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Time to Apply for Tags in Colorado and New Mexico

April 6, 2009.

The deadline for Colorado big game applications is April 7. The deadline for New Mexico big game applications is April 8.

Both states offer tremendous opportunities for western big game hunters.

In Colorado, you should at least be building preference points towards some of the West's best opportunities for sheep, goat, elk, and mule deer. Colorado moose are very good, but the tags are very hard to draw. For antelope, Wyoming is more attractive, unless maybe you're a Colorado resident or have access to private land in eastern Colorado.

Colorado online applications are available at http://wildlife.state.co.us/. Note that for sheep, goat, and moose, nonresidents must apply using paper apps, available only directly from the Division of Wildlife (you can't print out a copy online due to the computerized scanning of completed applications).

In New Mexico, there is no bonus or preference point system, so this is one of the more wide-open draws for those who haven't been building preference points across the West for years.

New this year, applicants for New Mexico sheep, antelope, and ibex must submit the full license fee up front. These are big fees, up to $3,172 for sheep, for example.

However, you can still apply for deer and elk for just a $12 application fee. Given the low cost of applications, it might be worth applying for a premier elk area (such as unit 16) or deer area (such as unit 2B or 2C).

You can apply online at http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/.

I live in Colorado, so I apply for everything. In New Mexico, I'm cutting back this year due to family commitments and the cost of fronting application fees. (I'm tracking all of my apps on the Hunt The West homepage).

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