Elk Hunting in Colorado GMU 68 - Saguache County

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.

GMU 68 - Saguache County

Scores


Scores
User Scores
Ease of Drawing
65
 
65
Success
9
 
9
Trophy Potential
35
 
35
Public Access
86
 
86
Ease of Terrain
71
 
71
Room to Breathe
3
 
3
Opportunity
23
 
23
Convenience
4
 
4
Ease of Effort
46
 
46
62
HuntScore

Access Notes


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Bounded on N by County Highway 114; on E by US Highway 285; on S by County Roads G and 41G, US Forest Service Roads 675 and 676, US Forest Service Trails 796 and 787 and Saguache-Mineral County line; on W by Continental Divide.

The area is dominated by public lands and hunting access is excellent in most areas. 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

Saguache

Size

544 Square Miles (348,166 Acres)

Land Ownership

13% Private, 86% Public, 63% USFS, 15% BLM, 8% State

Latitude/Longitude

38.0102, -106.4545

Amenities

There are 0 hospitals, 0 hotels, 2 campgrounds, and 0 grocery stores within a 20 mile radius.

Elk Notes


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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. Hunter success rates are lower than most other parts of the state because it is challenging to find these animals.

The ratio of bulls to cows is relatively high for an unlimited unit. Hunters willing to go into tough terrain can be rewarded.

Elk generally occupy the area from the grassland and shrub winter range adjacent to the foothills to above timberline on the alpine in the summer.

Elk movement to the winter range is usually initiated by increasing snow cover and decreasing forage availability, along with hunting pressure. This movement generally begins in November and continues until January. The movement is elevational and in an easterly direction.

Wintering concentrations of elk are usually found in the foothills between Carnero and Saguache Creeks. Saguache Park can be an important wintering area, but its use is entirely dependant on snow cover with increased snow there is decreased use.

Hunting pressure will move elk from the area West into the Gunnison Basin where elk hunting is controlled by limited licenses. Once the main rifle seasons conclude, elk will move back into the area.

Elk movement back to summer range usually follows the snowline and in summer and fall the elk have dispersed throughout the area.

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


Vegetation types range from heavy timber to vast areas of grass and low shrubs. 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 3 OTC hunts in this unit. Go Pro to view the details!

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Elk Drawing Stats (2021)


Total Quota
640
Licenses Drawn
640
Licenses Surplus
0
Resident Quota
488
Nonresident Quota
152
Landowner Quota
10
Youth Quota
10
49.4%
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
EM068O4R
M
R
O4
LL
100%
0
EM068O1R
M
R
O1
LL
100%
0
EM068O1M
M
M
O1
LL
59.4%
0
EF068P5R
F
R
P5
LL
55.6%
0
EF068O4R
F
R
O4
LL
34.5%
0
EF068O3R
F
R
O3
LL
7%
0
EF068O2R
F
R
O2
LL
3.5%
0
EF068O1M
F
M
O1
LL
21.3%
0
HuntScore Tip: Private land only licenses, also called PLO licenses, require the holder to hunt in a specific GMU and are valid only on private land. You must obtain permission from a landowner. It is recommended that you secure permission from a landowner before purchasing the license.

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Elk Harvest Stats (2020)


Total Hunters
2,139
Total Harvest
220
Harvest Male
207
Harvest Female
8
10%
Average Success
Manner Season Type Sex Hunters Harvest Male Female Youth
A
A
N/A 696 50
44
3
0
ALL
ALL
N/A 2139 220
207
8
0
M
M
N/A 49 3
3
0
0
R
D
R
N/A 1 0
0
0
0
R
O1
LL
M
272 44
44
0
0
R
O2
N/A 534 42
42
0
0
R
O2
LL
F
8 0
0
0
0
R
O3
N/A 497 59
55
2
0
R
O3
LL
F
10 4
0
2
0
R
O4
N/A 87 19
19
0
0
R
O4
LL
M
87 19
19
0
0
R
PLO
N/A 3 3
0
3
0
R
PLO
PLO
N/A 3 3
0
3
0
R
R
N/A 1394 167
160
5
0
HuntScore Tip: In some smaller units you may not see any data reported for a season. There are instances where not enough hunters respond to the post-hunt survey inquiries and therefore it isn't possible to report any data.

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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.

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