Colorado Unit 73 Hunting Information

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Overview of CO GMU 73 Hunting Facts

Situated in southwestern Colorado in Montezuma County, among the San Juan Mountains, lies Unit 73. Termed the “High Desert”, this territory is known for its dry climate and easily maneuvered terrain. Conveniently located in the northern portion of the unit near Dolores, a Forest Service Office and BLM Field Office are present as a valuable resource for hunting Unit 73. Being that this unit is approximately 27% public land, a GPS unit with a chip is strongly recommended. The Mesa Verde National Park is located within the unit and hunting is strictly prohibited. However, there are patches of BLM land that are permitted for big game hunting. For more Colorado Unit 3 hunting information, check out the Info for Cities Near Unit 73 section on the right.

Table of Contents

CO Unit 73 Species Hunting Info

INFO: Mule Deer Hunting in Colorado Unit 73

Mule deer can be found in this unit on the higher elevations in the warmer months and descending to the lower valleys in the later seasons. The bluffs overlooking the valleys are ideal for glassing wildlife in the valleys below. This can help hunters see a larger area as opposed to hiking through the terrain and stumbling across a herd, which greatly increases the chances of spooking them. The numerous ponds and springs located throughout the unit can be a perfect place to still-hunt from a nearby blind. The regulations for a Unit 73 mule deer tag are as follows:

-Archery Season: Buck only; Add-on Bear Tag available; Valid in units 72 & 73

-Muzzleloader Season: Buck only; Add-on Bear Tag available; Valid in units 72 & 73

-Rifle Season: 2nd, 3rd & 4th Season: Buck only; valid in units 72 & 73

There are a few super bucks killed in this unit each year but this area is not deemed a top trophy unit.
SUCCESS RATES for Mule Deer Hunting in Colorado Unit 73
5 Year Estimated Average for Deer
Archery 40%
Muzzle Loader 35%
2nd Rifle 40%
3rd Rifle 60%
4th Rifle 50%
Mule Deer TROPHY QUALITY for Unit 73 Colorado
Average Quality 140″ – 160″
Trophy Potential 170″+
Buck to Doe Ratio 24:100
Colorado Unit 73 Mule Deer Hunting FORUM Coming Soon!

INFO: Elk Hunting in Colorado Unit 73

In character with mule deer, elk also occupy the higher elevations during the summer months and move down lower as the winter ramps up. The aspen groves can become an advantage to hunters glassing from higher elevations in that the leaves clear out and make the elk easier to spot. Elk also must forage for water and Unit 73 has many isolated water sources that are promising for hunters to see that monster bull. Elk are instinctively set to find adequate cover, so be ready to trek into the thicker timber. Elk tags (bull only) are available OTC for 2nd and 3rd rifle seasons. The regulations for a Unit 73 elk tag are as follows:

-Archery: Either sex; Add-on Bear Tag available; Valid in units 71, 72, 73 and 711

-Muzzleloader: Either Sex; Add-on Bear Tag available; Valid in units 71, 72, 73 and 711

Rifle: 1st Rifle: Either Sex; Valid in units 71, 72, 73 and 711

-4th Rifle: Bull only; Valid in units 71, 72, 73 and 711

-Cow Tags: 2nd, 3rd & 4th Rifle Seasons; Valid in Unit 73 only
SUCCESS RATES for Elk Hunting in Colorado Unit 73
5 Year Estimated Average for Elk
Archery 15%
Muzzle Loader 18%
1st Rifle 40%
2nd Rifle 10%
3rd Rifle 8%
4th Rifle 35%
Elk TROPHY QUALITY for Unit 73 Colorado
Average Quality 260″ – 300″
Trophy Potential 300″+
Bull to Cow Ratio 16:100
Colorado Unit 73 Elk Hunting FORUM Coming Soon!

INFO: Antelope Hunting in Colorado Unit 73

Antelope archery tags are available OTC and are valid for hunting either sex of antelope. Currently, there are no muzzleloader or rifle tags permitted or distributed. Unit 73 does provide tracts of prairie lands that antelope can be spotted.

Unit 73 Hunting Information Video


Info for Cities Near CO GMU 73


Colorado Unit 73 Topo Map

Total Acreage: 570,000 acres over 890 square miles

Total Public Land: 158,000 acres or 27%

Land Ownership Mix: 73% Private; 27% Public; USFS: 111,424 acres; BLM: 35,968 acres; State: 2,240 acres; Other Govt. Owned: 261,696 acres

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

Elevation Variances: 5,200 ft. to 13,232 ft.

Terrain Difficulty Overall: Mild to Moderate

Land Coverage/Vegetation: 29% evergreen forest, 6% pasture/hay, 43% shrub/scrub and 12% deciduous forest

Unit 73 Boundaries: (Montezuma County Colorado) bounded on North by Colorado 184 and 145 and Bear Creek; on East by Montezuma-La Plata County line; on South by NM; on West by US-South Highway 491


Lay of the Land in CO Unit 73


Terrain in GMU 73 CO

Unit 73 is characterized by its flat terrain with scattered ridges and areas of concentrated mountainous terrain. The ground material ranges from rocky to lush soil. In addition to its numerous ponds and springs, there are grassy prairies and forested canyons located throughout the unit. The terrain in Unit 73 is versatile and provides a feasible landscape for just about anyone.

Vegetation in Unit 73 CO

Unit 73 is a multifaceted terrain that varies greatly depending on the location in which you choose to hunt. The semi-desert grasslands contain a combination of rabbitbrush, wheatgrass, and thistle (to name a few) to create the collective desert shrubbery land cover. Among other plant and tree species, Gambel oak, Ponderosa Pine, and Aspen Trees collaborate to produce the mid-elevation vegetation. The upper elevations are distinguished by the mixed coniferous forests made up of various evergreen tree species such as firs, spruces, and pines. The upper elevations are suitable for wildlife in the summer months and as winter intensifies, they will begin to descend into the lowlands.

Access Points in CO GMU 73

US Hwy-160 runs east and west through the center of the unit. SH-184 stems from US Hwy-160 in Mancos and continues northwest to Dolores. SH-491 bounds Unit 73 on the western side. There are approximately 111 miles of trails with 2 trailheads. Prior to routing your hunting trip to Unit 73 Colorado, do clarify what areas motorized vehicles are prohibited and where they are permitted. Unit 73 public land is primarily the San Juan National Forest, which prohibits the use of motorized vehicles. Four-wheel drive vehicles are strongly recommended since the roads can become sloshy following a strong rain or snowfall.