Elk Hunting in Colorado GMU 12 - Moffat, Rio Blanco, and Garfield Counties

Generally, this unit is considered very good elk hunting. They are generally at higher elevations in the eastern portions of the unit during early seasons, and move west to lower elevations (and private lands) as hunting pressure and snow depth increase.

GMU 12 - Moffat, Rio Blanco, and Garfield Counties

Scores


Ease of Drawing
65
 
65
Success
0
N/A
Trophy Potential
25
 
25
Public Access
54
 
54
Ease of Terrain
35
 
35
Room to Breathe
69
 
69
Opportunity
55
 
55
Convenience
42
 
42
Ease of Effort
0
N/A
68
HuntScore

Access Notes


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Bounded on N by County Highway 317, Routt County Roads 29 and 55, Rio Blanco County Roads 10 and 8; on E by Williams Fork-Yampa River divide; on S by Williams Fork-White River divide, US Forest Service Road 250, Rio Blanco County Roads 48, 15 and 30; on W by County Highway 13/789.

Expect mild weather with light snow in the 1st season, with roads becoming impassable in the upper half of the area by the 3rd season. The high country in GMU 24 is prone to heavy snowstorms in late seasons. Heavy snowstorms can strand hunters on Flattops after 1st season. While there is a great deal of public land, hunting pressure is heavy especially in northern half of GMUs 23 and 24.

4WD is necessary on all but the few main paved roads. Half of the area is roadless - which makes for very good hunting if you can walk or pack in. You may encounter heavy ATV traffic in GMUs 12, 23 and 33. Hunters in GMU 25 and 26 can gain access using Forest Service Road 610 (Stump Park Rd) or USFS Road 613 (Crescent Lake Rd).

County

Moffat, Rio Blanco, Garfield

Size

493 Square Miles (315,311 Acres)

Land Ownership

46% Private, 54% Public, 43% USFS, 7% BLM, 4% State

Latitude/Longitude

40.2000, -107.4789

Amenities

There are 0 hospitals, 15 hotels, 8 campgrounds, and 0 grocery stores within a 20 mile radius.

Elk Notes


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Generally, this unit is considered very good elk hunting. They are generally at higher elevations in the eastern portions of the unit during early seasons, and move west to lower elevations (and private lands) as hunting pressure and snow depth increase. Try the abundant public lands in the eastern part of the early on. Because of access roads, hunting pressure is high on Sleepy Cat, Lost Park and Sand Peak.

The Flattops Wilderness Area offers good hunting, but travel is limited to walking or horseback and the potential for heavy snowfall means hunters must be prepared. Successful hunters avoid the main roads and hunt the dark timber and deeper canyons. Jensen State Wildlife Area is good during most seasons. Oak Ridge State Wildlife Area is good during 3rd and 4th rifle seasons.

Both properties are limited to foot or horseback travel.

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


White River offers variety and extremes. Several peaks in the Flattop Wilderness are 12,200ft in elevation. Elevation drops to 5,300ft near Rifle. The lower elevation vegetation starts out with sage, progressing to oakbrush/mtn brush, aspen, evergreens and alpine tundra.

Elk Drawing Stats (2019)


Total Quota
4,646
Licenses Drawn
2,990
Licenses Surplus
1,656
Resident Quota
1,898
Nonresident Quota
1,092
Landowner Quota
0
Youth Quota
480
68.3%
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
EF012O2R
F
R
O2
EF012W3R
F
R
W3
EF012W2R
F
R
W2
EF012W1R
F
R
W1
EF012P1M
F
M
P1
EE012O1A
E
A
O1
EF012O1M
F
M
O1
EE012W2R
E
R
W2
EE012W1R
E
R
W1
EE012P1M
E
M
P1
EE012O1M
E
M
O1
EM012O4R
M
R
O4
HuntScore Tip: Nonresident allocations are determined by the average number of preference points a Colorado resident needs to draw a specific license during a 3-year period. For hunt codes that require six or more points for a Colorado resident to draw an elk or deer license, up to 20 percent of licenses may go to nonresidents. For elk and deer hunt codes that require fewer than six points for a Colorado resident to draw, up to 35 percent may go to nonresidents.

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Elk Harvest Stats (2018)


Total Hunters
550
Total Harvest
226
Harvest Male
153
Harvest Female
64
54.9%
Average Success
Manner Season Hunters Harvest
R
W0
200 122
M
M
156 66
R
O4
186 30
R
D
8 8
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.