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BoneCollector's picture
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Advise needed - 2012 Elk Hunt

I'm from SE Ohio (big whitetail country) and went on my first Big Game hunt last year with my son and we had a blast connecting on 4 lopes and 2 mulie does in Wy. My son is 15yrs old and his passion matches that of my own when it comes to hunting. (Doesn't hurt that I always know where he is and what he is doing at this age either! Big smile ) This was our first trip west past the western Ohio state line. It was nice to see some of America in addition to the trip as I drove from Oh to Wy! But it was worth it!

We really want to attempt an elk hunt in 2012. I have been doing a lot of research since coming back from our last hunt, but wanted to get additional information from you "Pros" Applause

This is what we are looking for in our hunt and what I've been able to calculate. We are hoping for any size legal bull or even a cow late in the hunt. Either sex harvested is a trophy and just icing on the cake while out hunting. We are hunters first and foremost, not killers.

A. Colorado has the biggest population and success rate of elk hunting. Wy & Arizona have some nice trophies. That being said, we purchased  points for Wy elk last year for a future hunt there in 2-3 more years and planned on getting our feet wet in CO in 2012. Thoughts?

B. We would love to hunt the rut, but seems to be during only archery and perhaps muzzleloader. Archery is our first passion, but want better odds first time out as we will be learning as we go. Should we apply for muzzleloader? Odds are a long shot, corrrect? If we apply for muzzleloader, can we also apply for a rifle season as well on a 2nd choice? I hear 1st season is a crowded slim chance drawing...?

C. Seems the 3rd rifle season has better success. The elk may have moved to lower elevation and less hunting pressure. Please correct me if I am wrong. (My wife does! lol )

We are not sure as to whether we'll camp/tents or commute from hotel or whatnot. Maybe pull a camper. Depends on the area, season, and weather where we hunt. I look at this as an opportunity to find a solution. I am planning the hunt first. We are both in great shape and physically capable of any challenge.

D. Are there people in Co that will allow you to hunt for a trespass fee? I did this in Wy via running into someone who knew someone. It only cost me $50. That made it nice to learn and enjoy without much pressure from other hunters. I wanted my son to have a great experience, and he did.

E. Are the OTC just for Bulls only? We'd prefer a General Tag/(Either Or). We could even throw in a deer tag, if possible. But I don't know if I can swing all that with 3 kids. The good Lord provides for us, but I don't want to go getting all greedy! :D 

Should I apply for a tag, assuming I won't get it but earn points and opt for OTC?

I know this was a lot to read. I really appreciate any feedback I get. I'll provide any other information neccesary to help in your responses. Thank you in advance for your time and knowledge.

I've ordered several Elk hunting books (M.Eastmans) and subscibe to Eastmans magazine which is a nice resource. I recommend it to everyone.

Merry Christmas and God bless you and your familys.

~BoneCollector (aka Bill & Alex)

Topgun 30-06's picture
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See my email back to you and

See my email back to you and good luck finding what you are looking for.

BoneCollector's picture
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Thanks. I got it and am

Thanks. I got it and am looking into it.

exbiologist's picture
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wow, lots to cover here

A, keep accumulating points in Wyoming, but get your feet wet by hunting in Colorado more frequently

B, If you have no preference points for Colorado, it is a very long shot to pull a muzzleloader tag for a bull, but easy for a cow, even 2nd choice (so you get a preference point for next year).  You can still apply for a rifle tag because you get 4 choices.  So a first choice could be a muzzleloader bull, then a 1st season either sex or bull only area, then 3rd choice a muzzy cow tag in one unit, 4th choice muzzy cow in another unit, then if unsuccessful get into the leftover draw, and if you don't like your options there, then get the OTC archery or 2nd or 3rd season tag.

C,  Very few units are better in 3rd season than 2nd season.  In fact, as a general rule success is worst on average (5 year) in 3rd season, best in 1st season, then 4th season then 2nd season.

DO NOT commute from a motel.  You'll waste way too much of your day and fuel doing that.  In some areas you'd be looking at a 2 hour drive each way, maybe even more depending on the quality of the roads.

D, there are people that will allow hunts for a trespass fee.  I don't know any of them, but most are in the several hundred dollar per day range, not a mere $50.

E, OTC is for either sex with archery, bull only for 2nd or 3rd.  There is also a special Over the Counter with Caps  (first come first served) 54 either sex 2nd and 3rd season license you could get.

Deer tags are great if you like combo hunts but makes it difficult to focus if you don't have a lot of time and could end up hunting compromise country that you wouldn't normally pick for either species.  Deer tags are much tougher to come by too and will require a lot more planning.

 

BoneCollector's picture
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Location: S.E. Ohio
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Thanks for the information

Thanks for the information thus far TG & Exbiologist. I'll keep researching and probably have more questions. Big smile  I appreciate everyone's input. The more advice given, the more I learn in preparation of my quest.

BoneCollector's picture
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Bump. I know there is more

Bump.

I know there is more advise to be given. I'm not asking for your "honey hole" location, but any pointers from you fellow elk hunters to aid in my hunt with my son will be much appreciated.

Have a merry CHRISTmas everyone!

COMeatHunter's picture
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ExBio covered your

ExBio covered your questions/scenarios pretty well.  If you have specific questions regarding individual areas or GMUs, then fire away and there will likely be more advice.  

The only other consideration I would add for you is youth preference.  In Colorado, youth (under 18) get preference for limited draw cow elk tags for all 4 rifle seasons.  And with the exception of a small handful of units, youth draws are very likely as first choices and still pretty good odds as a second choice on your application.  This may not be a great option for you in that you would probably want to draw a tag to hunt along with your son, but at least you can look into scenarios that could get your son into higher success units with limited draw tags.  Youth preference doesn't apply for archery or muzzy tags, just rifle.

BoneCollector's picture
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Thanks CoM.H.

Thanks COMeathunter & Merry Christmas. Thanks for your input, I was wondering about the youth applying on a party-ticket. I think he would have to apply as an adult to be on the ticket, correct? I did not see this in the rule book. Perhaps I over looked it. We definately want to hunt together.

I am looking at different scenarios/seasons.

Thanks again for your comments.

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Not sure if your son would

Not sure if your son would need to apply as an adult if applying as part of a group.  However, in a group application everyone needs to draw or nobody draws.  So really it doesn't matter on the youth preference in a group because he will only draw if everyone else does anyway.  And if you want to apply for archery or muzzy seasons, your son won't get any preference on his application either, regardless of the choices.  Any non-eligible hunts on the app in any choice (first through fourth) will invalidate the youth preference.  Doesn't sound like it was really a priority though, so no worries.

Colorado would be a great place to start for elk hunting.  Lots of elk, lots of tags, and lots to reasonable places to hunt from September through December.  Might not be trophy hunting, but any elk is a trophy in my opinion and they sure do taste good!

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You really do need to be more

You really do need to be more specific. You can get a ton of information from the DOW web site. Read eveything on it. It has a planning your hunt section that's loaded with answer to your questions. You can see past success rates for every unit in Colorado, and what points it took to get a tag.

Pick a season you want to hunt, and pick some units that interest you. Then we can help you better. You can also call the DOW, and they will help you a lot. It's agood time right now to talk to them, because they aren't as busy as when the tags go on sale. After you pick a unit you like. You can talk to the warden in the unit on the phone. They'll give you plenty of info. They really do like to help. Everybody thinks all they do is write tickets, but that not true. Very few know the unit as well as they do, and they like to talk about it. At least that's my experience with them.

Just because we live here. Don't think we don't have to do what you're doing too. We're always looking for new areas to hunt. It's part of hunting.

BoneCollector's picture
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Thanks Still Hunter

Thanks Still Hunter. I am doing some of things now. My original post was meant to get real-world feedback from fellow hunters on this site. I value their opinions more than some of the "governmental -data" I read. Yes

I agree that the best feedback/research is getting out in the field. I am just looking for some helpful hints so as to keep my 15yr old interested while we learn together. Big smile

Merry Christmas and have a blessed new year.

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