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Elk hunting Unit 76 Colorado

I am planning my first elk hunting trip and would like to hunt unit 76 if possible. My first inclination was to go for a muzzleloader tag, but I'm not married to that idea. I am trying to understand the point system and would appreciate any info on unit 76 and any thoughts on muzzleloader vs. rifle seasons.

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Elk hunting Unit 76 Colorado

Well Mitch, we don't just get to pick a place like Unit 76 for our first elk hunt. That's the bad news, the good news is there are lots of other places to hunt, but very few of them come close to offering the kind success, isolation and trophy quality of that unit. What makes 76 so great isn't just it's location, its management. The number of hunters allowed in that unit is highly regulated, requiring many preference points. In case you didn't know you get a point for every year of not drawing your first choice hunt. I'd have to check, but offhand I'd say you need at least 8 points for archery and about 10 for any rifle season if you're a resident, count on 50% more usually for nonresidents.
You can hunt right next door to 76 quite easily, many of the units are over the counter, meaning no limit, but no first time elk hunter (unless you've only been accumulating points) gets to hunt that unit. Sorry Talk to the Hand

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Elk hunting Unit 76 Colorado

Thats kinda what I thought, however, if I am understanding you, it could take years to hunt 76. I didn't realize that unit 76 was so popular when I decided to plan this trip. I chose 76 because I am familiar with the area and know the mountains fairly well between the rio grand resevoir and silverton. I quickly figured out that 76 was quite popular. I've visited this area of Colorado for years, and this is the only area that I recall seeing alot of elk. I was even suprised a couple of years ago to see several moose beyond the resevoir in Brewster Park. Anyway, thanks for the info...and if you have any suggestions for units to apply in that area and which units offer over the counter tags that would be great.

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Elk hunting Unit 76 Colorado

Mitch,
There are many places with much higher elk densities than unit 76, most of which don't require any points. In fact, outside of a handful of trophy units and crowd control units, most of Colorado west of I-25 is available with an over the counter tag during the 2nd and 3rd rifle season, or the "statewide"(minus the limited units) archery tag. The "statewide" muzzleloader tag requires 2 preference points, so it would be impossible to hunt with that weapon for the next two years, assuming you are a non resident. If you want to hunt elk during the rut this year, it will have to be with archery equipment, and that tag is unlimited.
There are only about 3.37 elk per square mile in the Weiminuche area (76,79). Some areas of Colorado have 2-3 times as many elk per square mile.

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Elk hunting Unit 76 Colorado

If a person has enough points for 76 do you think that it is a good unit to go for?

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Elk hunting Unit 76 Colorado

76 is a fantastic unit, IF you have the points. Although the elk density isn't extremely high, it has one of the best bull/hunter ratios, among the lowest hunter density in every season, fantastic trophy potential, lots of land, much of which is wilderness, and very good, consistent success. There a few other trophy units that rank nearly as high in many those categories, but I personally haven't hunted it because I don't have the patience to accumulate that many points. The only reason why I collect stats on it is because I want to know how close I can get to those quality hunt indices in over the counter, 1st season or muzzleloader hunts. Basically, hunts requiring no more than 1 point.

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Elk hunting Unit 76 Colorado

My dad and I have 7 points and are thinking of applying for unit 76. We are not necessarily looking for a huge bull but a nice one. I have heard that 76 is not as good as it once was, do you think this is true? Also dad is not getting any younger and can not walk long distances, do you think we can get into bulls without getting deep into the wilderness?

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Elk hunting Unit 76 Colorado

I think elk are smarter than ever, and are pretty well trained to our tactics. So while elk may be harder to kill in 76, I doubt the AVERAGE trophy quality has declined much. I'd have to check my B&C records to see how long it has been since a Booner has come out of Hinsdale County. Outside of that, only an outfitter who has been working there for years can give you a good opinion on whether trophy quality has declined. However, it is not quite as good as unit 40 in terms of trophy quality, but the success rates usually run a little higher in 76.
I highly doubt you'll be able to get into much elk country in 76 by road. Looking at my maps, even the areas that aren't wilderness have almost no roads. I'd recommend renting horses or getting an outfitter if this is going to be your dad's last big elk hunt. If you'd rather do it yourself, consider 61 or 40. Both have much better road access.
40 has bigger bulls than 61, but 61 has higher density and much more public land.
On my trophy potential index, which is based on what percentage of the available bulls were killed during the prior hunting season, I rank the units 40, 76, then 61. The past four years success rates during 1st season in 40 averaged 37.5%, 52.5% in 61 and 60.75% in 76. But like I said, I don't know how you're gonna access the elk country in 76 without being able to walk very far. How far can your dad go now? And how does he normally hunt? If you're going to be stuck road hunting(or within 1/4 mile of the road) in 76, you might want to check on whether the logging roads on Black Mountain will be closed or the old logging trails around Heart Mountain, south of Big Meadow Reservoir..

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Elk hunting Unit 76 Colorado

He can walk a mile or so if the terrain is not to rugged. By looking at the topo's of the area it looks like 76 is fairly steep, is this true? I have looked at 61 and it looks good except for the points recuired to get in (11+). 61 has also pulled more Pope & Young bulls. Thanks for your time and input!

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Location: WESTERN COLORADO
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Elk hunting Unit 76 Colorado

I hunted 76 a few years ago during black powder season it was awsome!
But you do need some one to pack you in with horses to near timberline for
that early hunt.we were about 12 miles up ute creek ,west of rio grande resavour.Saw 12 to 18 bulls every day wont be too hard a hunt to get a average to good elk but the big boys are very smart and stay in the nasty stuff even way back there. If I had a high power rifle they would have ben toast but couldn't connect with the muzzloader.I dont know what the hunting pressure is during rifle season but for our hunt we only saw 2 bow hunters and 4 hikers in 8 days I dont think you need A guide once in there but the money spent on a pack service would be well spent.the local DOW officer lives in lake city out of the gunnison office he is very helpful.

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ELK HUNTING UNIT 76

A group of four of us are applying for unit 76, 1st. season rifle. So far we're thinking about going to the wheeler geologic area. Does anyone have an opinion on this!

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