Colorado Mule Deer

3 Things You Should Know About the Colorado Mule Deer License Draw

Colorado is the top state in the country for total mule deer record book entries, and for the number of entries per square mile of land mass. Record book mule deer can come from any part of the state. From timberline bucks in high alpine basins, to desert mule deer in the scrub oak and piñon-juniper country, Colorado is a mecca for mule deer hunters.

Unlike elk licenses, which are currently available over-the-counter in Colorado, all mule deer licenses are distributed in a limited license drawing. If you hope to hunt in Colorado, you must apply for your license (or for a preference point) each spring. The application period is typically from March 1 through the first Tuesday in April.

If you’d like to apply for mule deer in Colorado, here are three things you should know:

1. It’s Easy, Just Get Started

Don’t let the application or drawing process scare you away. If you’re not used to submitting applications for hunting licenses, don’t sweat it. Jump in, and we think you’ll find it’s not as intimidating as it might seem.

Colorado’s online application system is relatively easy to use. First, you will need to create an account. From there, you’ll be able to purchase over-the-counter hunting and fishing licenses, in addition to applying for limited licenses.

Look for Colorado’s 2020 Big Game Brochure to be released in early February. While lengthy, it will include everything you need to know about the application process. Applications can be submitted starting on March 1, and must be submitted by the April 7, 2020 deadline.

If you’re interested in hunting mule deer with us at Dark Timber Lodge in unit 61 or 62, please contact us now or call Adam directly at 208-691-3014. We can help you with the application process.

2. Begin with Preference Points

When you apply for a mule deer license in Colorado, you must select a specific unit or group of units. You must also choose which season you intend to hunt. Each unit and season is associated with a hunt code, which can be found in the Big Game Brochure. When you apply, you must enter that hunt code for the unit(s) and season you wish to hunt.

If you’re not sure where to start, or if you haven’t decided which unit you’d like to hunt, we recommend that you simply apply for a preference point. Preference points are specific to species (in this case mule deer). But they are not specific to any unit or season. Eventually, when you decide where you’d like to hunt, you can use your mule deer preference points for any unit or season.

Colorado’s preference point system awards available licenses to applicants with the most points. Supply and demand drives the number of points that it takes to draw any given unit. Where we hunt in unit 62, it currently takes a nonresident one or two preference points to draw a mule deer license for the second rifle season. Unit 62 offers good mule deer hunting, and is worth the two preference points that it takes to draw. Unit 61 currently takes seven or eight nonresident preference points to draw the 2nd rifle season. But we see some great bucks in unit 61!

Again, if you’re not sure where to begin, just apply for a point next year. Down the road, you will be glad that you did. Gaining a preference point each year will continually increase your options for available mule deer units in Colorado.

If you have questions about the necessary preference points for any of our hunts, please feel free to send us a message.

3. Applying for Your License

When you’re ready to use your preference points, or apply for a specific mule deer license, the process should be quick and easy. You will be able to log into your Colorado Parks and Wildlife account, and submit your application online.

Whether you’re applying for a preference point or a license, you will be required to purchase small game or spring turkey as a qualifying base license and a $10 habitat stamp. You will also be charged an application fee (currently $9 for nonresidents) at the time of application. After the draw, you will be charged the preference point fee if you earned a point ($40 for nonresidents) or the full license fee if you drew a license.

Licenses are only valid for the specific unit(s) and season for which you applied, and are not transferrable. So be sure that you enter the correct hunt code that’s listed in the Big Game Brochure when you apply. If returned at least 30 days prior to the start of a season, licenses can be refunded. The application fee and habitat stamp are non-refundable.

Contact Us to Begin Planning Your Mule Deer Hunt

Whether you have preference points and are ready to apply for a license, or if you’re just beginning the process, please contact us if you’d like to start planning your Colorado mule deer hunt.

For questions about our guided hunts and availability, please send us a message or give Adam a call at 208-691-3014. We’d love for you to join us on a memorable mule deer hunt!

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