Colorado Unit 72 Hunting Information

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Overview of CO GMU 72 Hunting Facts

Nestled in the southwestern corner of Colorado, bounded on the west by the Utah border and on the south by the New Mexico border, Unit 72 is a hunting destination that can be taken on by any hunter. Being that the physical demands of this unit are not the most extreme, Unit 72 provides an enjoyable hunting experience for those that may not be able to maneuver the rugged areas. However, the unit does have its more challenging areas for those that are seeking out that kind of hunt. Public land hunting is limited to the Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, which is located in the northern half of the unit. The Southern Ute Indian Reservation comprises the majority of the southern portion of the unit and prohibits hunting. For more Colorado Unit 3 hunting information, check out the Info for Cities Near Unit 72 section on the right.

Table of Contents

CO Unit 72 Species Hunting Info

INFO: Mule Deer Hunting in Colorado Unit 72

On the higher end of successful mule deer hunts in Colorado, Unit 72 boasts a certain exclusivity since the percentage of public land available for hunting is less than 30 percent. Mule deer tags are reserved for buck hunting only and are valid for Units 72 and 73. For archery and muzzleloader seasons, an OTC bear tag can be purchased as an add-on, as long as you hold a valid mule deer tag. As is typical for mule deer behavior, the deer can be found up in the higher elevations in the earlier seasons and will begin migrating down the mountain ranges to the lower elevations as winter intensifies. Unit 72 contains expanses of lower-lying areas perfectly suited for deer in late winter. A handful of exceptional deer come from near the edges of private cropland while hunting the public ground. Hunters in 72 and 73 occasionally kill a 180” to 200” buck.
SUCCESS RATES for Mule Deer Hunting in Colorado Unit 72
5 Year Estimated Average for Deer
Archery 40%
Muzzle Loader 50%
2nd Rifle 70%
3rd Rifle 60%
4th Rifle 60%
Mule Deer TROPHY QUALITY for Unit 72 Colorado
Average Quality 140″ – 160″
Trophy Potential 170″
Buck to Doe Ratio 24:100
Colorado Unit 72 Mule Deer Hunting FORUM Coming Soon!

INFO: Elk Hunting in Colorado Unit 72

The fact that public land composes only about one-third of the total unit size can make locating the elk a little more difficult. However, hunters that are up to that challenge and are well-versed in their knowledge of elk behavior and elk calls can find success. Keeping up-to-date on property lines is a MUST in this unit. Hunting on the outskirts of the private land can be advantageous since elk in this unit tend to bed in the private land.
SUCCESS RATES for Elk Hunting in Colorado Unit 72
5 Year Estimated Average for Elk
Archery 10%
Muzzle Loader 15%
1st Rifle 20%
2nd Rifle 12%
3rd Rifle 10%
4th Rifle 20%
Elk TROPHY QUALITY for Unit 72 Colorado
Average Quality 260″ – 300″
Trophy Potential 300″+
Bull to Cow Ratio 16:100
Colorado Unit 72 Elk Hunting FORUM Coming Soon!

INFO: Antelope Hunting in Colorado Unit 72

Antelope tags are available OTC for the archery season. This is a good tag to have with you if you’re interested in combination hunting. The unit’s terrain is predominantly flat, which is favorable for antelope.

Unit 72 Hunting Information Video


Info for Cities Near CO GMU 72


Colorado Unit 72 Topo Map

Total Acreage: 625,000 acres over 976 square miles

Total Public Land: 182,000 or 29%

Land Ownership Mix: 71% Private; 29% Public; USFS: 281,408 acres; USFS Wilderness: 21,056 acres; State: 960 acres

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

Elevation Variances: 4,925 ft. to 8,410 ft.

Terrain Difficulty Overall: Mild to Moderate

Land Coverage/Vegetation: 24% evergreen forest, 6% grassland, 50% shrub/scrub and 10% croplands

Unit 72 Boundaries: (Dolores, Montezuma County Colorado) bounded on North and East by US-South Highway 491; on South by NM; on West by Utah


Lay of the Land in CO Unit 72


Terrain in GMU 72 CO

The terrain of Unit 72 Colorado is mostly flat with foothills and mesas. The flat areas are relatively desert-like covered in shrubbery. In the mountain ranges, there are good vantage points available for glassing wildlife in the lower valleys. Generally speaking, the terrain in this unit is mild to moderate.

Vegetation in Unit 72 CO

The semi-desert terrain in Unit 72 is dominated by shrubbery growth such as saltbush and sagebrush. The gradual increase in the elevation introduces Gambel oak and pinyon-juniper foliage. Moving up higher in altitude, you will find coniferous forests containing spruce, firs and pines of different varieties.

Access Points in CO GMU 72

US Hwy 491 bounds the unit on the north and east borders. US Route 160 cuts through the southern portion of the unit. Branching from these major highways are smaller roads that allow hunters access into hunting areas. Bear in mind that only the mid to northern territories of the unit are permitted for hunting. However, there are several BLM roads and trails that inundate the hunting areas. Roads can get blocked due to snow, so do be sure to come prepared with chains and shovels. A good practice is to bring enough provisions to last you longer than your intended hunting trip timeframe, just in case roads become impassable and you are forced to stay a bit longer.