Elk Hunting in Colorado GMU 23 - Rio Blanco and Garfield Counties

Generally, this unit is considered very good elk hunting. Because of access roads, hunting pressure is high on Sleepy Cat, Lost Park and Sand Peak.

GMU 23 - Rio Blanco and Garfield Counties

Scores


Scores
User Scores
Ease of Drawing
83
 
83
Success
36
 
36
Trophy Potential
48
 
48
Public Access
45
 
45
Ease of Terrain
76
 
76
Room to Breathe
1
 
1
Opportunity
68
 
68
Convenience
0
 
N/A
Ease of Effort
55
 
55
60
HuntScore

Access Notes


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Bounded on N by Rio Blanco County Roads 30, 15 and 48, US Forest Service Road 250; on E by US Forest Service Road 250, Rio Blanco County Roads 8 and17 and US Forest Service Primary Forest Road 245 (Buford-Newcastle Road); on S by White River-Colorado River divide; on W by County Highway 13/789.

Expect mild weather with light snow in the 1st season, with roads becoming impassable in the upper half of the area by the 3rd season. The high country in GMU 24 is prone to heavy snowstorms in late seasons. Heavy snowstorms can strand hunters on Flattops after 1st season. While there is a great deal of public land, hunting pressure is heavy especially in northern half of GMUs 23 and 24.

4WD is necessary on all but the few main paved roads. Half of the area is roadless - which makes for very good hunting if you can walk or pack in. You may encounter heavy ATV traffic in GMUs 12, 23 and 33. Hunters in GMU 25 and 26 can gain access using Forest Service Road 610 (Stump Park Rd) or USFS Road 613 (Crescent Lake Rd).

County

Rio Blanco, Garfield

Size

422 Square Miles (270,300 Acres)

Land Ownership

55% Private, 45% Public, 32% USFS, 8% BLM, 5% State

Latitude/Longitude

39.9463, -107.7787

Amenities

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

Elk Notes


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Generally, this unit is considered very good elk hunting. Because of access roads, hunting pressure is high on Sleepy Cat, Lost Park and Sand Peak. The Flattops Wilderness Area offers good hunting, but travel is limited to walking or horseback and the potential for heavy snowfall means hunters must be prepared. Successful hunters avoid the main roads and hunt the dark timber and deeper canyons

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


White River offers variety and extremes. Several peaks in the Flattop Wilderness are 12,200ft in elevation. Elevation drops to 5,300ft near Rifle. The lower elevation vegetation starts out with sage, progressing to oakbrush/mtn brush, aspen, evergreens and alpine tundra.

Elk Over The Counter Hunts (2021)


There are 4 OTC hunts in this unit. Go Pro to view the details!

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Elk Drawing Stats (2021)


Total Quota
20,170
Licenses Drawn
14,778
Licenses Surplus
5,392
Resident Quota
8,527
Nonresident Quota
6,251
Landowner Quota
1,808
Youth Quota
1,808
84.8%
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
EF012O2R
F
R
O2
LL
100%
70 Permit Type B; License Valid for Units: 12, 13, 23, 24;
EF011O1R
F
R
O1
LL
100%
72 Permit Type B; License Valid for Units: 11, 12, 13, 23, 24, 25, 26, 33, 34, 131, 211, 231;
EF011O4R
F
R
O4
LL
100%
76 Permit Type B; License Valid for Units: 11, 12, 13, 23, 24, 33, 131, 211;
EF011P5R
F
R
P5
LL
100%
76 Permit Type B; License Valid for Units: 11, 12, 13, 23, 24, 211;
EM011O1R
M
R
O1
LL
100%
68 Permit Type A; License Valid for Units: 11, 12, 13, 23, 24, 25, 26, 33, 34, 131, 211, 231;
EE012O1A
E
A
O1
LL
51.8%
70 Permit Type A; License Valid for Units: 12, 23, 24; 23 north of the White River, and 24 north of the North Fork of the White River
EE012O1M
E
M
O1
LL
26.5%
61 Permit Type A; License Valid for Units: 12, 23, 24; 23 north of the White River, and 24 north of the North Fork of the White River
EE012P1M
E
M
P1
LL
94.3%
68 Permit Type A; License Valid for Units: 12, 13, 23, 24, 33;
EF012O1M
F
M
O1
LL
75.2%
69 Permit Type B; License Valid for Units: 12, 23, 24; 23 north of the White River, and 24 north of the North Fork of the White River
EF023W1R
F
R
W1
LL
30%
53 M/R WHITE RIVER RANCH
EF012O3R
F
R
O3
LL
100%
68 Permit Type B; License Valid for Units: 12, 13, 23, 24;
EF012P1M
F
M
P1
LL
100%
70 Permit Type B; License Valid for Units: 12, 13, 23, 24, 33;
EM012O4R
M
R
O4
LL
100%
75 Permit Type A; License Valid for Units: 12, 13, 23, 24;
EE023W1R
E
R
W1
LL
7.1%
48 M/R WHITE RIVER RANCH
EF023P5R
F
R
P5
LL
100%
76 Permit Type B; License Valid for Units: 23, 24;
EF023W2R
F
R
W2
LL
60%
54 M/R WHITE RIVER RANCH
EF023W3R
F
R
W3
LL
26.1%
53 M/R WHITE RIVER RANCH
EE033O1A
E
A
O1
LL
63.6%
71 Permit Type A; License Valid for Units: 33, 23, 24; 23 south of the White River, and 24 south of the North Fork of the White River
EE033O1M
E
M
O1
LL
30.6%
63 Permit Type A; License Valid for Units: 33, 23, 24; 23 south of the White River, and 24 south of the North Fork of the White River
EF033O1M
F
M
O1
LL
100%
74 Permit Type B; License Valid for Units: 33, 23, 24; 23 south of the White River, and 24 south of the North Fork of the White River
EE011P1R
E
R
P1
LL
100%
74 Permit Type A; License Valid for Units: 11, 12, 13, 23, 24, 25, 26, 33, 34, 131, 211, 231;
HuntScore Tip: Preference points are earned when you apply for a limited license but are unsuccessful in drawing a license for your first-choice hunt or when you purchase a point through the application process. Many hunters collect points and also hunt each year. Researching the number of points required for the GMUs you want to hunt is useful before applying.

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Elk Harvest Stats (2020)


Total Hunters
4,303
Total Harvest
774
Harvest Male
379
Harvest Female
347
18%
Average Success
Manner Season Type Sex Hunters Harvest Male Female Youth
A
A
N/A 557 103
66
31
0
ALL
ALL
N/A 4303 774
379
347
0
M
M
N/A 50 7
2
3
0
R
R
N/A 3696 664
311
313
0
R
PLO
PLO
N/A 131 56
0
56
0
R
PLO
PLO
N/A 100 45
0
45
0
R
PLO
N/A 307 161
60
101
0
R
O4
LL
M
121 16
16
0
0
R
O4
LL
F
355 77
0
77
0
R
O4
N/A 476 93
16
77
0
R
O3
N/A 915 119
53
48
0
R
O3
LL
F
444 66
0
48
0
R
O2
LL
F
514 65
0
53
0
R
O2
N/A 1212 140
75
53
0
R
O1
LL
M
513 90
90
0
0
R
O1
LL
F
234 28
0
19
0
R
O1
N/A 823 178
150
19
0
R
D
R
N/A 5 4
0
3
0
R
ALL
N/A 100 45
0
45
0
R
W0
N/A 34 29
17
12
0
HuntScore Tip: Hunters who have GPS units are encouraged to mark the location of their harvest in the field. This is especially important for hunters who harvest a bear or moose. During mandatory inspections, hunters will be asked to give a location of their harvest. Having GPS coordinates makes reporting simple and precise.

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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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