Top Colorado Elk Hunting Units – 2019 Edition

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print

Top Colorado Elk Hunting Units - Overview

With an estimated 280,000 elk, Colorado is home to the largest population in the United States.  That equates to a ton of hunting opportunities. Yes, there are several great OTC Colorado elk hunting units (GMUs 4, 13, 22, 85 and 421 come to mind) but for non-resident hunters looking to harvest a trophy bull an over-the-counter tag may not suit their needs. If you’re a Hunts Plus member, you already know that we’re all about limited entry hunts, and have more than 4.5 million points of data within our system at your fingertips. In this article we’re going to cover some of the limited entry units I consider to be the very best Colorado has to offer.

“Best” is a subjective term. Lets start off by clarifying what -to me- makes a unit truly unique. I see a unit as exceptional when it provides hunters abundant access to public land, has been managed for at least 10 years for trophy potential and and a high hunter success rate. The population of the unit needs to have stayed the same or grown over the past 5 years, and a few B&C or P&Y entries sprinkled in there helps. In the charts below the information provided is for the early rifle season unless otherwise stated. When talking to members about these units, the vast majority express interest in that season, so I’m using early rifle data to cater to the broadest audience. If you’re a member, you can find odds for all seasons and all GMUs by clicking here.

If you’re not yet a member of Hunts Plus, please consider joining. While this article will have quite a bit of information regarding the units discussed, it doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what’s available to members. Plus, you’ll have access to our Professional Hunt Advisors who will help you develop a custom application strategy tailored to your specific goals. It also helps us continue to provide exceptional content for hunters of all skill levels. 

Colorado Elk GMU 1

Colorado GMU 1 - Cow to Bull Ratio 33:100
Colorado GMU 1 Trophy Potential
Colorado GMU 1 Draw Odds
Colorado GMU 1 Hunter Success
Colorado GMU 1 land
Colorado GMU 1 Land Ownership

With trophy potential of over 350″ you better believe this long-shot of a unit made the top of the list. Colorado’s GMU 1 is an excellent choice if you’re sitting on a quarter century of preference points or more. Even then, it’s a hail Mary and the odds are incalculably slim. Abundant access to public land and a herd that has been managed for mature bulls, if you manage to get one of these golden tickets you’re in for the hunt of a lifetime. 

Colorado Elk GMU 2

Colorado GMU 2 - Cow to Bull Ratio 22:100
Colorado GMU 2 Trophy Potential
Colorado GMU 2 Draw Odds
2 success
Colorado GMU 2 Hunter Success
Colorado GMU 2 Land Ownership

Located on the north side of Dinosaur National Monument, GMU 2 is a mix of public and private land. Encompassing a large expanse of BLM land as well as Douglas Mountain and Sand Wash Basin, its southern border extends to the Yampa River. The terrain is rough, especially near Dry Creek Basin. Another aspect of GMU 2 that makes it pretty unique is the year-round elk heard. Not a unit that many will hunt, but an exceptional experience giving those fortunate enough to hold a tag the opportunity to see several mature bulls each day and harvest only the best.

Colorado Elk GMU 10

Colorado GMU 10 - Cow to Bull Ratio 70:100
Colorado GMU 10 Trophy Potential
Colorado GMU 10 Draw Odds
Colorado GMU 10 Hunter Success
Colorado GMU 10 Land Ownership

Less public land than some of the others, GMU 10 is comprised primarily of BLM land with pockets of private land scattered throughout. Blue and Moosehead mountains are both notable locations within the unit known for harboring mature bulls. 

Colorado Elk GMU 201

Colorado GMU 201 - Cow to Bull Ratio 22:100
Colorado GMU 201 Trophy Potential
Colorado GMU 201 Draw Odds
Colorado GMU 201 Hunter Success
Colorado GMU 201 Land Ownership

With 85 percent of its land public, GMU 201 represents the second smallest of the big four quality units. It’s also the hardest one to draw a tag. Squeezed into in the state’s far northwest corner, it’s bordered by Wyoming to the north, Utah to the west, and Browns Park and the Green River to the south. Considered high desert country, quality bulls are plentiful and trophy quality is some of the best in the state.

Colorado Elk GMU 5

Colorado GMU 5 - Cow to Bull Ratio 16:100
Colorado GMU 5 Trophy Potential
Colorado GMU 5 Draw Odds
Colorado GMU 5 Hunter Success
Colorado GMU 5 Land Ownership

Colorado’s GMU 10 can offer the hunt of a lifetime without waiting for a lifetime to draw a tag. Most of the land outside of the national forest is private land, and hunting pressure is heavy. Hunters who hike into the backcountry are more likely to harvest a mature bull. Speaking to members who have hunted this in the past, this unit offers excellent vantage points for glassing, but requires more difficult stalks to close the gap once a bull has been spotted. 

Colorado Elk GMU 211

Colorado GMU 211 - Cow to Bull Ratio 23:100
Colorado GMU 211 Trophy Potential
Colorado GMU 211 Draw Odds
Colorado GMU 211 Hunter Success
Colorado GMU 211 Land Ownership

GMU 211 offers hunters decent opportunity without the wait. Home to a large herd, this unit tends to produce better success in the later seasons due to snow and hunting pressure pushing elk from adjacent units. 


Mike Bales

Mike guides the direction of Hunts Plus ensuring that it never deviates from its roots as a resource for all hunters searching for their next big pursuit. Spending over 100 days each year in the field he can -at times- be difficult to contact but is always willing to share what he knows with those seeking to build their knowledge base.