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Location: Upper Snake River
Joined: 09/01/2006
Posts: 86
above Trappers lake Colo

Anyone ever hunt in the Flattops East of Trappers lake?
Due to my work schedule I will miss most of Wyoming and Idahos deer season for 09.
Got to looking and see there are some early high country hunts in these areas, accesssing them isn't a problem because I have more than enough riding and pack stock, just looking for early spot to put in for, any suggestions about this area or others in Colo would be appreciated as I never hunted south of I-80

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Location: WISCONSIN
Joined: 06/23/2006
Posts: 14
above Trappers lake Colo

Have hunted it regularly, lots of elk and lots of hunters. The bulls are mostly young and generally smallish 5 point or less. After first rifle they are very pushed and hard to find on the public land.

exbiologist's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
above Trappers lake Colo

If you meant the truly early high country september deer hunt, don't waste your points. It averages about 0% success for deer. If you meant 1st season elk or 2nd season deer/elk, there are plenty of animals, decent success but poor trophy quality and high pressure.

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Location: Upper Snake River
Joined: 09/01/2006
Posts: 86
above Trappers lake Colo

I have plenty enough elk country no need to waste diesel and horseflesh hunting elk in the orange clad crowd down south
Just wanted to check out some place to have a pack in deer hunt since I was going to miss Wyoming and Idahos regular seasons. Figured a person could get in on a limited draw and get to hell and gone away from a trailhead and eliminate the foot solider crowd and have a nice quiet trip

How I miss the days of deer and elk opening on Sept 10 in Wyoming, those were some nice early fall trips with good weather, some nice deer still in the velvet some years and always lots of bulls whistling

exbiologist's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
above Trappers lake Colo

Unless you have preference points you can't draw the Flat Tops early deer hunt anyway. Like I said before, it averages 0%. So don't bother on that one. There are one or two other hunts that you can apply for that don't require preference points. One of them is in the Rawah Wilderness and Colorado State Forest State Park. But check the preference points:

http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/BigGame/Statistics

OK correction. A nonresident can draw the Flat Tops hunt, and the Rawah hunt now requires 1 point for either res or non res.
Units 16,17,161 and 171 also have an early hunt, but its later than the normal wilderness hunts and doesn't require any points for 16, 17, and 171.

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Location: Upper Snake River
Joined: 09/01/2006
Posts: 86
above Trappers lake Colo

exb, have you hunted or spent much time in this area?
I am curious to how many outfitters hunt it and availabilty of stock feed early or if I'd need to pack cubes. I know there's a lake back to the west and north of Trappers, Fish lake I think?
Anyway is there any creek fishing above Trappers? I
'm going to have to grab a couple topos of the area and check it out.

While on the subject of deer and Colo, you know anything of the area near a lake called Valeicita (sp)

exbiologist's picture
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Location: Colorado
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above Trappers lake Colo

I've spent a bit of time in the area, and hunted nearby. I couldn't tell you how many outfitters work the area, but there's a lot in the vicinity. Trapper's Lake Lodge I think even runs a guide service or at least horse rentals, and there are all sorts of weekend warriors with rented horses in the area. I don't know what you'll have to do about horse feed, but I assume you can get whatever you need around Meeker. I just know that it requires certified weed free hay, and the horsemen that I've hunted with bring their own.
As for fishing, all I know is that Trappers is supposed to have Greenback Cutthroats. So it's fair to assume the creeks above and below also have trout. I don't know if Big Fish Lake is stocked or has native fish.
One other thing, and it's a turn off to some, is that all of Trapper's Basin, all of Big Fish Basin, and part of Skinny Fish Basin are burned. I still see plenty of deer there, but it can be a real pain in the *ss for your horses walking over all the dead falls. The tundra flats above Trapper's and Big Fish are not burned.
Once again, the success rate for that early high country deer season is 0%. And there were only 3 tags. One of which can go to a nonresident. No harm putting in, but don't count on drawing. Consider Muzzleloader instead, besides the success rate isn't 0. I honestly don't know why the success is at 0, I've seen plenty of deer in the area, including some good bucks.
I "borrowed" some pictures of the area off of Google Earth. Like I said it is completely burned in the basin, but on top is fine. I guess if you stick to the trails till you get above the burn, it wouldn't be so bad for horses. Regardless, its beautiful, the elk and deer like it, and I'm sure you'd have fun.




As for Vallecito Lake (or Reservoir), it borders the Weminuche Wilderness, and is popular with elk hunters, I don't know about the deer reputation.

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Location: Upper Snake River
Joined: 09/01/2006
Posts: 86
above Trappers lake Colo

After chewing on it awhile, I came to this conclusion
(1) instead of going to Colo or somewhere for a early deer hunt, I think I'll just go hunt moose in Alaska in late August, early Sept

(2) In July, I will load up 6 or so head of donks and just take a trip into the Flattop country and have a looksee. The bucks will nearly full grown and should be bunched to make for easier spotting.

Thanks ExB for you pics and info.

Mule

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Location: Fort Collins, CO
Joined: 06/15/2008
Posts: 1862
above Trappers lake Colo

Are these lakes in the flattops... what are their names. I would love to do some summer backpacking to these if they're off the beaten path.

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