Elk Hunting in Colorado GMU 82 - Alamosa and Saguache Counties

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 82 - Alamosa and Saguache Counties

Scores


Ease of Drawing
95
 
95
Success
0
N/A
Trophy Potential
25
 
25
Public Access
42
 
42
Ease of Terrain
35
 
35
Room to Breathe
91
 
91
Opportunity
55
 
55
Convenience
56
 
56
Ease of Effort
0
N/A
71
HuntScore

Access Notes


Go Pro and get:

  • Full screen maps
  • Toggle between terrain, satellite, and topographic views
  • Additional species-specific map layers

Bounded on N by Poncha Pass; on N and E by Rio Grande-Arkansas River divide; on S by Alamosa-Costilla County line and US Highway 160; on W by County Highway 17 and US Highway 285.

Hunting is prohibited in Great Sand Dunes National Park and the Baca National Wildlife Refuge which are located within this unit. National forest and national park preserve, where hunting is allowed, abuts the park and refuge so when hunting pressure starts deer and elk move down quickly to the safe havens. There is also private land 30 with residential development in the northern half of the unit. So, be sure to know whatfts behind your target.

Hunters are allowed to pass through the national park to hunting areas, but some restrictions apply. Call the National Park Service at 1-719-378- 6399, or go to the web site, www.nps.gov/grsa for information. Much of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range is U.S. Forest Service wilderness.

This range is extremely rugged and road access is limited. It is accessible mainly by foot or horseback. Hunters should be in shape if they plan to hunt here. 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

Alamosa, Saguache

Size

1,088 Square Miles (696,555 Acres)

Land Ownership

42% Private, 58% Public, 17% USFS, 10% BLM, 6% State, 16% NPS

Latitude/Longitude

37.9656, -105.7584

Amenities

There are 1 hospitals, 20 hotels, 6 campgrounds, and 2 grocery stores within a 20 mile radius.

Elk Notes


Go Pro and get:

  • Full screen maps
  • Toggle between terrain, satellite, and topographic views
  • Additional species-specific map layers

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. Even though there are high-density concentrations of elk in portions of this area, once the seasons start the animals quickly move to places where hunting is prohibited--federal wildlife refuges and the national park.

When hunting in this area be sure to know the federal boundary locations. Access is good in the northern portion of the unit, but hunting can be poor because animals quickly move south when hunters arrive.

Elk occupy most of the unit at some portion of the year. Elk movement to the winter range is usually initiated by hunting pressure and to some degree snow cover. This movement generally begins in September and continues until December.

The movement is elevational as well as a movement out of the northern part of the unit to the south and from west of the unit southeasterly. Elk will winter on the south facing slopes in the lower portions of most of the drainages along the Sangre de Cristos. There are also some animals that will winter in or near agricultural fields north of County Road T. The majority of the population winters south of County Road T between Deadman Creek and Sand Creek.

Migration back to the summer range usually follows the melting snow prior to calving. The elk disperse throughout the unit in summer and fall from the flats at low elevation to above timberline, along the Sangre de Cristo range to the north, and to the northwest out of the unit. There are also a portion of animals that stay in the wintering 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

Other Species in Unit

Deer, Pronghorn, Black Bear, Mountain Lion, Turkey,

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
945
Licenses Drawn
764
Licenses Surplus
181
Resident Quota
620
Nonresident Quota
144
Landowner Quota
0
Youth Quota
75
95%
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
EE082O1M
E
M
O1
EE082O1R
E
R
O1
EE082O4R
E
R
O4
EF082O1M
F
M
O1
EF082O1R
F
R
O1
EF082O2R
F
R
O2
EF082O3R
F
R
O3
EF082O4R
F
R
O4
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.

Go Pro and get:

  • Drawing and harvest trends across multiple years
  • Individual hunt quotas
  • 1st choice license applications and licenses drawn
  • Draw odds for resident and nonresident applicants
  • Harvest by sex and manner (and season where applicable)
  • Average success odds
  • Days per hunter
  • Drawing and harvest tips

Elk Harvest Stats (2018)


Total Hunters
1,486
Total Harvest
560
Harvest Male
262
Harvest Female
266
38.5%
Average Success
Manner Season Hunters Harvest
R
P0
55 47
R
O1
318 123
R
O4
102 17
M
M
96 22
R
O1
21 4
R
O2
154 18
R
O3
168 43
R
O4
33 5
R
O1
286 108
R
O4
69 12
R
EP
44 36
R
D
140 125
HuntScore Tip: Also keep in mind that past performance doesn't necessarily guide future success. Warm weather during the previous year may have limited harvest. Cold and snowy weather may have sent hunters home early the previous year, limiting the harvest. You may have better conditions. Look at the 3-5 year trends and not a specific year.