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CO, NM, UT or WY for 2013 DIY Rifle Elk?

First time going Elk hunting in 2013. These are the states we're considering for a DIY Rifle Elk Hunt. Where ever we go will be the beginning of our years of scouting and research on the area. Travelling from Nebraska.

Seriously considering Colorado due to the tag prices and Elk population. But we don't want to rule out other states for a quality hunt for a couple hundred dollars difference.

Utah seems like a pretty attactive Elk destination, Wyoming has gotten very expensive for tags and New Mexico is on the top of one of our guys lists.

I'm not sure if we're going to DIY camp, Drop Camp or Stay in town somewhere yet as we're just getting the plans going now. I figure there is a lot more Elk hunting experience on this board than what I can make up on my own. I am in the process of reading books on Elk hunting right now, but they don't substitute for boots on the ground experience like many of you have.

We are all experienced Whitetail and Mule Deer hunters so none of us are newbs, just newbs to Elk Hunting.

Your replies and insight are appreciated.

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Location: Western Colorado
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For a OTC tag you are going

For a OTC tag you are going to have to stick with Colorado, Wyoming, or Montana.  Utah has a OTC with caps for spike only and a few any bull units.  Some of the any bull units can be tough to hunt and the units in the Unitas or the north east part of the state really require a horse.  New Mexico is all draw from what I can remember. 

What I would do if I was you is put in for the draw in Utah.  It will cost you $65.00 for a license and $10.00 for the application fee.  With 0 points you could draw a nice hunt for a great bull.  Utah's draw will open up the first of February and run until the end of the month.  Other than that I would go with Colorado in any of the units in the White River Forest for a OTC tag.  This area has the largest elk herd in the nation but they are not behind every tree. 

For a first time elk hunter take a look at the Elk Hunting University that the Colorado Parks and Wildlife has on their web site.  It has a lot of useful information.

SGM
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Not much help on the tag

Not much help on the tag issue but Critter seems to have the tag issue down so that is covered. My 2 cents worth on the DIY drop camp or staying in town is to do a drop camp. In most cases I have found you waste a lot of time, gas and precious sleep time if you have to travel to and from town every day. In my case it would be an extra 1 1/2 hours each way every day that I am not willing to do. The travel time can be better spent cooking a good meal, preparing for the next day or sleeping rather than driving. Also the season you plan to hunt can dictate the easy of getting in and out of your area due to weather and road conditions. Last you did not mention Idaho as a possible place but you might want to look into that option also. 

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Well we don't have any

Well we don't have any preference points built up anywhere, and realize draw chances are slim for prime units/locations. OTC seems to be the best choice but we're not ready to lock in on any particular state/location yet.

Love Idaho and consider it an option, but right now, it's not been on the table.

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Just so that you know what I

Just so that you know what I was saying about Utah, is that with 0 points you have a chance to draw a tag.  Utah works on a bonus points system and have a certain amount of tags for those with no points.  I actually know of a couple of hunters that drew two limited entry elk tags before another hunter drew his first one in the same unit, and that was after the two hunters had to wait 5 years after they drew their first tag. 

I have close to maximum points for deer and bison in Utah and every year there are new hunters that draw in the units that I am putting in for with 0 points.  There are times that I think that having the points is a handicap. 

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 07/13/2011
Posts: 866
Travel

SGM wrote:

Not much help on the tag issue but Critter seems to have the tag issue down so that is covered. My 2 cents worth on the DIY drop camp or staying in town is to do a drop camp. In most cases I have found you waste a lot of time, gas and precious sleep time if you have to travel to and from town every day. In my case it would be an extra 1 1/2 hours each way every day that I am not willing to do. The travel time can be better spent cooking a good meal, preparing for the next day or sleeping rather than driving. Also the season you plan to hunt can dictate the easy of getting in and out of your area due to weather and road conditions. Last you did not mention Idaho as a possible place but you might want to look into that option also. 

 

A hot shower, and a real bed more than make up for the travel time.

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Location: Kuna, ID
Joined: 10/29/2012
Posts: 187
States

As far as Idaho goes, they don't do preference points there. Everyone just puts in and if your lucky you draw. I've went ten years before drawing a hunt that other members of my family would draw every other year. However, I think they only do a certain number of out of state tags per draw. That's something you'd have to check. I've never had to buy an out of state tag for Idaho. As far as OTC there's a lot of that in Idaho. If you're archery hunting Idaho, you can hunt OTC almost anywhere in Idaho.

Now that I put a plug in for Idaho, I'm actully living in Colorado now and I'm looking forward to seeing how the hunting is here next year.

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So I think we're going to go

So I think we're going to go for Colorado this year now just need to a unit to go for. I'm pretty sure we're going to put in for a point somewhere too, not sure where yet...

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Don't put in for a point in

Don't put in for a point in Utah unless you plan on doing it for the next dozen years or so.  As I said the odds of drawing a limited entry elk tag with 0 points is actually better than with points unless you are maxed out on points which mean 10+ points. 

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Joined: 01/16/2013
Posts: 2
Elk hunting in Idaho

You should definitely consider Idaho, as there is readily available OTC tags for very nice hunting areas. We have had a camp every year for over 25 years (no we are not a business, just a group of guys), and we have enjoyed taking Elk most years, with some very big bulls here and there. I am not too sure how big your group is, but if it is two or less, we might be able to just fit you into our camp. Just an idea.....not trying to sell you on anything. If you choose Idaho, and need any advice, shoot me a message.

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Location: Kuna, ID
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Idaho

I agree with you but I'm just curious what area you hunting in Idaho.

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