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

Elk hunting is good but requires hunters to pursue animals in challenging terrain. Overall success rates for elk hunters in unlimited units in the San Luis Valley are generally lower than the statewide average.

GMU 79 - Mineral, Rio Grande, and Saguache Counties

Scores


Ease of Drawing
80
 
80
Success
10
 
10
Trophy Potential
35
 
35
Public Access
63
 
63
Ease of Terrain
78
 
78
Room to Breathe
5
 
5
Opportunity
18
 
18
Convenience
24
 
24
Ease of Effort
50
 
50
65
HuntScore

Access Notes


With A Free Account Get:

  • Satallite and Topo Layers
  • Public Landownership Layers
  • Roads and Trails Layers
  • Burn Layers
  • Water Tank Layer (AZ Only)
  • 20% Discount on HuntStand Pro

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

37.7779, -106.4422

Amenities

There are 0 hospitals, 3 hotels, 3 campgrounds, and 1 grocery stores within a 20 mile radius.

Elk Notes


With A Free Account Get:

  • Toggle between terrain, satellite, and topographic views
  • Additional species-specific map layers

Elk hunting is good but requires hunters to pursue animals in challenging terrain. Overall success rates for elk hunters in unlimited units in the San Luis Valley are generally lower than the statewide average. Weather is a dominant factor for hunters. Snow will cause herds to move down quickly from high elevation.

Success for elk hunters in the later seasons increases with winter weather. However, small amounts of snow can make travel difficult. Hunters are urged to check weather conditions as much as possible. Habitat is excellent and the elk population is growing steadily.

Population is still at the low end of the objective so cow tags have been reduced slightly to help bolster the population. The West Fork fire of 2013 29 should provide long-term habitat benefits for this population. This unit is primarily winter range for elk and success is highly dependent on snow pushing animals into the area. The unit, however, doesn't produce trophy-quality animals that are found in other limited units in Colorado.

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

Elk 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.

Elk Over The Counter Hunts (2021)


There are 1 OTC hunts in this unit. Go Pro to view the details!

Go Pro and get:

  • The ability to filter OTC units by residency and manner/sex
  • Over the counter unit hunts listed with:
    • Residency Requirements
    • Season and Manner of Take Restrictions
    • Season Dates

Elk Drawing Stats (2021)


Total Quota
780
Licenses Drawn
701
Licenses Surplus
79
Resident Quota
495
Nonresident Quota
161
Landowner Quota
213
Youth Quota
61
86.6%
Overall Unit
1st Choice 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 Type Draw Odds HuntScore Notes
EM079O3R
M
R
O3
LL
94.3%
0
EM079O2R
M
R
O2
LL
93.5%
0
EM079O1R
M
R
O1
LL
100%
0
EM079O1M
M
M
O1
LL
28.8%
0
EF079O4R
F
R
O4
LL
100%
0
EF079O3R
F
R
O3
LL
100%
0
EF079O2R
F
R
O2
LL
100%
0
EF079O1R
F
R
O1
LL
100%
0
EF079O1M
F
M
O1
LL
100%
0
HuntScore Tip: You are able to receive a refund for your license as long as the season has not started. You would have to fill out the License Refund Application or Preference Point Restoration form and return the license and carcass tag with the application to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Preference Points will be restored to the pre-draw level, and you will not receive a preference point for that year.

Go Pro and get:

  • Drawing trends across multiple years
  • Individual hunt quotas
  • 1st choice license applications and licenses drawn
  • Draw odds for resident and nonresident applicants
  • Minimum preference points to draw
  • Point creep plots

Elk Harvest Stats (2020)


Total Hunters
1,124
Total Harvest
94
Harvest Male
71
Harvest Female
21
8%
Average Success
Manner Season Type Sex Hunters Harvest Male Female Youth
A
A
N/A 358 15
15
0
0
ALL
ALL
N/A 1124 94
71
21
0
M
M
N/A 37 2
2
0
0
R
PLO
PLO
N/A 121 10
5
5
0
R
PLO
N/A 121 10
5
5
0
R
O4
N/A 90 10
0
10
0
R
O4
LL
F
90 10
0
10
0
R
O3
LL
M
87 11
11
0
0
R
O3
N/A 156 15
11
4
0
R
O2
LL
M
82 16
16
0
0
R
O3
LL
F
69 4
0
4
0
R
O2
N/A 178 16
16
0
0
R
O2
LL
F
96 0
0
0
0
R
O1
LL
M
125 16
16
0
0
R
O1
LL
F
43 4
0
2
0
R
O1
N/A 168 20
16
2
0
R
D
R
N/A 16 6
6
0
0
R
R
N/A 729 77
54
21
0
HuntScore Tip: Ever hunt a unit with a 100% success rate and not see any deer? If you're nodding your head to any of these scenarios then you're one of the people who knows that statistics are a good guide, but they aren't a guarantee.

Go Pro and get:

  • Harvest trends across multiple years
  • Harvest stats by hunt_code, manner, season, sex, type
  • Average harvest rates
  • Average days per hunter
  • Overall harvest trends

Weather Insights


Weather can vary by elevation. See how weather varies by elevation within a unit by selecting an elevation range. Elevation ranges are based on weather stations in or near the unit. Not all weather elements are available within the unit.

Average Temps

Use temperature ranges to plan and prepare for your hunt. Large swings indicate a good layering system should be used. Be sure to make note of the extreme temperatures as these often pose the greatest risk to hunters. If you plan on hunting in higher elevation, as a rule of thumb, expect the tempture to decrease roughly 5° for every 1000' in elevation gain.

WITH A FREE ACCOUNT GET:

  • Precip totals by month
  • Snow depth by month
  • Min/Max precip and snow depth
  • Average # of days between precip or snow event

Gear Recommendations for Elk Hunting From logo


TrailHead Chatter


Sign Up or Sign In to Read !

With A Free Account Get:

  • Ability to read comments
  • Ability to post comments
  • Ability to upvote and downvote comments