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Cudaback's picture
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Advice on Colorado Unit 15 Yampa/Gore Mountain/ Silver Creek?

A buddy and I are doing are first DIY elk hunt in Unit 15 in Sept. We will hike 3 or more miles in and set up our spike camp and hunt from there. No road hunting and no ATV. We were looking at the Sarvis Creek area, Silver Creek, Gore Mountain, and Gore Pass area. I am not looking for any honey holes and I am not after a trophy. I want elk meat! and a good chance at an elk. I have reviewed the stats and map on the CO DOW website.

What I am looking for is the little helpful hints from people who have been to this area ( Oak creek, Yampa.) Where to avoid/ tree kill/ widow makers. Where is the heaviest hunted areas? Places to camp, or park. Good trail heads? Places to buy dry ice? Stories of your hunt in this area, Nice places to stop and eat or whatever... Which area would you recommend? Anything would help.

 Thanks! Thumbs up

Cudaback's picture
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Trail head?

Does anyone know where the silver creek trail head on county rd 19 is? Near Red Dirt Reservior.... What is this trail like?

Confused

GooseHunter Jr's picture
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Sorry I cannot help yopu on

Sorry I cannot help yopu on this unit, only thing I know wbaout it where in the state its located.  Are you looking to bow or gun hunt??

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Sarvis Creek Area

I hunted this area last year during the muzzleloader season.  We saw elk every day, but the overall population of elk is lower than other areas in NW Colorado.  For a Spike camp, the Sarvis Creek Wilderness will provide some good hunting and certainly some isolation from other hunters.  Most hunters, including bow hunters, stay close to road 100 which runs generally North-South from Gore pass to Rabbit Ears pass.  If you travel off the beaten path 2-3 miles you will have most of the hunting to yourselves.

There are good trailheads on the maps, all of them follow the creek drainages east or west.  During my scouting last year, I ended up favoring the Northern drainages of Harrison and Green Creeks.  There is a large burn area from about 10 or so years ago at the headwaters of Green Creek, but lower into the drainage holds reasonable numbers of animals.  Harrison Creek also has reasonable numbers of elk, but not as many as Green Creek IMO.  Access into either of these drainages is from the East--the Western side empties into private property.  Road 303 (or 251) that runs South from HWY 14 a mile or so from the summit of Rabbit Ears pass is the best access point for either drainage.  Green Creek will probably be at least a 3 mile hike to make a spike camp, but most of the trail is very good.  You would want to drop West into the drainage and follow the ridge line between Green and Harrison creeks.  The meadow areas indicated on the quads in the creek bottoms are pretty much sloughs, you won't be crossing them very easily.  Further down the drainages crossing the creeks isn't near as difficult.

Expect a great wilderness hunt, but don't expect to run into big numbers of elk.  Seeing 10-12 elk a day was average for our group and we put in about 8 miles a day covering ground inbetween encounters.  I would also recommend planning your hunt for the later part of September, if possible, to correspond with higher rut activity.

Have a great hunt!

Cudaback's picture
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Sarvis Creek area

Thumbs up Ya I am bow hunting. I was looking in the area Gore Mountain. 3 miles West of Hwy 19 near Red Dirt Reservior. On east side Gore Mt. is some open field areas. I was wondering if they are swamps since you and others have mentioned how wet these areas can be.

I am glad to hear that the trails are pretty good. I'm very intersted in the area you are talking about. You seem to have a lot of knowlegde about this area. I am not seeing Rd 100, I did find Green Creek. I seems to be about 1000ft lower that the Silver Creek/Gore Mt area. Is that ok for early season? I am looking on Google earth and it looks the North side of Green Creek has big open areas, which would be nice if they are not all full of deadfall. 

Is there any area to would stay away from?

Thanks for all your help!

exbiologist's picture
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road 100

It's basically the only major north-south forest service road in the whole unit.  If you can't find that you're gonna need some better maps.

Good luck avoiding the beetle kill:

Cudaback's picture
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Neat picture!

LOL I thought I was the only one still awake. I did find Rd 100 finally, seems if I was in the sat. view it didn't show road names. Do you think the Green Creek area would be a better option since it is a little more open? Or should I stick with my first hunch and stay around Gore Mt./Silver Creek area since it is a little higher and rougher?

Cudaback's picture
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Then again Gore pass keeps

Then again Gore pass keeps catching my eye, but it seems like there are a lot of close roads and I hear of many people hunting around there... granted there is going to be hunters in most areas. Wish I lived closer so I could go scout and wasn't looking at maps for hours and hours....

banghead

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Gore Pass is OK

Gore Pass is a reasonable area too.  South of the pass has some good areas (I scouted them last year as well), but they are more difficult to get to due to the closed roads.  There are 2 tracts of private land (indicated on the USGS topos) adjacent to FR 212.  The 2 drainages I'd recommend looking at on the West side of FR 212 are Ammons Creek and Thomas Creek.  On the East side of the road, I was told French Creek was OK, but never checked it out for myself since easy access to French Creek is blocked by the private property.

Silver Creek is OK, but I wasn't impressed with the overall lack of sign in that drainage.  I'm sure there are pockets that hold reasonable numbers of elk, but I didn't find them.  I also didn't spend too much time in this drainage, so take my advice for what it's worth....it's certainly not exhaustive.

The upper portion of Green Creek has many open areas.  However, all of the open parks in the bottom of the drainage are impassable bogs.  Another word of caution--I never found consistent sign in any of the open areas.  All of the animals (from July thru September) were in the deep dark timbered areas.  The high benches on the ridgelines, especially the North facing benches, were the best bests for running into animals consistently.

There aren't many "easy" places to hunt in this area.  It's not too rugged or steep, but the concentration of animals is kind of low (when compared to other areas in CO).  The animals are smart and retreat well away from the roads and trailheads when the hunting activity increases.  If your spike camp is located 3 miles or so into the back country, you will probably run into reasonable numbers of animals regardless of where you end up going.  If I was going to return to this area again I would spend my time in the Green and Harrison Creek drainages.

Hope this helps.

 

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Thomas/Ammons Creeks

We hunted this area for 3 days last 3rd season with no success.  I could have shot a cow, but only had OTC bull in my pocket.

It is a fairly easy walk in 2 miles or so before we started seeing most of our fresh sign.  Walking the ridges slowly produced the best results for me.

I did come across quite a few piles/remnants of elk, two of which were bulls, likely from archery, 1st, 2nd seasons.  There was one spike camp with benches, fire ring, etc that I found about 2.5 miles in.  Let me know if you want further details.

Cudaback's picture
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CoMeatHunter

Thank you for all your help and the time it took write that detailed reply. I have spent a lot of time looking to your great advice, and I have made some hopefully good plans. your advice deff changed my ideas for the better.Applause

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