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Application strategy 2022: Colorado sheep, moose & mountain goat

Photo credit: Dreamstime

Colorado's 2022 bighorn sheep, moose and mountain goat application overview

Jump to: NEW FOR 2022 State Information Draw System Rocky Breakdown Desert Breakdown Moose Breakdown Mountain Goat Breakdown

The application deadline for Colorado is April 5, 2022 at 8:00 MT. You can apply online here or via telephone at 1-800-244-5613. Paper applications are no longer available.

New for 2022

  • Applicants who draw a license will now have a brief period of time after the draw to surrender their license if they no longer want it. Successful moose applicants will have until June 6 to surrender the license. Successful bighorn sheep and mountain goat applicants will have until April 22 to surrender the license. Preference points will be reinstated to pre-draw level. If you decide you want the license, the cost will be charged to the credit card used to apply shortly after the draw.
  • There is no longer a maximum let-off percentage for hand held bows.


  • Unit group 50/51/59/501/511/581 has been divided into two groups, which will now be 51/59/511/581 and 50/501.
  • New bull moose hunts for Unit 4/5/14.
  • New cow moose hunts for Unit 55.
  • New nonresident cow moose hunt for Unit 12/23/24.


  • There will now be two resident rifle ram seasons in Unit S16.
  • The S19 rifle ram season will now be valid for either sex.
  • The S54 archery season has been moved and will occur after the rifle hunt. The S54 rifle season sub-unit boundary has also been changed to align with the West Elk Wilderness border.
  • New nonresident archery ram hunt in Unit S44.
  • New nonresident archery ewe hunt in Unit S32.
  • New nonresident rifle ram hunt in Unit S13.
  • New nonresident rifle ram hunt in Unit S74.
  • New nonresident rifle ewe hunt in Unit S33.
  • New resident rifle ram hunt in Unit S48.


  • New nonresident female goat hunt in Unit G12.


  • One nonresident desert bighorn sheep license in Unit S62.

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.

State Information

It is important to understand the way that the tags are drawn for Colorado bighorn sheep, moose and mountain goat. The draw system is different than it is for deer, elk and antelope. Check out the “understanding the draw” section below for the method behind this calculation.

To view important information and an overview of Colorado’s rules/regulations, the draw system, tag and license fees, check out our State Profile. You can also view the Species Profiles to access historical and statistical data to help you identify trophy areas.

Colorado 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 Rocky Bighorn Profile Desert Bighorn Profile Moose Profile Mountain Goat ProfileGOHUNT Maps Draw Odds Filtering 2.0

Important dates and information

  • The deadline to apply for all species in Colorado is 8:00 p.m. MT on April 5 , 2022.
  • Apply online here or by calling 1-800-244-5613.
  • Draw results for bighorn sheep and mountain goat will be available April 19, 2022.
  • Draw results for moose will be available approximately 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:
    • Residents 
      • 2022 spring turkey or fall turkey license
      • 2022 annual small game license
      • 2022 annual small game/fishing combo license
      • 2022 annual youth small game license
      • First responder lifetime combo small game/fishing
      • Veteran's lifetime combination small game/fishing license
      • Senior lifetime combo small game/fishing
    • Nonresidents
      • 2022 spring or fall turkey license 
      • 2022 annual small game license
      • 2022 annual youth small game 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.
  • Applicants can opt in or opt out for the preference/weighted point program for moose, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and mountain goat. The point fee will be $50 for residents and $100 for nonresidents per species (see draw details section for more information). There is no point fee for youth.
  • You cannot apply for both desert and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. There is no point system for desert bighorn sheep.
  • 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.

Cost to apply

Application fee
(per species)
Qualifying license/
annual small game hunting license
Youth qualifying license/
annual small game hunting license
Habitat stamp$10.59$10.59
Preference/weighted point
fee per species
*Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep$319.58$2,343.10
*Desert bighorn sheep$319.58$2,343.10
*Rocky Mountain goat$319.58$2,343.10

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

The Colorado Draw System

Understanding the draw

Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, mountain goat and moose licenses are allocated differently than deer, elk and antelope. The licenses for these species are allocated through a preference point/weighted preference point system. Applicants must build three preference points, after which they have a random chance to draw a license. Desert bighorn sheep licenses are randomly allocated and there is no point system for that species. If you apply for desert bighorn sheep, you cannot also apply for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. You have to pick one of those species to apply for. 

Nonresidents are limited to 10% of the total number of moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat licenses. 

Point system

As stated, desert bighorn sheep licenses are randomly drawn; there is no point system. Every applicant is on the same level playing field for those permit(s). For nonresidents, there is only one desert bighorn sheep license available in Unit S62. If you apply for desert bighorn sheep, you cannot also apply for and build points for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. 

Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, Rocky Mountain goat and moose utilize a preference point/weighted point system to allocate licenses. Preference/weighted points are species specific. For these species, applicants can build up to three maximum preference points after which they will receive weighted bonus points for each year they apply for a hunt and purchase the weighted point. Applicants must build three preference points before they have the possibility to draw a license for bighorn sheep, mountain goat or bull moose. The drawing for licenses is random with the weighted points giving applicants statistically better odds of drawing; however, any applicant that applies with three preference points could, in theory, draw a license.

How do weighted points help you in the draw? Each application received in the system is assigned a six-digit number. That number is then inverted, so that the order in which the application was received does not affect the draw. After the application number is inverted, it is converted to a new number using a random number replacement sequence. That number is then divided by the number of weighted preference points plus one. An applicant with three preference points and no weighted points will have their application divided by one. Thus, the more weighted points you have, the better your chances of getting a lower number. 

After the final application numbers are assigned, all applicants with three preference points are grouped together, final application numbers are then sorted from lowest to highest and the low number applications are considered and given licenses until all licenses are allocated.

Let's look at an example. Applicant Fred has three preference points and six weighted preference points. Fred’s application number is 137752. His application number is then inverted to 257731. That number is then converted to a random number by means of a random number replacement sequence. Fred’s new number may be 472218. That number is then divided by seven (six weighted preference points plus one). Fred’s final application number is 472218 / 7 = 67459. 

If Fred had 15 weighted points in the same situation, his final application number would be 472218 / 16 = 29513. 

You can see that the more weighted points an applicant has, the better the odds of getting a lower random number in the draw and, possibly, a license in the draw. 

Overall, weighted points do increase your chances, but it all depends on the random number that is generated for your application during the initial stages. Even if you only have the three preference points and no weighted points, you have a chance in the draw. Review the draw odds to see if the odds are worth continuing to apply and build weighted points to you.

Moose preference point only code: M-P-999-99-P

Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep preference point only code: S-P-999-99-P

Rocky Mountain goat preference point only code: G-P-999-99-P

Group applications

Group applications are not allowed for moose or desert bighorn sheep. Two applicants are allowed to apply as a group for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and mountain goat. Residents and nonresidents cannot apply together. The group leader must apply first. Group members must use the same person as the leader and apply for the same hunt choices in order to go through the draw as a group. Groups will go into the draw with the lowest number of points of any member of the group. If one applicant does not have enough preference points to be considered in the draw, the application will not be in the actual draw. We do not advise applicants to apply as a group for these species.

Waiting periods

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

Snowpack and drought in Colorado


Colorado snow water equivalent update as of March 14, 2022. Source: National Resources Conservation Service

2022 Colorado drought monitor status as of March 15. Source: United States Drought Monitor


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 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep breakdown

Colorado boasts a healthy Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep population that is stable and has even grown slightly over the past few years. They do not manage their units to produce exceptional trophy caliber rams and are more aggressive than some other states in harvesting rams that are often in the five to eight year old range. Typically, trophy potential is in the range of 155’ to 165”; however, there will be some 170”+ bighorn sheep harvested every year. 

Colorado offers both archery and rifle licenses for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. The opportunity to draw an archery specific license is unique and something diehard bowhunters should look into. The odds are better for those hunts, but not significantly, and harvesting a ram with your bow is very challenging in many of the units. 

Much of the Rocky Mountain bighorn habitat is very remote, steep and often hard to access and hunt. There are options closer towards the eastern plains that offer a less strenuous hunt, but the odds are long for those areas. Overall, Colorado is a great state to apply for bighorn sheep and, if this species is on your bucket list, we highly recommend that you apply. Keep in mind that the odds are very tough, but you cannot draw if you do not apply. 

2022 Colorado Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep license allocations

Total 2022
Archery ram57663
Archery ewe9110
Rifle ram15917176
Rifle ewe73881
Bighorn sheep access
program (resident only)
2 ram
2 ewe
Chancellor Ranch
(resident only)
1 ram
1 ewe
Ranching for Wildlife
(resident only)
2 ramNA2
Total tags by residency30632338

Current Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep herd condition

The statewide population estimate in 2020 is 6,500, which is up slightly from 2019 at 6,315.


Hit list units for Colorado Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in 2022

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

Top hit list archery hunts to consider for 160" or better
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep
(not in order of quality)

Population2022 resident
2022 nonresident
Oct. 15 to 31
170"+100%1352 ram0
Nov. 1 to 30
160"+100%1553 ram1 ram
Aug. 1 to 31
160"+100%1552 ram0
Dec. 1 to 31
160"+100%603 ram0
Dec. 1 to 15
170"+67%1352 ram1 ram
Aug. 1 to 21
170"+0%3504 ram0
Aug. 22 to Sept. 11
170"+50%3505 ram1 ram
Aug. 1 to 31
170"+50%652 ram0
Aug. 1 to 31
165"+50%901 ram0
Aug. 1 to 31
170"+29%2107 ram1 ram
Aug. 1 to 31
165"+25%2708 ram1 ram
Aug. 25 to Sept. 20
175"+0%704 ram1 ram


Top hit list rifle hunts to consider for 160" or better
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep
(not in order of quality)

Population2022 resident
2022 nonresident
S50175"+100%1502 ram0
S1/S18175"+100%901 ram1 ram
S8170"+100%803 ram0
S13170"+100%1002 ram1 ram
S21170"+100%2107 ram1 ram
S22170"+100%1306 ram2 ram
S32170"+63%3508 ram1 ram
S33170"+67%1406 ram1 ram
Sept. 23 to Oct. 6
170"+100%1406 ram1 ram
S53170"+100%801 ram0
S61170"+100%5254 ram0
S77170"+100%751 ram0
S11170"+50%1255 ram1 ram
S9165"+100%2708 ram1 ram
S12/S78165"+83%2105 ram1 ram
S15165"+100%1802 ram1 ram
Sept. 10 to Oct. 9
165"+50%1802 ram0
S66165"+67%1255 ram1 ram
S74165"+67%451 ram1 ram
S69160"+67%1555 ram1 ram

The points system

The preference point race

2022 maximum weighted preference points for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep: 22


Managing points and expectations

When reviewing the standalone odds within your INSIDER account of drawing a bighorn sheep license in Colorado, you should review your odds based upon the number of points you have. For example, if you have three preference points and nine weighted points, you would look at the odds at the 12-point level. We have taken the draw process into account and built those intricacies into our odds and display them in a simple, easy-to-review manner. 

Generally speaking, archery hunts have better draw odds due to the difficulty in finding success. In several areas, bighorn sheep can be tough to consistently find. Rams may stick to timber and steep cover, making them difficult to find and even harder to spot and stalk. In researching the hunts within Filtering 2.0, there were 21 archery ram hunts in 2021; out of those, nine had 0% harvest success. Those areas typically offer very few licenses so annual harvest success can be somewhat misleading. Do some research and consider your objectives. If you have to have the opportunity to harvest a ram, you might consider the rifle hunts and pay special attention to harvest success rates. If the opportunity to hunt is enough, consider archery hunts.

Find your draw odds

Colorado's 2022 desert bighorn sheep breakdown

There are four desert bighorn sheep units in Colorado — one of which is available for nonresidents to apply for and hunt. There will be one nonresident license once again in Unit S62 in 2022. There are no archery seasons for desert bighorn sheep. All seasons are rifle only.

Trophy potential is average when compared to other states like Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico, but a mature 155” to 165” class ram is realistic. Harvest success rates are typically 100%. 

Note: Applicants cannot apply for both desert and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in the same year. If you apply for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, you have the option to build points; there is no point system for desert bighorn sheep. The draw for desert bighorn sheep is random; every applicant has an equal chance to draw.

Colorado desert bighorn sheep populations


2022 Colorado desert bighorn sheep license numbers

S56165"+100%4 ram0
S62155"+100%4 ram1 ram
S63160"+100%3 ram0
S64165"+50%3 ram0

The points system

There is no point system in place for desert bighorn sheep. With only four units to choose from for residents, study the Unit Profiles and Draw Odds to find the best option. The odds for S63 were the best for residents at .74%. Note: Nonresidents can only apply for Unit S62 in 2022 and odds for that hunt were .006% last year.

Find your draw odds

Colorado's 2022 Shiras moose breakdown

Colorado stands out among the western states in terms of populations and trophy potential for Shiras moose. Over the past 18 years, the populations have expanded and more than doubled. Trophy potential is excellent, most units can offer a hunter a 35” to 40” wide bull and there have been a number of 50” plus wide bulls taken over the past several years. Colorado has great moose habitat and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has done a good job of managing permit numbers for both bull and cow. CPW manages their moose hunts to offer hunters the chance to kill a bull and most hunts have harvest success rates that are 75% plus. Many have 100% harvest success rates. When lucky applicants draw a license, they have the ability to hunt all three seasons until they have filled it. The archery season is approximately two weeks, running the last half of September. The muzzleloader hunt is from Sept. 10 to 18. The rifle hunt occurs Oct. 1 to 14. The September hunt dates occur during the rut and hunters should have the opportunity to look over several bulls. 

The only potential downfall looming on the horizon is the establishment of wolves and the recently passed law to introduce more into the state. The large-scale impacts will not be felt for a few years; however, those declines in populations and licenses are coming along with those reintroductions. Wolves are hard on moose populations specifically. This truly is the good old days of moose hunting in Colorado and it’s unlikely to ever come back from where the state is headed, unfortunately. We recommend applying now and reassessing each year over the next decade to see if it continues to be worthwhile.

Colorado moose herd condition


Colorado moose populations

6, 16, 17, 161, 171810
7, 8, 19, 191230
15, 18, 27, 28, 36, 37, 181, 361, 371160
65, 66, 67, 68, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 681, 682, 711, 741, 751, 771, 791460
41, 42, 43, 47, 52, 53, 54, 63, 64, 411, 421, 471, 521840
12, 13, 23, 24, 25, 26, 33, 34, 35, 131, 231150
20, 29, 38100
39, 46, 49, 50, 51, 391, 461, 500, 501130
4, 5, 14, 214, 441120
1, 20120
44, 45, 44440
48, 55, 56, 481, 551, 561120

GOHUNT's hit list units for trophy Colorado moose in 2022

Colorado is a great state to hunt and harvest a trophy class bull — if you are lucky enough to draw a license. Almost every unit can produce a 40”+ bull.

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

Nonresident licenses
49/50045"+ width88%Yes
50/50145"+ widthNew 2022No
37/37145"+ width94%Yes
3845"+ width100%No
39/4645"+ width100%No
44/4545"+ width100%No
55/55145"+ width100%No
7645"+ width100%Yes
76/77/75145"+ width100%Yes
12/23/2445"+ width100%Yes
2845"+ width85%Yes
20/2945"+ width100%No
4/5/1445"+ width100%Yes
18/18140"+ width93%Yes
4340"+ width100%No
7/8/19140"+ width100%Yes
15/2740"+ width100%Yes
1640"+ width92%No
1740"+ width100%Yes
640"+ width89%Yes

Managing draw expectations

For bull or either sex moose, there are no real hidden gems in terms of draw odds. Draw odds for a bull moose license are rough — even the cow moose licenses are tough to draw. Utilize Filtering 2.0 to research unit by unit harvest success. Further exploration of each Unit Profile will allow you to find the best options for you. Consider factors like terrain, the percentage of public land and access. Review the standalone draw odds to explore the better options.

The points system

The preference point race

2022 maximum weighted/preference points for moose: 21


Find your draw odds

Colorado's 2022 Rocky Mountain goat breakdown

Like moose, Colorado is lucky in that it has extensive amounts of mountain goat habitat and the populations have continued to improve. Much of the mountain goat habitat is relatively easily reached by means of hiking trails or, in some cases, roads that can be used as a jump off point at high elevations. The terrain they occupy is still steep, rugged and hunters should be ready for a physically demanding hunt in almost every unit. The number of licenses offered has also increased, which is great for applicants going into this draw. The population in one unit has increased to a point where, this year, there will be a female goat hunt added to Unit G12 for nonresidents. Other units like G6 have seen a spike in growth as well. For 2022, nonresidents will be offered two either sex licenses for Unit G6, and residents will have a chance at 23 either sex licenses. The odds of drawing are long like they are in every state for mountain goats, but with the random aspect of the draw, for applicants above the three preference point mark, we believe it’s definitely worth applying and building points. 

Trophy potential is average in Colorado, and very few billies with 9” plus horns are harvested each year. Colorado is not the state to harvest a record book billy, but with the number of licenses, it's worth applying if you can afford it. Licenses are not cheap for nonresidents. 

It's worth noting that CPW offers hunts for both either sex and female only. The odds are not significantly better, but the female hunts generally have better odds. It’s also worth touching on the special restrictions that some units like G7, G10 and G16 have where hunters can only hunt during weekdays. This is due to the potential conflict between a hunter killing a goat and the outdoor recreation crowds. Those areas see massive amounts of weekend recreational traffic. 

Finally, Colorado also offers archery and rifle hunts. There is one unit in 2022 that will offer two nonresident archery only licenses: G5. For residents, there are three archery only hunts in G1/G14, G5 and G8

Current Mountain goat herd condition


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

Colorado mountain goat populations by unit group


GOHUNT's hit list units for Colorado Mountain goat in 2022

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

Top hit list hunt units to consider for 9" or better either sex mountain goat
(not in order of quality)

2022 resident
2022 nonresident
80% (Sept. 6 to 16)
(all seasons)
(all seasons)
(all seasons)
G11 east50%91
G11 west63%131
75% (Sept. 6 to 16)
(all seasons)
(all seasons)
94% (Sept. 20 to Oct. 6)
(all seasons)
(all seasons)
(all seasons)
(all seasons)

The points system

The preference point race

2022 maximum weighted preference points for mountain goat: 21


How to uncover hidden gem mountain goat units

There are very few — if any — hidden gems for either sex mountain goats hunts. Odds are tough regardless of which season/unit or weapon you apply for. The female (nanny) licenses do offer slightly better odds generally. In 2022, there will be nanny only hunts for nonresidents in Units G10 and G12. For residents, there are female goat hunts in Units G7, G10, G12, G15 and G16.

Explore odds within the standalone Draw Odds page. Utilize Filtering 2.0 to search by harvest success and read the Unit Profiles to better understand the opportunities within each unit.

Managing points and expectations

When reviewing the standalone odds within your INSIDER account of drawing a mountain goat license in Colorado, you should review your odds based upon the number of points you have. For example, if you have three preference points and nine weighted points, you would look at the odds at the 12-point level. We have taken the draw process into account and built those intricacies into our odds and display them in a simple, easy-to-review manner.

Find your draw odds


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