Elk Statistics

Hey there everyone!

This page was added for you number lovers out there.

Here at the High Plains we believe that satisfaction is directly tied to expectations. When you come to stay with us we want you to know exactly what you are getting and get exactly what you are expecting.

So,  lets put all the BS aside for a moment and be bluntly honest: elk hunting is HARD!

They live in the woods 365 days a year, they know what sounds normal and what doesn’t. And yes they did hear you slam the truck door.

With a slight turn of their head they have have 360º vision. Unlike our sight which only focuses in one small area, they see detail along the whole horizontal field of vision. Similar to those old cell phone cameras, lower megapixels but clear enough to see a face hiding in a bush; and they can do this nearly all the way around them simultaneously!

No tough guy, you wont jump out and stab one with a spear. (If I had a dollar for every time someone said that…) The speed at which a spooked elk can move will take your breath away. They can run faster than a horse, clocking speeds up to 45 mph. They regularly jump 7 foot fences with an ease that will make you shake your head in amazement and admiration.

But none of that compares to their sense of smell. I am sorry fellow human but you can not begin to understand what an elk can smell. Our brains are literally not made for it. The part of an elk’s brain that processes scents is about 10,000 more developed than ours. I am not talking about their olfactories yet, I only am talking about the actual brain area devoted to smell. Humans are primarily sight oriented, so when I say the word “wolf” you probably imagined a grey dog. Perhaps if elk understood English when I said “wolf” they would smell one. But like I said we can not begin to understand what is going through their mind.

Moving on to the nose itself, consider that a human has 5 million olfactory receptors, an elk has 300 million. To put this in a context you might have some knowledge of, dogs also have between 250 to 300 million receptors. And who hasn’t heard of the near miraculous things that dogs can do by their sense of smell? Everything from following trails nearly 2 weeks old to smelling cancer cells. Not only do elk have the same amount of olfactory cells they also have “Stereo Olfaction” which gives them improved directional detection of air scent. In other words somehow they can catch a whiff of you and know with near certainty what direction it came from! (and no your scent lock clothing will not keep them from smelling you 🙂 )

My dear fellow hunter, wake up to this frightening reality…  Elk hear and smell as good a German Shepherd but see far better and run much faster. 

Part #2

Now on to the land and herd you will be hunting. These numbers were taken from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website.

  • Area 80_     567,707 Acres
  • Area 81_    777,197 acres
  • Total area_   1,344,904 acres. Over 2,000 square miles
  • 11,200  Herd size after hunting season.
  • 20 bulls to every 100 cow elk
  • There are over 1,600 bulls in our area
  • Which means that for every 840 acres there is one bull elk
  • One cow elk every 150 acres
  • 8,325 Hunters for both areas all seasons (Archery, Muzzle loader, and all 4 rifle seasons)
  • 1,182 Hunters were successful
  • Success rate 14%  (both areas combined and all seasons)

These were the numbers released in 2020. For more information and the numbers for other areas please refer to the original articles.

Colorado Elk Harvest Estimates 2020

Colorado Elk Herd Count 2017

Colorado Hunt Guide 2020

Colorado Elk Harvest Estimates 2017

While exploring this topic I ran across some well written and informative articles you may want to check out

Top 25 Colorado OTC Areas

Odor Neutralizers Tested

  RMEF Scent Control