14,800 hunting permits sold on first day
A change in method and a temporary computer glitch didn’t stop hunters from snapping up more than 14,800 hunting licenses by 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
This year was the first that Colorado Parks and Wildlife offered leftover limited, over-the-counter with caps and unlimited over-the-counter hunting licenses for sale online the same day they went on sale at CPW offices and license agents. In previous years, online sales started at 12:01 a.m. the day after they went on sale at CPW offices and license agents.
Maybe it was the novelty of it or just the sheer convenience, but shortly after license sales began at 9 a.m. Tuesday, the application that facilitated the online transactions began to waver, said CPW state spokesman Matt Robbins.
The application is overseen by a vendor with which CPW contracts, he said.
“At that point it was collectively decided to take it down,” Robbins said. “We worked closely with our vendor to identify what the issue was, and published two times that we anticipated going back live. The first was 10:30 and the second was at 11:30. Ultimately, we were up and running for business at noon and (online) sales continued.”
Robbins said there were reports of lines at CPW offices and license agents around the state, but that the lines had nothing to do with computer glitches — which were not a problem at offices and agents — and everything to do with the sheer number of hunters excited to get their licenses.
“I think that this is really a testament to Colorado and our heritage and our devotion to outdoor recreation and hunting in particular,” Robbins said. “For a lot of people in our state, it’s part of who they are and a big part of living in our state.”
He added that for those who were frustrated during the three hours they were unable to buy licenses online, “we share in their pain and we also apologize and we want to remind everyone that sales do not end today.”
There were more than 42,000 various big game licenses available, he said, and that even with the temporary computer glitch, Tuesday’s sales far surpassed last year’s first-day sales. By 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, more than 14,800 licenses had been sold, whereas 12,600 were sold by the end of the business on last year’s first day.
And addressing a few local complaints that the first-day online sales were established to benefit out-of-state hunters, Robbins said that out-of-staters are welcome to buy Colorado hunting licenses, but they’re going to pay about 10 times as much as Colorado residents for the privilege.
For example, an elk cow license is $46 for residents and $451 for non-residents, he said.