Elk Hunting in Colorado GMU 444 - Eagle, Garfield, and Pitkin Counties

Early seasons find elk anywhere from 7500ft to above timberline. With increased hunting pressure and snow, herds tend to move to remote areas or private landsÐaway from roads and hunters.

GMU 444 - Eagle, Garfield, and Pitkin Counties

Scores


Scores
User Scores
Ease of Drawing
28
 
28
Success
25
 
25
Trophy Potential
24
 
24
Public Access
74
 
74
Ease of Terrain
70
 
70
Room to Breathe
3
 
3
Opportunity
27
 
27
Convenience
15
 
15
Ease of Effort
46
 
46
49
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 Colorado River, Cottonwood Creek, Eagle County Road10A, (Cottonwood Pass Road), US Forest Service 514 (Red Table Mountain Road) and Fryingpan-Eagle River divide; on E by divide between Lime Creek and N Fork of Fryingpan River and its tributaries and Cross Creek-Homestake Creek drainages; on S by Ivanhoe Creek and Fryingpan River; on W by Roaring Fork River.

About 40% of the area is wilderness (Hunter-Fryingpan, Maroon Bells, Raggeds, Collegiate Peaks) and vehicles are not allowed. These rugged areas offer increased hunting success, but require horseback/packin camps. Hunting pressure is moderate. There are large blocks of private lands in GMU 43 east of Hwy 133 and in the western part of GMU 444.

County

Eagle, Garfield, Pitkin

Size

371 Square Miles (237,244 Acres)

Land Ownership

34% Private, 66% Public, 55% USFS, 9% BLM, 2% State, 8% Wilderness

Latitude/Longitude

39.4437, -106.9451

Amenities

There are 0 hospitals, 4 hotels, 0 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

Early seasons find elk anywhere from 7500ft to above timberline. With increased hunting pressure and snow, herds tend to move to remote areas or private landsÐaway from roads and hunters. The wilderness areas are a good bet for success but hunters must hike or horseback as motorized travel is prohibited. Try Snowmass Creek, Conundrum Creek, Capitol Creek, Avalanche Creek, Difficult Creek, McFarland Creek, Maroon Creek, Thompson Creek, Basalt Mountain, Four-mile, the Marble area, and the upper Frying Pan drainages.

Kobey Park and Sloans Peak are good but deep snow and bad roads should be expected, especially later in the seasons

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


This area encompasses the Roaring Fork, Frying Pan and Crystal River drainages. The lower elevations (6500ft) are primarily developed or agricultural. Timberline is around 11,500ft and there are 14,000ft peaks in the Wilderness Areas. Be prepared for daytime highs of 75F dropping to 20F at night.

Snow can exceed several feet in the higher elevations and moisture can make roads dangerous or impassible. 4WD is a necessity. Vegetation types in this unit are largely determined by elevation and aspect (Figure 5). The mountain peaks above approximately 11,600 feet contain mostly bare rock or alpine communities.

Spruce-fir grows mostly between the elevations of 8,000 and 11,600 ft. Aspen and aspen-conifer mixes dominate the slopes from 7,000 to 8,500 feet. Mountain shrubs show up on lower slopes near 7,000 feet. piñon-juniper covers the lower foothills, and sagebrush parks appear on the more level sites as elevation drops.

Riparian vegetation runs along the creeks and rivers. Elk prefer a diversity of vegetation types in close proximity to cover and forage.

The vegetation in this DAU can be categorized into five main groups: cropland, riparian, rangeland, forest land, and alpine.

Cropland is found in the valleys at the low elevations and is mostly hay grounds of timothy, orchard grass, wheat-grasses, and alfalfa.

Much of this habitat type has been lost due to land development in the Roaring Fork and Eagle River Valleys. Some of the better cropland areas occur in the Spring Valley, Gypsum Creek and Brush Creek areas. Riparian vegetation is found along the major creeks and rivers. This community supports the greatest number and diversity of plant and animal species.

Cover types range from sprucefir, blue spruce, Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, aspen, narrowleaf cottonwood, and various species of willow. Some of the largest riparian areas occur along the Roaring Fork and Eagle Rivers. Rangelands consist of sagebrush, mountain shrubs, Gambel's oak, and grassland communities. Sagebrush is the most common land cover at the lower elevations.

Rabbit brush, western and slender wheatgrass, and native clovers commonly grow with the sagebrush. Mountain shrubs include serviceberry, snowberry, mountain mahogany, and Gambelfts oak. The shrublandsft grasses, forbs and browse provide an important forage source for elk in the winter, spring and fall transition months. Grasslands occur on the more level sites in forested areas (large bunchgrasses such as Thurber's fescue, wildrye, needlegrass, and broome) and in the alpine areas (Idaho and Thurber's fescue, Sandberg bluegrass, blue bunch wheatgrass mixed with forbs).

Forest communities fall into 5 major groups: piñon-juniper, aspen and aspen-conifer mix, Douglas fir, lodgepole pine, and spruce-fir. piñon-juniper covers the foothills. They provide good thermal and escape cover but poor forage. This type is well represented on the lower elevations just south of the Eagle River.

Aspen and aspen-conifer mixes occupy the middle elevations. The understory consists of emerging conifers (where aspen is not the climax species), lush grasses and forbs, and some shrubs. This community provides important cover and summer forage areas for elk. Some of the larger aspen stands are located in the Beaver Creek and Cottonwood Pass area.

Douglas fir shares the middle elevation zone mostly on the moister sites on north facing aspects, but is much less represented than the aspen ecosystems. It is a long-lived species valued for wildlife habitat diversity, scenic value, and big game cover. Lodgepole pine grows in even aged stands generally above the aspen and below the spruce-fir. In mature stands, the dense overstory limits the growth of understory forage, but provides good cover.

This type is well represented in the middle elevations along the Frying Pan River and in the Vail area. Throughout portions of the DAU, the lodgepole stands have been infected by pine bark beetle. There will be a significant ecosystem-wide change that occurs when the infected trees die and are harvested or simply fall to the ground. The overstory will be reduced and there will be a conversion to grass and forb type vegetation.

Spruce-fir (Engelmann Spruce, Subalpine Fir) dominates the higher elevations up to tree line. This habitat provides excellent summer cover and forage site for elk. This is the most common forest type in the Holy Cross and HunterFrying Pan Wilderness areas. Alpine sites occur in the high mountain peaks and basins.

Grasses, sedges, and numerous forbs are present. Short willows grow in moister areas. These sites provide excellent summer forage areas and a place for elk to avoid the pesky insects of summer.

Elk Over The Counter Hunts (2022)


There are 2 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 (2022)


Total Quota
2,270
Licenses Drawn
2,253
Licenses Surplus
17
Resident Quota
1,310
Nonresident Quota
943
Landowner Quota
36
Youth Quota
36
30.6%
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
EF044O3R
F
R
O3
LL
5.7%
57 "Permit Type A; License Valid for Units: 44
EF044O1M
F
M
O1
LL
26.3%
60 "Permit Type B; License Valid for Units: 44
EF044O1R
F
R
O1
LL
5.7%
57 "Permit Type A; License Valid for Units: 44
EF044O1R
F
R
O1
LL
5.7%
57 "Permit Type A; License Valid for Units: 44
EF044O2R
F
R
O2
LL
5.7%
57 "Permit Type A; License Valid for Units: 44
EF044O2R
F
R
O2
LL
5.7%
57 "Permit Type A; License Valid for Units: 44
EF044O3R
F
R
O3
LL
5.7%
57 "Permit Type A; License Valid for Units: 44
EM044O1R
M
R
O1
LL
37.9%
66 "Permit Type A; License Valid for Units: 44
EF044O4R
F
R
O4
LL
5.7%
57 "Permit Type A; License Valid for Units: 44
EF044O4R
F
R
O4
LL
5.7%
57 "Permit Type A; License Valid for Units: 44
EM044O1A
M
A
O1
LL
100%
77 "Permit Type A; License Valid for Units: 44
EM044O1A
M
A
O1
LL
100%
77 "Permit Type A; License Valid for Units: 44
EM044O1M
M
M
O1
LL
72.5%
74 "Permit Type A; License Valid for Units: 44
EM044O1M
M
M
O1
LL
72.5%
74 "Permit Type A; License Valid for Units: 44
EM044O1R
M
R
O1
LL
37.9%
66 "Permit Type A; License Valid for Units: 44
EM444O4R
M
R
O4
LL
100%
75
EF044O1M
F
M
O1
LL
26.3%
60 "Permit Type B; License Valid for Units: 44
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 (2021)


Total Hunters
878
Total Harvest
130
Harvest Male
124
Harvest Female
6
15%
Average Success
Manner Season Type Sex Hunters Harvest Male Female Youth
A
A
NA
N/A 242 42
42
0
0
ALL
ALL
NA
N/A 878 130
124
6
0
M
M
NA
N/A 63 12
12
0
0
R
O1
LL
M
27 7
7
0
0
R
O1
NA
N/A 27 7
7
0
0
R
O2
LL
F
5 5
0
5
0
R
O2
NA
N/A 333 45
40
5
0
R
O3
LL
F
1 1
0
1
0
R
O3
NA
N/A 176 23
22
1
0
R
O4
LL
M
32 1
1
0
0
R
O4
NA
N/A 32 1
1
0
0
R
R
NA
N/A 568 76
70
6
0
HuntScore Tip: With more than 300,000 hunting licenses sold in Colorado each year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife thinks it's impossible to contact every hunter. So, harvest data is not actual. It's a statistical sample calculation based on license sales data and an estimate of hunter numbers and hunter success. Hunter activity and success is gathered through the hunter survey sent to all Colorado licensed hunters. Response is voluntary and therefore not complete.

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

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