Elk Hunting in Colorado GMU 80 - Alamosa, Conejos, Mineral, and Rio Grande Counties

Elk hunting is good but requires hunters to pursue animals in challenging terrain. Elk and deer move to areas of rough terrain hidden from roads when the season starts. Hunting quality is good, especially in early seasons before winter weather arrives.

GMU 80 - Alamosa, Conejos, Mineral, and Rio Grande Counties

Scores


Ease of Drawing
46
 
46
Success
13
 
13
Trophy Potential
0
N/A
Public Access
60
 
60
Ease of Terrain
0
N/A
Room to Breathe
74
 
74
Opportunity
16
 
16
Convenience
0
N/A
Ease of Effort
44
 
44
54
HuntScore

Access Notes


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Bounded on N by US Highway 160; on E by the Rio Grande; on S by La Jara Creek, the Alamosa River, US Forest Service Roads 250 and 380 and Elwood Pass;and on W by the Continental Divide.

This area has a large amount of public land, easy access via roads and, consequently, heavy hunting pressure. 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.

No big game hunting is allowed on the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge. You must have permission to hunt on private land. Trespassing is a significant issue in the valley.

County

Alamosa, Conejos, Mineral, Rio Grande

Size

795 Square Miles (509,106 Acres)

Land Ownership

41% Private, 60% Public, 47% USFS, 11% BLM, 2% State

Latitude/Longitude

37.4761, -106.3412

Amenities

There are 1 hospitals, 20 hotels, 5 campgrounds, and 10 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. Elk and deer move to areas of rough terrain hidden from roads when the season starts. Hunting quality is good, especially in early seasons before winter weather pushes animals out.

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.

The population is growing and new objectives are being set. Bull harvest has been strong in this unit during the last couple of seasons, and the same is expected for this year. Cow harvest is low so this population is expected to continue growing for the next few years. This unit gets significant hunting pressure, so elk can be difficult to find.

Hunters who work hard to get away from roads and into thick timber and challenging terrain have the best chance of filling their tags.

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


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 Drawing Stats (2019)


Total Quota
825
Licenses Drawn
825
Licenses Surplus
0
Resident Quota
579
Nonresident Quota
246
Landowner Quota
0
Youth Quota
35
55.3%
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
EF080O1M
F
M
O1
EF080O2R
F
R
O2
EF080O3R
F
R
O3
EF080O4R
F
R
O4
EF080P5R
F
R
P5
EM080O1M
M
M
O1
EM080O1R
M
R
O1
EM080O4R
M
R
O4
HuntScore Tip: If you have not held a big game, small game, annual fishing or combo license in the previous year when applying for a preference point, you will be charged a preference point fee of $30 or $40 based on species and residency.

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Elk Harvest Stats (2019)


Total Hunters
3,116
Total Harvest
393
Harvest Male
312
Harvest Female
76
13%
Average Success
Manner Season Hunters Harvest
M
M
86 15
R
EP
19 11
R
O4
38 0
R
O3
34 8
R
O2
40 7
R
O4
23 3
R
O1
211 40
R
O3
676 67
A
A
1209 142
R
O4
61 3
R
O2
821 100
R
O1
211 40
R
P0
19 11
R
R
1821 236
ALL
ALL
3116 393
R
D
33 15
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.