Elk In Colorado: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Last Updated on September 14, 2023 by Amin Tawar

Are There Any Elk In Colorado?

Elk In Colorado
Elk In Colorado: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Yes, there’s an abundance of Elk in the state of Colorado. Historically, the elk population in Colorado has swayed widely. Elk was found in northern Colorado about 10,000 years back and in the southern region about 5,000 years back. Historical calculations indicate that the population of elk might have been over 10 million before the European arrival in 1492. 

In the 1800s miners relied on elk in Colorado as a food source and eventually people settle in the region. Thus excess hunting for income and sport, the elk population reduced in the state by 1880. In the early 1900s, there were only around 1,000 elk. However, in the 1920s, the state launched many initiatives to rescue the elk population and help them rebound.

How Many Elk Are In Colorado?

Elk have successfully thrived in Colorado and currently, they are estimated around 280,000 population in the state. Also, the state is home to the biggest elk population in the nation. The fairly docile ungulates might be a trustworthy tourist attraction.

What Kind Of Elk Are In Colorado?

Rocky Mountain Elk is the type of elk found in Colorado. They are the largest of the deer clan living in Colorado’s woods. 

They are about 8.5 ft, long in length and 5 ft tall at shoulder level. They weigh around 500-1100 lbs and have a tail that is 7 inches long. The Female elks are usually small when compared to male elk. In summer they have golden brown fur and In winter it turns grayish brown. 

The neck, head, and legs are darker than the rest. A huge yellowish-orangish tail is bounded by a dark brown coat. Males have dark brown throat hair. By the fifth year bull have 6 points on either side of their antlers. These antlers are shed every year in March and new ones develop back in April, becoming big in August.

Where Can I See Elk In Colorado?

Elk In Colorado
Elk In Colorado: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Elk are gregarious grazers and mostly feed on forbs and grasses. They prefer forest cover, as their herding manners are similar to mammals that are in open country. Late September to early October is the best time to view elks as they are active because of the mating season. Elk can be seen in the fall at many locations in the state. 

From elk traffic jams to golf courses to elk in parking lots, there are plenty of opportunities to view these beautiful big game animals. But, here are a few places to spot them in their natural habitat. 

  • Evergreen Lake – Situated off of I-70 highway, in Jefferson County, west of Genesee.
  • Mueller State Park – Near Divide with over 55 miles of hiking trails and hundreds of acres
  • West Elk Wilderness – Near Gunnison, with more than 200 miles of built tracks.
  • Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge– Situated north of Golden and is a wonderful place to view elk. 

Also Check Our Guide On Elk In California

What Do Elk Eat In Colorado?

In summer and spring when food is abundant, elk primarily are grazers. They mainly eat sedges, grasses, and an assortment of flowering plants. This is the reason why they are usually found in dense, green mountain fields. 

As summer shifts to fall, elk increasingly start browsing and feeding on branches and sprouts of trees and shrubs, including wood as a last recourse when snow begins covering plants and as they move from summer to winter homes. In winter and fall, elk continue to consume grasses when these are not coated by deep snow.

How Many Elk Are Killed In Colorado Each Year?

With people having severely lowered the state’s elk population, the federal and state wildlife officers have used artificial techniques such as culling and hunting to control their populations. Nearly 250,000 hunters hunt elk every year in Colorado, killing about 50,000 elk. 

Can You Hunt & Shoot Elk In Colorado?

Colorado is certainly the alpha dog, in elk hunting opportunities. Regardless of the weapon or points, Colorado provides you with a hunt. Not all tags are available over the counter, the muzzleloader and rifle hunts are based on draws, so archery is the easiest of the three types. 

Additionally, a few units have limited hunts for seasons. The Colorado elk hunting season dates for archery and muzzleloader is in September, and for rifles is from October to November. The online application for the tags will be available in April. 

Can A Non-Resident Hunt Elk In Colorado?

Colorado is one of those last states that have on an unlimited basis elk tags for non-residents. Every year hundreds of wildlife lovers flock to the state as non-residents can also hunt as it is the most popular outdoor activity in the state. The Colorado elk hunting fee for Non-Resident is about $120.00.

Also Check Our Guide On Elk In America


And that was everything you need to know about the Elk In Colorado. I hope this article answered all your queries.

Thank You For Reading!

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