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APPLICATION STRATEGY 2021: Colorado Elk and Antelope

COLORADO'S 2021 ELK AND ANTELOPE APPLICATION OVERVIEW

Jump to: NEW FOR 2021 State Information Draw System Elk Breakdown Antelope Breakdown

The application deadline for Colorado is 8:00 p.m. MST on April 6, 2021. You can apply online here or via telephone at 1-800-244-5613. Paper applications are no longer available.


New for 2021

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) big game licenses will now be available for purchase by all methods, even after the start of a season. Hunters can now purchase those at Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) offices, online, by phone or at other sales agents.
  • New license reissue process: Instead of returned licenses being randomly placed on the leftover list Tuesday through Friday each week as in the past, a new reissue preview list will be posted online every Tuesday at 11 a.m. Those hunt codes will be moved to the leftover list and be available for purchase on a first come, first served basis every Wednesday starting at 11 a.m. The first reissue preview list will be released on Aug. 10.
  • In 2021, CPW will require mandatory submission of chronic wasting disease (CWD) test samples from all elk harvested in specific hunt codes. See pgs 41-52 in the 2021 guidebook for unit specifics. 

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.


Applying for a state you've never hunted before can be daunting but we are here to make it easy. In the video above, Trail goes over some of the most commonly asked questions when applying in Colorado.

Colorado State Profile Elk Profile Antelope Profile Draw Odds Filtering 2.0 goHUNT MAPS

Important dates and information

  • The deadline to apply for all species in Colorado is 8:00 p.m. MST on April 6, 2021.
  • You can only apply online here or by calling 1-800-244-5613.
  • Draw results will be available May 24 to 28, 2021.
  • All applicants, including youth, must purchase a qualifying license before applying for the big game draw(s).
  • A qualifying license is one of the following:
  • Residents or nonresidents
    • 2021 annual resident or nonresident spring turkey
    • 2021 annual small game license
    • 2021 annual youth small game license
  • Residents only
    • 2021 annual resident combination small game/fishing license
    • Veteran's lifetime resident combination small game/fishing license
    • 2021 annual resident senior combo small game/fishing
    • 2021 disabled resident first responder lifetime combo small game/fishing
  • Applicants do not have to front the cost of the licenses that they are applying 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 is a true preference point state for elk and antelope. The applicants with the most points who apply for any given hunt will draw the permit.
  • If you draw a permit and CPW is unable to charge the credit card on file, you must pay for the license online or by phone or at a CPW office by June 11. If you do not, your license is surrendered and you lose both the license and any preference points you used to draw it.
  • 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 at a level prior to the draw. You must relinquish your license and carcass tag at least 30 days before the opening day of the season for which the license is valid.

Cost to apply

Item Resident Nonresident
Application fee $7 $9
Qualifying license/annual
small game hunt license
$30.87 $84.96
Youth qualifying license/annual
small game hunt license
$1.29 $1.29
Habitat stamp $10.40 $10.40
*Elk bull license (adult) $56.88 $688.26
*Elk either sex license (adult) $56.88 $688.26
*Elk cow license (adult) $56.88 $516.63
*Elk license (youth) $16.05 $105.51
*Antelope license (adult) $41.28 $412.61
*Antelope license (youth) $16.05 $105.51

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

Total cost for an adult nonresident to apply will be $95.36 plus $9 per species. You only need to buy one qualifying license and one habitat stamp. Any species applications on top of that will be an additional $9 for deer, elk and antelope. 

Dates for elk seasons in 2021*

Season Dates
Archery Sept. 2 to 30
Muzzleloader Sept. 11 to 19
First rifle season Oct. 16 to 20
Second rifle season Oct. 30 to Nov. 7
Third rifle season Nov. 13 to 19
Fourth rifle season Nov. 24 to 28

*Unless otherwise noted in the brochure tables

Colorado statewide elk harvest - updated 2021

Dates for antelope seasons in 2021*

Season Dates
Archery Aug. 15 to Sept. 20
Muzzleloader Sept. 21 to 29
Rifle Oct. 2 to 10

*Unless otherwise noted in the brochure tables.

SNOWPACK MAP

2021

Colorado NRCS

Colorado snow water equivalent update as of March 05, 2021. Source: National Resources Conservation Service

2020

2020 Colorado water precipitation

Colorado snow water equivalent update as of March 4, 2020. Source: National Resources Conservation Service

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

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. This means that the applicants with the most preference points who apply for any given hunt will draw the licenses. There is no random draw for licenses. 

Applicants will gain one preference point for every year they apply for a hunt and are unsuccessful in drawing their first choice. Colorado considers every applicant's first choice before moving to subsequent choices. To draw a hunt as a second choice, there must have been a surplus of licenses after every applicant's first choice has been considered. You can draw a hunt as a second, third or fourth choice and still build a preference point for that year. 

If applicants want to build preference points only they can use the preference point only code as their first choice. You cannot build more than one preference point per year. If you draw your first hunt choice, your preference points will be purged. If you fail to apply for a species or have not purchased a license for ten consecutive years, then all accumulated preference points for that species will be purged.

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

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

Hunt choices

Colorado allows applicants to select up to four hunt choices for elk and antelope. Remember that you only lose your preference points if you draw your first choice.

You can explore the odds of drawing as a second choice within your INSIDER account. Simply change the “choice” filter from first to second and you can see all hunt odds of drawing as a second choice.

Group applications

Group applications of any number are accepted for elk. Residents and nonresidents can apply together. One person must be the group leader and all applications in that group are linked together with that group leader’s CID number. Every member of the group must apply for the same hunt at each choice. 

The group application will go into the draw with the lowest number of preference points of any single member of the group. This means that if a group of three apply and they have one, seven and 12 points, the application will go into the draw with one point. CPW will not over allocate licenses to cover a group application if there are not enough licenses left. For example, if there were two licenses left and an application for a group of three was selected, they would reject that application and move to the next application. 

Second drawing

Licenses remaining after the primary drawing will be available in the secondary drawing. The secondary drawing is open to anyone — whether they applied in the primary drawing or not. Applicants must have purchased a qualifying license to apply for the secondary draw. The secondary draw does not use preference points and you cannot apply for preference points. 

The deadline to apply in the secondary drawing is June 30 at 8 p.m. MST. The payment deadline for applicants successful in the secondary drawing is July 16 at midnight. 

Returned, leftover and reissued licenses

Colorado allows applicants who have drawn a license to return it. As long as it’s done at least 30 days prior to the hunt, they can choose to receive a refund for the cost of the license or have their points reinstated. If you have your points reinstated, you will not receive a point for that year's application.

Any returned or leftover licenses after the secondary draw will be reissued via a brand new process in 2021. In prior years, any returned license(s) would be randomly placed onto a list and anyone could buy that on a first come, first served basis. This year, every Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. beginning Aug. 10, all reissued licenses will be placed on a list and published to the CPW website for customers to review. The following day, Wednesday at 11:00 a.m., those licenses will be sold on a first come, first served basis. Reissued licenses can be purchased online or in person at CPW offices or license agents. 

OTC licenses

There are OTC elk licenses in Colorado. Those OTC licenses are available for archery, second and third rifle seasons. Hunters who purchase the OTC licenses can hunt any or all of the OTC units. They are not unit specific. You do not have to apply for OTC licenses. Those go on sale on Aug. 3, 2021


Colorado's 2021 elk breakdown

The current Colorado elk population is up slightly with a total of 292,760 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 and bull:cow ratios for the top DAUs and the units within each group.

Colorado post hunt elk population estimate - updated 2021

Colorado elk populations by DAU (data analysis unit)

Unit 2019 population Population trend Bull:cow ratio
2, 201 1,670 Up 22:100
3, 301, 4, 441, 5, 14, 214 22,280 Down 19:100
6, 16, 161, 17, 171 6,950 Up 33:100
7, 8, 9, 19, 191 4,260 Up 25:100
53, 54, 63 7,690 Down 21:100
11, 12, 13, 23, 24, 25, 26, 33, 34, 131, 211, 231 45,000 Down 26:100
15, 27 4,700 Down 19:100
18, 181 5,670 Up 40:100
20 2,500 Up 42:100
21, 22, 30, 31, 32 12,420 Up 24:100
82 5,970 Up 51:100
35, 36 3,910 Up 28:100
28, 37, 371 4,550 Down 41:100
41, 411, 42, 421, 52, 521 15,390 Up 28:100
43, 471 4,990 Up 30:100
44, 444, 45, 47 6,180 Up 20:100
48, 481, 56, 561 2,990 Down 24:100
50, 500, 501 2,390 Up 34:100
40 3,760 Up 26:100
61, 62 10,380 Up 19:100
10 1,480 Down 69:100
49, 57, 58 3,690 Down 30:100
511, 512, 581, 59, 591 4,070 Up 25:100
70, 71, 711, 72, 73 16,890 - 16:100
66, 67 5,350 Down 23:100
68, 681 4,260 Up 18:100
86, 691, 861 2,190 Up 12:100
69, 84 1,800 Down 37:100
74, 741 4,780 Down 16:100
75, 751, 77, 771, 78 18,940 Up 14:100
80, 81 11,210 Up 18:100
83, 85, 851, 140 16,480 Up 21:100
76, 79 6,480 Up 30:100
64, 65 6,570 Up 19:100
29, 38 1,250 Down 20:100
39, 46, 391, 461 2,230 Down 37:100
60 3,360 Up 45:100
55, 551 4,690 Up 22:100
1 200 - 33:100
51, 104, 105, 106, 110, 111 1,930 Up 19:100
133, 134, 135, 141, 142 1,110 Up 18:100
682, 791 150 - 18:100

goHUNT's hit list units for Colorado elk in 2021

Top hit list hunt units to consider for 340" or better bulls
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy potential Season offered Resident points to draw Nonresident points to draw
201 370”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
Early rifle
23 (42%)
24 (50%)
25 (22%)​​​​​​
27 (50%)
28 (17%)
29 (23%)​​​​​​
851* 370”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
First rifle
Second rifle
Third rifle
Fourth rifle
8 (100%)
8 (100%)
16 (34%)
14 (100%)
20 (67%)
19 (50%)
11 (25%)
16 (100%)
23 (100%)
22 (100%)
25 (50%)
25 (100%)
10 360”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
Early rifle
20 (31%)
22 (100%)
22 (14%)​​​​​​
26 (20%)
27 (50%)
28 (50%)​​​​​​
2 360”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
Early rifle
22 (75%)
22 (28%)
24 (93%)
28 (100%)
27 (25%)
28 (36%)
40 360”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
First rifle
Second rifle
Third rifle
Fourth rifle
8 (53%)
8 (31%)
11 (42%)
9 (80%)
8 (27%)
8 (21%)
13 (25%)
18 (33%)
25 (100%)
18 (50%)
17 (33%)
15 (67%)
61 350”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
Early rifle
First rifle
Second rifle
Third rifle
Fourth rifle
14 (51%)
16 (31%)
19 (24%)
11 (50%)
9 (69%)
9 (69%)
9 (69%)
23 (44%)
24 (25%)
26 (60%)
22 (67%)
22 (100%)
22 (100%)
22 (100%)
1 350”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
Early rifle
15 (100%)
14 (100%)
18 (67%)
No licenses
No licenses
28 (100%)
76 340”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
First rifle
Second rifle
Third rifle
8 (100%)
9 (85%)
18 (75%)
7 (83%)
5 (28%)
5 (21%)
15 (89%)
21 (20%)
24 (33%)
15 (17%)
11 (33%)
10 (18%)
49 340”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
First rifle
Second rifle
Third rifle
Fourth rifle
5 (41%)
6 (34%)
8 (20%)
4 (31%)
4 (31%)
4 (31%)
6 (79%)
12 (23%)
13 (93%)
5 (100%)
5 (100%)
5 (100%)

*Unit 851 Bosque Del Oso WA 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 has an extensive list of hunts to explore. If you take a quick look at the hit list above, you’ll see that best hunts mostly take a couple of decades worth of points. That doesn’t mean that there are not other good hunts — there are — and most of those are hidden away in hunts that can be drawn with zero to seven points. Colorado also contains expansive amounts of wilderness areas. Wilderness areas can be tough to access and retrieve a bull, but for those who can, they can yield a bigger bull. 

In addition, Colorado experienced some of the largest wildfires in state history last summer and fall. One year post-fire may be a bit early for those areas to begin to yield good feed; however, those areas should be on your radar for future planning. Fire and the subsequent regrowth is like ice cream to elk. Interestingly, some of those areas already had great populations and high bull:cow ratios. Use the goHUNT mapping platform, fire layers and unit boundaries to research those areas.

By using the standalone Draw Odds page, it’s easy to assess what hunts may best fit your needs. You can filter by seasons, draw odds at your point level and, even, explore odds at first and second choice. By utilizing our Filtering 2.0 feature, INSIDERs can filter by trophy potential, harvest success, bull:cow ratios, public land and the draw odds to narrow down the best hidden gem options. Visit the unit profiles, which offer terrain and other information like bull:cow ratios that can help you determine what unit is right for you. There are very good OTC options to hunt elk in Colorado. A quick search and we can see that there are 323 bull elk hunts available and 132 of those could have been drawn with no points. There are many more available in the one- to seven-point range. No matter where you land with the number of points you have, you can find a hunt in Colorado. We will explore some of the best options in the table below.

TOTAL NUMBER OF COLORADO ELK TAGS DRAWN 1ST - 4TH CHOICE - updated 2021

Good hunts in the 0 to 7 preference point range

Unit Trophy
potential
Season Resident points
to draw
Nonresident points
to draw
Harvest
success
20 330”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
First rifle 
Second rifle
Third rifle
Fourth rifle
Late rifle
Second late rifle
5 (33%)
3 (100%)
3 (11%)
3 (5.9%)
3 (40%)
3 (54%)
4 (18%)
6 (78%)
6 (50%)
10 (33%)
17 (100%)
10 (100%)
4 (100%)
5 (75%)
7 (100%)
9 (75%)
21%
52%
19%
60%
44%
64%
58%
64%
69/84 330”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
First rifle
Second rifle
Third rifle
Fourth rifle
2 (27%)
3 (6.9%)
4 (23%)
2 (23%)
3 (64%)
2 (48%)
2 (24%)
4 (5.9%)
4 (14%)
2 (5.9%)
6 (100%)
N/A
25% (84)
28% (84)
45% (84)
37% (84)
57% (69)
100% (69)
66 320”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
First rifle
Second rifle
Third rifle
Fourth rifle
2 (54%)
4 (32%)
0 (23%)
0 (88%)
0 (57%)
0 (56%)
7 (46%)
18 (75%)
3 (72%)
1 (81%)
1 (90%
1 (5%)
35%
24%
38%
36%
28%
16%
501 330”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
First rifle
Second rifle
Third rifle
Fourth rifle
3 (48%)
2 (20%)
3 (21%)
2 (49%)
2 (49%)
2 (49%)
3 (56%)
4 (100%)
4 (13%)
2 (42%)
2 (42%)
2 42%)
30%
27%
46%
15%
47%
22%
67 320”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
First rifle
Second rifle
Third rifle
Fourth rifle
1 (26%)
2 (4.4%)
0 (69%)
0 (100%)
0 (35%)
0 (19%)
3 (20%)
10 (29%)
0 (25%)
0 (100%)
0 (23%)
0 (20%
34%
32%
17%
8%
21%
19%
57/58 310”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
First rifle
Second rifle
Third rifle
Fourth rifle
1 (45%)
1 (43%)
3 (89%)
2 (11%)
2 (8.7%)
1 (2.4%)
1 (55%)
2 (68%)
3 (50%)
2 (7.1%)
2 (25%)
2 (100%)
27% (58)
21% (58)
33% (57)
43% (58)
34% (57)
36% (58)
48 310”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
First rifle
Second rifle
Third rifle
1 (44%)
1 (50%)
2 (31%)
1 (61%)
1 (61%)
1 (47%)
7 (100%)
4 (18%)
1 (80%)
1 (80%)
16%
26%
25%
43%
30%
54 310”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
First rifle
Fourth rifle
0 (95%)
0 (20%)
0 (98%)
0 (100%)
0 (22%)
2 (54%)
0 (100%)
0 (100%)
18%
26%
22%
17%
50 300”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
First rifle
Second rifle
Third rifle
Fourth rifle
0 (37%)
0 (100%)
1 (61%)
1 (64%)
1 (64%)
1 (64%)
0 (47%)
0 (100%)
1 (67%)
1 (78%)
1 (78%)
1 (78%)
28%
23%
20%
22%
34%
42%
500 300”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
First rifle
Second rifle
Third rifle
Fourth rifle
1 (4.4%)
2 (79%
2 (70%)
0 (14%)
0 (14%)
0 (14%)
2 (100%)
4 (46%)
2 (56%)
0 (9.1%)
0 (9.1%)
0 (9.1%)
18%
56%
32%
28%
30%
45%
29 300”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
Second rifle
Third rifle
Fourth rifle
2 (52%)
0 (14%)
1 (33%)
1 (33%)
1 (33%)
3 (100%)
1 (100%)
1 (50%)
1 (50%)
1 (50%)
20%
54%
75%
60%
25%
4/5/441 300”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
0 (33%)
1 (17%)
2 (61%)
6 (17%)
42% (5)
35% (5)
481 300”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
First rifle
Second rifle
Third rifle
0 (41%)
0 (19%)
1 (97%)
0 (82%)
0 (82%)
0 (23%)
1 (67%)
1 (100%)
0 (87%)
0 (87%)
23%
24%
31%
27%
26%
80/81 300”+ Muzzleloader
First rifle
Fourh rifle
1 (59%)
0 (28%)
0 (68%)
4 (84%)
0 (10%)
1 (100%)
36% (81)
26% (81)
13% (80)
12/23/24 280”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
0 (62%)
1 (15%)
2 (49%)
7 (40%)
25% (12)
35% (23)

Something to consider is that Colorado’s draw system is such that applicants can draw hunts as a second choice and still retain and build a point for that year. In this scenario, applicants could go hunting and still keep and build a preference point for the following year. In the table below, we have selected hunts that were good options as a second choice.

Good hunts as a second choice

Unit Resident second
choice to draw
Nonresident second
choice to draw
Harvest
success
70 (archery) 100% 100% 16%
35/36/361 (muzzleloader) 100% 100% 26% (361)
18/181 (muzzleloader) 43% 37% 17% (18)
43/471 (muzzleloader) 100% 100% 16% (43)
75/751 (muzzleloader) 100% 100% 14% (751)
11, 12, 13, 23, 24, 25, 26, 33, 34, 131, 211, 231 (first rifle) 100% 100% 36% (12)
21/22/30/31/32 (first rifle) 100% 100% 35% (31)
41, 42, 52, 411, 421, 521 (first rifle) 55% 42% 50% (411)
63 (first rifle) 100% 100% 19%
74/741 (first rifle) 61% 29% 24% (74)
82 (first rifle) 56% 49% 22%
7/8 (fourth rifle) 100% 100% 23% (8)
11/211 (fourth rifle) 100% 100% 27% (11)
16 (fourth rifle) 100% 100% 35%
12/13/23/24 (fourth rifle) 100% 100% 38% (13)

Colorado still has excellent OTC hunting opportunities for archery, second and third rifle seasons. Below we outline what we consider some of the best OTC hunts.

Good OTC hunts to consider

Unit Trophy
potential
Harvest success Bull:cow ratio
4 300”+ Second rifle: 14%
Third rifle: 23%
19:100
5 300”+ Second rifle: 19%
Third rifle: 21%
19:10
11 300”+ Second rifle: 19%
Third rifle: 19%​​​​​​
26:100
12 280”+ Second rifle: 20%
Third rifle: 16%
26:100
16 300”+ Third rifle: 20% 33:100
17 300”+ Second rifle: 18%
Third rifle: 23%
33:100
22 300”+ Archey: 18%
Second rifle: 17%
24:100
31 310”+ Archey: 16%
Second rifle: 26%
24:100
32 310”+ Archey: 21%
Second rifle: 15%
24:100
35 320”+ Third rifle: 17% 28:100
41 300”+ Second rifle: 43%
Third rifle: 16%
28:100
59 300”+ Second rifle: 29%
Third rifle: 20%
25:100
60 320”+ Second rifle: 24%
Third rifle: 18%
45:100
63 280”+ Archey: 16% 21:100
64 280”+ Archey: 15% 19:100
65 300”+ Archey: 15%
Second rifle: 19%
19:100

The points system

The preference point race

2021 maximum preference points for elk: 35

COLORADO ELK PREFERENCE POINTS GOING INTO THE 2021 DRAW

COLORADO RESIDENT ELK POINTS GOING INTO THE 2021 DRAW

COLORADO NONRESIDENT ELK POINTS GOING INTO THE 2021 DRAW

Managing points and expectations

I have 0 to 6 elk preference points. What can I expect?

When reviewing the draw odds, it makes more sense to draw a permit every few years and go hunting because there are very few good options in the eight to 15 point range. Review the table above entitled, “Good hunts in the 0 to 7 preference point range.” Cross-reference those with the population and bull:cow ratios to narrow your search down to the best options. There are also many more hunts that can be explored by using the trophy potential, harvest success, public land percentage filters in Filtering 2.0 and the standalone Draw Odds. There are so many options regardless of what weapon you want to hunt with or how many points you have.

Find your resident archery elk draw odds with zero points here

Find your nonresident archery elk draw odds with zero points here

Find your resident muzzleloader elk draw odds with zero points here

Find your nonresident muzzleloader elk draw odds with zero points here

Find your resident rifle elk draw odds with zero points here

Find your nonresident rifle elk draw odds with zero points here

I have 7 to 10 elk preference points. What can I expect?

As previously stated, there are not many good hunts that can be drawn if you fall within this range. If you have been building points under the assumption that you will eventually catch a Unit 10, 2 or 201 permit, do yourself a favor and visit the detailed draw odds page for those hunts and see how many people are ahead of you. If the point system remains the same, you will never catch those in your lifetime. If you would like to draw a permit within this range, some of the better hunts are listed below.

Residents 

  • Archery: 20 (6 points), 40 (9 points), 49 (6 points), 76 (8 points), 851 (8 points)
  • Muzzleloader: 40 (9 points), 49 (7 points), 76 (10 points), 851 (8 points)
  • First rifle: 49 (9 points), 76 (8 points)
  • Second rifle: 40 (10 points), 61 (10 points), 76 (6 points)
  • Third rifle: 40 (9 points), 61 (10 points), 76 (6 points)
  • Fourth rifle: 40 (9 points), 61 (10 points)

Nonresidents

  • Archery: 20 (7 points), 49 (7 points), 66 (8 points)
  • Muzzleloader: 4/5/441 (7 points), 12/23/24 (8 points), 23/24/33 (6 points) 48 (7 points)
  • Second rifle: 20 (10 points)
  • Fourth rifle: 20 (6 points)
  • Late rifle: 20 (7 points)
  • Late rifle: 20 (10 points

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?

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 are worth it.

If you would like to draw a permit within this range, some of the better hunts are listed below.

Residents 

  • Archery: 1 (15 points), 61 (15 points)
  • Muzzleloader: 1 (14 points)
  • First rifle: 40 (12 points), 61 (12 points)
  • Second rifle: 851 (14 points)

Nonresidents

  • Archery: 40 (14 points), 851 (12 points)
  • Muzzleloader: 20 (11 points), 49 (13 points)
  • First rifle: 49 (14 points)
  • Second rifle: 76 (12 points)
  • Third rifle: 76 (11 points)

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?

Many applicants in this range may be looking at top-tier units like Unit 2, 10 and 201. If you are a nonresident in the 16 to 20 point range, those hunts could still take a couple of decades to draw so be aware of that and check the detailed draw odds page to see how long the wait could be. Below are good options within this point range.

Residents

  • Archery: 1 (15 points), 2 (23 points), 10 (21 points), 201 (24 points)
  • Muzzleloader: 2 (23 points), 10 (22 points), 201 (25 points)
  • Early rifle: 1 (19 points), 2 (25 points), 10 (23 points), 61 (20 points), 76 (19 points)
  • First rifle: 851 (17 points)
  • Third rifle: 851 (21 points)
  • Fourth rifle: 851 (20 points)

Nonresidents

  • Archery: 61 (24 points)
  • Muzzleloader: 40 (19 points), 61 (25 points), 66 (19 points), 76 (22 points)
  • Early rifle: 76 (25 points)
  • First rifle: 20 (17 points), 40 (25 points), 61 (23 points), 76 (16 points), 851 (23 points)
  • Second rifle: 40 (19 points), 61 (22 points), 851 (22 points)
  • Third rifle: 40 (18 points), 61 (22 points)
  • Fourth rifle: 61 (22 points), 851 (25 points)

Find your resident elk draw odds with 25 points here

Find your nonresident elk draw odds with 25 points here

I have 26 plus elk preference points. What can I expect?

Every archery and muzzleloader hunt was available to residents at 24 points. Every early rifle hunt could have been drawn at 25 points except for the early rifle in Unit 201, which required 26 points. 

For nonresidents, the archery hunt in Unit 2 required 28 points; Unit 10 required 27. Muzzleloader hunts in Unit 2 required 28 points; Unit 201 required 29 points. Unit 10 required 28 points. Early rifle in Unit 1 required 28 points, Unit 61 required 27 points, Unit 2 and Unit 10 took 29 points. Unit 201 required 30 points. The last hunt worth a look within this range is the fourth rifle hunt in Unit 851 that required 25 points. 


Colorado's 2021 antelope breakdown

Fortunately, antelope populations can rebound relatively quickly and the most recent population estimate for the state is 82,170 antelope. That is up from the previous count of 79,290 and one of the highest population estimates in the past 20 years. Colorado is not a trophy destination for antelope. It’s not that trophy caliber bucks aren’t killed every fall, but Colorado does not offer the number of quality bucks that other states do, particularly Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming. 

An issue that can cause antelope hunters problems in Colorado is finding public land to hunt in some areas. Many of the largest populations of antelope live on the eastern plains — the bulk of which is privately owned. In many of those units, the only real opportunity to hunt may be in walk-in access areas, national grasslands or chunks of accessible state lands. It can be done in some instances, but if you plan on hunting the eastern plains, or any antelope unit really, it’s worth looking at the land ownership and access first. 

Colorado offers limited quota hunts for archery, muzzleloader and rifle antelope. There are also some units where you can still buy an OTC archery license. However, within those areas, it’s difficult to find public land to hunt.

The draw system for antelope is similar to elk and deer; the applicants with the most preference points who apply for each hunt will draw the licenses. The antelope draw is slightly different in that there is no license quota split between residents and nonresidents. Both residents and nonresidents are on an equal playing field for permits; it all boils down to who has the most points.

Current antelope herd condition

Colorado antelope populations by unit

Unit 2019 population Population trend Buck:doe ratio
87, 88, 89, 90, 94, 95, 951 8,890 Up 54:100
99, 100 1,690 Down 29:100
6, 16, 17, 161, 171 1,500 Down 43:100
93, 97, 98, 101, 102 640 - 16:100
120, 121, 125, 126 3,050 Down 40:100
112, 113, 114, 115 2,800 Down 21:100
128, 129, 133, 134, 135, 140, 141, 142, 147 10,150 Down 39:100
110, 111, 118, 119, 123, 124 10,100 Down 55:100
3, 4, 5, 13, 14, 214, 301, 441 18,990 Up 39:100
11 470 Up 22:100
1, 2, 201 1,420 Down 41:100
116, 117, 122, 127 1,350 Down 38:100
130, 136, 137, 138, 143, 144, 146 3,060 Down 20:100
68, 79, 82, 681, 682, 791 1,460 Down 16:100
80, 81, 83 1,170 Up 32:100
132, 139, 145 1,030 Up 96:100
103, 106, 107, 109 1,990 Up 21:100
69, 84, 85, 86, 691, 851, 861 2,310 Up 31:100
10, 21 250 - 88:100
66, 67, 551 310 Down 28:100
49, 50, 57, 58, 500, 501, 511, 581 1,300 Down 44:100
59, 591 280 - 69:100
9, 19, 191 1,130 Up 103:100
12, 23, 211 290 Down 51:100
51, 104, 105 4,960 Up 40:100
7, 8 570 Down 47:100
18, 27, 28, 37, 181, 371 820 Down 87:100
48, 56, 481 190 Up 16:100

Colorado post hunt antelope population estimate - updated 2021

goHUNT’s hit list units for antelope in 2021

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

Unit Trophy potential Seasons offered Harvest success Preference points to draw
2, 201 80”+ Archery
Rifle
100% (2)
78% (2)
18 (61%)
21 (67%)
1, 2, 201 80”+ Muzzleloader 100% (2) 16 (67%)
3, 301 80”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
Rifle
53% (3)
86% (301)
82% (3)
5 (100%)
6 (100%)
9 (59%)
6, 16, 17, 161, 171 80”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
39% (6)
90% (161)
2 (55%)
5 (26%)
161 80”+ Rifle 100% 14 (14%)
11 80”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
Rifle
75%
43%
82%
8 (50%)
8 (100%)
16 (100%)
67 80”+ Archery
Muzzleloader
Rifle
0%
75%
93%
6 (40%)
9 (50%)
18 (38%)
80 80”+ Archery
Rifle
100%
93%
2 (50%)
10 (100%)
81 80”+ Archery
Rifle
33%
96%
6 (75%)
14 (82%)​​​​​​
87 80”+ Archery
Rifle
38%
76%
0 (55%)
4 (53%)
87, 88, 89, 90, 95, 951 80”+ Muzzleloader 67% (89) 2 (75%)
68, 681, 682 80”+ Rifle 100% (682) 18 (67%)
49, 50, 500, 501 75”+ Archery
Rifle
38% (50)
73% (50)
2 (13%)
11 (77%)
49, 50, 57, 58, 500, 501, 581 75”+ Muzzleloader 69% (50) 6 (43%)
88 75”+ Archery
Rifle
13%
77%
0 (85%)
4 (82%)
79/791 75”+ Archery
Rifle
0%
75%
3 (100%)
17 (59%)
68, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 681, 682, 791 75”+ Muzzleloader 100% (68, 79, 82) 11 (100%)

For the limited quota archery, muzzleloader and OTC archery permits, use Filtering 2.0 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.

TOTAL NUMBER OF COLORADO ANTELOPE TAGS DRAWN 1ST - 4TH CHOICE - updated 2021


The points system

Managing points and expectations

2021 maximum preference points for antelope: 33

COLORADO ANTELOPE PREFERENCE POINTS GOING INTO THE 2021 DRAW

COLORADO RESIDENT ANTELOPE PREFERENCE POINTS GOING INTO THE 2021 DRAW

COLORADO NONRESIDENT ANTELOPE PREFERENCE POINTS GOING INTO THE 2021 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. Some of the best opportunities exist within the archery and muzzleloader seasons. Consider archery hunts in Unit 3/301, 6/16/17/16187, 88, 49/50/500/501. The muzzleloader hunts in Unit 4/5, 18/27/28/37/181, 87/88/89/90/95/951 are worth researching if you are within this point range. Rifle hunters might consider hunts in Unit 8, 18/27/28/37/181, 87, 88 and 89.

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?

With six points, applicants should consider the archery hunts in Unit 3/301, 68/681/682 and, possibly, 81. Muzzleloader hunters with six points should research hunts in Unit 3/301 and 6/16/17/161/171. Rifle hunters have options in Unit 4/5 and, perhaps, 87 and 88.

Applicants with seven points should consider archery hunts in Unit 67 and 81. A good muzzleloader hunt was available in Unit 49/50/57/58/500/501/581. The rifle hunt in 48/56/481 and possibly 7 and 48/56/481 are the best options with seven points. 

The best option with eight points was the muzzleloader hunt in Unit 66 and the rifle hunt in Unit 7 and 82/681

Moving into the nine and 10 point range, the best options were the archery hunt in Unit 11, the muzzleloader hunt in Unit 67 and 551. The best rifle hunts were in Unit 3/301 and 80.

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?

Every archery and muzzleloader hunt could have been drawn with 11 points except for the Unit 2/201 hunt. The best rifle hunts were in Unit 16/17/171 (15 points), 81 (15 points), 551 (15 points) and 12/211 (11 points), 57/58/581 (11 points).

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 16 to 20 antelope points?

The archery hunt in Unit 2/201 required 19 points. The muzzleloader hunt in Unit 1/2/201 took 17 points. Rifle hunters should review hunts in Unit 6 (16 points), 11 (16 points), 66 (17 points), 67 (19 points), 68/681/682 (19 points), 79/791 (18 points), 551 (16 points) and 161 (16 points). 

Find your resident antelope draw odds with 20 points here

Find your nonresident antelope draw odds with 20 points here

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