Elk Hunting in Colorado GMU 76 - Hinsdale, Mineral, Rio Grande, Saguache, and San Juan 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.

GMU 76 - Hinsdale, Mineral, Rio Grande, Saguache, and San Juan Counties

Scores


Scores
User Scores
Ease of Drawing
23
 
23
Success
37
 
37
Trophy Potential
35
 
35
Public Access
94
 
94
Ease of Terrain
57
 
57
Room to Breathe
11
 
11
Opportunity
15
 
15
Convenience
5
 
5
Ease of Effort
46
 
46
62
HuntScore

Access Notes


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Bounded on N by Continental Divide, Saguache-Mineral County line, and US Forest Service Trail 787; on E by La Garita Driveway (all-terrain vehicles trail), US Forest Service roads 600-3A and 600, County Highway 149 and US Highway 160; on S and W by Continental Divide.

GMU 76 has the highest percentage of public lands in the San Luis Valley. GMU 76 also has portions of wilderness areas for hunters who want to pack in. 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

Hinsdale, Mineral, Rio Grande, Saguache, San Juan

Size

873 Square Miles (558,653 Acres)

Land Ownership

6% Private, 94% Public, 94% USFS

Latitude/Longitude

37.7522, -107.0666

Amenities

There are 0 hospitals, 0 hotels, 3 campgrounds, and 0 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. 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. Habitat is excellent and the elk population is growing steadily.

Population is still at the low end of the objective so cow tags have been reduced slightly to help bolster the population. The West Fork fire of 2013 29 should provide long-term habitat benefits for this population. This unit offers great bull hunting for those willing to wait to draw a license. The unit, however, doesn't produce trophy-quality animals that are found in other limited units in Colorado.

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 (2021)


Total Quota
1,125
Licenses Drawn
1,125
Licenses Surplus
0
Resident Quota
728
Nonresident Quota
294
Landowner Quota
314
Youth Quota
90
18.5%
Overall Unit
1st Choice 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 Type Draw Odds HuntScore Notes
EM076O3R
M
R
O3
LL
14.5%
0
EM076O2R
M
R
O2
LL
14.9%
0
EM076O1R
M
R
O1
LL
15.5%
0
EM076O1M
M
M
O1
LL
14.5%
0
EM076E1R
M
R
E1
LL
2.4%
0
EF076O4R
F
R
O4
LL
100%
0
EF076O3R
F
R
O3
LL
100%
0
EF076O2R
F
R
O2
LL
66.2%
0
EF076O1M
F
M
O1
LL
57.7%
0
EE076O1A
E
A
O1
LL
13.1%
0
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.

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Elk Harvest Stats (2020)


Total Hunters
968
Total Harvest
449
Harvest Male
274
Harvest Female
165
46%
Average Success
Manner Season Type Sex Hunters Harvest Male Female Youth
ALL
ALL
N/A 968 449
274
165
0
M
M
N/A 79 26
24
2
0
R
O1
N/A 181 109
109
0
0
R
O2
N/A 230 106
39
65
0
R
O2
LL
F
181 67
0
65
0
R
O2
LL
M
49 39
39
0
0
R
O3
N/A 194 90
17
66
0
R
O3
LL
F
164 73
0
66
0
R
O3
LL
M
30 17
17
0
0
R
O4
N/A 109 29
0
29
0
R
O4
LL
F
109 29
0
29
0
R
R
N/A 734 352
183
160
0
HuntScore Tip: Ever hunt a unit with a 100% success rate and not see any deer? If you're nodding your head to any of these scenarios then you're one of the people who knows that statistics are a good guide, but they aren't a guarantee.

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  • Harvest stats by hunt_code, manner, season, sex, type
  • Average harvest rates
  • Average days per hunter
  • Overall harvest trends

Weather Insights


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.

Average Temps

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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  • Snow depth by month
  • Min/Max precip and snow depth
  • Average # of days between precip or snow event

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