Large blocks of private land in GMUs 35 and 36 provide refuge areas and can make hunting difficult.
Bounded on N by Elk Creek to Piney Ridge, to Eagle
18% Private, 82% Public, 78% USFS, 4% BLM
Elk are scattered from about 7,000ft to above timberline. As hunting pressure increases, they seek the deeper canyons and dark timber areas way from roads. Concentrating on the large stands of dark timber and the larger wilderness areas will increase your chance of finding a big bull on public lands. Large blocks of private land in GMUs 35 and 36 provide refuge areas and can make hunting difficult.
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.
Elk Management Plan
Elevation climbs from 6,000ft with sage and piñon to over 14,000ft with alpine vegetation starting at 10,500ft. Vegetation types in this unit are largely determined by elevation and aspect. The mountain peaks above approximately 11,600 feet in the Gore Range contain mostly bare
rock or alpine communities. Spruce-fir occurs mostly between the elevations of 8,000 and
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. In the western two-thirds of the unit,
piñon-juniper covers the foothills, and sagebrush parks appear on the more level sites as
elevation drops. Aspen, an early successional species, is found mostly on sites that have been
burned or disturbed within the past 150 years.
Riparian vegetation parallels creeks and rivers. Elk prefer areas with a diversity of vegetation types in close proximity to each other. These
areas occur because of disturbance and changes in slope, aspect and microclimates. The best
habitat areas generally have a ratio of 40% cover to 60% open foraging habitat.
The vegetation in this unit can be categorized into five main groups: cropland, riparian,
shrublands, forests, and alpine. Croplands are found in the valleys at the low elevations and are
mostly hay grounds of timothy, orchard grass, wheatgrasses, and alfalfa.
Riparian vegetation is found along the major creeks and rivers. These communities
support the greatest abundance and diversity of plant and animal species.
Cover types range from spruce-fir to blue spruce, Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, aspen, narrowleaf cottonwood, and
willow as you go from high to low elevations. Shrublands consist of sagebrush, mountain shrublands, and grassland communities. Sagebrush is the most common land cover at the lower elevations. Rabbitbrush, western and
slender wheatgrass, and native broadleaf plants commonly grow with the sagebrush.
shrubs include serviceberry, snowberry, mountain mahogany, chokecherry, bitterbrush and a
small amount of Gamblefts oak. The shrublandsft grasses and forbs provide forage for elk in the
spring months. Grasslands occur on the more level sites in forested areas (large bunchgrasses
such as Thurberfts fescue, wildrye, needlegrass, and brome) and in the alpine areas (Idaho and
Thurberfts fescue, Sandberg bluegrass, blue bunch wheat grass mixed with forbs). Forests fall into 5 major groups: piñon-juniper, aspen and aspen-conifer mix, Douglas
fir, lodgepole pine, and spruce-fir.
piñon-juniper woodlands occur in the lower elevation
foothills. They provide good thermal and hiding cover but poor forage. Aspen and mixed aspenconifer
woodlands occupy the middle elevations. The understory consists of emerging conifers
(where aspen is not the climax specie), grasses and forbs, and some shrubs.
provides some of the most important calving habitat and summer cover and forage for elk. Douglas fir shares the middle elevation zone mostly on the moister sites usually on north facing aspects, but is less represented than the aspen woodlands. It is a long-lived species valued for
wildlife habitat diversity, scenic value, and big game cover. Lodgepole pine grows in even aged
stands and below the spruce-fir.
In mature stands, the dense overstory limits the growth of
understory forage, but provides good cover. Spruce-fir (Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir)
dominates the higher elevations up to tree line. This habitat provides excellent summer cover for
elk. Alpine sites occur on high mountain peaks and basins.
Grasses, sedges, and numerous
forbs are present. Short willows grow in moister areas. These sites provide important elk
There are 3 OTC hunts in this unit. Go Pro to view the details!
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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Elk are scattered from about 7,000ft to above timberline. As hunting pressure increases, they seek the deeper canyons and dark timber areas way from roads.
Elk are well distributed in all Middle Park units. Bull to cow ratios are good because the area is fairly steep and heavily timbered. Generally, trophy bulls are rare (a few are taken every year) because bulls are managed for hunter opportunity.
As hunting pressure increases, they seek the deeper canyons and dark timber areas way from roads. Concentrating on the large stands of dark timber and the larger wilderness areas will increase your chance of finding a big bull on public lands.