Deer Hunting in Colorado GMU 79 - Mineral, Rio Grande, and Saguache Counties

Deer hunting in the San Luis Valley has been improving recently due to the limit on buck licenses. However, success rates are high for hunters who draw a buck tag.

GMU 79 - Mineral, Rio Grande, and Saguache Counties

Scores


Ease of Drawing
38
 
38
Success
63
 
63
Trophy Potential
0
N/A
Public Access
63
 
63
Ease of Terrain
0
N/A
Room to Breathe
91
 
91
Opportunity
16
 
16
Convenience
0
N/A
Ease of Effort
56
 
56
64
HuntScore

Access Notes


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Bounded on N by US Forest Service trails 787 and 796, US Forest Service roads 676 and 675, Saguache County Roads 41G and G; on E by US Highway 285; on S by US Highway 160; on W by County Highway 149, US Forest Service roads 600 and 600-3A and La Garita Driveway (ATV trail).

GMU 79 contains some private land, there is plenty of public land in this unit. Throughout the area, access varies from moderate to very difficult. Hunting can be good for those willing to go into tough terrain. Hunting is also challenging because animals can move quickly to large areas of private land, and onto Great Sand Dunes National Park and the Baca National Wildlife Refuge where hunting is prohibited.

You must have permission to hunt on private land. Trespassing is a significant issue in the valley.

County

Mineral, Rio Grande, Saguache

Size

457 Square Miles (292,294 Acres)

Land Ownership

38% Private, 63% Public, 55% USFS, 6% BLM, 2% State

Latitude/Longitude

37.7760, -106.4879

Amenities

There are 1 hospitals, 20 hotels, 13 campgrounds, and 6 grocery stores within a 20 mile radius.

Deer Notes


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  • Full screen maps
  • Toggle between terrain, satellite, and topographic views
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Deer hunting in the San Luis Valley has been improving recently due to the limit on buck licenses. However, success rates are high for hunters who draw a buck tag. Due to overall low deer population, doe hunting is allowed only on private land in specific areas to address game damage issues. The unit has important winter range and holds deer and elk in the late seasons, depending on the snow accumulations.

HuntScore Tip

Public land and private land percentages can sometime be misleading. A unit may have 80% public land, but a particluar species may only occupy 20% on the entire area. And that 20% species distribution may lie 100% within private lands. Does that sound confusing? Just remember that there are always exceptions to the rule, and land ownership is just one piece of the puzzle.

Management Plan

Deer Management Plan

State Agency Website

Visit Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Photos and Terrain Notes


The San Luis Valley is a vast 8,000-square-mile area that provides a wide variety of terrain at elevations that range from 7,500 feet to 14,000 feet. The rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains define the valleyfts east side. The middle of the valley is flat farm land that is privately owned. The Rio Grande and the Conejos River provide long riparian areas that cut through high-elevation alpine forests to lower elevation cottonwood and willow stands.

The west is bordered by the Rio Grande National Forest and the San Juan mountain range.

Deer Drawing Stats (2019)


Total Quota
315
Licenses Drawn
311
Licenses Surplus
0
Resident Quota
239
Nonresident Quota
72
Landowner Quota
0
Youth Quota
8
45.8%
Average Draw Odds
Choose a hunt below to take a deeper dive into quotas, drawing odds, drawing trends, and harvest data.
Stats Apply For Sex Manner Season
DF079P5R
F
R
P5
DM079O1A
M
A
O1
DM079O1M
M
M
O1
DM079O2R
M
R
O2
DM079O3R
M
R
O3
DM079O4R
M
R
O4
HuntScore Tip: If you have not held a big game, small game, annual fishing or combo license in the previous year when applying for a preference point, you will be charged a preference point fee of $30 or $40 based on species and residency.

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  • Drawing and harvest trends across multiple years
  • Individual hunt quotas
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  • Draw odds for resident and nonresident applicants
  • Harvest by sex and manner (and season where applicable)
  • Average success odds
  • Days per hunter
  • Drawing and harvest tips

Deer Harvest Stats (2019)


Total Hunters
260
Total Harvest
166
Harvest Male
145
Harvest Female
21
64%
Average Success
Manner Season Hunters Harvest
ALL
ALL
260 166
R
R
232 155
R
EL
30 16
R
O2
80 53
R
O3
109 77
R
O4
8 4
A
A
7 2
M
M
21 9
Any
D
5 5
HuntScore Tip: Hunters who have GPS units are encouraged to mark the location of their harvest in the field. This is especially important for hunters who harvest a bear or moose. During mandatory inspections, hunters will be asked to give a location of their harvest. Having GPS coordinates makes reporting simple and precise.