Elk Hunting in Colorado GMU 44 - Eagle County

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.

GMU 44 - Eagle County

Scores


Ease of Drawing
92
 
92
Success
19
 
19
Trophy Potential
37
 
37
Public Access
79
 
79
Ease of Terrain
25
 
25
Room to Breathe
59
 
59
Opportunity
81
 
81
Convenience
90
 
90
Ease of Effort
63
 
63
83
HuntScore

Access Notes


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Bounded on N by Colorado River and Eagle River; on E by East Lake Creek; on S by Fryingpan River-Eagle River divide; on W by US Forest Service Road 514 (Red Table Mountain Road), County Road 10A (Cottonwood Pass Road) and Cottonwood Creek.

GMUs 35 and 44 have some public access, however the northern part of GMU 44 between Edwards and Eagle is primarily private property with no hunting allowed.

County

Eagle

Size

377 Square Miles (241,154 Acres)

Land Ownership

21% Private, 79% Public, 55% USFS, 23% BLM, 1% Other

Latitude/Longitude

39.5656, -106.8303

Amenities

There are 10 hospitals, 20 hotels, 16 campgrounds, and 5 grocery stores within a 20 mile radius.

Elk Notes


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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. 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.

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


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 (Figure 5). The mountain peaks above approximately 11,600 feet contain mostly bare rock or alpine communities. Spruce-fir grows mostly between the elevations of 8,000 and 11,600 ft.

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. piñon-juniper covers the lower foothills, and sagebrush parks appear on the more level sites as elevation drops. Riparian vegetation runs along the creeks and rivers.

Elk prefer a diversity of vegetation types in close proximity to cover and forage.

The vegetation in this DAU can be categorized into five main groups: cropland, riparian, rangeland, forest land, and alpine.

Cropland is found in the valleys at the low elevations and is mostly hay grounds of timothy, orchard grass, wheat-grasses, and alfalfa. Much of this habitat type has been lost due to land development in the Roaring Fork and Eagle River Valleys.

Some of the better cropland areas occur in the Spring Valley, Gypsum Creek and Brush Creek areas. Riparian vegetation is found along the major creeks and rivers. This community supports the greatest number and diversity of plant and animal species. Cover types range from sprucefir, blue spruce, Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, aspen, narrowleaf cottonwood, and various species of willow.

Some of the largest riparian areas occur along the Roaring Fork and Eagle Rivers. Rangelands consist of sagebrush, mountain shrubs, Gambel's oak, and grassland communities. Sagebrush is the most common land cover at the lower elevations. Rabbit brush, western and slender wheatgrass, and native clovers commonly grow with the sagebrush.

Mountain shrubs include serviceberry, snowberry, mountain mahogany, and Gambelfts oak. The shrublandsft grasses, forbs and browse provide an important forage source for elk in the winter, spring and fall transition months. Grasslands occur on the more level sites in forested areas (large bunchgrasses such as Thurber's fescue, wildrye, needlegrass, and broome) and in the alpine areas (Idaho and Thurber's fescue, Sandberg bluegrass, blue bunch wheatgrass mixed with forbs).

Forest communities fall into 5 major groups: piñon-juniper, aspen and aspen-conifer mix, Douglas fir, lodgepole pine, and spruce-fir.

piñon-juniper covers the foothills. They provide good thermal and escape cover but poor forage. This type is well represented on the lower elevations just south of the Eagle River. Aspen and aspen-conifer mixes occupy the middle elevations.

The understory consists of emerging conifers (where aspen is not the climax species), lush grasses and forbs, and some shrubs. This community provides important cover and summer forage areas for elk. Some of the larger aspen stands are located in the Beaver Creek and Cottonwood Pass area. Douglas fir shares the middle elevation zone mostly on the moister sites on north facing aspects, but is much less represented than the aspen ecosystems.

It is a long-lived species valued for wildlife habitat diversity, scenic value, and big game cover. Lodgepole pine grows in even aged stands generally above the aspen and below the spruce-fir. In mature stands, the dense overstory limits the growth of understory forage, but provides good cover. This type is well represented in the middle elevations along the Frying Pan River and in the Vail area.

Throughout portions of the DAU, the lodgepole stands have been infected by pine bark beetle. There will be a significant ecosystem-wide change that occurs when the infected trees die and are harvested or simply fall to the ground. The overstory will be reduced and there will be a conversion to grass and forb type vegetation. Spruce-fir (Engelmann Spruce, Subalpine Fir) dominates the higher elevations up to tree line.

This habitat provides excellent summer cover and forage site for elk. This is the most common forest type in the Holy Cross and HunterFrying Pan Wilderness areas. Alpine sites occur in the high mountain peaks and basins. Grasses, sedges, and numerous forbs are present.

Short willows grow in moister areas. These sites provide excellent summer forage areas and a place for elk to avoid the pesky insects of summer.

Elk Drawing Stats (2016)


Total Quota
1,115
Licenses Drawn
1,068
Licenses Surplus
47
Resident Quota
767
Nonresident Quota
301
Landowner Quota
0
Youth Quota
64
83.9%
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
EE044O1R
E
R
O1
EE044O4R
E
R
O4
EE044P1R
E
R
P1
EF044O1M
F
M
O1
EF044O1R
F
R
O1
EF044O2R
F
R
O2
EF044P5R
F
R
P5
EM044O1M
M
M
O1
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