30,000-plus leftover licenses beckon to elk hunters

Elk are not as susceptible to chronic wasting disease as deer.

Frank Hayes was pretty excited about leftovers, but these aren't the kind that come from the refrigerator.

Hayes planned to be up good and early for the start of Leftover Day today.

Leftover Day is the Colorado Parks and Wildlife program that begins selling licenses that have gone through the draw process but still have a quota remaining. 

Hunters were able to obtain licenses starting at 9 a.m. today.

Hayes, an avid hunter from Delta County, said he usually goes through the draw, but this year was different for him

"Work is crazy right now, and I wasn't sure I was going to get enough time off this fall, so I decided to wait," he said Monday. "Now, I'm down to getting a leftover license, but that's OK. As long as I get one."

Unclaimed licenses, which were offered during the draw that hunters didn't claim, become available on a first-come, first-serve basis on Leftover Day.

Rebecca Ferrell, statewide public information officer for Parks and Wildlife, said Leftover Day has become quite the tradition for hunters.

"It's a big day for us, whether it's online, over the phone or in person, there will be tens of thousands of hunters ready," she said.

With the new online purchasing option at www.cpw.state.co.us, many hunters will take advantage of that option to purchase licenses, but Ferrell said many still enjoy waiting in line and hanging out with fellow hunters.

"A lot of hunters still enjoy coming to our offices, and we'll have coffee and snacks, it's a big day, we understand and appreciate what a big day it is for our hunters," Ferrell said.

Hunters can go online to see what licenses are available and what Game Management Units still have licenses available.

Ferrell said that after 9 a.m., the website will update the Leftover List every five minutes, so hunters can keep track.

"We had a hunter last year and there was one license left in the unit he wanted, and he got it," Ferrell said.

Ferrell said there are more than 30,000 elk and 10,000 deer licenses available. There are also 6,000 bear licenses and more than 7,700 pronghorn licenses available.

The total number of licenses available for Leftover Day 2019 was more than 54,500, Ferrell said.

"That number varies from year to year," she said, adding that last year a little more than 53,000 licenses were available.

Hayes has his eye on a nearby Game Management Unit, but he won't be too picky.

"I don't want to travel too far, but I've hunted in the same unit for a lot of years and have a lot of luck there," he said, not wanting to reveal the Game Management Unit. "But mainly, I just want an elk license. There's nothing better than hunting elk."

Hunters have the options of going to a local Parks and Wildlife office, purchasing by phone at 800-244-5613 or going online at www.cpwshop.com.

In past years, long lines have formed at some wildlife offices waiting for the sale to begin.

Ferrell said they won't add extra staff at the offices for Leftover Day, but there will be plenty of staff working.

There's a Leftover Day tip list on the website, but hunters need to have a driver's license or state-issued ID card, hunter education card, Social Security number, a customer ID number for hunters who have purchased a license before, and a proof of residency to purchase resident licenses.

Hunters are also encouraged to do their homework and prioritize their hunt codes.

Hayes is confident he will get a license in one of his preferred Game Management Units, but he's still a little nervous and plans to use the online purchasing option.

For a complete guide, rules and tips on buying licenses on Leftover Day, to go www.cpw.state.co.us.

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