%
75/751 180"+ 35:100 45%
72.7%
76 180"+ 30:100 94.3%
77 180"+ 35:100 82.7%

How to uncover hidden gem units

If you review the list above and compare it with the trophy potential filter at the same level within Filtering 2.0 you’ll see there are other units that have trophy potential in the same range that may be easier to draw. Some of these areas have good populations, good buck to doe ratios and can produce a trophy buck with some work and good fortune. In those areas, the trophy potential is there, but the hunting pressure can be very heavy for the second and third rifle seasons.

A few other points to consider when thinking about hidden gems: think about the archery and muzzleloader hunts in some of trophy tough draw units. For example, a nonresident could draw a Unit 66 archery permit with eight points or a muzzleloader permit with eight points. The third and fourth rifle seasons in that same unit required 17 points and 24 points. Late season dates will concentrate deer at lower elevations and the early season habitat is typically harder to access and can be tougher to hunt, but, in this case (and a lot of cases), hunters are hunting the same population of bucks. Also, the bulk of Colorado’s mule deer summer range is public land.

Second season rifle hunts are one of the better opportunities that are still not on too many hunters’ radars. As you scroll through the second season draw odds, you’ll note that there are 16 hunts with 100% odds and over 30 that you have some chance to draw with zero points. The reality is that those can be tough hunts, but think about the law of averages. You hunt a unit one time in ten years you’ll likely kill an average buck; you hunt a unit five years or every year, the chances go way up that you’ll get a chance at something special. One other thought on second season: It can be hard to find a big buck on second season, but, if you find one, there is a higher chance that you will relocate that buck multiple times. In most cases, the bucks have not started to cover a lot of ground in search of does.

There are far fewer secrets for the third and fourth season rifle hunts. If there are hidden gems within these dates, it’s likely in the form of public land locations. A good chunk of the winter range in some of the easy to draw third and fourth season hunts is private land or the public land that does exist is not good habitat. This is not always the case and, even when it is, there are opportunities for individuals who can dig in and really research the land ownership and game movements and hunt hard. On the right year with a good early cold snap and snow storm, there are third season hunts that could be very very good.


B&C entry trends for Colorado mule deer

Units listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Units in this table are included if any part of the district 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 mule deer

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Eagle 16 15, 25, 26, 34, 35, 36, 43,
44, 45, 47, 361, 444
Garfield 12 12, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 30, 31,
32, 33, 34, 42, 43, 231, 421, 444
Archuleta 10 77, 78, 81, 751, 771
Rio Blanco 7 10, 11, 12, 21, 22, 23,
24, 31, 211, 231
Las Animas 6 85, 128, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137,
140, 141, 142, 143, 147, 851
Mesa 6 30, 31, 41, 42, 421, 60, 61, 62
Yuma 6 98, 101, 102, 103, 109
Delta 5 411, 52, 521, 53, 62, 63, 64

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

Colorado Book Typicals 1990-2017 with precip - updated 2019

Colorado Book Typicals 1965-1989 with precip - updated 2018

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

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Eagle 6 15, 25, 26, 34, 35, 36, 43,
44, 45, 47, 361, 444
Garfield 5 12, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 30, 31,
32, 33, 34, 42, 43, 231, 421, 444
Morgan 4 95, 96, 97, 99, 100, 951
Grand 4 14, 15, 18, 28, 181, 361

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


The points system

The preference point race

2019 maximum preference points for deer: 29

Colorado resident deer preference points going into the 2019 draw

Colorado nonresident deer preference points going into the 2019 draw

COLORADO DEER POINTS GOING INTO THE 2019 DRAW

Managing points and expectations

Keep in mind that most of the land east of I-25 is private. Obtaining landowner permission prior to applying is highly recommended.

I have 0 deer points. What can I expect?

You have a few different options if you are applying for the first time or just getting back into the mix.

Apply for a point only using the point code D-P-999-99-P as your first and only choice. This will give you a point in preparation for drawing a better tag in the future.

Apply for a point only as your first choice with the code D-P-999-99-P and use the standalone draw odds in your INSIDER account to explore options of drawing a hunt as a second choice. This will grant you a point for this application and possibly get you a permit to go hunting. There are many archery, muzzleloader, second season and even some third season rifle hunts available as a second choice.

There are ample hunts for every season/weapon that can be drawn with no points. Use the draw odds and Filtering 2.0 filters to find the hunt that meets your objectives.

Tip: If you plan to apply for one of the hunts that had 100% odds with zero points, be sure you check the second choice odds before you list one of them as your first choice. Remember if you draw a hunt as your first choice you won’t gain a point. Don’t draw a hunt as a first choice when you could have drawn it as a second choice and built a preference point for the following year.

Find your resident mule deer 2nd choice draw odds here

Find your nonresident mule deer 2nd choice draw odds here

Find your resident mule deer draw odds with zero points here

Find your nonresident mule deer draw odds with zero points here

What can I do with 3 or 4 deer points?

Point creep is an issue for many of the mid to top tier hunts in Colorado, so if you fall within this point level, we strongly urge applicants to look at the odds and hunt options before building too many. The issue you might run into is that you may never have enough to catch the hunt you are looking for and, often, applicants end up sacrificing points to draw a lesser hunt because they are sick of waiting.

Residents

The list of hunts a resident can draw with three or four points is extensive with archery, muzzleloader, early rifle, second rifle, third rifle and even fourth rifle season available. We advise INSIDERS to use the Filtering 2.0 tools to help them explore the hunts. For example, go to Colorado > Mule deer > 180”+ trophy potential > Resident draw odds > First choice > 4 points > 100% draw odds. To narrow that down even further you can select the weapon you’re looking for in the select your season drop down menu. Manipulate the harvest success and public land percentage to find the best option. You can then click on each unit and research the unit profiles for more information.

Intriguing options include: 66, 67, 551 archery, 40, 54, 62, 63, 851 muzzleloader, 44, 80/81 second rifle, 17, 22, 52/411/521, 53, 54, 68/681/682, 62, 63, 76 third season rifle, and 15, 18/28/37/371, 33, 60, 64/65, 69/84/86/691/861, 71/711, 501, 511 fourth season rifle hunts.

Find your resident mule deer draw odds with 4 points here

Nonresidents

The pile of hunts that a nonresident could draw with three or four points is lengthy. Follow the same strategy outlined above, using Filtering 2.0, the standalone Draw Odds and Unit Profiles to find the hunts that suit your objectives best.

A few of the better options within this range are: archery hunts in 54, 63, 67, and 551; muzzleloader hunts in 40, 52/411/521, 54, 63, 64/65, 71/711 and 67; early rifle hunts in, 36, 161 second season rifle hunts in 6, 22, 30, 53, 63, 67, 80/81, 161, and 551; third season rifle hunts in 11/211, 17, 52/411/521, 62, 70, 80/81, and 161; and fourth season rifle hunts in 444 and 511. Keep in mind that fourth season hunts drawn with very few points could be difficult due to private land issues and access.

Find your nonresident mule deer draw odds with 4 points here

What can I expect with nine or 10 deer points?

Residents

Every archery and muzzleloader hunt was available with nine points, including Unit 201. Every early rifle hunt was available with nine points except for Unit 74, which had 45% odds with 10 points and Unit 851 had 0% with nine, but 100% with 10 points. The best second season hunts in this range are in Unit 10. Units 2, 201, 851 will likely take 11 or 12 points. Unit 1 and 55 third rifle season is a good option, while Units 21 and 66 will require 11 or 12 points. The fourth season rifle hunt in 35/36/45/361, 63, 68/681/682, and 83 are good options.

Find your resident mule deer draw odds with 10 points here

Nonresidents

Unit 2, 21/30, 61, 76 are great archery options. Unit 21/30, 61, 66, 76 muzzleloader hunt are good hunts in this point range. Early rifle hunts 12/24/25/26/231, 43, 65 are worth researching. Second rifle seasons in 21, 61, 66 should be considered. Unit 22, 40, 551 third season rifle hunts can be good. Fourth season rifle hunts in 5, 6/16/17/161/171, 15, 33, 83, 501, 551 are all good, but remember public land can be tough to find and access in some areas during late season hunts.

Find your nonresident mule deer draw odds with 10 points here

What can I expect with 15 or 20 deer points?

For the select few that have waited this long to draw a deer tag in Colorado you can draw most hunts, but you are likely only considering a few. A resident can draw every hunt, including Unit 44 fourth rifle season.

For nonresidents, as I pointed out earlier, even with 20 points you could wait many more years to draw the best hunts like Unit 44 fourth rifle. If you stay the course for one of the top tier rifle hunts you may be applying for several more years. There are very good options if you want to go hunting: Unit 2, 10, 201 second season rifle. Units 2, 10, 21, 44, 201 third season rifle hunts are all worth reviewing the detailed draw odds pages to see how many more years it might take to draw those. They are all close. Unit 22 fourth rifle season is close, but Unit 44 and many of the other top fourth season units could be many more years.

If you fall within this range and are looking for a hunt, once again, use the Filtering 2.0, Unit Profiles, and Draw Odds pages to find the hunts that best suite you.

Find your resident mule deer draw odds with 20 points here

Find your nonresident mule deer draw odds with 20 points here

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