With hunting season kicking off in August and September across the country, many hunters have shifted squarely into hunt preperation. However, if you are like us, you may not have drawn that coveted tag. So you may have resigned yourself to purchasing an over-the-counter (OTC) tag. However, many states give hunters one final shot at the tags nobody wanted. These tags are "The Leftover Tags". So undesirable that nobody saw fit to apply for them in previous draws! Or are they? Some of Colorado's leftover tags have over a 50% success rate and go on sale Aug 4th @ 9 AM MT at CPWD's site here. Below is our ranking for the top 5 tags available per species, sex and manner!
Our analysis assumes the primary objective for purchasing a leftover tag is success in the field. So we aim to find the highest harvest rates for leftover hunt codes. Using the prior 3 years of harvest data, we used a recurisve match to find the best possible harvest data. What does that mean? Well the thing is, some of these leftover hunt codes haven't been available in the last 3 years. So we find the next best match by loosening up the fields we match on. First we try matching across the season, sex and manner (full match). If we don't find a match we drop, we drop the season (noseas match). If we still don't find a match, we drop the sex. After that we drop the manner of take.
Here is an example to make our methodology concrete. Hunt code EM070O1A is in Unit 70 for a first season archery bull elk hunt. This hunt code did not exist before this year. However, there are archery elk hunts every year for either sex in Unit 70. So we pull historical harvest data from the HuntScore database and compute the average success rate across either sex hunt codes. While there is some downside to this, most codes in a particular hunt code group (species, sex, manner) end up with the same match type. So our harvest score is relatively comparable.
Without further ado, below are the best leftover tags available for Colorado in 2020! Good luck with your hunt this year and we'll see you this fall on the plains, forests and mountains.