Application Period for Colorado Big-Game Licenses Begins March 1

DENVER – Hunters hoping to draw a big game license in Colorado in 2024 are urged to review the changes in license requirements and fees in the 2024 Colorado Big Game brochure prior to the March 1 opening of the primary draw application period (March 1 – April 2 at 8 p.m. MT).

CPW encourages hunters to submit their applications early to avoid complications or delays. Get prepared ahead of time so that if problems do arise, CPW staff members have ample time to assist you. Visit our hunting statistics web page for information from previous draws to help maximize your draw potential.

For a good overview of what’s in store, watch CPW’s “What’s New” video for the 2024 big game seasons.

Important information for hunters to take note of this season includes:

Nonresident license allocation modified
Big-game license allocation for bear, deer, elk and pronghorn has been modified from 65% for residents and 35% for nonresidents to 75% for residents and 25% for nonresidents for most hunt codes. High-demand hunt codes remain at 80% for residents and 20% for nonresidents.

Mandatory testing for chronic wasting disease
In 2024, CPW will require mandatory submission of CWD test samples (heads) from all deer harvested during rifle seasons from specific hunt codes. Not all hunt codes in a unit were selected for mandatory CWD testing. Hunters that harvest a deer in the specified hunt codes will be required to submit their deer head to a CPW submission site for testing. There will be no charge for mandatory testing. Get more information about where and how to submit a CWD sample at

If a hunter is not selected for mandatory testing but wants to know whether their harvested deer or elk has CWD, they can submit their animal’s head and pay a testing fee of $25. In 2024, testing fees for voluntary submissions will be waived for all moose statewide and all deer from hunt codes that were not selected for mandatory testing but are within the same GMUs that were selected for mandatory testing. Voluntary submissions are accepted annually statewide.

Gray wolves and coyotes: how to spot the differences
Be aware that gray wolves are now another one of the more than 960 wildlife species on the landscape in some areas of Colorado. CPW reintroduced 10 wolves to Colorado in December 2023 as part of the implementation of the Colorado Wolf Restoration and Management Plan. Coyotes and gray wolves can look similar from a distance, so CPW created this handout to help you spot the differences.

Remember that the gray wolf in Colorado is protected by the federal Endangered Species Act and state law. Penalties for illegally killing a gray wolf can vary and can include fines up to $100,000, jail time and loss of hunting privileges.

Additional information regarding gray wolves in Colorado is available on our website.

Northwest Severe Winter Zone
Effects of the severe winter of 2022-2023 are still being felt by wildlife. In response, CPW has implemented several changes for this hunting season. See the digital big game brochure and this CPW fact sheet for details.


  • Elk rifle over-the-counter
    • Rifle antlered licenses became limited in GMUs 3, 301, 4, 441, 5, 14, 214 and 11, 211, 12, 13, 131, 231, 23, 24.
    • New hunt codes, EM003O2R, EM003O3R, EM011O2R and EM011O3R were created to allow for limited antlered rifle licenses for the 2nd and 3rd seasons for the 2024 and 2025 hunting seasons.
  • Bear’s Ears (E-02)
    • Either-sex hunt codes in GMUs 3, 301, 4, 441, 5, 14, 214 were changed to antlered only: EM003O1R, EM003O4R, EM004O4R, EM005O4R.
  • Ranching for Wildlife – Bear’s Ears (E-02) and White River (E-06)
    • An antler point restriction will be instituted for all antlered elk taken on Ranching For Wildlife properties located in the Bear’s Ears (E-02) and White River (E-06) elk herds for the 2024-2025 and 2025-2026 hunting seasons.

Pronghorn (PH-09)

  • The severity of the 2022-23 winter had significant impacts on the pronghorn population in DAU PH-09 (GMUs 3, 301, 4, 441, 5, 13, 14, and 214). Doe pronghorn hunting for all methods of take in this area will be closed for the 2024-2025 season.

Plan your hunt
If you have questions about setting up accounts, planning hunts or applying for licenses, call center agents and hunt planners are available Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. MT at 303-297-1192. Hunting resources are available at:​

Be sure to read the “What’s New” pages in the big game brochure and the sheep and goat brochure to get a full list of game management unit specific changes for 2024.

“The Colorado Big Game brochure is a must-have resource for planning a hunt and it’s available at all CPW office locations and online,” said CPW License, Reservations & Customer Operations Manager Danielle Isenhart. “We encourage all hunters to apply early and check their online accounts to ensure their contact information and credit card information is up to date. Hunters will receive email updates on their draw results and the status of their payments.”

*Note to hunters: CPW harvest data from 2023-2024 will not be available until mid-March. License quotas will not be finalized until the May 2024 Commission meeting after staff are finished analyzing data from population surveys.

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Press Release issued by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department of Natural Resources on February 16, 2024

Filed Under: EnvironmentFeaturedMedia ReleaseRecreationState


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