COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - It's essentially the Black Friday of hunting in the Centennial State. Over-the-counter hunting licenses can be purchased starting on July 25. Then on Aug. 1, the public will be able to purchase "leftover" hunting licenses.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) said people camp out to ensure they get the first shot at "prime" hunting licenses leftover from the draw.
Many of the 500,000 or so who hunt in Colorado request licenses through a draw system. The draw is the only way to buy mule deer licenses. It’s also a way to get bear, elk, whitetail deer and pronghorn licenses. Typically, there is far more demand than available licenses according to CPW.
Others, however, simply buy their elk, bear, whitetail deer and pronghorn licenses over-the-counter at CPW’s 18 offices or at other retail outlets. It is usually a busy day.
In the Southeast Region office in Colorado Springs, the staff is more focused on serving customers as quickly as possible, given the high volume of traffic expected that morning.
“Bear licenses are the biggest attraction on OTC day,” said Michelle Mulrony, lead customer service representative in the Southeast Region offices. “People are very excited about the start of the hunting season. They want their license right away.”
The line for leftover licenses will form at the glass classroom entrance doors on the east side of the building. In recent years, tents have circled the Southeast Region building at 4255 Sinton Road in Colorado Springs. Portable restrooms were brought in to accommodate the campers.
The crowds come because leftover day is a chance to buy tags that were previously offered during the draw and often represent prime hunting opportunities.
“During the draw process, you can only take one tag per species,” Mulrony said. “Leftover day is the only way to get another tag from the same species.”
There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work to prepare for leftover day. Mulrony will convert the CPW’s Hunters Education classroom into a war room to handle the crush.
“It’s organized chaos,” she said, describing how 30 CPW staff members – or nearly everyone in the Southeast Region office – will pitch in to help.
She asks hunters to come prepared. At check-in, they will be asked to fill out a sheet indicating what they want to buy, what licenses they hold, whether they’ve completed a hunter’s education course and other questions. The hunters will be processed by CPW staff who will do computer searches to check for conflicts, such as suspended licenses.