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CO High Altitude Muzzleloader Hunt

I have a Sept8-16 Muzzleloader hunt planned for CO this season

Any tips? advice?

I will be scouting on weekends during Aug, right up to the season opener.  I am thinking High altitude and glassing valleys below with spotting scope and binoculars.

 

My plan is to Bivy so I can stay up high for at least a few nights and not waste time hiking back down every night and then back up in the mornings.

 

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sounds good to me

Def camp up high if you are going to try to be glassing the basins below at first light.  

The trick after that is then deciding what you're going to do when you spot a buck.  Lots of places are nearly devoid of cover, so some people like to watch the bucks bed down, others try to intercept the next morning or evening on their way back to the same spot or when coming off their beds.  Hard to say either way and kinda depends on what the terrain and vegetation will allow you.  Sometimes the willows are thick enough that they'll conceal your approach, other times not so much.  Sometimes a buck will bed in some krummholz that will limit his visibility, other times he'll have a great vantage point in a nearly inaccessible area.  Just depends.  But I like the basic idea.  

I know every hunting book will suggest a spotting scope, but I you might want to check out your area once with and once without, then decide.  Having one in camp at least allows you to return for it if you really think you need it (ie, not sure if you really want to put a stalk on the buck in basin 1, or the buck in basin 2). If you're trying to field judge deer or really dissect the pines and willows and rock outcroppings, it might be useful.  Otherwise binoculars do surprisingly good job of all of the above and saves you a few pounds. 

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I love the high country

Why you might want a spotter:

 

Was with a friend when he took these next two.  Credit to Bob and that's where a real camera comes in versus a point and shoot.

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I was reading that Cameron

I was reading that Cameron Haines "Bowhunting the Backcountry" book again last night.  He says he hikes in 12 miles in the dark to get away from the crowds.  Most animals he hunts may have never seen a human intheir life time.  He does not come across one person in the 10 days he bivy's in the wilderness.

 

Maybe that's what I need to do.  Thats one hell of a haul out.  Practically impossible with an elk unless you have a pack lama.  Doable with a mule deer fully bones out I guess,

 

Although he runs untra marathons through the mountains and I am excited when I finish a 10 mile round trip hike,.  I better get training.

 

 

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don't live vicariously through others

That whole Eastman's publishing series has a little bit of practical information, but otherwise they exist for you to live vicariously through the accomplishments of others.  

I highly doubt the animals he hunts never see humans, they have to winter somewhere and I'm sure they see people during rifle seasons.  However, I have little doubt that those who hunt early high country are hunting animals that rarely see people at that time of year.  But they quickly realize they are being hunted.  

You dang sure don't need to mimic him to be successful, you need to adapt some what you like about what others do to fit your style.  

If you've got the money, rent a horse.  It's a heck of a lot better option than a lama.  From there I prefer goats if walking, cheaper too I think and certainly a lot friendlier pack animal.

Point is, if you're trying to do the backcountry high altitude mule deer thing, don't worry so much on actual distances, but find basins you can get to, scout out a good camping place that allows you to hunt multiple basins within reasonable hiking distance, pitch your tent and get serious about hunting it.  Don't fret over whether or not it's 4 or 9 miles in.  If it looks good, it probably has some game in it.  Try to find less popular recreational areas, but realize the hikers are usually just going to a lake or a peak, they aren't hunting the basins, so the animals really don't care that much.

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I'm really interested in how

I'm really interested in how you do this year. Please give a report. Good or bad. You have a challenge that time of year with iron sights.

I take the easy way out and hunt bucks during rifle seasons with a ML. Much easier to get them when they come down to the lower timber areas.

I save elk for ML season, because of the rut, and they like timber.

Good luck.

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