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Location: Northern MN
Joined: 01/18/2009
Posts: 5
Info. on unit 61 elk hunting in Colorado

Hi,
Wondering if anyone has some info. on GMU 61 in Colorado for elk and maybe mule deer hunting.

Anyone recc. a good outfitter? Preferably a horseback hunt.
How is the terrain?
Realistically, what can one expect as far as bull size?

Thanks,
Brett

exbiologist's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2397
Info. on unit 61 elk hunting in Colorado

Do you have any preference points? Why did you decide you wanted to hunt this unit?
You'll need at least 12 points to hunt there as a nonresident unless you get a private land tag.

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Location: Northern MN
Joined: 01/18/2009
Posts: 5
Info. on unit 61 elk hunting in Colorado

Yes,
We all have 12 preference points (group of 4). Also.........2 of us have 6 points built up for mule deer.
I was trying to figure out the preference point list and it looked like that with 12 points, we have a good shot at drawing this area along with us (2) also drawing a mule deer tag.
It looked like 12 points were needed for the 2nd season in elk and then maybe 6 or 7 for the mule deer.

Any other areas that would be better to try draw for with 12 points?

exbiologist's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2397
Info. on unit 61 elk hunting in Colorado

Are you with Berettaman? If not, that's a pretty odd coincidence having two Minnesotans(PM'd me) with 12 preference points looking for advice on the same site within a day or two of each other.

Anyway, I'll give you both the same advice. You basically only have 3 options if you don't want to waste half of your points. Units 61, 76 and 40. With any of the trophy units you aren't likely to be overrun, especially if you hunt 1st season, so you don't have additional deer hunters to share the woods with.

Here's some other data for FIRST SEASON:
Elk/sq mi. 6.95 in 40, 6.33 in 61, 3.37 in 76
Approx sq mi public land 360 sq mi in 40, 570 sq mi in 61, 900 sq mi in 76
% bulls harvested yearly(whole DAU) 14.03% in 40, 39.92% in 61,62, 22.31 in 76,79
% bulls harvested if all bulls were taken on public land(single unit) 10.0% in 40, 37.4% in 61, 25.6% in 76.
Hunter density (assume all are on public, includes cow hunters) 0.114 hunters /sq mi in 40, 0.461 in 61, 0.218 in 76
Bulls/hunter (public) 21.359 in 40, 2.743 in 61, 5.416 in 76
4 yr success avg in 1st season (Either sex, sorry): 37.5% in 40, 52.5% in 61, 60.75% in 76
Average deviation of success 10 points in 40, 2 in 61, 3.25 in 76
Success interval 27.5-47.5% in 40, 50.5-54.5% in 61, 57.5-64% in 76
If you're hunting deer also, 61 is the only good option, its not even close and is the only unit managed as both a quality deer and elk unit (though the elk trophy quality could be debated if you look at the data). Although 40 is certainly better than average for deer.

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Location: Northern MN
Joined: 01/18/2009
Posts: 5
Info. on unit 61 elk hunting in Colorado

No..........not with Berettaman (that i know of). I guess he could be posting, but no one in our group has said anything. I'm from far northern Minnesota. Not sure where he's from.

So, you're saying Unit 61 first then maybe 40?

Hunt codes. I thought i had them figured out, but ..........what's the diff. between
EE, EF and EM (EM07601R) on the hunt codes?
Example above - does that mean - male only, unit 76, 1st rifle season?

How can someone tell by the code if it's mainly private or public land?

Thanks again,

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2397
Info. on unit 61 elk hunting in Colorado

you've got the code down, more or less. E means elk, the next E means either sex (or M for male, F for female), then the unit, season and weapon(R=rifle, M=muzzleloader, A=archery). You can't tell if its primarily public or private, except that there is a P before the season for private land only hunts instead of an O.
One word of caution on 40, there are many large pieces of private land surrounding only 12 square miles of national forest. Outside of that there is a lot of BLM, but not all of it will hold elk. So some of those numbers are slightly misleading. I assume nearly every elk hunter will be on those 12 square miles on opening day and if you don't get an elk then it will be difficult hunting. But they've got plenty of elk, many of which are good bulls, but it's up to you whether you want to risk all those points on a this type of a hunt. 61 and 76 have much larger blocks of public land, although 61 has some inholdings too.
I posted a map of the land ownership in Unit 40 not long ago when someone was asking a similar question, you might be able to do a search. It is under "Colorado Elk area 76" in mid December. There's also a map , that you may or may not be able to see clearly enough, but it overlays some of the elk concentration areas with the public land. The white is private, and you can see there is a lot, with BLM in the canyons on the fringe of the unit, and the area around Colorado National Monument is marginal elk habitat.
Anyway, I'd have a really hard time recommending that kind of unit to an out of stater who would have a hard time learning the private land boundaries and especially because you have a large group. If it was a one shot deal for one elk it would be different.
If you had time to scout the area and come up with a good plan for what to do after that first shot was fired, unit 40 could produce some good bulls for you. But coming from Minnesota, I have to steer you towards 76 or 61, even though the numbers aren't nearly as good, but they're still among the best in the state.
61 has more elk, easier terrain and great deer, but 76 has bigger bulls, better success and is huge. It's a tough decision and will likely be the only time you get to attempt one of these units. You can't go wrong with either 76 or 61, but 40 is poorly suited to someone coming from so far away. Maybe I shouldn't have brought it up, but you're not the only one who's asked and I think I would personally attempt 40 if there was just my tag to fill. But I don't have the patience to accumulate 12 preference points for elk. And the 2 guys in your party would be wasting their deer points on anything other 61.

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Location: Northern MN
Joined: 01/18/2009
Posts: 5
Info. on unit 61 elk hunting in Colorado

Thanks for all of the info. on this. I appreciate it.
I called one outfitter tonight, and he said that last year, they had 34 tags for non-res. in 61.
17 people with 12 points drew and 13 people did not.
Not really good odds for drawing this year.
Damn......

Was kind of funny, i told him that we were trying to accumulate enough for unit 10 or 201, but it just didn't look like we would ever get there. He kind of laughed and said that people like me are the ones keeping him in business.
The try get there (units 10 & 201) but realize that it will take forever, so they call him!!!

Once again.......thanks,

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