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Application Strategy 2022: Colorado mule deer

Photo credit: Dreamstime

Colorado's 2022 mule deer application overview

Jump to: NEW FOR 2022 State Information Draw System Mule Deer Breakdown Points System

Colorado is a GOHUNT favorite for mule deer and a must apply state. In Colorado, mule deer inhabit the alpine basins, sage- and oak-filled draws, sage flats of the western slope and much of the eastern plains. Finding a spot of public ground on the eastern plains can be tough for a DIY hunter, but for those willing to go on a guided hunt, there is still quality hunting on the plains. Whitetail also inhabit the eastern plains, but, once again, the limiting factor is the amount of private ground. When considering hunts on the eastern plains, an outfitter or permission on private land is advised. 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. 

The quality for mule deer is still good for the number of points it requires to draw most tags; however, generally speaking, the quality is not as good as it was just a decade ago. Colorado has been aggressive with season dates, pushing them back in an effort to harvest older age class bucks, which are most susceptible to chronic wasting disease CWD and transmission. There are and will always be some nice bucks available in almost every unit, but not in the number that once was. Populations are still good for the time being and everyone interested in mule deer hunting in the West should still be applying and/or building preference points in Colorado. 

Note: The application deadline for all Colorado species is 8:00 p.m. MST on April 5, 2022. You can apply online here.


New for 2022

  • Applicants who draw a license will now have a brief period of time after to surrender their license if they no longer want it. Successful applicants will have until June 6 at 11:59 p.m. MST to surrender the license. Preference points will be reinstated to pre-draw level.
  • There is no longer a maximum let-off percentage for hand held bows
  • The license fee exchange fee will now be just $5. Previously, it was 50% of the cost of the license and was not to exceed $25.
  • Mandatory CWD testing in select units. See page 22 of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) big game guidebook.
  • New deer hunt/unit grouping 2022:
    • Muzzleloader: Unit 122 - 122/125/126/127/129/139/145/146
    • Muzzleloader: Unit 137 - 137/138/143/144
    • Rifle: Unit 54 - 54 (doe)
    • Rifle: Unit 122 - 122/127/132
    • Rifle: Unit 125 - 125/130
    • Rifle: Unit 129 - 129
    • Rifle: Unit 137 - 137/138/143/144

Your GOHUNT INSIDER account also has the NEW Point Tracker feature. This allows you to enter the number of points you have for each state and species and, as you research through Filtering 2.0 and Draw Odds, your point total will automatically be highlighted.

Colorado deer 2022 season dates

Season Dates
Archery Sept. 2 to 30
Muzzleloader Sept. 10 to 18
Early high country rifle Sept. 10 to 18
Second rifle Oct. 29 to Nov. 6
Third rifle Nov. 12 to 18
Fourth rifle Nov. 23 to 27
Plains rifle Oct. 29 to Nov. 8
Plains rifle late Nov. 30 to Dec. 13

Be aware that some units may have slightly different dates. Review the CPW brochure for details of the hunts you plan to apply for.


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

Colorado State Profile Mule Deer Profile GOHUNT Maps 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 5, 2022.
  • You can apply online here or by calling 1-800-244-5613.
  • Draw results will be available May 31 to June 3, 2022.
  • 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:
    • Nonresidents
      • 2022 spring or fall turkey
      • 2022 annual small game license
    • Residents only
      • 2022 spring or fall turkey license
      • 2022 annual small game license
      • 2022 annual small game/fishing combo license
  • 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 deer. 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 draw a license you would like to return, starting in 2022, you will have a window of time when you can decline the license if you do not want it. If you choose to keep it, payment will be charged to the card used to apply.
  • You can also return a license you drew for a refund or preference point restoration. 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
(per species)
$7.13 $9.17
Qualifying license/
annual small game hunting license
$31.41 $86.50
Youth qualifying license/
annual small game hunting license
$1.31 $1.31
Habitat stamp $10.59 $10.59
*Deer license (adult) $42.01 $420.23
*Deer license (youth) $16.32 $107.43

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


The Colorado Draw System

Understanding the draw

For deer hunts that have required six or more points for a Colorado resident to draw, up to 20% of the licenses can be allocated to nonresidents. Hunts that require fewer than six points for a Colorado resident to draw will have up to 35% of the licenses allocated to nonresidents. 

Point system

Colorado utilizes a true preference point system to allocate deer 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. There are also no over-the-counter (OTC) mule deer licenses in Colorado.

Applicants will gain one preference point for every year they apply for a hunt and are unsuccessful in drawing their first choice. If applicants want to build preference points only, they can use the preference point only code as their first choice. Applicants can draw a hunt as a second, third or fourth choice and still build a preference point for that year. 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 10 consecutive years, then all accumulated preference points for that species will be purged.

Deer preference point only code: D-P-999-99-P

Hunt choices

Colorado allows applicants to select up to four hunt choices for deer. Colorado considers every applicant's first choice before moving to subsequent choices. In essence, in order to draw a license as a second choice, there must be a surplus of permits after every applicant's first choice is considered and so on and so forth throughout the other choices. As previously stated, you may be able to draw some hunts as a second choice while using the preference point code as your first choice. This would allow you to build a point for future years and also draw the second choice hunt. 

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 deer. Residents and nonresidents can apply together. When a resident and nonresident apply together on a group application, the nonresident license comes out of the nonresident quota for that hunt. 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 applicant.

Second drawing

Licenses remaining after the primary drawing will be available in a 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 secondary drawing is a random draw.

The timeframe to apply in the second drawing is June 21 to July 5 at 8 p.m. MST. Youth ages 12 to 17 do receive priority for all licenses that make it to the second draw. 

Returned, leftover and reissued licenses

Colorado allows applicants who have drawn a license to return it if they do not want it. In 2022, there will be a timeframe after the draw where applicants can refuse the license and have their points restored to the pre-draw level. Applicants can also choose to pay for the license and return it at a later date as long as it’s done at least 30 days prior to the hunt. In this case, they can choose to receive a refund for the cost of the license or have their preference 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 first come, first served process starting on Aug. 2 at 9 a.m. MST. The leftover list will be made available in late July.  Beyond Aug. 2, every Tuesday at 11:00 a.m., all reissued licenses will be placed on a list and published on 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 other license agents.

The seasons

The fall hunts of 2021 were the most highly anticipated dates in recent memory due to the fact that they were the latest ever offered. The anticipation was that the dates would correlate the second, third and fourth rifle seasons with the rut and possibly cold snowy weather. The reality and hunter reports suggest that it was not nearly as good as was expected. The weather was warm, there was very little to no snow and the rut seemed to be weak through the second and even third rifle season. 

There were some nice bucks taken in 2021, but not nearly as many as was expected. This has sparked conversations among hunters as to whether or not the older age class bucks even exist or if they did not show themselves due to the weather conditions. My opinion is that both are likely true to some extent. Certainly the warm weather and seemingly weak rut, saved some of the older age class bucks. In addition, harvest success rates appear to be on par with previous years and, in many parts of the state, CPW has been much more aggressive in license allocations. Personally, I do think that there are fewer older age class bucks throughout almost all of the areas that are easy to draw. The overall trophy quality is definitely not what it was just five to ten years ago. However, we still believe Colorado is a great state and a must-apply for mule deer. The 2022 dates are still very good, only rolling back one day from 2021. I will say it once again: the 2022 dates are good and provided cold, snowy weather hits early, the hunting could be fantastic.


Snowpack and drought in Colorado

2022

Colorado snow water equivalent update as of March 8, 2022. Source: National Resources Conservation Service
 

2022 Colorado drought monitor status as of March 1. Source: United States Drought Monitor

2021

Colorado snow water equivalent from March 5, 2021. Source: National Resources Conservation Service

2021 Colorado drought monitor status from March 2. Source: United States Drought Monitor


Colorado's 2022 mule deer breakdown

The Colorado deer draw is probably the most highly anticipated draw in the West. From point creep to the late season dates, everyone seems to be talking about Colorado mule deer and trying to make plans for 2022. There isn’t another state that offers as many opportunities to hunt the iconic western big game species. The 2021 rifle seasons were as late as they have ever been with second, third and fourth rifle seasons running well into November. The anticipation was that every lucky hunter would have a crack at a mature buck. Unfortunately, that was not the case. The weather did not corroborate with the dates, the rut seemed to be lackluster at best and most hunters found themselves hunting in warm, dry conditions with deer scattered across a variety of habitat types. The bigger bucks seemed to stick to transitional timbered slopes and, although harvest was still decent, there was not the number of trophy caliber bucks taken that everyone expected. This has led to a fair amount of discussion about whether or not those bigger bucks actually still exist in good numbers or if it was the lack of cold, snowy weather. The reality is that it’s a combination of both factors. Many of the older bucks made it through this past year, but the number of mature bucks overall is also not what it was just five or ten years ago.

Deer hunting on the western slopes is still good and going into 2022, the dates are only one day earlier than they were in 2021. If Colorado gets an early cold snowstorm (which is not uncommon) that pushes deer out of heavy cover and onto traditional winter ranges, it could be a great year. We would recommend that every applicant try to draw a license in 2022 and hope for snow. 

Point creep

Simply explained, point creep occurs when the number of tags available doesn't meet the demand — AKA the number of applicants each year. Thus, the point value that it takes to draw the license keeps creeping upward. This is an issue primarily in true preference point states like Colorado where the applicants with the most points who apply for any given hunt are guaranteed the licenses.

Going into the 2021 draw, I speculated that there would be a decent number of applicants within the five to 15+ point range who have either been banking points or who will move from fourth season applications to second and third season applications. I also thought that a number of fourth season hunts may actually have better odds than they have in previous years. Both of which appear to have taken place, especially for hunts that offered 200 to 300 licenses. If you review the table below, you will see the hunts that jumped the most. Several hunts jumped three or more points. The second and third rifle season seemed to take the brunt of the point creep in 2021. 

Colorado nonresident second rifle season greatest point creep

Hunt 2020 points
to draw
2021 points
to draw
1 - 2nd rifle 67% with 14 50% with 16
5 - 2nd rifle 18% with 1 20% with 5
6 - 2nd rifle 100% with 3 67% with 5
10 - 2nd rifle 13% with 18 83% with 23
21 - 2nd rifle 25% with 6 74% with 8
44 - 2nd rifle 14% with 7 22% with 14
53 - 2nd rifle 100% with 3 11% with 5
55 - 2nd rifle 43% with 3 100% with 5
61 - 2nd rifle 100% with 5 45% with 9
63 - 2nd rifle 19% with 1 87% with 3
66 - 2nd rifle 100% with 6 16% with 10
67 - 2nd rifle 89% with 3 18% with 5
68/681/682 - 2nd rifle 19% with 1 78% with 3

Many other units displayed normal rates, typically >1 point

Colorado nonresident third rifle season greatest point creep

Hunt 2020 points
to draw
2021 points
to draw
5 - 3rd rifle 100% with 7 25% with 11
6 - 3rd rifle 14% with 7 60% with 11
40 - 3rd rifle 6.5% with 8 39% with 10
44 - 3rd rifle 33% with 21 100% with 25
54 - 3rd rifle 11% with 12 25% with 16
55 - 3rd rifle 42% with 12 38% with 16
61 - 3rd rifle 71% with 11 31% with 14
62 - 3rd rifle 40% with 2 74% with 4
63 - 3rd rifle 83% with 3 45% with 5
66 - 3rd rifle 14% with 19 80% with 23
67 - 3rd rifle 16% with 16 44% with 19
68/681/682 - 3rd rifle 73% with 7 39% with 11

Many other units displayed normal rates, typically >1-1point

Colorado nonresident fourth rifle season greatest point creep

Hunt 2020 points
to draw
2021 points
to draw
6/16/17/161/171 - 4th rifle 100% with 11 33% with 13
15 - 4th rifle 80% with 4 67% with 6
52/411/521 - 4th rifle 17% with 8 100% with 12
53 - 4th rifle 67% with 21 100% with 25
55 - 4th rifle 33% with 20 100% with 22
68/681/682 - 4th rifle 50% with 18 67% with 23
512 - 4th rifle 100% with 11 100% with 13
551 - 4th rifle 100% with 15 75% with 17

Many other units displayed normal rates, typically >1-1point

As predicted, several fourth season rifle hunts actually saw a decrease in point creep as more applicants made the decision to jump into the third rifle season as their first choice. Below, we will highlight the most intriguing hunts that actually had better odds at a lower point level in 2021 than they did in 2021.

2021 nonresident rifle hunts that had better odds than 2020

Hunt 2020 points
to draw
2021 points
to draw
2 - 2nd rifle 67% with 21 100% with 21
161 - 2nd rifle 80% with 3 17% with 2
851 - 2nd rifle 100% with 22 100% with 8
1 - 3rd rifle 100% with 18 50% with 14
201 - 3rd rifle 100% with 25 33% with 22
4/14/214/441 - 4th rifle 67% with 7 100% with 5
11/211 - 4th rifle 25% with 10 33% with 5
12/13/23/24 - 4th rifle 11% with 2 20% with 1
22 - 4th rifle 25% with 19 100% with 17
25/26 - 4th rifle 67% with 4 33% with 1
35/36/45/361 - 4th rifle 50% with 14 100% with 13
54 - 4th rifle 50% with 21 100% with 19
60 - 4th rifle 100% with 7 100% with 6
63 - 4th rifle 50% with 16 100% with 11
67 - 4th rifle 100% with 22 50% with 21
71/711 - 4th rifle 25% with 11 40% with 10
501 - 4th rifle 67% with 10 50% with 8

Interestingly enough, a few of the better archery and muzzleloader hunts also showed significant point creep in 2021. I suspect that more applicants anticipated an increased harvest on the rifle hunts and decided to burn points to get the first shot at older age class bucks before the late rifle hunts. Below are the archery and muzzleloader hunts that saw the most point creep.

2021 nonresident archery and muzzleloader greatest point creep

Hunt 2020 points
to draw
2021 points
to draw
2 - archery 100% with 8 100% with 12
10 - archery 100% with 16 100% with 21
66 - archery 25% with 7 100% with 9
2 - muzzleloader 100% with 18 100% with 21
53 - muzzleloader 100% with 3 100% with 6
54 - muzzleloader 67% with 1 46% with 3
55 - muzzleloader 20% with 11 63% with 13
66 - muzzleloader 100% with 7 100% with 10

Going into 2022, my expectation is that many — if not all — of the hunts listed in the second and third rifle season tables will creep once again; however, possibly not as much as it did in 2021. I would expect those hunts to still require the number of points they required in 2021 and likely one to two more going into 2022. The hunt dates are still very good in 2022 and, as previously stated, if the weather cooperates, it’s going to be very good hunting. I would also expect the archery and muzzleloader hunts in the table above to require a higher number of points than they did prior to 2021. Applicants are keying in on the units that offer good trophy quality and caching in points for the opportunity to hunt prior to the rifle hunts. The bulk of the hunts going into 2022 will creep minimally — typically less than a point or about one point. 

Deer population

Colorado’s deer population has been relatively stable over the past 14 years. The total statewide estimate in the most recent data set is 427,570, which is up slightly from 418,310. For quick reference, we have included the 2020 estimated population and buck:doe ratios, which is the most recent published estimate to date.

 
 

Hit list units for Colorado mule deer in 2022

Top hit list units to consider for 180" or better bucks

Unit Trophy
potential
Harvest
success
Resident points
to draw
Nonresident points
to draw
44 190"+ Archery: 26%
Muzzleloader: 29%
Early rifle: 11%
2nd rifle: 45%
3rd rifle: 70%
4th rifle: 89%
78% with 1
57% with 1
100% with 6
17% with 4
33% with 17
21% with 19
82% with 1
27% with 1
50% with 6
22% with 4
100% with 25
8.3% with 25
55 190"+ Archery: 26%
Muzzleloader: 62%
2nd rifle: 58%
3rd rifle: 79%
4th rifle: 86%
71% with 3
83% with 2
18% with 1
47% with 5
57% with 13
9.1% with 9
63% with 13
2.4% with 4
38% with 16
100% with 22
66 190"+ Archery: 48%
Muzzleloader: 65%
2nd rifle: 68%
3rd rifle: 95%
4th rifle: 93%
100% with 3
47% with 2
70% with 3
67% with 13
60% with 19
100% with 9
100% with 10
16% with 10
80% with 23
67% with 25
67 190"+ Archery: 33%
Muzzleloader: 54%
2nd rifle: 63%
3rd rifle: 76%
4th rifle: 85%
67% with 1
93% with 1
62% with 2
20% with 8
20% with 13
58% with 3
67% with 2
18% with 5
44% with 19
50% with 21 
21 180"+ Archery: 37%
Muzzleloader: 50%
2nd rifle: 69%
3rd rifle: 88%
90% with 3
91% with 3
77% with 3
75% with 8
25% with 4
100% with 6
74% with 8
22% with 19
22 180"+ Archery: 36%
Muzzleloader: 14%
2nd rifle: 49%
3rd rifle: 70%
4th rifle: 100%
44% with 0
45% with 0
29% with 1
87% with 3
80% with 12
26% with 0
60% with 1
35% with 5
17% with 10
100% with 17
40 180"+ Archery: 59%
Muzzleloader: 85%
2nd rifle: 58%
3rd rifle: 77%
4th rifle: 65%
62% with 2
35% with 2
34% with 2
11% with 4
67% with 11
63% with 2
80% with 4
50% with 3
39% with 10
50% with 17
53 180"+ Archery: 34%
Muzzleloader: 44%
2nd rifle: 65%
3rd rifle: 59%
4th rifle: 100%
9.4% with 0
7.1% with 1
90% with 2
73% with 4
33% with 14
40% with 1
100% with 6
11% with 5
13% with 15
100% with 25
54 180"+ Archery: 29%
Muzzleloader: 38%
2nd rifle: 46%
3rd rifle: 71%
4th rifle: 100%
100% with 1
94% with 1
34% with 0
56% with 5
60% with 12
22% with 3
46% with 3
21% with 2
25% with 16
100% with 19
61 180"+ Archery: 29%
Muzzleloader: 55%
2nd rifle: 30%
3rd rifle: 67%
29% with 4
75% with 6
4.2% with 4
73% with 5
100% with 7
100% with 13
45% with 9
21% with 14
65 180"+ Archery: 31%
Muzzleloader: 33%
Early rifle: 60%
2nd rifle: 40%
3rd rifle: 44%
4th rifle: 100%
44% with 0
23% with 0
60% with 5
100% with 0
60% with 0
20% with 3
13% with 0
15% with 0
100% with 5
89% with 0
27% with 0
50% with 6
68/681/682 180"+ Archery: 38%
Muzzleloader: 100%
2nd rifle: 50%
3rd rifle: 63%
4th rifle: 78%
45% with 0
46% with 0
81% with 2
34% with 2
50% with 11
57% with 0
33% with 0
78% with 3
39% with 11
67% with 23
10 180"+ Archery: 50%
Muzzleloader: 100%
2nd rifle: 80%
3rd rifle: 71%
100% with 9
50% with 6
20% with 11
29% with 16
100% with 21
100% with 21
83% with 23
43% with 24
2 180"+ Archery: 86%
Muzzleloader: 33%
2nd rifle: 100%
3rd rifle: 86%
17% with 2
20% with 5
80% with 12
43% with 16
100% with 12
100% with 21
100% with 21
17% with 21
201 180"+ Archery: 57%
Muzzleloader: 100%
2nd rifle: 100%
3rd rifle: 71%
4th rifle: 100%
33% with 5
33% with 7
11% with 10
36% with 15
100% with 20
33% with 14
100% with 17
17% with 20
33% with 22
100% with 25
551 180"+ Archery: 38%
Muzzleloader: 31%
2nd rifle: 65%
3rd rifle: 52%
4th rifle: 78%
75% with 1
91% with 1
83% with 2
33% with 4
100% with 7
25% with 1
60% with 1
95% with 2
14% with 11
75% with 17

How to uncover hidden gem units

Colorado is the best opportunity state in the West to hunt mule deer. The hit list above is the best hunts/areas to hunt and kill a trophy buck, but the reality is that most people do not have a couple decades worth of points. For that reason, your GOHUNT INSIDER account covers every opportunity and there are hundreds of other hunts that can be drawn with very few points. We also include population estimates and buck to doe ratios within this article. Between those and Filtering 2.0, standalone Draw Odds and the Unit Profiles, you can put together a hunt that will work for the number of points you have. Historically, some of the biggest bucks in the state are harvested from low point draw units and bigger bucks will always persist in those types of units; however, the number of those bucks is fewer than it has been. Even still, our advice would be to hunt Colorado mule deer as often as possible. The law of averages is a great strategy for Colorado. For example, if you hunt deer there five times in 15 years you are more likely to kill a great buck than you are if you hunt one time in 15 years. 

The bulk of the hidden gems are in the muzzleloader and archery hunts and, perhaps, even the fourth rifle season in 2022. The archery and muzzleloader hunts give hunters the first opportunity at bucks when they are still in bachelor herds and on their summer range. There are many archery and muzzleloader hunts that can be drawn with very few points and during that time of year public land access is much less of an issue when compared to late rifle hunts.

For rifle hunters, researching fourth rifle season hunts is worth your time. As indicated, several fourth rifle season hunts required fewer points than they did in previous years. It’s true that fourth season dates are at the tail end of every hunt, but those dates still offer hunters the best chance at good rutting activity and cold, snowy weather that can concentrate deer onto transition and winter range. The other hidden gems for rifle hunters to consider are the relatively easy to draw third rifle hunts. With the late dates once again in 2022, there is always the chance of a cold, great rut hunt. 

Utilize GOHUNT's standalone Draw Odds, trophy filters, unit profiles and the information in this article to find those tucked away hidden gems. There are going to be some in the next few years.

The points system

2022 maximum preference points for deer: 33

 
 
 

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.

Before you proceed, once again, the restructured second, third and fourth rifle season dates are likely to increase point creep once again although perhaps not as much as it did in 2021. Applicants should review the detailed draw odds pages and generally consider hunts that could have been drawn at a point or two points less than what has been available at your current level. 

I have 0 deer points. What can I expect?

Zero points: There are many hunts for every season/weapon that a nonresident could have drawn with zero points. A quick search within Filtering 2.0 yields 31 hunts that could have been drawn with zero points in areas with 50% or greater percentages of public land. The archery and muzzleloader hunts are the most prevalent options. One attractive factor to those early season hunts is that the bulk of the deer herds occupy higher elevations where there is more public land and better access. There are also 19 rifle hunts available with no points and out of those, nine had harvest success rates of 30% or greater. 

The other option is to build a preference point by using the preference point code as a first choice and applying for a license that is likely to be drawn as a second choice. By changing the “choice” filter within the standalone draw odds page, there were 36 hunts that could have been drawn as a second choice in 2021. This strategy will allow you to draw a license and hunt while still building a preference point for future use. 

Preference point only code as a first choice D-P-999-99-P.

Use Draw Odds and Filtering 2.0 to find the hunt that meets your objectives. Once again, strongly consider the archery, muzzleloader, second rifle seasons or even third rifle seasons.

One to three points: There are many options within this point range and it’s worth considering burning deer points in Colorado within this point range and getting back into the draw again and hunting more often. 

Bowhunters should consider all of these hunts, which had 30%+ harvest success and 170”+ trophy potential.

Archery hunts one to three preference point range with 170"+ trophy potential

Hunt Harvest success
6/16/17/161/171 69% (Unit 17)
12/23/24 33% (Unit 23)
40 59%
53 34%
69/84/86/691/861 44% (Unit 861)
71/711 33% (Unit 711)
85/851 69% (Unit 851)
551 38%

Muzzleloader hunters should consider all of these hunts, which have trophy potential of 170”+ and 30%+ harvest success.

Muzzleloader hunts one to three preference point range with 170"+ trophy potential

Hunt Harvest success
6/16/17/161/171 88% (Unit 17)
31/32 61% (Unit 31)
44 29%
49/57/58/581 36% (Unit 57)
59/511/591 39% (Unit 59)
62 36%
67 54%
71/711 42% (Unit 711)
77/78/771 49% (Unit 78)

Early rifle and second rifle hunts to consider in the one to three point range. All of these hunts have trophy potential of 170”+ and 45%+ harvest success.

Early and second rifle hunts in the one to three preference point range with 170"+ trophy potential

Hunt Harvest success
6/7 - early rifle 50% (Unit 6)
14/16/161 - early rifle 72% (Unit 161)
16 - early rifle 67%
4/14/214/441 - 2nd rifle 50% (Unit 441)
11/211 - 2nd rifle 57% (Unit 211)
30 - 2nd rifle 60%
50/500/501 - 2nd rifle 59% (Unit 501)
54 - 2nd rifle 46%
59/511 - 2nd rifle 63% (Unit 59)
62 - 2nd rifle 55%
70 - 2nd rifle 50%
77/78/771 - 2nd rifle 56% (Unit 78)
79/791 - 2nd rifle 60% (Unit 79)
80/81 - 2nd rifle 50% (Unit 81)
161 - 2nd rifle 67%
551 - 2nd rifle 65%

Third rifle hunts to consider in the one to three point range. All of these hunts have trophy potential of 170”+ and 50%+ harvest success.

Third rifle hunts in the one to three preference point range with 170"+ trophy potential

Hunt Harvest success
3/301 65% (Unit 3)
11/211 64% (Unit 11)
31/32 64% (Unit 31)
35/36/45/361 100% (Unit 45)
41/42/421 77% (Unit 42)
43/47/471 66% (Unit 47)
50/500/501 73% (Unit 500)
52/411/521 74% (Unit 411)
59/511 69% (Unit 511)
69/84/86/691/861 69% (Unit 84)
80/81 66% (Unit 80)
85/851 100% (Unit 851)
444 57%

Fourth rifle hunts to consider in the one to three point range. All of these hunts have trophy potential of 170”+ and 50%+ harvest success.

Fourth rifle hunts in the one to three preference point range with 170"+ trophy potential

Hunt Harvest success
12/13/23/24 100% (Unit 24)
18/28/37/371 54% (Unit 18)
25/26 59% (Unit 25)
75/751 60% (Unit 751)

Four to seven points: There are many options within this point range and we strongly recommend applicants consider using their deer points in Colorado within this point range and getting back into the draw again and hunting more often.

Archery and muzzleloader hunts four to seven preference point range with 170"+ trophy potential

Hunt Harvest success
21/30 - archery 37% (Unit 21)
54 - archery 29%
63 - archery 72%
67 - archery 33%
76 - archery 38%
3/4/5/14/214/301/441 - muzzleloader 56% (Unit 3)
21/30 - muzzleloader 50% (Unit 21)
40 - muzzleloader 85%
53 - muzzleloader 44%
54 - muzzleloader 38%
63 - muzzleloader 58%
85/851 - muzzleloader 100% (Unit 851)
851 - muzzleloader 100%

 

Rifle hunts in the four to seven preference point range with 170"+ trophy potential

Hunt Harvest success
43 - early rifle 61%
48/56/481/561 - early rifle 67% (Unit 56)
65 - early rifle 60%
161 - early rifle 72%
6 - 2nd rifle 67%
22 - 2nd rifle 49%
53 - 2nd rifle 65%
55 - 2nd rifle 58%
63 - 2nd rifle 58%
67 - 2nd rifle 63%
68/681/682 - 2nd rifle 50% (Units 68 and 681)
76 - 2nd rifle 50%
62 - 3rd rifle 65%
63 - 3rd rifle 77%
70 - 3rd rifle 60%
76 - 3rd rifle 65%
79/791 - 3rd rifle 70%
161 - 3rd rifle 64%
3/301 - 4th rifle 82% (Unit 301)
4/14/214/441 - 4th rifle 100% (Unit 441)
11/211 - 4th rifle 77% (Unit 11)
15 - 4th rifle 71%
51 - 4th rifle 58%
60 - 4th rifle 80%
64/65 - 4th rifle 100%
69/84/86/691/861 - 4th rifle 75% (Unit 69)
72/73 - 4th rifle 70% (Unit 72)
77/78/771 - 4th rifle 93% (Unit 771)
80/81 - 4th rifle 70% (Unit 80)
82 - 4th rifle 100%
444 - 4th rifle 48%
511 - 4th rifle 78%

Eight to 12 points: There are many options within this point range, but if you have built up this many points applicants are usually looking for a better quality hunt. If you fall within this range, some of the best options are listed in the table below.

Rifle hunts in the eight to 12 preference point range with 170"+ trophy potential

Hunt Harvest success
55 - archery 25%
66 - muzzleloader 65%
76 - muzzleloader 16%
82/86/861 - early rifle 100% (Unit 861)
21 - 2nd rifle 69%
61 - 2nd rifle 30%
66 - 2nd rifle 68%
851 - 2nd rifle 35%
5 - 3rd rifle 80%
6 - 3rd rifle 83%
22 - 3rd rifle 70%
30 - 3rd rifle 54%
40 - 3rd rifle 77%
68/681/682 - 3rd rifle 63% (Unit 68)
551 - 3rd rifle 52%
63 - 4th rifle 100%
70 - 4th rifle 63%
71/711 - 4th rifle 71% (Unit 71)
501 - 4th rifle 74%

Applicants beyond the 13 point range are likely looking at the best hunts. Applicants within this range should consider the hunts listed in the GOHUNT hit list above. Overall, Colorado still offers very good deer hunting and is a must apply state for every mule deer enthusiast. Good luck in the draw!

Find your draw odds

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