Elk Hunting in Colorado GMU 74 - La Plata and San Juan Counties

Finding bulls is tough. They have survived by knowing how to avoid hunters. Concentrate on rugged terrain away from other hunters. Weather often dictates the success rate in this area.

GMU 74 - La Plata and San Juan Counties

Scores


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Success
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Trophy Potential
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Public Access
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Ease of Terrain
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Room to Breathe
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Opportunity
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Convenience
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HuntScore

Access Notes


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Bounded on N by Ouray-San Juan County line; on E by San Juan-Hinsdale County line and Animas River; on S by US Highway 160; on W by Montezuma-La Plata County line, Dolores-San Juan County line, San Miguel-San Juan County line and Ouray-San Juan County line.

Public land is abundant in GMU 74 with much of it quite remote. Where road access is good expect hunting pressure.

County

La Plata, San Juan

Size

533 Square Miles (341,323 Acres)

Land Ownership

14% Private, 86% Public, 76% USFS, 7% BLM, 3% State

Latitude/Longitude

37.6145, -107.8607

Amenities

There are 0 hospitals, 20 hotels, 15 campgrounds, and 2 grocery stores within a 20 mile radius.

Elk Notes


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The elk herd is below objective but the population is stable and increasing slightly. CPW is working to increase the population and has reduced cow harvest in this unit over the past several years. This has been done by decreasing cow and either-sex licenses. Most elk in the unit are at higher elevation areas until snow accumulation pushes them down.

Hunters willing to go into rugged terrain could be rewarded. Consider hunting near Engineer Mountain, in the Hermosa Creek drainage west of the Purgatory ski resort. and up Junction Creek just northwest of Durango. Finding bulls is tough.

They have survived by knowing how to avoid hunters. Concentrate on rugged terrain away from other hunters. Weather often dictates the success rate in this 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


Elevations range from about 6,000 feet near the New Mexico border to more than 12,000 feet near Silverton. An abundance of vegetation provides good summer range, but winter range is declining because of development. This area is in the Colorado Plateau Ecoregion, which consists of shrublands and forests. Vegetation types include: alpine over 12,000 feet elevation; spruce/fir stands down to 10,000 feet; Gambel oak, serviceberry, and ponderosa pine above 6,500 feet; and piñon/juniper/sagebrush and agricultural fields below 6,500 feet.

Elk Drawing Stats (2019)


Total Quota
725
Licenses Drawn
666
Licenses Surplus
59
Resident Quota
406
Nonresident Quota
260
Landowner Quota
0
Youth Quota
33
70.8%
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
EM074O1M
M
M
O1
EM074P1R
M
R
P1
EM074O4R
M
R
O4
EM074O1R
M
R
O1
EF074O2R
F
R
O2
EF074P5R
F
R
P5
EF074P4R
F
R
P4
EF074P1R
F
R
P1
EF074O1R
F
R
O1
EF074O1M
F
M
O1
EM074P4R
M
R
P4
HuntScore Tip: Over-the-counter with caps licenses are licenses that are sold over-the-counter but limited in number and only available as first-come first-served. You snooze - you loose.

Go Pro and get:

  • Drawing and harvest trends across multiple years
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  • 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 (2019)


Total Hunters
2,997
Total Harvest
413
Harvest Male
347
Harvest Female
64
13.8%
Average Success
Manner Season Hunters Harvest
R
R
1048 158
R
O2
479 48
A
A
1007 102
M
M
167 32
R
O1
238 57
R
O4
25 3
R
O2
11 6
R
EP
22 7
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.

Gear Recommendations for Elk Hunting From logo


Optics

Vortex Diamondback HD 10x28 Binoculars-10x28

Vortex Diamondback HD 10x28 Binoculars-10x28

The Diamondback(R) HD smashes the scale of price vs performance, delivering a rock-solid optic that optically punches high above its class.Optical FeaturesHD Optical System: Optimized with select glass elements to deliver exceptional resolution, cut chromatic aberration and provide outstanding color fidelity, edge-to-edge sharpness and light transmission.Fully Multi-Coated: Increase light transmission with multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces.Dielectric Coating: Multi-layer prism coating provide bright, clear, color-accurate images.ArmorTek: Ultra-hard, scratch-resistant coating protects exterior lenses from scratches, oil and dirt.Construction FeaturesRubber Armor: Provides a secure, non-slip grip, and durable external protection.Waterproof: O-Ring seals prevent moisture, dust and debris from penetrating the binocular for reliable performance in all enviroments.Shockproof: Rugged construction withstands recoil and impactFogproof: Argon gas purging prevents internal fogging over a wide range of temperaturesRoof Prism: Valued for greater durability and a more compact size.Convenience FeaturesAdjustable Eyecups: Twist up and down for comfortable viewing with or without eyeglasses.Center Focus Wheel: Adjusts the focus of both binocular barrels at the same time.Diopter: Adjusts for difference in a user's eyes. Located on right eyepeice.Tripod Adaptable: Compatible with a tripod adapter, alllowing use on a tripod or car window mount

Packs

Stone Glacier Sky Talus 6900 + Xcurve Frame Backpack-Foliage- Bag Only

Stone Glacier Sky Talus 6900 + Xcurve Frame Backpack-Foliage- Bag Only

The Sky Talus 6900 is a full feature pack designed to blend light weight with increased access and organization. A 6400 cubic main bag with 500 cubic lid, the Sky Talus has 4 external side pockets. The two large side pockets have full length, heavy duty #10 zippers with dual sliders for quick access to spotting scope and items needed quickly on the trail. Each side pocket is offset away from the frame to allow tripod or rifle carry without inhibiting pocket function or access. The lower external side pockets are open-top for carrying water bottle, tripod, or other gear on the side of the pack.The Sky Talus has 4 Swing Out pocket attachments just under the 33" full length main bag zipper. There are also attachment points for camp pockets on the back interior panel. The Sky Talus can be converted to a 4000 cubic inch day/bivy pack and is load shelf compatible to add another 2500+ cubic inches for dense loads. From day hikes using minimal volume, to extended trips using 8000 cubic plus, the Sky Talus will deliver added organization and function while being easily convertible in the field to fit the pack volume needed that day.Features:150+ pound load rating6400 cubic main bag and lid4000 cubic inches in bivy mode (no lid, compressed)2500+ cubic inch plus expandable load shelfHydration compatible33" Center zip for access to front pocket2" webbing on belt for belt attachments and accessories2 full length zipper side pockets, 2 open top pocketsHeavy duty YKK #10 zipperCordura 500 and Xpac fabricHeavy duty, 1" Duraflex military approved buckles and webbingVideo - Stone Glacier Sky Talus 6900 + Xcurve FrameVideo -How to use the Load Shelf