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  • Writer's pictureSam Westfall

Decoding the Draw: A Step-by-Step Guide to Planning Your Dream Colorado Big Game Hunt

The majestic mountains of Colorado beckon adventurous hunters with the promise of an unforgettable experience. But with diverse landscapes and a variety of big game species, planning a successful hunt can feel overwhelming, especially for first-timers.

Fear not, aspiring outdoorsmen and women! This guide unveils a step-by-step approach to navigating the intricacies of Colorado's draw system and charting a course towards your dream big game encounter.

Step 1: Defining Your Target and Weapon:

The journey begins with clarity. What trophy are you after? Colorado boasts a diverse range of big game, including elk, mule deer, bear, pronghorn, fall turkey, and moose. Choose your target wisely, considering your personal preferences, experience level, and the specific challenges associated with each species. Additionally, decide on your weapon of choice – whether it's the precision of your compound bow or the power of a firearm.

Hoyt RX5 compound bow
Hoyt RX5 compound bow

Step 2: Utilizing Online Resources – Your Path to Potential:

Enter the digital realm, where valuable information awaits. Websites like serve as your gateway to understanding draw odds. By inputting the number of preference points you possess for your desired species, Gohunt analyzes historical data and identifies areas with a higher likelihood of drawing a coveted tag. Delve deeper by exploring factors like public land availability and the crucial sex ratio (the number of males compared to females) within specific Game Management Units (GMUs).

Step 3: Refining Your Choices – Separating Fact from Fiction:

With potential areas identified, it's time to fine-tune your selection. Head over to, a platform teeming with real-life experiences and insights from seasoned hunters. Scrutinize past year commentaries, paying close attention to aspects like hunter density and terrain difficulty. This valuable feedback allows you to separate the diamonds in the rough from the potential pitfalls.

Step 4: Mapping Your Masterpiece – Visualizing Your Dream Hunt:

Now, it's time to visualize your success. Enter the world of OnX maps, a powerful tool that empowers you to chart your course. Begin by identifying potential routes, campsites, and specific hunting areas within your final 3-5 shortlisted GMUs. Utilize the map's overlays to clearly distinguish public land boundaries from private property, ensuring you stay legal and ethical throughout your adventure.

Step 5: The Power of Knowledge – Building Upon Your Experience:

Remember, knowledge is power, especially when it comes to planning. Create a dedicated spreadsheet to track all your research and findings. This includes not only the current year's data but also past years' reviews and even your personal hunting experiences. This treasure trove of information allows you to analyze trends, identify patterns, and refine your approach for future hunting seasons, increasing your chances of success with each passing year.


Planning a successful Colorado big game hunt doesn't have to be an enigma. By following these simple yet effective steps and leveraging the power of online resources, maps, and your own meticulous record-keeping, you can transform your dream hunt into a reality. So, grab your gear, sharpen your skills, and embark on the adventure of a lifetime!

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