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New for 2020: Colorado limited license "Secondary Draw" replaces the leftover draw

New Colorado second draw for hunting licenses

New for 2020, Colorado has implemented a "Secondary Draw." I was going through the 2020 regulations after they came out this week and this change instantly caught my eye. This secondary draw replaces the leftover draw that everyone has been used to in previous years and is now open to everyone, regardless if you applied for the primary draw. It includes the remaining limited licenses with quota from the primary draw for deer, elk, antelope and bear. The list of hunt codes that are eligible for the secondary draw will be posted on June 5 online. Once that list becomes available, we will let everyone know.

Secondary draw important dates

  • Second Draw applications accepted: June 5 through July 7 by 8 p.m. MT
  • Application and correction dates: July 7 by 8 p.m. MT
  • Draw results available online: July 17
  • Payment deadline: July 29

Applications for both the primary and secondary draws are only available online or by phone.

Once the draw opens, apply online below:

Apply for the second draw here

This new draw allows every hunter the opportunity "skip waiting in line" and have the opportunity to pick up a license before they go on sale to the public on leftover day! Special note: This draw is open to all applicants, whether you applied for the primary draw or not. According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, if you draw a license in the primary draw, you can still apply for the secondary draw. NOTE: "Unsuccessful options" have been removed for the draw application process.

Worth noting: Youth ages 12–17 receive priority for all licenses in this draw.

Colorado second draw announcement on regulations

Screenshot of the front page of the 2020 Colorado Big Game regulations.


  • You must have a qualifying license in order to apply for this draw. See more info below.
  • The $7 resident and $9 nonresident application fees will apply for this draw.

2020 qualifying licenses are:

  • Annual resident and nonresident small game
  • Annual resident combo small game/fishing
  • NEW annual resident senior combo small game/fishing
  • Annual resident and nonresident spring turkey
  • resident veteran lifetime combo small game/fishing
  • NEW resident first responder lifetime combo small game/fishing

Will preference points be used or gained in the second draw?

The new secondary draw does not use preference points, and you cannot apply for them.

Other important Colorado dates

Colorado leftover day

  • Any licenses remaining after the secondary draw (except for Ranching for Wildlife licenses) will be placed on the leftover list and available for purchase starting August 4 at 9 a.m. 
    • These licenses are available in person at sales agents, by phone at 1-800-244-5613 or online: (click "Buy and Apply").

OTC purchase day

  • Over-the-counter unlimited licenses will be available for purchase starting August 6 at 9 a.m.
    • These licenses are available in person at sales agents, by phone at 1-800-244-5613 or online: (click "Buy and Apply"). After the season starts, they are available at CPW locations only — except for OTC archery elk, OTC plains rifle either-sex elk and OTC archery antelope licenses, which can be purchased at any sales agent.

Reissued licenses

Reissued licenses will be available on the leftover list. Any additional reissued hunt codes that are not on the initial list will be added starting August 11. Hunt codes will continue to release Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., until the end of the season.



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Dennis R. - posted 2 weeks ago on 03-10-2020 01:22:00 pm

How will licenses be awarded in the second draw? Will it be random or first-come-first-drawn?

Shane T. - posted 4 weeks ago on 03-01-2020 12:19:27 pm
Denver, CO

@dylan H - you can get multiple licenses each year. See page 36 of the 2020 regs. You can get 1 A license, or you can get 2 licenses by getting an A+B or B+B. So for your question, if you draw an either sex license in the first draw as your A license, you could go into the second draw and only have the ability for a B license. Hope this helps.

Matt M. - posted 1 month ago on 02-26-2020 04:26:56 pm

I liked the leftover list we killed a lot of critters with tags from the leftover tags.
I think CO will have to do a complete overhaul at some point it’s pretty screwed up at this point,
It will be interesting to c what’s left over after a second draw,
I also don’t like the fact that it will cost to apply again after I paid in the first draw it feels like a $$ grab on the side of CPW.

Dylan H. - posted 1 month ago on 02-26-2020 02:10:51 pm

So, if I draw a tag in the primary draw for first rifle elk, I can apply for another tag for elk in the secondary? For another season?

Arron J. - posted 1 month ago on 02-26-2020 11:39:18 am

As to the application fee, if a guy hard up for $9, he probably can't afford the license, let alone ammo, gas, rifle, scope, time off, to'd spouse, alimony, and child support. :)

Arron J. - posted 1 month ago on 02-26-2020 11:31:14 am

It is not unfair if someone turns in their tag, and in turn offered to the next high point holders. A fair system treats everyone equally. That is precisely what these changes do.

Chet C. - posted 1 month ago on 02-26-2020 08:44:24 am

This is great. No more waiting in line, waiting on the phone, or having the CPW system crash on leftover day. The current system is nice precisely because it allows hunters to build points for some future hunt while also hunting every year. As for the drawing a tag just to turn it in. First, you do have to pay for it right away. Second, if you turn a tag back in you either lose your points or you lose your tag fee. You cannot keep both. So a nonresident would be paying a decent fee to play this game you're talking about. Third, as already stated, the tag is offered to the next 5 applicants in line. I absolutely do not agree with not allowing hunters to turn tags in. Regardless, the secondary draw isn't meant to address any of this. It is just a replacement for leftover day that is intended to get rid of tags not otherwise drawn without crashing their system. And to collect some extra applications fees, which is fine if it means I can input my application at my leisure.

Clinton M. - posted 1 month ago on 02-25-2020 12:31:50 pm

All about the Money now they get twice the application fees.

Gary H. - posted 1 month ago on 02-25-2020 06:55:31 am

I am told all the time "Go hunt an OTC unit" if you are saving your points for a top tier unit.

I digress.....haha

Gary H. - posted 1 month ago on 02-25-2020 06:53:39 am

I understand what you are saying but they dont have the manpower or the time to sort through qualifying life evens vs someone just wanting to turn the tag in because they dont think there are enough animals to hunt in that unit.

IMO there needs to be consequences across the board for turning in tags and I think you are going to see that in the very near future from what I am haring on the side-channels.

And also any "Draw Tag" type-A should take your points regardless of what stage of the draws you get the tag. Its the only way to get this traffic jam un-jammed. Besides what person wouldn't be willing to give up their 1 points for a tag that was returned worth 4 points. Really its a win win for the bottom tier guys who are the majority of the point-holders in the state. The only people this is affecting is the guys who are saving dozens of points for top tier units. After all if they are the only people that will be able to hunt those top tier units in our lifetime anyhow why should they get the privilege of hunting any of the lesser units in the first place? In my opinion they should not without suffering consequences.

We dont need to :help some" with a glaring problem. We need to fix it. I dont put 1 tire on my truck when all 4 are bad. I put 4 new tires on the truck. Colorado needs 4 new tires and a new transmission at this point. lol

Cory F. - posted 1 month ago on 02-25-2020 06:37:12 am
La Veta, CO

Gary & Ron, you both make good points. Gary I see what youre saying by losing you place in line and all that, but I have to disagree with getting rid of turning in tags. As Ron said, sometimes life happens, and it would be pretty sad to not have an out if that happens. If I had invested 10-15 years and a few hundred or thousand of dollars and time into that spot in line, I might be fighting pretty hard to get back into line. Unlike if I just had a jar of peanut butter. I like the reissue because it allows me to build points towards better hunts, and still be able to have a chance to hunt each year to if I am one of the lucky ones to get a tag from the reissue list. I DO LIKE the idea of losing your points on the reissue tags that take lets say 5 points or more. Because youre right, there is a GLARING point problem and that would help it some. I like that a lot. I also like people having to pay for it fairly quickly, and not allowing them to "scout" and turn it in if they don't like it. Or if they do turn it in, have still payed for the tag and have to have maybe a "qualifying" life event. Overall some pretty good ideas, because lets face it, Colorado has some problems coming, without even getting into the future wolf problem.

simon g. - posted 1 month ago on 02-22-2020 08:29:52 am

It's good to see youth hunters finally getting a better shot at tags!

Joshua C. - posted 1 month ago on 02-21-2020 03:31:18 pm

Honestly, this new system just adds an extra layer of confusion to an already frustrating process.

Gary H. - posted 1 month ago on 02-21-2020 11:31:22 am

I, nor you, should have to play freaking games when it comes to securing a hunting tag. I deal with games and bullshit in all other aspects of life.

For once I would just like to see a fair system where someone isn't hedging their bets and potentially screwing me. If your get a tag and a family emergency comes up or you draw another tag in another state then thats tough luck. Sorry I am not sorry. But its the only way to get people through the system. Including me. I accept the consequences when I draw the tag. If I cant go thats on me. I dont want any exceptions.

There is only 1 way, the fair way. If you get out of line at the checkout and it is 20 people long do you grab what you need and jump back in line? Or do you go to the end like a good boy because you know you lost your place in line?

Ron J. - posted 1 month ago on 02-21-2020 11:24:45 am
Denver, CO

Gary H. Its obvious we both agree there are problems with the system. But as someone who has played the lists of returning tags and bought one almost every year I can't imagine this happens as much as you think. And yes you are correct they do go to the list after 5 people deny it. But unless someone has insider info with CPW of when that tag will drop its almost impossible to time that. But I do agree if you pick up a tag over a certain point value of the leftover list you should lose your points. I just completely disagree with ending the ability to return a tag. Life happens, other hunts happen. Why should someone who spent potentially thousands of dollars lose all their points if they have a family emergency or conflict with another hunt or work. That's just cruel. Yes the game is broken, but you still have to play it if you want good hunts.

Gary H. - posted 1 month ago on 02-21-2020 10:22:30 am

Ron J. I see what you are saying but unfortunately you are only partly right. If one of the first 5 people contacted for those top tier tags (Above 5 points) does not take the tag it goes to the leftover list process. Last year there were a PILE of tags that went back to the leftover list that were worth WAY more than 5 points. It completely screws up the system. This is not eliminating the top point holders who will repeatedly draw the higher point tags. It a completely unfair system.

Will they gain a point when they return their tag? No. But the fact still remains that there they sit on their throne with their 15 points or whatever capable of grabbing and putting a high value tag in limbo until the last minute. Only then to return it and it basically bypassed those 5 people because they have already made plans for the season. So basically the tag goes to leftover and nobody looses points to secure that tag. There are people doing this with these high point tags to help friends out. (Since their friends know that high dollar tag may be coming to the list) This shit really happens trust me and it happens all the freaking time bro. Look into it.

They NEED to do away with returning tags all together. If you draw you have 3-5 days to pay for it. If you cant pay for it it goes to the second draw. This is how it should be. You shouldn't be able to go scout a unit and decide you dont like what things look like after the fact.

Ron J. - posted 1 month ago on 02-21-2020 09:48:00 am
Denver, CO

Although I completely agree Colorado's system badly needs revamped. The complaining about the tag returning doesn't make sense. Someone returning a high value tag actually helps the system more. For one if you draw a tag and return it you do not get a point for that year falling off the top of the point pile. Secondly the high point value tags don't just go to the list, CPW is required to call a certain number of people who were next on the list and offer them that tag thus voiding their points. So its better because one guy misses a point and another gets the tag and goes back to zero. If its a low point tag who cares, watch the list, pick up a tag and enjoy. Now again back to my initial point. Colorado's system as with many states still is in need of update to match current demand.

Brady J. Miller
Brady M. - posted 1 month ago on 02-20-2020 08:36:18 pm
Las Vegas, NV
goHUNT Team

Hey Andrew - Sorry, I'm on the road right now so I'm typing this out on my phone, but I'll jump on your question. You would have to turn in your primary draw tag, if you want to try to draw a tag in the second draw. You can't hold two mule deer draw tags at the same time for example.

Love the discussion by everyone else! This is a pretty interesting move by Colorado's part.

Ken Z. - posted 1 month ago on 02-20-2020 03:06:25 pm
LaPorte, IN

The only thing this fixes is guys who have had the inside track to get to the list first. And they have been out there. Now they can’t cut in line. That’s about it.

Ken Z. - posted 1 month ago on 02-20-2020 03:02:24 pm
LaPorte, IN

If I read this all right this new draw does nothing to stop the tag return BS with guys playing the system and retaining points. This was CODOW’s chance to do a two-fer-one fix and they declined to do so. What up with this bunch? And youth getting preference? And no points getting burned from the system on these??? Who invents this stuff? What motives and special interest groups are at work here??? Asinine.

Arron J. - posted 1 month ago on 02-20-2020 02:39:18 pm

Awesome upgrade. Great job CPW.

Trent W. - posted 1 month ago on 02-20-2020 02:39:22 pm

Doe tags*** excuse my typo.

Trent W. - posted 1 month ago on 02-20-2020 02:37:42 pm

What instantly caught my eye was the fact that the gunnison basin deer herd has been trying rebuild for over a decade, and now they’re giving out A list for tags in certain units! My hope is that there’s a low amount of tags and they get issued to youth hunters, but as of now there’s no way to see how many of these doe tags will be issued. Does anyone have any additional info on this?

andrew h. - posted 1 month ago on 02-20-2020 01:23:47 pm

I didn't see this covered in the article or I missed it, but can you hold 2 tags for the same season in 2 different units?

IE: If I drew an "easy" tag in the primary draw, and a high demand tag on the second draw. Do I have return a tag to get the other tag?

Sorry this Texan is new to draw systems.

Gary H. - posted 1 month ago on 02-20-2020 12:46:29 pm

The part that pisses me off the most I think about Colorado's system is the re-issue licenses. Those guys take my place in line and get the tag, then turn it back in to the wolves....Holding the tags at a higher point level and not getting guys out of the way. The amount of tags that get turned back in is unbelievable in Colorado. This shit has got to stop. Way too many guys playing the system.

Gary H. - posted 1 month ago on 02-20-2020 12:43:12 pm

To curb point creep and solidify people season plans I wish they would do the following and before you call me crazy, know this, its coming...

-Preference points will be taken for second choices of Type A Either sex and male licenses
-They need to completely do away with these jokers doing the "Scouting tags" routine....(When you apply you pay for the tag within a week and hunt or forfeit it all to the second draw and this will do away with these good tags randomly going back into the leftover day draw. )
-Do away with leftover day all together it all goes into the second draw.
-Have the second draw 2 weeks after the first draw. (Make people shit or get off the pot immediately)

Brady J. Miller
Brady M. - posted 1 month ago on 02-20-2020 10:53:19 am
Las Vegas, NV
goHUNT Team

@Neal - Haha! Thanks. Lots of coffee has been consumed recently. But... that's a positive in my book :)

Neal C. - posted 1 month ago on 02-20-2020 10:47:40 am

Brady is killing it with the state update articles!