Colorado Unit 5 Hunting Information

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Overview of CO GMU 5 Hunting Facts

Located along the western side of the Continental Divide, just north of Steamboat Springs, lies Colorado hunting Unit 5. Spread over 191,204 acres, this unit has a large elk concentration, primarily, along with mule deer and antelope. Calculated at 61% public land, there are not as many access points as other units due to the high percentage of private land ownership in the unit. Of the 58 miles of trails, there are only 5 trailheads present. However, some pre-planning and map studying will prove beneficial for you ahead of your hunt. For more Colorado Unit 5 hunting information, check out the Info for Cities Near Unit 5 section on the right.

Table of Contents

CO Unit 5 Species Hunting Info

INFO: Mule Deer Hunting in Colorado Unit 5
Colorado hunting unit 5 located in the dense Routt National Forest grips success for close-range hunting. The mule deer in this unit are oftentimes covered and shaded in the thick forest. This can make spotting them from afar very cumbersome. Still-hunting near a bedding area, food, or water source can put you in the best position for a perfect shot at a mule deer. Plan your trip around the migratory patterns of the mule deer. The weather has the biggest confluence on what your plan of action will be. Stick to the higher grounds during the early season and descend to the lower elevations as it gets cold. Oftentimes, this will dictate whether you would be better off hunting public land or paying to access and hunt private land. The average mule deer quality in Colorado unit 5 fluctuates between 140” and 160” with the trophy potential measuring at 160”.

Muzzleloader deer hunters and additionally archery tag holders can also hunt in all the following areas: 3/4/5/14/214/301/441 (check current CP&W regulations to ensure this is still accurate) with your current year license. Outdoorsmen can hunt from east of Steamboat, CO in unit 14 to west for about a 60 mile stretch past Maybell. These units present a super-wide number of terrain types and topography from moderate grasslands to high country more rugged mountains.

SUCCESS RATES for Mule Deer Hunting in Colorado Unit 5
5 Year Estimated Average for Mule Deer
Archery 30%
Muzzle Loader 45%
2nd Rifle 55%
3rd Rifle 80%
4th Rifle 90%
Mule Deer TROPHY QUALITY for Unit 5 Colorado
Average Quality 140″ – 160″
Trophy Potential 160″+
Buck to Doe Ratio 34:100
Colorado Unit 5 Mule Deer Hunting FORUM Coming Soon

INFO: Elk Hunting in Colorado Unit 5
Unit 5 is home to a very large elk herd that roams the area. Unit 5 offers the best juxtaposition of habitat for these elk so they do not wander too far from home. It offers them food, water, cover, and space which are the 4 elements for elk survival. That being said, plan to hunt an area that offers the 4 mentioned elements in close proximity to each other. This should be a good place to start when planning your elk hunting trip in Colorado unit 5. Unit 5 is an elk trophy unit with the trophy potential at 300” and up and the average quality elk measuring between 250” and 280”.

SUCCESS RATES for Elk Hunting in Colorado Unit 5
5 Year Estimated Average for Elk
Archery 28%
Muzzle Loader 25%
1st Rifle 40%
2nd Rifle 20%
3rd Rifle 23%
4rd Rifle 45%
Elk TROPHY QUALITY for Unit 5 Colorado
Average Quality 250″ – 280″
Trophy Potential 300″+
Bull to Cow Ratio 19:100
Colorado Unit 5 Elk Hunting FORUM Coming Soon!

INFO: Antelope Hunting in Colorado Unit 5
Scouting some open space away from the dense forest, such as on the eastern side of the unit, will be a good starting point when planning an antelope hunting trip in Colorado unit 5. While antelope hunting may not be one of this unit’s strong suits, there has been a success during the muzzleloader season, primarily. Along with this success, private ranches have provided a good hunting ground for determined hunters.

SUCCESS RATES for Antelope Hunting in Colorado Unit 5
5 Year Estimated Average for Antelope
Archery 65%
Muzzle Loader 89%
Rifle 85%
Antelope TROPHY QUALITY for Unit 5 Colorado
Average Quality 70″ – 75″
Trophy Potential 75″+
Buck to Doe Ratio 39:100
Colorado Unit 5 Antelope Hunting FORUM Coming Soon!

Available Hunts for Colorado Unit 5

Unit 5 Hunting Information Video


Info for Cities Near CO Unit 5


Colorado Unit 5 Topo Map

Total Acreage: 190,000 acres over approximately 300 square miles

Total Public Land: 117,000 acres or 61%

Land Ownership Mix: 39% Private; 61% Public; BLM: 23,000 acres; USFS: 89,344 acres; State Land: 2,500 acres

Species: Black Bear: Elk, Moose, Mule Deer, Pronghorn

Elevation Variances: 6,500 to 11,000 ft.

Terrain Difficulty Overall: Moderate

Land Coverage/Vegetation: 33% shrub/scrub, 31% deciduous forest, 25% evergreen forest and 4% mixed forest

Unit 5 Boundaries: (Moffat, Routt County Colorado) bounded on North by Wyoming; on East by Continental Divide; on South by Little Snake-Elk River Divide; and United States Forest Service Road 42 on West by United States Forest Service Road 150, Routt County Road 82 and Moffat County Road 1.


Lay of the Land in CO Unit 5


Terrain in GMU 5 CO

Predominantly a mountainous area, Unit 5 can be physically demanding to a degree. There are, however, several meadows and lower-lying areas that offer a reprieve from the difficult climbs. The high altitudes can take a larger toll on hunters that are not used to exerting themselves in a greater elevation. Keep in mind that altitude sickness can be avoided by climbing slowly, staying hydrated, and staying adequately nourished with carbohydrates. Ensure that your hunting pack is full of these necessities and do not overexert yourself.

Vegetation in GMU Unit 5 CO

The majority of the landscape in Unit 5 is forested at higher altitudes, providing a picturesque backdrop of evergreen firs, spruces, and pines. The lower elevated forest is populated with oak brush, pinyon pines, and junipers which are all favored by elk to provide cover. The open areas are inhabited by grassy ground cover and sage that are grazed on by mule deer. The rivers and streams provide this unit with proper hydration to sustain life for a variety of plants and trees.

Access Points in CO GMU 5

Unit 5’s network of county and forest roads allow good access to its hunting areas. The labyrinth of 58 miles of trails with 5 trailhead access points provides entry into the inner forest. Rain and snow can soften the dirt roads, so a 4WD vehicle is advisable.