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HuntingNewbie82's picture
Joined: 04/21/2014
Posts: 1
New to the big game hunting of Colorado

Well so I moved to Fort Collins,CO about 2 years ago and I am getting more and more of an itch to get some meat. I moved here from Texas and have hunted a couple times down there but never anywhere else. Well lets just say I was going to look into a hunt for this year but alas I have already hit a wall. See down in Texas they don't require this hunting class. So I knew nothing about it. And well didn't find out till last day of applications. So I'm just taking it as a sign to relax and do more reading on how stuff works up here. I know someone will ask what are you hunting for. Honestly Elk, deer it doesn't matter. I just like eating the meat. All though a trophy would be nice. So I guess my question would be any advice from understanding this point system. Areas to hunt. I don't want one of those pay hunts or anything like that. See I love backpacking and the outdoors so just a lone hunt is fine with me. Or tag along with a couple people is fine also. Just don't really know anyone here for the opportunity to hunt with anyone else. Again any and all info is welcome. Thank you.

Retired2hunt's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Colorado Springs, CO & Fort Myers, FL
Joined: 07/28/2011
Posts: 1624
Well my fellow Coloradan you

Well my fellow Coloradan you are not too late to hunt Colorado in 2014.  Granted it is a lot of reading material to understand.  1st - get your hunter safety certification.  They will have several more classes in the months ahead.  2nd - Leftover and OTC tags go on sale August 5th.  So all you need to do is find a unit that interests you - plenty are most wilderness and not private land... then secure an OTC tag - easiest process.  Leftover tags are 1st come 1st serve and may be more difficult to obtain... but not impossible. Leftover tags will be published after the limited draw - so maybe June.  There is another way of seeing what is leftover from the draw stats but I will let one of these seasoned Colorado hunters explain that one.

Here is the link for finding the next hunter safety class - http://www.register-ed.com/programs/colorado/98-colorado-hunter-educatio...

Elk Hunting University is a wealth of knowledge - http://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/EHU.aspx

And page #7 of the Big Game brochure give a good idea on the preference points - http://cpw.state.co.us/search/Pages/results.aspx?k=understanding%20Prefe...

Good Hunting!

COMeatHunter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Joined: 06/01/2011
Posts: 639
Retired hit it on the head

Retired hit it on the head pretty well for you.  

First get your card.  You have a couple of months to figure this out and get it done.  There are generally 2 different class types, internet driven and classroom driven.  The internet class will make the process into a day or weekend in-person commitment.  If you do the classroom setting it will be a week of in-person commitment.  Either way, it's easy...just get it done.

Second, the leftovers are a great place to pick up a decent hunt.  Although we put in for the draw every year, we almost always pick up a few leftover tags to expand our hunting season.  Deer are a little more difficult to get good leftovers, but they are there if you act quickly.  Elk is easier to get a good tag, lots of good leftover cow tags.  If you're into archery, then an either-sex or antlerless OTC tag is a great way to go too.

As for points, the system is simple in that each year you put in and don't get your first choice (or put in a preference point code for your first choice) you get a point.  Points are cumulative until you draw a first choice hunt, which uses all of your points.

The strategy for collecting points is not so simple.  Colorado has lots of folks saving points and, IMO, makes it tough to get into the points game unless you are committed to staying the course for a long time.  There are kind of 4 different strata for points hunts:  those requiring 0-2 points (these are mostly cow hunts is limited or trohpy units), those requiring 3-5 points (these are mostly bull or either-sex tags in decent units, but not much trophy potential), those requiring 6-14 points (these are bull or either-sex tags in really good units but might have lots of private or higher tag numbers, like a couple hundred or so), and then those units that require more than 15 points (these are the trophy units that should be considered a "once-in-a-lifetime" kind of tag).  Until you learn the ropes a bit and get out and discover the units for yourself you likely won't know where exactly you'd like to focus your point collecting strategy.

Regardless of how you decide to play the PP game, there are lots of great hunting opportunities for antelope, deer and elk in Colorado.  Add in bear, turkeys, archery, muzzleloader and rifle and you've got a bunch of things to hunt will several great seasons and weapons to choose from.  It's not too hard to fill up your calendar with hunts from September through January.

Last piece of advice:  Colorado uses A, B, and C designations for tags.  You can only get 1 "A" list tag each year for each species.  You can also get a "B" list tag in addition to an "A" or "B" tag (that gives you 2 tags for each specie if you want).  Class "C" tags are population control or agricultural damage tags and you can have any number of these kinds of tags and they have no impact on how many "A" or "B" tags you can have.  "C" tags are not common unless you know a landowner who gets tags from the CPW to help control wildlife imapct on their land.

Dig into the Colorado CPW website.  It has a bunch of information to digest that is actually useful in helping you determine where and how you want to hunt.

Orion-CO's picture
Joined: 05/15/2012
Posts: 29
Lots of opportunities for elk hunting

Don't worry, you will be able to do plenty of elk hunting this fall. Get your hunters safety card first, and in October you can go to Walmart and buy a leftover cow tag for first rifle season in units 6, 16, 17, 161, and 171 (hunt code E-F-006-01-R). Trust me, there will still be hundreds of leftover cow tags for those units the day before the season starts (Oct 11-15). It's only a 90 minute drive from Fort Collins, and that will give you a chance to scout it out all summer long. Hunt for a cow during the first season, and even if you get a cow or not during first season you can still go back for an OTC bull tag in all of those same units for second rifle season.

You have all year to figure out the pref point system and make your plans for 2016, so don't worry about any of that stuff now.

Joined: 04/22/2014
Posts: 10
So you can hunt more than one

So you can hunt more than one season per year???

COMeatHunter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Joined: 06/01/2011
Posts: 639
Short answer is YES. You can

Short answer is YES. You can hunt more than 1 season per year for many species in Colorado.

Texaradoan's picture
Joined: 03/15/2014
Posts: 48
And YES, you did have to have

And YES, you did have to have your hunters safety card in Texas unless you were under the direct supervision of another certified hunter. On the bright side your Texas card transfers to Colorado.

buffybr's picture
Location: Montana, USA
Joined: 11/15/2007
Posts: 358
The internet is the simplist

The internet is the simplist and quickest way to get your hunters safety card.  I grew up and started hunting in Colorado before they required a HS card so I was grandfathered in there, and also in the 4 or 5 other states that I've hunted in.

A couple of years ago I thought about hunting in Hawaii, and they require a HS card for EVERYONE.  So I went on the internet, found a hunters safety site (Montana), took the test, paid the fee, and a week later my HS card came in the mail.  Because of my previous hunting experience (and maybe my age) I didn't have to have a range session.

Colorado has changed a lot since I lived there, but like others have posted, its not too late to get your HS card, buy a OTC tag(s), and go hunting this year.