The application process for Colorado big game licenses may seem overwhelming to the first-timer or infrequent applicant. At a minimum to apply for a limited license hunt, you’ll need to understand how to read hunt codes. Fortunately, hunt codes follow a very specific format and are relatively easy to decipher.
Hunt codes are found in the regulations brochures published each year. There is a turkey brochure, a big game (elk, deer, moose, and pronghorn) brochure, and sheep and goat (Rocky Mountain bighorn, desert bighorn, and mountain goat) brochure.
Each hunt code is made up of eight characters (not including dashes) representing five different pieces of information: species, sex, unit (GMU), season, and manner of take for a particular hunt. Let’s take a look at each of these below:
The first character in the hunt code represents the species.
B = Bear
D = Deer
E = Elk
A = Antelope (Pronghorn)
M = Moose
T = Turkey
S = Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep
C = Desert Bighorn Sheep
G = Mountain Goat
The second character represents the sex.
M = Male
F = Female
E = Either Sex
Unit or Game Management Unit (GMU)
The next three characters represent the GMU. Each GMU has a unique identifier of exactly three numerical digits. Some hunts are good for more than one GMU, if that is the case, only the lowest numbered unit will be listed.
002 = GMU 2
035 = GMU 35
103 = GMU 103
With species such as mountain goat or bighorn sheep, the GMUs are a bit different. The GMU number is a two digit number preceded by either a G (mountain goat) or an S (bighorn sheep).
G16 = Goat GMU 16
S02 = Sheep GMU 2
The next letter and number identify the season and dates for the hunt.
O1 = 1st Season
O2 = 2nd Season
O3 = 3rd Season
O4 = 4th Season
P1 = Private Land Only 1st Season
P2 = Private Land Only 2nd Season
P3 = Private Land Only 3rd Season
P4 = Private Land Only 4th Season
P5 = Private Land Only 5th Season
P6 = Private Land Only 6th Season
E1 = Early Season
L1 = 1st Late Season
L2 = 2nd Late Season
L3 = 3rd Late Season
S1 = Split 1st Season
S2 = Split 2nd Season
S3 = Split 3rd Season
S4 = Split 4th Season
K1 = Youth 1st Season
K2 = Youth 2nd Season
K3 = Youth 3rd Season
W1 = Ranching for Wildlife 1st Season
W2 = Ranching for Wildlife 2nd Season
W3 = Ranching for Wildlife 3rd Season
W4 = Ranching for Wildlife 4th Season
W5 = Ranching for Wildlife 5th Season
W6 = Ranching for Wildlife 6th Season
Y1 = Landowner Pilot Public 1st Season
Y2 = Landowner Pilot Public 2nd Season
Y3 = Landowner Pilot Public 3rd Season
Y4 = Landowner Pilot Public 4th Season
Y5 = Landowner Pilot Public 5th Season
Y6 = Landowner Pilot Public 6th Season
Y7 = Landowner Pilot Public 7th Season
Note - Licenses are valid in public or private land, unless otherwise noted.
Manner of Take
The last letter in the hunt code represents the manner of take.
A = Archery
M = Muzzleloader
R = Rifle and associated methods of take.
You can hunt with archery or a muzzleloader during rifle season, but not the other way around.
Quiz: Can you get these 10 hunt codes correct?
(Click the hunt code to reveal the answer)