What changes have already been approved?

    In November 2022, the Parks and Wildlife Commission (the Commission) approved an update to big game license allocation. The 3-year average that is used to determine high-demand hunt codes that are allocated 80% to residents (R) and 20% to nonresidents (NR) was updated such that CPW will use the most recent 3 years (with a one year lag). The Commission adopted the Division's recommendation and retained the 6 preference point threshold, which adds 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.

    On March 3, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) sent a memo to the Commission outlining the results of CPW’s license distribution public outreach process and providing staff recommendations on license allocation and preference points. Staff recommended transitioning from the current license allocation system (80/20 R/NR) allocation for high-demand hunt codes; 65/35 (R/NR) allocation for all other hunt codes) to a simpler 75/25 (R/NR) single across-the-board allocation for deer, elk, pronghorn and bear. 

    During the March 15 Commission meeting, the Commission directed staff to bring back final regulations for approval at the May 3-4 Commission meeting implementing staff’s recommendation of a 75/25 (R/NR) single across-the-board allocation for deer, elk, pronghorn, and bear in time for the 2024 seasons. 

    Will other license distribution changes be considered in the future?

    In November 2022, the Commission encouraged CPW staff to continue looking at potential preference point changes, namely point banking and averaging group points. During the March 2023 Commission Meeting, staff presented their recommendations on these topics, which included the recommendation to not carry forward averaging group points or preference point banking for implementation. The Commission supported staff’s recommendation to not move forward with averaging group points but requested staff bring back preference point banking alternatives for deer, elk, bear, and pronghorn limited licenses. Staff will present their preference point banking recommendation and proposed alternatives during the May Commission meeting. 

    Why is CPW evaluating big game license distribution processes now?

    The Commission requested that license distribution be reviewed separately from Big Game Season Structure, due to the complexity of the subject as well as on-going interest from stakeholders. Members of the Colorado General Assembly also showed interest in making changes. In response, CPW reviewed license distribution issues, policies, and regulations, and recently presented possible changes to the Commission.

    What big game license distribution topics are being considered?

    To determine the topics within license distribution that required further analysis, CPW solicited feedback through public and staff comment forms. The public comment form was made available to any interested member of the public and received over 12,000 responses. Based on this feedback, CPW reviewed three distinct topic areas: 

    • Allocation of big game licenses between residents and nonresidents 
    • Preference points
    • Over-the-counter (OTC) licenses (with a focus on archery elk OTC licenses)

    How have hunters and other stakeholders been involved?

    Big Game Attitude Survey 

    The Big Game Attitude Survey (BGAS) was distributed in early 2022 to a random sample of resident and nonresident hunters. The BGAS captured opinions on a number of big game hunting topics, including license distribution. Over 2,000 responses were received. Results from the BGAS are available in the Big Game Attitude Survey Summary Report.

    License Distribution Focus Groups

    CPW staff held public focus groups with big game hunters to analyze license distribution systems and potential changes. Ten focus groups were held, 8 in-person with residents and 2 virtually with nonresidents, split between the topics of preference points and license allocation. More information on the feedback received through the focus groups is available in the Summary of 2022 License Distribution Focus Groups (beginning on page 2). 

    Public and Stakeholder Meetings

    CPW staff have discussed license distribution, including possible changes, at several public and stakeholder meetings including the Colorado Sportsperson’s Roundtable, regional sportsperson’s caucuses, and stakeholder organization board meetings. 

    License Distribution Comment Form and Guestbook Tool

    CPW posted a public comment form on our Big Game License Distribution Engage CPW webpage asking big game hunters to provide their input on various license allocation alternatives and several preference point topics as requested by the Commission during the November 2022 Commission meeting. This public comment form was  well advertised through a press release, CPW’s hunting e-newsletter, and at events such as  regional Sportsperson’s Caucus meetings. The form was available for a total of 6 weeks, from  January 9th through February 20th, 2023. 

    In addition to the public comment form, big game hunters could provide input through an online guestbook on the Big Game License Distribution Engage CPW webpage. Members of the public used this guestbook feature to submit short-form responses outlining their general  thoughts and ideas on CPW’s overall license allocation process.

    During the 6-week comment period, CPW received a total of 2,819 completed comment forms and 214 short-form responses from members of the public. 

    How can I learn more and share my opinion?

    Hunters and affected communities are encouraged to share their comments about license distribution with the Commission. For information on how to share written or oral comments with the Commission please see the Submit Public Comments webpage. To receive email updates about this and other relevant topics please complete the Email Updates Form.