Courtesy of David Dietrich

Game management units

2011 Updates for NW Colorado

DEER:

There are new hunting opportunities around Craig. Hunters should get permission from landowners before hunting, since these units are near populated areas. (Visit the deer section on page 13 of the 2011 Colorado Big Game brochure at www.wildlife.stat... look for hunt codes D-F-481-L1-R, D-M-004-P5-A and D-F-004-P5-A).

ELK:

Private land-only hunts in Unit 14 of the Upper Yampa GMU have been eliminated. In Units 25 and 26 in the White River GMU, antlerless licenses will be available for second, third and fourth seasons on a first-come, first-served basis starting July 12.

MOOSE:

Additional moose hunts have been added along the Continental Divide, in Units 14, 20, 29, 38, 39, 46, and 49. Additionally, a new regulation now allows hunters to keep moose preference points on record for 10 years. As with other big game, if you get a first-choice moose license, all of your accumulated preference points will be purged for that species. Points also will be purged if you fail to apply for a moose license or preference point in a 10-year period.

BEAR: There are new, limited private land-only hunts in units 31 and 32 of the Bookcliffs/Piceance GMU.

New for 2011 Season

NEW OVER-THE-COUNTER ELK AND PRONGHORN MAPS

Now it’s easy to find where you want to hunt when you’re buying an unlimited license. Check out where you can hunt on the elk archery, second rifle, third rifle and plains season maps on pages 24 to 26 of the 2011 Colorado Big Game brochure (www.wildlife.stat...). There’s also a new map of units open for archery pronghorn hunting on page 39 of the brochure.

NEW $10 HABITAT STAMP REQUIRED

A new regulation regarding habitat stamps requires hunters ages 18 to 64 to purchase a stamp prior to buying or applying for a hunting or fishing license. The stamps cost $10, with one required per person per year, valid April 1 to March 31. A lifetime stamp is $300.25. The stamps are not refundable, even if you don’t draw a license. Hunters applying for a limited license must purchase a stamp to apply in the drawing process.

NEW SURVEY

Don’t be surprised if you receive a phone call or email asking you to take part in a harvest survey, with such questions as where you hunted, if you harvested an animal, were you satisfied with your hunting experience, and if you saw overcrowding from other hunters.

Only randomly selected hunters can participate. Participation is not required, but responding — even if you didn’t hunt or harvest — is an important part of setting seasons and license numbers for next year. If contacted, you also can do the survey online at www. coloradohuntrepor... or call 877-237-1666. The survey runs 24 hours daily, October through mid-February.

Green River

GMU: 1, 2, 10, 201

CWD has been detected in GMU 10

Local Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife office

Meeker 970-878-6090

Dinosaur National Monument is closed to all hunting

In this area, 9,700-foot Diamond Mountain is the highest point, dropping to 5,100 feet in elevation at the White River. Sage and sage-grassland dominate, with the typical vegetation groups as the elevation increases. Weather is generally mild through the later seasons, though the higher elevations can have significant snow accumulation. Public land accounts for more than 85 percent of GMU 201. GMU 2 is a checkerboard of public and private land, and GMU 10 is mostly BLM land with a lot of scattered private land. Consult a map and be aware of where you are. GMU 1 has poor access into the rough, rocky terrain and into the wilderness area. You must draw a license to hunt the Green River units, and it takes many years of preference points. Hence, the hunting pressure is light.

DEER — Deer are scattered throughout GMUs 2, 10 and 201. If there is winter range migration, it is usually during third season. Deer in GMU 1 tend to stay at the south and north ends of Brown’s Park Refuge. The average good buck in GMUs 2 and 201 measures 24 inches to 26 inches. There are trophy bucks in GMU 10; however, they tend to have tall versus wide antlers. Hunt the bush-covered areas, high elevations early in the season, lower elevations later.

ELK — 300+ size bulls are common. The elk tend to stay put over the seasons. Movement is weather dependent. Overall, elk are scattered in GMUs 2, 10, 201 and the northern portion of GMU 1.

We recommend Blue Mountain and Moosehead Mountain in GMU 10, but be prepared for rough terrain. When hunting GMUs 2 or 201 — hold out for a good bull — the average size is around 305. In GMU 2, try the southwest corner. In GMU 1, try Hoy Draw and Chokecherry Draw.

Lower Yampa

GMU: 3, 11, 211, 301

CWD has been detected in these units

Local Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife office

Meeker 970-878-6090

The Lower Yampa units are south of Wyoming, bordered by the White River and the Little Snake River. The lower elevations of 6,000 feet consist of sage and sage steepe. Pinyon and juniper cover the upper elevations up to 8,500 feet. Expect zero to light snow cover in first and second seasons. The later seasons may bring moderate snow and a potential for near zero temperatures. If the weather is mild, deer and elk will not be present in high numbers until the later seasons. Overall access is easy, and 4WD is not necessary in most areas. Hunting pressure is heavy. Outside of GMU 301, 70 percent of the Lower Yampa is public land.

DEER — The buck-doe ratio is increasing. The mid-range elevations with mountain shrub and pinyon-juniper breaks generally hold the most deer, especially during the regular rifle seasons. In GMUs 11 and 211, deer generally are found in the Danforth Hills during second rifle season, moving to lower elevations in Axial Basin (GMU 211), Bitterbrush SWA and adjacent BLM land (GMU 11), and Crooked Wash (GMU 11) by third and fourth rifle seasons. Several thousand acres are open for public hunting in Axial Basin through a coordinated resource management plan (call Meeker Division of Parks and Wildlife office for more information).

ELK — The large elk herd occupies all available habitat. The later seasons are usually better, especially on public land, because of snow and hunting pressure pushing the elk out of the adjacent units. The success rate is very good on late cow elk hunts. Axial Basin CRM is a hot spot for hunting, but crowding is significant. The best bull hunting will be on private land.

Upper Yampa

GMU: 4, 5, 13, 14, 15, 131, 214, 441

CWD has been detected in these units

Local Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife office

Meeker (GMUs 4 and 5) 970-878-6090

Steamboat Springs (others) 970-870-2197

From a low of 6,300 feet, the elevation soars to 12,000 feet along the Continental Divide. The Routt National Forest dominates the eastern 2/3 of the Upper Yampa units with coniferous forests and aspen. Most of the land outside of the national forest is private land. Mountain shrub and rolling sage cover the low country. Expect light to moderate snow in the first season, gradually increasing through the fourth season. 4WD is usually necessary on the secondary roads. Hunting pressure is heavy. Hunters will have better success and enjoy more solitude by walking into remote areas. Hunting pressure may create refuge situations on the private lands in GMUs 13, 131, 214 and 441. Mount Zirkel (GMU 14) and Sarvis Creek (GMU 15) wilderness areas access is restricted to non-vehicle methods. Public hunting in GMUs 13 and 131 is limited to a few small parcels of BLM land and some State Trust Land parcels.

DEER — The deer herd is doing well in the Upper Yampa units. Most of the deer will be found in the western section of these units. Movement also is to the west. Hot spots are located north of Hayden. Some good trophy bucks are seen in the southern portion. In GMUs 4 and 5, the buck hunting has shown steady improvement. This area is not managed for trophy bucks, but it does have a good number of adult males in the population. Hunt the aspen and brush areas. Doe licenses in these units are “list B” licenses.

ELK — Elk are plentiful throughout the Upper Yampa area. Licenses are also readily available, but hunters should not rely on leftover license availability as these herds approach population objective. The DOW has been working to minimize crop damage and significantly reduce the number of elk in these units. There are good numbers of bull elk; however, do not expect to see many large adult males. Large elk numbers occur in the Routt National Forest. The basic movement is from the higher to lower elevation in response to hunting pressure and weather. Hunt the timber and hunt the Routt National Forest early. In GMUs 4 and 5, private land access is only available on a fee hunting basis.

North Park

GMU: 6, 16, 17, 161, 171

CWD has been detected in these units

Moose in area, so be sure of your target

Local Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife office

Steamboat Springs 970-870-2197

North Park borders Wyoming and lies between the Continental Divide and the Medicine Bow Mountains. The valley floor at 7,880 feet supports agricultural lands and sagebrush. Extensive willow stands line the streams — a favorite moose habitat, so be sure of your target. The forest surrounding the basin varies from aspen/lodgepole to spruce/fir. The area is generally windy and colder than many places in western Colorado. Prepare for snow during your hunt. 4WD is helpful, as are chains. More than 2/3 of North Park is public land. Mount Zirkel (west) and Never Summer (southeast) are the wilderness areas. Access to all State Trust Lands and the wilderness areas is nonmotorized. Big game can move onto private lands with no public access.

DEER — If you are a patient hunter, you could have success hunting trophy bucks. North Park has an early 9-day, deer-only season that begins the last week of September. This season provides additional hunter opportunities as many of the deer in North Park migrate early. Few deer are found in North Park during January classification flights. Small sample sizes lead to higher observed buck-to-doe ratios than can be expected during the hunting seasons. Use three-year average success rates for choosing a hunt.

ELK — Elk are distributed evenly throughout these units. During the day, the bulls will be in dark timber — grass in the early morning and evening. The herd tends to stay in the coniferous timbered areas until late in the season, moving to lower elevations with snow and hunting pressure. Computer models likely overestimate the total North Park elk population because of biased January observed bull-to-cow ratios resulting from multiple bias factors, including state line issues, refuge areas and low public land hunter success rates.

Bookcliffs/Piceance

GMU: 21, 22, 30, 31, 32

CWD has been detected in these areas

Local Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife office

Meeker (GMU 21, 22) 970-878-6090

Grand Junction (GMU 30, 31, 32) 970-255-6100

Intense energy development is occurring in these units. Pinyon-juniper woodlands with pockets of sagebrush cover most of this area. The terrain varies from rolling sagebrush to steep-sided canyon country. Seventy-five percent of this area is BLM land. There are remote hunting areas accessible by foot, horseback or ATV. Get maps and study BLM access points. Some areas are steep and rugged, especially in the southern portion. Weather is generally mild. Rains bring muddy roads. At high elevations, snow makes roads impassible without chains.

DEER — The hunting ranges from fair to good in the Bookcliffs and Piceance units. Deer are well-distributed in the northern portion from mid-October. Concentrate on higher elevations in early seasons. If the weather is dry, you’ll need to do a lot of walking and looking. Good snows will move the herds to the south. Hunt high early, low later. Cathedral Rim has some big bucks, but tough terrain. Little Hills and Dry Fork of Piceance is better late. GMUs 21 and 30 are managed as quality deer units, and licenses are separate from licenses that are valid in GMUs 22, 31 and 32.

ELK — Good cow hunting opportunities. The best hunting is in remote areas, mostly at high elevations, where the elk tend to hold up in pockets of green timber and aspen. Check out the Texas Mountain area and Ratt Hole Ridge. Hunting pressure will push some bulls into the large expanses of pinyon-juniper. If snow and hunting pressure are sufficient, some elk will move into the Little Hills and Dry Fork area of Piceance later in the seasons. Most of the GMU 32 elk move into GMU 22 to winter.

White River

GMU: 12, 23, 24, 25, 26, 33, 34

CWD has been detected in these units

Local Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife office

Glenwood Springs (GMU 25, 26, 34) 970-947-2920

Meeker (GMU 12, 23, 24) 970-878-6090

Steamboat Springs (GMU 26) 970-870-2197

Grand Junction (GMU 33) 970-255-6100

White River offers variety and extremes. Several peaks in the Flat Top Wilderness Area 12,200 feet in elevation. Elevation drops to 5,300 feet near Rifle. The lower elevation vegetation starts out with sage, progressing to oakbrush/mountain brush, aspen, evergreens and alpine tundra. Expect mild weather with light snow in the first season, with roads becoming impassable in the upper half of the area by the third season. The high country in GMU 24 is prone to heavy snowstorms in late seasons. Heavy snowstorms can strand hunters on Flattops after first 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 Road) or USFS Road 613 (Crescent Lake Road).

DEER — The deer are scattered and will move in response to hunting pressure and weather. On National Forest lands in GMUs 12, 23 and 24, deer hunting is generally better in early seasons. Good public land deer hunting typically can be found in GMU 12 on the Jensen and Indian Run State Wildlife Areas. Jensen SWA is north of Meeker, and Indian Run SWA is east of Hamilton. GMU 23 deer hunters can try Hay Flats and Miller Creek southwest of Meeker and the Jensen and Oak Creek State Wildlife Areas north and east of Meeker. Deer densities are lower across GMU 24, but hunters can find deer on the south-facing slopes above the White River.

ELK — Moose have been introduced to this area. Elk hunters should be sure of their target to avoid accidental kill of moose. Generally all of GMUs 12, 23 and 24 are considered very good elk hunting. The elk are generally up at higher elevations in the eastern portions of GMUs 12 and 24 during the early seasons, and then move west to lower elevations (and private lands) as hunting pressure and snow depth increase. Try the abundant public lands in eastern GMU 12 and 24 early on. The chance for a trophy bull is low because of unlimited bull elk licenses. Because of access roads, hunting pressure is high on Sleepy Cat, Lost Park and Sand Peak. The Flat Tops 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. Jensen State Wildlife Area is good during most seasons. Oak Ridge State Wildlife Area is good during third and fourth rifle seasons. Both properties are limited to foot or horseback travel.

Eagle River Valley

GMU: 35, 36, 44, 45

CWD has been detected in GMU 36

Local Division of Parks and Wildlife office

Glenwood Springs 970-947-2920

The Eagle River Valley units are bordered by the Colorado River, the Gore Range, the Red Table Mountains and the Continental Divide. Elevation climbs from 6,000 feet with sagebrush and pinyon to more than 14,000 feet with alpine vegetation starting at 10,500 feet. Weather can vary tremendously with high-country snow exceeding several feet. Motorized travel restricted to designated routes. GMUs 35 and 44 have the most public access, however, the northern portion of GMU 44 between Edwards and Eagle is primarily private property with no hunting allowed. Check your map and contact the BLM/USFS office regarding off-road travel.

DEER — Deer hunting in these units continues to improve. The herd will be scattered from 6,500 feet to timberline and will move down to the lower elevation pinyon-juniper areas as heavy snow arrives. More than 18 inches of snow will move the deer. Try hunting the aspen, open parks and shrublands. GMUs 35 and 36 have the most deer. After the first heavy snow, most GMU 45 deer will move into GMU 36. GMU 44 is managed for trophy deer with limited number of licenses, but it is a good place to take a big buck.

ELK — Elk are scattered from about 7,000 feet to above timberline. As hunting pressure increases, they seek the deeper canyons and dark timber areas away 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. Large blocks of private land in GMUs 35 and 36 provide refuge areas and can make hunting difficult.

Middle Park

GMU: 18, 27, 28, 37, 181, 371

CWD has been detected in these units

Local Division of Parks and Wildlife office

Hot Sulphur Springs 970-725-6200

The Continental Divide and the Gore Range Divide encircle Middle Park. Most of this terrain is steep to very steep. The weather can change rapidly with higher elevations receiving more precipitation. Areas can become snowbound. 4WD is recommended, along with chains. Sagebrush/shrubs are common on southern exposures at lower elevations. The valley bottoms are mostly private lands. The remaining 2/3 of this area is public land. GMU 27 has less public land than the other GMUs. Check USFS maps for ATV closures/restrictions. Hunters around Wolford Mountain (GMU 181 and 27) should be aware that a travel management plan is in place — check with the BLM Kremmling office for information. Horses/pack animals are recommended for remote tracts and for wilderness areas. The better hunting will be at least 1/2 mile away from roads. There are pockets where hunters overconcentrate. Due to the proximity to Denver, there are many weekend hunters and recreationalists (bikers, hikers, ATVers). Pine beetles have affected more than 90 percent of the lodgepole pine stands in Grand and Summit counties. As a result, fire danger is increased, big game distribution is changing in some areas and logging operations are likely in some spots. Hunters might focus on some of the dead lodgepole areas as increased sunlight to the forest floor creates more forage, and these areas tend to hold deer and elk for longer periods of time.

DEER — All GMUs have good numbers of deer. The buck-to-doe ratios continue to increase as a result of limited buck hunting and mild winters. All units are managed for quality bucks. There are good numbers of mature bucks, but they rarely reach trophy status found in lower elevation mountain shrub and mild winter areas. Concentrate on transition zones that have aspen, shrub and coniferous cover in close proximity. Deer tend to move west and down in elevation over the seasons; snow will move them faster and farther. They typically migrate out of GMU 371 with average snowfall. A limited number of fourth season deer licenses are available.

ELK — Elk are well distributed in all units. Bull-to-cow ratios are good because the area is fairly steep and heavily timbered. Generally, trophy bulls are rare (a few are taken every year) because bulls are managed for hunter opportunity. With hunting pressure and snow, elk head for the inaccessible timber and private property. GMU 27 has a lot of private land. Hunt the rough terrain and heavy cover away from roads and trails to increase your success.

Glade Park

GMU: 40

No hunting allowed in Colorado National Monument

Local Division of Parks and Wildlife office

Grand Junction 970-255-6100

This 750-square-mile unit consists of a relatively flat summit leading to sloping mesas bisected by deep, rugged canyons. The highest elevation range is about 9,800 feet. Roads provide access to the mesas, but many of the canyons are remote and accessible only by foot or horseback. Weather starts out mild but mud/snow accumulation is likely in later seasons. Early season hunters should favor higher elevations of the USFS land, while later season hunters will do better on the lower BLM lands. Hunters can find many water holes within the dark timber stands on north-facing slopes. Elk and deer frequent these areas during warm temperatures and heavy hunting pressure. GMU 40 has a lot of private land, and public access to BLM is often difficult to reach by vehicle.

DEER — There are some good bucks in GMU 40, but they are difficult to locate. The upper end of the Little Dolores drainage is a great place to find quality mule deer bucks; however, there is considerable private land. Late-season hunters may have success north of Seiber Canyon to the Colorado River, but it is foot or horseback only in that area. Areas along the Utah border and north of Gateway can be good during the rifle seasons; however, hunters need to be aware of public land boundaries and the state line.

ELK — Bulls will be bugling from mid-September through first rifle opening weekend. Elk are widely distributed. Most stay high until hunting pressure pushes them to lower elevations and less accessible drainages. Do not hunt areas that have previously received heavy hunting pressure — the elk will not be there. Successful hunters do a lot of walking and looking. You cannot hunt elk in GMU 40 with an unlimited bull elk license. GMU 40 is a limited unit. You must apply in the draw.

Grand Mesa

GMU: 41, 42, 421

CWD has been detected in GMUs 42 and 421

Local Division of Parks and Wildlife office

Grand Junction 970-255-6100

Grand Mesa terrain ranges from high elevation (11,000 feet) spruce/fir forests to low elevation (4,800 feet) pinyon-juniper woodlands. Weather can be rainy or snowy, then warm up and dry out the following day. Roads can become very muddy and 4WD is recommended. There is not a lot of road access in GMU 42. Hunters should be prepared to spend time on foot or horseback. Much of the area is public land. Overall, the hunting pressure is heavy. Intensive natural gas development activity is occurring in GMUs 42 and 421. This work includes a major drilling project and a pipeline project. Contact the USFS Grand Valley Ranger District, 970-242-8211, for more details on energy development in this area.

DEER — Deer hunting is good with the numbers increasing. Deer are found on forest lands and higher elevation private lands during October. The resident deer stay in lower agricultural areas year-round. The migrating deer herd begins to move off the forest in mid-November to lower elevations, often to BLM lands. The best deer hunting is at mid elevations (8,500 feet to 9,500 feet), with more buck opportunities in the later seasons. The number of trophy bucks continues to increase. The Battlements can be good in late seasons, but the terrain is rugged. The open country offers good opportunities for those who get out on foot or horseback.

ELK — The elk herd is well distributed with good hunting success expected. Elk are scattered throughout the forest and on private lands. Most elk stay at higher elevations (8,500 feet to 10,000 feet) in thick timber and oakbrush. There is no migration during the season, movement to the more remote areas is in response to hunting pressure. They will seek classic cover — the heavily wooded, north-facing slopes near water. You will need to get away from the roads. There are lots of legal bulls as the area is managed for quantity of bulls rather than trophy status. Hence, trophy bulls are present but relatively rare.

Roaring Fork

GMU: 43, 47, 444, 471

Local Division of Parks and Wildlife office

Glenwood Springs 970-947-2920

This area encompasses the Roaring Fork, Frying Pan and Crystal River drainages. The lower elevations (6,500 feet) are primarily developed or agricultural. Timberline is around 11,500 feet, and there are 14,000-foot peaks in the wilderness areas. Be prepared for daytime highs of 75 degrees dropping to 20 degrees at night. Snow can exceed several feet in the higher elevations, and moisture can make roads dangerous or impassible. 4WD is a necessity. About 40 percent of the area is wilderness (Hunter-Fryingpan, Maroon Bells, Raggeds, Collegiate Peaks), and vehicles are not allowed. These rugged areas offer increased hunting success, but require horseback/pack-in camps. Hunting pressure is moderate. There are large blocks of private lands in GMU 43 east of Colorado Highway 133 and in the western portion of GMU 444.

DEER — Deer populations were on the upswing for several years but did decline during the winter of 2007-08. Fawn-to-doe ratios are low while buck-to-doe ratios are decent. This herd is concentrated in aspen and oakbrush habitats before the snow flies. Hunting pressure does not generally cause herd movement, but deer will move to lower elevation woodlands as snow accumulates. Archery and muzzleloader hunters should head to timberline — Capitol Creek, Haystack Mountain, East Snowmass Creek and Thompson Creek. Later-season hunters could try “The Crown,” Holgate Mesa, Williams Hill and Light Hill, but expect to see other hunters in these areas. Some good bucks can be found if hunters focus in areas away from roads.

ELK — Early seasons find elk anywhere from 7,500 feet to above timberline. With increased hunting pressure and snow, herds tend to move to remote areas or private land — away from roads and hunters. The wilderness areas are a good bet for success, but hunters must hike or horseback in as motorized travel is prohibited. Try Snowmass Creek, Conundrum Creek, Capitol Creek, Avalanche Creek, Difficult Creek, McFarland Creek, Maroon Creek, Thompson Creek, Basalt Mountain, Four-mile, the Marble area and the upper Frying Pan drainages. Kobey Park and Sloans Peak are good, but deep snow and bad roads should be expected, especially later in the seasons. Some great opportunities for private land cow hunting exist in GMU 43, if you can get permission.

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