Lack of development and tight hunting restrictions have kept wildlife populations healthy in the San Juans, and the fall big game hunting season can reward with big elk and deer.
- Fall in Telluride means big game hunting season, and trophy elk and deer are common.
- The Lizard Head Wilderness area has few roads and less development, and is a good place to start planning a hunt.
- Many outfitters offer guided hunts to regional hotspots.
In the early morning, it’s common to see elk by the hundred fill the high-alpine meadows of the Wilson plateau and Mountain Village. Deer and turkey visits are also frequent, and other small game animals can easily spotted just off major roads.
The general remoteness and lack of development in the San Juans have kept wildlife present, and when hunting season begins in fall there is plenty of trophies walking around. The region is under tight restrictions, however, and it’s important to always check the rules, regulations and permits needed before hunting.
Where to go Hunting
Lizard Head Wilderness
This wilderness area has sparse access roads and (almost) no development. Can be accessed by the series of forest service roads off of Highway 145, but expect to do some hiking too.
This wilderness area isn’t as deeply forested as some but still has plenty of big game. Best access is from the Yankee Boy Basin in Ouray or East Dallas Creek Road out of Ridgway.
Rules & Reglations
It is very important to have the correct licenses and follow seasonal guidelines when hunting. The seasons are as follows:
- Archery August 28 – September 26
- Muzzleloader September 11 – 19
- Rifle (5 day) October 16 – 20 - Elk only, draw
- Rifle (9 day) October 23-31 - Combine deer and elk
- Rifle (7 day) November 6 – 14
- Rifle (5 day) November 17-21
Call the Colorado Division of Wildlife at (970) 247-0855 for more information.
Regional outfitter offer guide services, and there are some private ranches that provide guided hunts, lodging and meals.