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Ca_Vermonster's picture
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Arizona or Colorado for Cow elk?

If I wanted to do a meat hunt, is there a better state for getting a cow tag?  OTC, draw, success rates? What do you guys think?  I may take a trip next fall, and want to start with a simple meat hunt.

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Location: Front Range, CO
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CO

Well, I am certainly biased but I think CO isn’t a bad choice.  Getting a cow license here is easy.  In fact, CO is never “sold out” for cow licenses; at least not in a really long time.  So, you could literally do a last minute hunt if you had to.  CO also has plenty of public land that is easily accessed.  It’s still elk hunting though and never a sure thing.  Like all elk hunting you want to do plenty of research and go into the hunt knowing as much about the area as you can.  Otherwise, just showing up to the unit you bought the license in may end up being more of an armed recon than a hunt.   

 

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If you really want to bag

If you really want to bag just a cow for meat I would look at states that offer a late cow hunt that doesn't depend on snow to drive them off of private property.  Colorado's problem is that the cow hunts are on with the deer and bull hunts in the same area, and while Colorado has a lot of elk there is also quite a bit of pressure during these hunts.  I know that Utah offers a late hunt and I also believe that Arizona offers some as well.  I'm not nocking Colorado is it just that if you have to wait for snow or are fighting other hunters for just a cow then it just isn't fun.  I know of several hunters this year that did not fill their cow tags here so it isn't a just a easy hunt.

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See, the Arizona thing would

See, the Arizona thing would appeal to me cause it's alot closer of a drive (9-10 hours) than the other 2.  Utah would be next, depending one what zone, then finally Colorado.  i don't think I'd go much further than the Southwest area, around Durango, if I did venture that far.

CVC
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What is the weather like in

What is the weather like in AZ during the elk season and in the area where you would hunt them?  When I think of Arizona I think heat, but I know that there are mountains and it gets cold there too.

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tough hunt indeed

Just got in last night from a bull only drop camp hunt in unit 71 with Circle K.  They seem to be a fine operation, but the numbers were not/are not there.  We were out in whatever Mother Nature offered for 6 full days first three days snow/sleet/rain second three sub 20* overnight lows and saw a grand total of two elk each.  Hunting buddy saw two cows the first day and I saw what looked to be a young cow and a calf at 20 yards on the 4th day, we both saw about 8 mule deer each. Out of the 40 hunters in camp 2nd season only 2 bulls were taken or even shot at, one at 470 something yards, and only a few more were even seen.  Folks that is a 5% success rate.  Maybe if the non resident hunters would stay away for a few years the $$$$ hit would change minds about what management protocal is best for the quality of the hunting experience.

Folks there is a fine line between killing enough cows to keep the herd size in check and killing so many so as to suppress the herd numbers to the point of making a hunt unattractive to non resident hunters given all that is involved time and money wise to make such a hunt happen.  Here in Mississippi we have a game department that seems to be dancing to the music of the auto insurance industry claiming that we have more deer than ever when hunters are having lower success rates of both seeing deer and killing them.  On top of that we have acorns left over that rot and food plots that get overgrown due to the lack of pressure, this while much former crop land is being and has been planted in pine plantations, which should put the animals onto the properties with hardwoods and plots, but we are not seeing them.  Still we are steadily told we have to many animals and that the numbers must be thinned.  No one ever seems to realize we have way more autos on the roads evidenced by 2 lanes being 4 laned and 4 lanes being 6 laned.  Auto density is never mentioned as a reason for more accidents only that there are to many deer.  Maybe this is what is happening in CO. 

CVC
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Buddy of mine just got back

Buddy of mine just got back from CO cow elk hunt.  He got one, but it is the first one he's taken in the last four or five years of trying.  He got 350 pounds of meat from the elk so he should be set for a while.  He's not had a problem drawing a tag in CO but the number of cows he's seen have been few.  A DIY cow elk hunt is appealing to me, but the cost of an outfitted cow elk hunt is pretty low so I may opt for an outfitted hunt.  I've seen cow elk with food and lodging going for around a thousand dollars.  Sure it's more than just DIY, but it's really not that much more especially if it gives you access to land that will have elk on it.

I don't think the economy is going to improve all that much next year so I may wait to see if I can catch a cheap cancellation or discounted hunt.

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Critter brings up a good

Critter brings up a good point about Colorado's cow elk hunts. I still think that we are a good option overall though. But one of those late season options in another state might work out for you better, especially since it would cut down on that drive... that would be a killer! Colorado has also been reducing the number of cow tags available over the last couple years because we are finally getting our herds close and in a lot of cases, within objective. It sucks that the number of tags are getting cut but it just means that the habitat will be in better shape and that the vegetation will not be as hard hit. It just means that we might be able to produce some larger animals. Although that really isn't all that important for you since you are just looking for tasty cow.

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Colorado has some great late

Colorado has some great late season cow. I know that units 2, 13, 441 have a cow season that runs all Dec. Fun time see lots of different kind of animals.

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That would be perfect timing

That would be perfect timing too.  I am looking for something in the early December time period, kinda after thanksgiving, but before getting too close to Christmas.

Are those units OTC for cow at that time?  Thanks.

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All the tags for cow elk are

All the tags for cow elk are through the draw, but you might pick up landowner permits from a landowner. 

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