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Location: castle rock, co
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Advice on 4th season hunts

I wanted to know know what everyone thinks of hunting in the 4th season?
I hunted unit 28 last year in the 1st season and did not even see one elk! Could be my lack of knowelge, but was told I should try the 4th season, I thnk I will stick with unit 28 as I am learning the area, or unit 18 and I can draw either sex tags. Any thoughts on the units or how to hunt the 4th season? Think Thanks.

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Advice on 4th season hunts

We've had pretty mild falls these last few years and have not been getting enough snow to really matter for 4th season. Elk movements are not as seasonal as deer, and it takes a lot of snow to move them. I've never seen enough snow even through December to force elk to move. That has a lot to do with why I hunt 1st season. The elk will move due to pressure and get to the low lying safer private areas, so I prefer first crack at them at higher elevation which normally has a much higher percentage of public land.

Now everyone hunts a little better when there is a little snow on the ground, so I can understand the thinking as to why 4th season would be good, but have you compared the stats between 1st and 4th season in units 18 and 28? I haven't yet, but I can later today. Don't just look at one year, look at every year.
I'll get back to you with my specific thoughts on the area and how to hunt it, but these are general feelings of mine and why I hunt 1st season.

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Advice on 4th season hunts

Just comparing the last two years of data, in 2006 success in 18 stayed the same at 19% in 1st and 4th season. But in 28 success dropped from 22 to 14 going from 1st to 4th. In 2007, success in both units went from 18 and 21% to 7 and 7% in units 18 and 28 respectively. 2008 stats should be out later this month.
So if you're going to play the odds, 28 1st season is the better option. Specifically, I'd look at the Strawberry Bench are between Strawberry and Junco reservoirs, The Darling Creek Basin coming off of the Williams Fork River, and really all of the drainages that feed into the Williams Fork, especially around the Middle Fork. the area between Keyser Creek and Morgan Gulch, and the Kelly Creek area. Of all of those spots, I'd first look to the Middle Fork of the Williams Fork.
In Unit 18, the Bowen Gulch area, Kauffman Creek, Pony Park, Ethel Creek, Grouse Mountain, and Haystack Creek(Mountains just east, but good all the way up to the divide). Of those I'd lean towards Haystack Creek or Ethel Creek.
If you were sticking to fourth season I wouldn't hunt quite as high up Haystack Creek, but Ethel Creek should still be good. There's a bit of BLM and low lying FS ground, but I wouldn't bother unless the snow was knee deep. Ankle to mid shin deep isn't enough to force elk to move if there are good alternate forages such as serviceberry, mountain mahogany, bitterbrush, sagebrush, rose, willow, aspen, etc.
In unit 28, if hunting fourth season, I likely wouldn't attempt the Middle Fork area, and would be more tempted to go towards the logged areas between Keyser and Morgan.
But I've never hunted this unit, and I'm not sure why anyone would recommend hunting it in 4th season, as it seems to me you'd lose a lot of good options by pressuring elk into the numerous refuges during previous season.

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Joined: 01/17/2009
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4th Season

I hunted 2nd season and 4th season in unit 28 last year. I live in Fraser and most all the locals recommend on fourth season. One being that there are less hunters and second they start to head to their winter range. This being my second year out, I plan to do the same thing for this year. Since the snow hasn't been falling early enough (Another reason why Winter Park ski area changed their season) the elk haven't been coming down as early. No more than three days after fourth season closed, there was a about two hundred elk out in the valley. Couldn't believe I couldn't track one down. They must of smelled the green behind behind my ears. I think mostly in unit 28, you need to plan to go in farther than the rest. I went scouting around Keyser creek and all I saw was elk camps and groups in their four wheelers screaming around the area. I don't know that area real well, it was too far from my house to get in their early enough. Anyways, in my opinion if you go fourth season don't plan on them going to their winter range until a week or two later. Unless we get some serious snow fall, then they will start to move in more open areas. I just think that they know even with a good amount of snow fall their will be a break, it will melt off and they will wait until early December. I did some work with the DOW up here and they said they haven't been moving until early Dec. What seasons did you apply for?

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Location: castle rock, co
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Thanks

Thanks for the replies. richk5331 I put in for 4th season either sex for 28 or 18. I hunted the Fraser area last year too, up around Devils Thumb, do you think that would be a good area to hunt in the 4th season? Or what other areas around there would you recommend? I have been down by the Henderson mill also on 1st season and it is loaded with hunter!!!
Thanks again everyone for the replies. I have lots to learn about the area and the elk I guess.

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Advice on 4th season hunts

I am also learning about the area and the elk . Where is henderson mill? 28 or 18? I checked out my maps and couldn't find it. This being only my second time out and from last years pre season scouting these are my observations. I have only a small amount of experience with 28 and have done no research on 18. I just noticed that there is soo much BLM around 28 and a lot of access to the areas. I think that most hunters that want to set up camp go either to Crooked Creek by Churches park ( Which I heard has a fairly good size heard compared to the Devils thumb herd) and some also enter in through Crooked Creek and all the way to set up camp to hunt Keyser Creek and Kinney Creek. This is where I saw a lot of hunters srambling and making chaos all around. The other area I also heard is to head in from Hot Sulphur Springs to try to catch up with the Williams Fork Heard. It looked to me from the map that it's pretty much on the edge of Crooked Creek and almost all the way to Hot Sulpher, Williams fork herd being just north of Hot Sulphur. I'm not sure if these are two different herds or just one. I just herd that is that there is a lot of elk in there. Obviously not a trophy unit. Did you hit the road off 128 into Devils Thumb? I went in there as well on Fourth season and saw a lot of gut piles. They looked like mostly calfs. Seemed to me from my observation that most of the hunters tagged out in the first couple days and pushed the elk farther back North toward Indian Peaks. I was got there a little too late and with lack of experience on heading deeper into the woods I lucked out. I will keep checking out these areas pretty much all summer long. I am actually going to head out to maybe try to find some sheds. Let me know if I can help you out and what you plans are. Rich

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Location: castle rock, co
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Advice on 4th season hunts

Rich, it is in 28. It is down the hill from Ute Pass kind of by kinney creek. Have been over there on 1st season and is a lot of hunters that is why I like the Fraser area better, that is if I could find the elk!!! Will have to see if I draw 28 or 18 in the 4th season as a last choice put in for 18 in the 1st season. Will have to see how the draw goes.

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Advice on 4th season hunts

Bump for RJ50

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Location: castle rock, co
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Advice on 4th season hunts

exbiologist, what is the "Bump for RJ50" ? Also you had mentioned that the stats for last year would be out, when would that be and where do you find them and do they compare year to year?
Thanks for all your help. Thumbs up

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Advice on 4th season hunts

RJ50 had asked a question about this area, so I brought up what we had already discussed by posting a new reply.
Anyway, the 2008 harvest stats are out:
http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/BigGame/Statistics/

Success in 18 1st season was up to 30%, 28 1st season 19%.
4th season was 10% and 21% respectively.

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Location: castle rock, co
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Advice on 4th season hunts

What does "total rec. days" mean when looking at the stats? And how would you go about picking your units? I like the location of unit 28 and am getting confortable hunting it as I learn its layout. But how or when do i know it is time to try some where else?
Thanks for all your Help.
I just get a bit frustrated with hunting and not knowing what I am doing wrong!! Brick Wall,) And this year I will be taking my future son-in-law with for his first hunt. Sure would like to do a hunt right and put him on a elk. Again thanks.

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