Yeah, too many units and such swiriling around in my head, should have said unit 4 or possibly 441 or 214. Looking at the Routt Nat'l Forest. Just trying to figure it out using the DOW and other websites. Looks like the Craig area is a great elk area, just got to figure out where to hunt.
The Elkhead mountains NE of Craig (units 4, 441, 214) have lots of elk. But for 2nd rifle, they also have LOTS of hunters. I would definitely recommend looking at areas where you can get at least a mile from roads and access points--this will thin the herd of orange considerably.
I'd suggest 3 areas for you to check out. The area south of Bear's Ears has good consistent elk, but it's a hike to get into and out of this area. North of Steamboat lake and Pearl lake is also OK, but you'll see more hunters here. The Western edge of the national forest around Freeman Reservoir is also good for elk numbers usually, but again the number of hunters is high too. I guess the "take home" message is...there's lots of hunters in all of these areas. If you're looking for some solitude, either change the area you're considering or maybe try a 1st rifle, muzzleloader or archery season.
I've spent countless hours either on my hands and knees or bent over, messing up my back, looking for blood. One such instance I remember most was a hog hunt a few years ago in Mississippi. I had never shot a hog so when I poked a hole in this guy; I was determined to find him. Wearing snake leggings, I crawled on my hands and knees through the briars and the brambles and bushes where a rabbit wouldn't go. I found a spot of blood here and there but never the pig. And lucky for me, I didn't find...