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Colorado Parks and Wildlife  (CPW) is considering changes to policies and regulations that direct the distribution of big game hunting licenses in Colorado. To help inform this process, CPW is looking for input from residents and nonresidents interested in big game hunting in Colorado. It has set up a big game license distribution and preference point comment form that will be live until February 20, 2023.

CPW is encouraging the public to complete this comment form and share their thoughts on the current big game license distribution process. Results from this comment form will be shared with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to inform their decision-making process on big game license distribution.

Credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Changes that are being considered: A preference point banking system

  • Averaging group applicant preference points
  • Updating the high-demand hunt code split from 80 percent to residents and 20 percent to nonresidents to 90 percent for residents and 10 percent for nonresidents
  • An across-the-board license allocation of 75 percent to residents and 25 percent to nonresidents
  • These topics under consideration were requested by the CPW Commission. The results of the comment form will be discussed with the Commission at its March 15-16, 2023 meeting.

Changes that have already been made:

  • In November 2022, the Parks and Wildlife Commission approved an update to big game license allocation. The three-year preference point average that is used to determine high-demand hunt codes that are allocated 80 percent to residents and 20 percent to nonresidents was updated; CPW will now use the most recent three years (with a one-year lag).
  • The Commission decided to retain the six preference point threshold used to determine high-demand hunt codes, which added about 1,200 deer and elk hunt codes to the 80/20 allocation of high-demand hunts. This change will be effective for the 2023 big game hunting season.

CPW is evaluating big game license distribution now for two reasons. First, because of the complexity of the subject. Second, because of ongoing interest from stakeholders, the Parks and Wildlife Commission requested that license distribution be reviewed separately from the upcoming Big Game Season Structure. Even members of the Colorado General Assembly have shown interest in making changes.