Elk Hunting in Colorado GMU 481 - Chaffee County

Look for elk throughout the unit primarily in the 8,000 to 10,000-foot elevation range. Elk are generally at or above above timberline in the areas around Frenchman Creek, east face of Mt. Princeton and the Heckendorf State Wildlife Area.

GMU 481 - Chaffee County

Scores


Scores
User Scores
Ease of Drawing
73
 
73
Success
29
 
29
Trophy Potential
71
 
71
Public Access
100
 
100
Ease of Terrain
82
 
82
Room to Breathe
5
 
5
Opportunity
29
 
29
Convenience
12
 
12
Ease of Effort
41
 
41
66
HuntScore

Access Notes


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Bounded on N by South Fork of Clear Creek and Clear Creek; on E by Arkansas River; on S by Chalk Creek and Tincup Pass Road from St. Elmo; on W by Continental Divide.

The access for this unit is fair. Public roads, trails provide limited access to public lands. Considerable wilderness with trails that are foot or horseback only.

County

Chaffee

Size

283 Square Miles (180,847 Acres)

Land Ownership

20% Private, 80% Public, 75% USFS, 1% BLM, 4% State, 31% Wilderness

Latitude/Longitude

38.8487, -106.2787

Amenities

There are 0 hospitals, 4 hotels, 4 campgrounds, and 0 grocery stores within a 20 mile radius.

Elk Notes


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Look for elk throughout the unit primarily in the 8,000 to 10,000-foot elevation range. Elk are generally at or above above timberline in the areas around Frenchman Creek, east face of Mt. Princeton and the Heckendorf State Wildlife Area, which is below timberline. First season finds elk anywhere from 7500ft to above timberline.

The amount of snow will determine where the elk are. Follow the snow line down as snow progresses.

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.

HuntScore Members' Experience


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Photos and Terrain Notes


14,419 on Mt. Harvard to 7,710 near Nathrop; Broad, level valley bottom, changing rapidly to steep, rough mountains. The western border of the area is alpine tundra (above 11,500ft) and is characterized by sedges, forbs and stunted willows. As the elevation drops, the next ecosystem is subalpine forest (9,000ft-11,500ft) dominated by subalpine fir, Engelmann spruce, aspen and bristlecone pine.

The montane forest (5,600ft- 9,000), contains primarily ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir, lodgepole pine, and aspen. The semidesert shrubland areas (7,000ft-8,000ft), support sagebrush, rabbitbrush, mountain mahogany, grasses and numerous forbs. The piñonjuniper woodlands (6,800ft-8,000ft), contain primarily piñon pine, juniper, mountain mahogany, rabbitbrush, forbs and cactus. The riparian ecosystems extend along all of the drainages and include narrowleaf cottonwood, willow, cinquefoil, current and forbs and grasses.

Agricultural cropland in the area consists mainly of native grass and alfalfa hay fields in the Arkansas River valley bottom and along tributaries

Elk Drawing Stats (2022)


Total Quota
1,145
Licenses Drawn
1,145
Licenses Surplus
0
Resident Quota
859
Nonresident Quota
218
Landowner Quota
310
Youth Quota
82
69.9%
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
EM481O4R
M
R
O4
LL
80%
85
EM481O3R
M
R
O3
LL
80%
85
EM481O2R
M
R
O2
LL
80%
85
EM481O1R
M
R
O1
LL
36.6%
75
EF481P5R
F
R
P5
LL
64.9%
80 private land only
EM481O1M
M
M
O1
LL
40.2%
75
EF481O2R
F
R
O2
LL
100%
88
EF481O3R
F
R
O3
LL
100%
88
EF481O4R
F
R
O4
LL
100%
88
EE481O1A
E
A
O1
LL
52.9%
79
EF481O1M
F
M
O1
LL
100%
83
HuntScore Tip: Preference points are earned when you apply for a limited license but are unsuccessful in drawing a license for your first-choice hunt or when you purchase a point through the application process. Many hunters collect points and also hunt each year. Researching the number of points required for the GMUs you want to hunt is useful before applying.

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Elk Harvest Stats (2021)


Total Hunters
503
Total Harvest
100
Harvest Male
70
Harvest Female
25
20%
Average Success
Manner Season Type Sex Hunters Harvest Male Female Youth
A
A
NA
N/A 100 31
28
3
0
ALL
ALL
NA
N/A 503 100
70
25
0
M
M
NA
N/A 61 4
4
0
0
R
O3
NA
N/A 44 0
0
0
0
R
PLO
PLO
N/A 40 20
0
20
0
R
PLO
PLO
N/A 40 20
0
20
0
R
O4
NA
N/A 17 0
0
0
0
R
O4
LL
M
8 0
0
0
0
R
O4
LL
F
9 0
0
0
0
R
O3
LL
M
22 0
0
0
0
R
O3
LL
F
22 0
0
0
0
R
O2
LL
F
96 7
0
2
0
R
O2
LL
M
93 21
21
0
0
R
O2
NA
N/A 189 28
21
2
0
R
O1
NA
N/A 52 17
17
0
0
R
O1
LL
M
52 17
17
0
0
R
R
NA
N/A 342 65
38
22
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.

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  • Harvest stats by hunt_code, manner, season, sex, type
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  • 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.

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  • Snow depth by month
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