Colorado Department of Wildlife: http://cpw.state.co.us
Local Gunnison Office: 970-641-7060
The Gunnison Basin has incredible hunting opportunities for many big game species. The Basin is divided
into 5 Game Management Units, each with different opportunities depending upon which species you want
to pursue. Your options are elk, mule deer, antelope, bear, moose, mountain goat and bighorn sheep.
The Gunnison Basin refers to the area that encompasses drainages that end up in Gunnison County. Part
of the Gunnison Basin is outside Gunnison County, in Hinsdale and Saguache Counties.
Colorado has an elk population of over 250,000, and the Gunnison Basin’s elk herd is the second largest in
the state. Our area is known in the hunting industry as one of the best places in the U.S. to hunt mule
deer bucks, 38 “typical” mule deer are listed in the Boone & Crockett records list taken in Gunnison
Acquiring a hunting tag is easy for some species and very difficult for others. It’s possible to get up to 3
tags per year to hunt elk. Applying early; in April, increases your chances of acquiring a limited quota bull
or cow tag in the unit of your choice. If you forget to apply you can always purchase an over-the-counter
bull tag for certain units and seasons. Other species can take many years to draw, especially mule deer
buck, antelope, moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat.
In hunting units that have a limited number of tags, you could possibly have more demand for tags than
are available. If you apply and don’t get a tag, you get assigned a point. When you do get a tag, your
points revert back to zero. You have to know how many points a hunt takes to use the point system
Fewer tags are allotted to non-residents than residents, so it takes non-residents longer to acquire tags
via the point system. If a non-resident wants to hunt a bull elk for example, it could take 3-4 years to get
that tag in certain hunting units. In the meantime, they can hunt an over-the-counter bull elk List A tag
or a cow elk List B tag. A List B tag is created when an area has more cow elk than the Department of
Wildlife management wants to see. And you can also purchase a List C cow tag which is only good for
private property of any acreage size. List A hunting tag are also available at a premium from private
landowners who have more than 150 contiguous acres.
After being unsuccessful drawing specific hunts, points give you preference over other hunters. If you
don’t draw the hunt you want, you eventually will. But certain hunts for elk in the Gunnison Basin can
take up to 14 non-resident points, and only one point can be accumulated each year through the system.
The point system when used properly enables a hunter to acquire a quality hunt every few years. An
example of a quality hunt would be for bull elk in a unit where very few tags are assigned, and the bulls
are able mature to the extent that they have very large antlers.
My husband Frank is an expert hunting enthusiast who is more than happy to share his intimate
knowledge of the hunting tag draw system, the various hunting units, and wildlife found in the hunting
properties within our MLS area. He can help you to formulate a local hunting strategy taking into account
the application process, choosing the right location and the right season based upon your personal hunting
goals. Frank is also available to assist in the showing of available hunting properties for sale.