there is a lot of pressure in the white river national forrest of colorado but you can draw those areas with no points. you have about 97% chance of drawing for the first rifle season , you can shoot cows or 4 point or bigger bulls, the over the counter hunts are either for a cow or a bull not both .start putting in for points everywhere you might want to hunt, some good units take a lot of points but less pressure means bigger bulls! travelling from nebraska you could scout wyoming or colorado easier before you hunt. if you go in blind it can become an expensive camping trip instead of a hunt. google earth can only do so much for you. the colorado game and fish elk hunting university is a good resource and their mapping overlays for their topo maps are good. good luck
Elk hunts is 99% locating and 1% shooting. If you don't do the 99% correctly you will never see the 1%. To be successful you want to steer toward an area with the highest elk density(number of elk per mile, then start cutting frrom there. For your first elkI would stay away from high priced trophy hunts. The cost is high and the success is so-so. You want a Bull hunt. Or even better the first year do a cow hunt with a license at half the price and the hunt about 1/3rd of the price. This will get your learning curve started and not break the bank.
Private land cow hunts run about $ 1000 with a guide. Did I say guide. Yes I did it is like taking a drivers test. You can read the manual but without the practicial hands on few make it. The public land hunt come out higher priced because the success rate is 3% and the DOW calculated it take 6 trips hunting on public land for a non-residet before he fill a elk tag, at $ 350 or $ 550 for the lisence only you would have spent $2-3,000 just in lisences so you can walk around in the woods with your rifle over your sholder, not to mention travel, lodging and meals it would easily top $10,000.
A cow hunt with a teacher(Guide) is a learning experience and no matter how good of a whitetail hunter you are, elk are different like rabbits to pheasants. A good whitetail hunter will learn quicker but still misses some key skills and knowledge to beging being successful every year. If there is a year you don't want to be successful don't come hre just take the money and go to florid for a week of golf.
If you feel you must shoot a bull the first time shop wisely becauise yor ar double to triplelimng your costs.
I have assisted many, many hunters into good elk oportunities and the ability to take a elk hime every year. I have lived and hunted in Colorado for almost 50 years and shot at least one elk every year.
I don't charge for this servie it is free. If you go to my web site I have it all written out and won't need to re-type the whole thing here again.
Thank-you, Deer Down Wind, www.DiscountedHunts.Net
Senior Hunt Broker
Discounted Hunts LLC
Outfitters Support LLC
Outdoor Writers LLC
Pro-Staff Dead Down Wind Scent Products
Pro-Staff Benchmaster Shooting Accuracy Products
1204 Button Rock Drive
Longmont, Co 80504
303-746-1214 Cell Phone
Complete list of discounted detailed Hunts Web Page: http://www.discountedhunts.net
Over the years I have seen several elk and deer hides left in the woods by hunters and I have to wonder why they do this? I fully understand and agree about getting the hide off the animal as soon as possible to cool the meat, but why not pack out the hide with you and use it? As far as I know there are no state laws that require you to take the hide home, but to me why waste such a beautiful part of the animal? Some might think they have no use for the hide or it costs too much to tan....