Application Period for Big-Game Licenses in Colorado Opens March 1

Hunters hoping to draw a big-game license in Colorado in 2022 are urged to review the changes in license requirements and fees in the 2022 Colorado Big Game brochure prior to the March 1 opening of the primary draw application period (March 1 – April 5 at 8 pm MT). Hunters are encouraged to submit their applications early to avoid complications or delays.

For a good overview of what’s in store, watch CPW’s “What’s New” video for the 2022 big-game seasons.

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

Qualifying Licenses
Hunters must purchase a qualifying license to participate in the big-game draws. All qualifying licenses are available beginning March 1 and must be purchased prior to applying for all big-game licenses or preference points.

Archery hunters: There is no longer a maximum let-off percentage for hand-held bows
Archery hunters may now use compound bows with any let-off percentage, giving them greater options when selecting archery equipment for the big-game seasons. Please note, an ADA Recreation Accommodation permit is still required to use a draw-loc or crossbow during archery season.

Archery clothing suggestion
Archery deer, elk, moose, and bear hunters are encouraged, though not required, to wear fluorescent orange or pink during the overlapping archery and muzzleloader seasons to help address safety concerns. The overlap for these seasons is Sept. 10 – 18, 2022. See page 15 of the brochure for more information.

Mandatory testing for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)
CPW will require mandatory submission of CWD test samples (heads) from all deer harvested for specific hunt codes as part of its Chronic Wasting Disease Response Plan. There is no charge for mandatory testing. The hunt codes selected for mandatory testing are shaded green in the 2022 Colorado Big Game brochure (see page 22 and 27-31). Check your hunt code closely as not all hunt codes in each Game Management Unit (GMU) were selected for mandatory CWD testing.

Get more information about where and how to submit a CWD sample.

Voluntary CWD Testing for 2022
Hunters who have harvested deer in a GMU not selected for mandatory testing, or harvested an elk or moose in any GMU, may also voluntarily submit their animal for testing for a fee of $25 per animal. If a hunter is not selected for mandatory testing but wants to know whether their harvested deer, elk, or moose has CWD, they can submit their animal and pay a testing fee of $25.

License Surrender Period
CPW will send emails to hunters who were successful in the primary draw. Hunters who draw elk, deer, bear pronghorn, and moose licenses, but decide to surrender their licenses, will have until Monday, June 6 at 11:59 p.m. MT to surrender them. Hunters who draw a bighorn sheep or mountain goat license, but wish to surrender their licenses, will have until Friday, April 22 at 11:59 p.m. MT to surrender them. If a license is surrendered, CPW will reinstate the hunter’s preference points to the pre-draw level and remove the license from their account.

CPW will charge the card on file for all non-surrendered licenses after the license surrender period. If CPW is unable to charge the credit card on file by the primary draw payment deadline, midnight Mountain Time on June 17 (May 3 for sheep and goat licenses), both the hunter’s license and preference points will be forfeited. Draw results will be posted online from May 31 – June 3 (April 19 for sheep and goat). Please see page 8 in the big game brochure for more information.

License Exchange Fee
Hunters who wish to exchange their licenses will now be charged a flat $5 fee, instead of a percentage of the total license cost, as in previous years. For more information about this fee reduction, see page 8 of the big game brochure.

Plan your hunt
If you have questions about setting up your accounts, planning your hunts or applying for licenses, call center agents and hunt planners are available Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Call 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 changes for 2022.

“It’s very important that all hunters read the 2022 Colorado Big Game brochure, which is available at all CPW office locations and online,” said CPW Public Information Officer Travis Duncan. “We’re encouraging all hunters to check their online accounts to ensure their contact information is current and credit card information is up-to-date. Then check your account after the draw to see the draw results, your preference point levels and the status of your payments,” Duncan said.

*Note to hunters: CPW harvest data from 2021-2022 will not be available until mid-March.

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