Elk herds within the Central Front Range are either residential or seasonally migratory. Residential herds are found year-round at low to moderate elevations.
Bounded on N by County Highway 470; on E by I-25; on S by Douglas-Teller County line; on W by S Platte River.
Reservation hunting takes place on Centennial Cone (Jefferson County Open Space) and Green Ranch (Colorado State Parks). Hunters using Highway 5 near Mt. Evans need to be aware there is no hunting within a å_ mile of either side of CO 5 above the junction with CO 103. Special restrictions, including closures, can be found for firearm use in Boulder and Jefferson countiesÓbe sure to check county websites.
The majority of this unit is on private property. Hunters are encouraged to visit the area and to contact landowners well in advance of the hunt to be successful. Do not wait until the day of the hunt to make first contact with a landowner Know before you go --District Wildlife Managers cannot set up these introductions for you.
53% Private, 46% Public, 44% USFS, 2% State, 1% Other
Elk herds within the Central Front Range are either residential or seasonally migratory. Residential herds are found year-round at low to moderate elevations. Migratory herds generally winter below 9,000 feet taking advantage of snow-free south facing slopes and windblown ridges and meadows. Migratory herds summer in high elevation meadows and on alpine tundra from July through September and October depending on weather.
Hard frosts that brown-out tundra and high meadows along with accumulating snow initiate elk movements to lower elevations. However, a few hardy herds winter on open wind-blown ridges even above timberline. A note to hunters: most low to mid elevation elk ranges are on private land or parks and open space lands that are generally are not open to hunting. Most public land hunting is at the mid to high elevation ranges.
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.
The area ranges in elevation from about 5,100 feet in the east to over 14,000 feet in the west. The western part of the area is mountainous and includes many heavily forested areas, high alpine tundra, rocky outcroppings, shrubs, and open grasslands. The southern part is midelevation grasslands, shrubs such as scrub oak and mountain mahogany, and open ponderosa pine forest. Willows are found in riparian areas throughout the area.
The eastern part of the area is urban, including the Denver metropolitan area and surrounding areas. These areas are experiencing increasing residential and commercial development. Several high speed roads and highways are found within the area. These roads are sources of mortality and possible barriers to deer movement.
The climate varies greatly from east to west across the area, depending on elevation. The eastern portion has comparatively warm summer temperatures and mild winters. The western portion is much colder with snow covering timbered areas and north facing slopes from November through May. Much of the area has relatively mild winters and is influenced by Chinook winds.
These warm north slope winds melt snow quickly. Snow seldom stays for more than a few days on south-facing slopes below 9,000 feet. Alpine ridges usually stay open due to wind.
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.
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.
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Most low to mid elevation elk ranges are on private land or parks and open space lands that are generally are not open to hunting. Most public land hunting is at the mid to high elevation ranges.
Elk found just about anywhere in the unit. Look for elk in the Trout Creek drainage. During early seasons, look for elk near South Beaver Creek and Rampart Reservoir.
Elk occupy all habitats and areas of the DAU at some time of the year. Densities are low in the open portions of South Park elevation habitats year-round, but especially during the summer when most elk move up to traditional calving and summering areas.