Although Colorado is not known for its robust antelope population, it does have some great areas to hunt, and if you are well versed in multiple weapons, you should be able to hunt them often. It's no surprise if you have followed Colorado antelope for a few years that the eastern side of the state is fairing a little better than the western side. This is mostly due to the terrain on the eastern side being a more suitable habitat. This is not to say that western Colorado doesn't have a decent population, but most of those areas are more susceptible to heavy winter snowfall that can cause higher winter mortality and populations to fluctuate more. The upside of Western Colorado is the amount of public land often outweighs private land and gives hunters more room to roam.
Trophy quality is more similar to Utah than Wyoming, Arizona, and New Mexico with mostly 70-75” bucks, but the hunting is very good and most rifle hunts average close to 100% harvest. Antelope in this state should be looked at as an opportunity species that only costs $9 to build points if you are already applying for other species. Looking through the tables, you will notice that the amount of points required for a rifle tag are considerably higher than an archery and muzzleloader tag. This is the biggest advantage of being able to put the gun down and pick up an open sight muzzleloader and go hunting every three to five years in units that otherwise would have taken 12+ years to draw.
The traditional antelope area of Colorado in the far northwest corner of the state is taking the most points to draw on average. Most of the populations continue to struggle in this area, especially in the famed units 2/201. Units 3/301 continue to improve their population and have one of the highest buck to doe ratios in the state. Private land can limit some access in this area, but there is plenty of public land to hunt and find a quality buck. Although population isn’t as high in units in the southwest portion, quality seems to be holding its own. Permits can be hard to come by as there are not many of them, but upper 70s class bucks are very obtainable in units 79, 80, and 81. Do not overlook units around Walden either as this part of Colorado has had mild winters the last three to four years and it looks like antelope numbers are doing well with some great bucks showing up.
The Eastern Plains are outperforming Western Colorado in both population and quality, and we are seeing more and more trophy class animals coming from this part of the state. Units 87 and 88 have the best public access by way of the Pawnee National Grasslands, which encompass close to 200,000 acres of land. These are not contiguous acres of land, so hunters will need to pay attention to private land boundaries. Archery and muzzleloader hunters will have the best hunts on public land as antelope have not been run around and onto private land yet. Some 75"+ bucks have been harvested off this range, and even a few 80" bucks have been harvested in and around private land. Units 95 and 105 have good trophy potential, but most of these units are private land and require an outfitter to gain access. Other units worth noting on this side of the state are found in the southeast corner, such as 136, 137, 138, 143, and 144. These units have a good population but not quite the trophy potential that is found in the northern part of the state with mostly 65-70" bucks. There is a good amount of public land by way of the Comanche National Grasslands that will aid the public land hunter.
Like we mentioned before, with the $9 application fee and hunts only requiring a few points to draw, in some occasions, everyone already applying for other species in Colorado needs to be building points for antelope as well to help round out their western application strategy.
|Pronghorn (limited)||Aug. 15-31 or
Aug. 15-31 & Sept. 1-20 (split season)
|Pronghorn bucks only (over-the-counter)||Aug. 15-31|
|Pronghorn either sex (over-the-counter)||Sept. 1-20|
Check hunt code tables in brochure for early and late rifle seasons for certain hunts.
|*unless otherwise noted in the brochure tables|
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The Colorado big game application period deadline is April 6, 2021 at 8 p.m. MDT.
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|Annual Small Game Hunt License (required to apply)||$84.96|
|Youth Annual Small Game Hunt License (under age 18, required to apply)||$1.29|
|Habitat Stamp (required for adults to apply)||$10.40|
|Draw Application (per species)||$9|
|Youth Point Fee (all species)||None|
|Youth Big Game (Elk, Deer, or Antelope)||$105.76|
CO Antelope Hunting Articles from Huntin' Fool Magazine