Colorado Hunting Unit 33, located on the western side of Colorado by New Castle and Silt, is generous with tags providing ample opportunities for hunters. The elk tags are sold on an OTC basis. Whereas, the mule deer tags are a draw system, but some tags are drawn at “0” points. Also catering to its hunters, Unit 33 has 3 state offices located within its boundaries. The BLM Field Office is located in the southern part of the unit in Silt. The CPW Office in Glenwood Springs is resting in the southeastern corner of the unit. In the southwestern corner of the unit in Rifle, the Forest Service office can be found. These 3 state offices are each a valuable resource for finding hunting information for Colorado Unit 33, especially if you’re not familiar with the area. Unit 33 is most recently described as maintaining a large elk population and its deer population is making a huge comeback. If you have no access to private land in Unit 33, you are in luck! This unit possesses over 200,000 acres of public land, which is roughly 75% of the total unit acreage. For more Colorado Unit 33 hunting information, check out the Info for Cities Near Unit 33 section on the right.
When planning a mule deer hunting trip in Colorado unit 33, make sure you pack your binoculars since glassing is a huge advantage to hunting this unit. There are higher elevation areas that overlook the valleys and open areas where deer can be found. Dawn and dusk are those prime opportunities for glassing the herds. The average quality deer in Colorado unit 33 ranges from 140” to 160” with the trophy potential measuring 170” and up.
|Average Quality||140″ – 160″|
|Buck to Doe Ratio||34:100|
When it comes to elk hunting, Unit 33 has very specific rules on legal bulls. In addition to several other units in Colorado, Unit 33 has antler restrictions. In all seasons, the bull elk must have four points or more on one antler OR or a brow tine of at least 5 inches long. The elk population in Unit 33 is more densely populated than the deer population. If you plan on hunting a private ranch, be sure to read up on what their rules and regulations are since all ranches’ rules are not the same. The evergreen landscape of the higher elevations provides cover for the elk during the summer months. However, when the snow begins to fall and the elk begin migrating into the lower altitudes, the elk can be spotted descending from the mountains. The average quality elk in Unit 33 averages between 260” and 300” with the trophy potential measurement being 300” and up.
|Average Quality||260″ – 300″|
|Bull to Cow Ratio||26:100|
As with the elk tags, Unit 33 sells OTC antelope tags. The antelope are located sparsely throughout the unit, populating nearly 15% of grassland in Unit 33. The antelope season lasts an entire month so there is plenty of opportunity for hunters, especially since the Unit 33 antelope tag is valid in several other units.
Total Acreage: 265,000 acres over 415 square miles
Total Public Land: 200,000 acres or 75%
Land Ownership Mix: 25% Private; 75% Public; USFS: 120,192 acres; BLM: 76,352 acres; State Land: 1,280 acres; Other Govt Owned: 3,136 acres
Species: Black Bear, Elk, Mule Deer, Moose, Pronghorn
Elevation Variances: 5,323 ft. to 11,000 ft.
Terrain Difficulty Overall: Mild to Moderate
Land Coverage/Vegetation: 31% evergreen forest, 27% deciduous forest, 15% shrub/scrub, 14% grassland/herbaceous and 6% pasture/hay
Unit 33 Boundaries: (Garfield, Rio Blanco County Colorado) bounded on North by White River-Colorado River Divide; on East by Canyon Creek; on South by Colorado River; on West by Colorado 13/789
The terrain in Colorado Hunting Unit 33 varies depending on which area you are hunting. The southern portion of the unit is densely populated with a reported 5,000 residents in New Castle (the southeastern tip of the unit) and Rifle, on the SW portion of the unit, has approximately 10,000 residents. That being said, the southern portion of the unit is of little importance to scouting a place to hunt. The midsection and northern parts of the unit have higher elevations and maintain their natural beauty. The terrain in the mid-elevation portions of the unit is described as brushy with oak brush and sagebrush. The elevations vary because this unit is mountainous. For less strenuous terrain, Clark Ridge is a good place to start. The inclines are less steep than other sites and The Clark Ridge Trail provides easy access to the area. Overall, the terrain in Unit 33 is not the most challenging out of all the units in Colorado. But, you know what your physical capabilities are, and make sure you take that into consideration when planning your Colorado hunting trip.
Vegetation in Colorado Unit 33 ranges from high mountain evergreen forests in the north to sagebrush ground cover in the south. The mountain ranges do get snowfall every year so these areas are best to concentrate on in the earlier seasons. After that, the wildlife will descend from the mountain and begin feeding on the winter vegetation. The mid-elevations and lower levels of Unit 33 contain a mix of sage, pinyon pine, and juniper. Short shrubbery is placed throughout, providing cover for the wildlife and hunter alike.
IH-70 and the Colorado River run along the southern border of Unit 33, providing an entryway for motor vehicles and water vehicles. SH 13 runs vertically along the western boundary of Unit 33, with other small roads stemming off from it. Buford Road and Grass Valley Road both run NW & SE through the unit and provide the main source for byways to connect hunters to hunting areas. ATVs are permitted but do stay informed on what areas prohibit motor vehicles. The roads may become washed out and muddy during or after wet weather. Come prepared with 4WD and chains, to prevent a compromising situation.