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Joined: 10/22/2012
Posts: 7
Colorado DIY Elk!!!!

New to the thread here so Hi to all. Love the sight. Seems like every time i google search something, I find my answer on here. So i just as well join in!! Just looking for some help on a colorado elk hunt I'm trying to plan for next september. I have been hunting all my life (27 yrs) and have great knowledge about being in the woods. I have always wanted to elk hunt but between going to school, changing your major, then changing schools then finally graduating (may 2012) I kinda didnt have the time nor the money!! But since Im graduated and still young, I would like to start trying to tackle the majestic colorado elk! Plus, I have shot enough ducks these last 5 yrs that i'm just not as mad at them as i used to be. And since trophy whitetail aren't running around in my part of Texas (near College Station) I am left with a choice. Spend money on whitetail or elk. Grew up on whitetail so got my fix there so elk it is!!!

First, I do know about the dow website and been spending time there. I am familiar with draw system and otc units. I'm interested in solo backpack otc archery either 1st of season or prime rut. I am leaning towards wilderness because i dont want to be crowded. Tall, steep, rugged, 10,000+, secluded, nasty areas that most average hunters shy away from because it would be "too much work" is what im thinking about.  I have thought about hiring a packer but depends on how far in i have to go. (for me there isnt a limit on how far. young ambitious and crazy lol) also, cant really afford a guide either at this point, plus means more to me to go diy and shoot a raghorn. I am fully aware of the physical challenge that this will be which is why i have already started a 6 day workout routine. I know the air is thinner and everyone should prepare to acclimate. Gear is pretty much covered from survival to clothes to food to packs to toilet paper. Well i have a list of all i need to buy. which is all of it and will get pretty expensive due to my preferences on that list.

So....... What i really need help with is some advice on areas to hunt that fits the type of area i am looking for. I have been looking into Maroon Bells wilderness, (unit 43) Frying pan wilderness near Vail, Weminuche wilderness and San Juan forrest, and West Elk wilderness. Top picks right now are Weminuche, West Elk unit 53 63, and Maroon Bells. I know the terrain in these places are tough. Its why I picked them.  So weekend warriors might not pile in. If i could get some advice on narrowing down to unit(s) inside a wilderness and preferably where to focus my attention at in those areas would be great. Please dont just say september go high find water. I got that part. I know that it changes year to year due to many factors, but i dont want to waste a drive 21 straight hours and spend 10 days in the wrong end of a unit or wrong end of a wilderness. If anyone wants to give any kind of specifics at all then please pm me and not post here because i want to protect any info shared for you, me, and other hunters in the areas posted.  Also, any info sent pm will be strictly kept to myself.  (being as no one i know would give a crap anyways) And if anyone knows of easy draw units that are better than most otc units or good draw units that usually have left over tags for sale then that would be great!! Thanks for any help or info or advice received. The sooner i narrow my search, the sooner i can start studying maps of these areas!

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Joined: 10/22/2012
Posts: 7
Not looking for anyones

Not looking for anyones proven honey holes.... Just  wondering if anyone will share some great insight.  maybe a report of what you saw this bow season. how the rut was. when the elk were moving, talking, what elevation, number of hunters/outfitters seen in certain areas, number of elk seen in certain areas, ect....  And anyone that has done it for years and knows of some good places to start looking would be great too!  Im hoping this turns into an annual trip for many many years!!!

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 07/13/2011
Posts: 922
I'd suggest you be patient

I'd suggest you be patient for answers. This is hunting season right now, and you're asking questions for next year. You have lots of time to make a plan.

 

I will say that what you want to do will be tough, and you're biggest problem will be getting the meat out without it spoiling. It's hot for bow season. Even at timberline.

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Joined: 10/22/2012
Posts: 7
Thanks Still Hunter.  I guess

Thanks Still Hunter.  I guess I am a bit impatient but I have been wanting to start Elk hunting for a long time and am already loosing A LOT of sleep over it!!!!  You are right though, meat spoilage is a big issue and for that reason will probably have a packer lined up incase this blind squirrel does find a nut!!! I do wish I had someone to go with me at least the first couple of times because it seems two heads are better than one when tackling something new of this caliber.  But I have made it just fine with my other adventures on my own so this will just be a new one to add to the list!!  Although, this will be the biggest I have taken on, I know I will be better prepared than most.  I tend to over analize and over prepare for almost everything! 

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 07/13/2011
Posts: 922
First thing you need to do is

First thing you need to do is pick a unit. If exbiologist will come on the thread he knows all the units better than most. He can even help with which one you should pick. Then you can focus on how to hunt it, and you can get some help from others who has hunted it.

I know you're excited, but you have tons of time to work it out. Relax.

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Joined: 10/22/2012
Posts: 7
LOL

Thanks again Still Hunter!  Man I wouldlove to havegood chat with ex biologist for sure!  

exbiologist's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
1st season

I'd suggest a first season hunt.  I know everyone gets excited about calling in a bull during archery season, but you are 3 times more likely to actually kill one during 1st rifle than during archery season.  Given that, it means you'd have to draw a license.  It's not that hard.  Of your OTC units 43 or 53 would be fine.  The 53 portion of the West Elks isn't that rough until you're on the 54 border and the rest of the low stuff receives more pressure than you'd expect.  43 is much bigger country in terms of elevation gains if you really want to tackle something.  45 is another decent option in the Holy Cross Wilderness if you want big stuff and want to get way back in there.  Any of those three are OTC for archery.

If you want to do archery, you've got even more work cut out for you, but you'll see there are new people killing stuff all the time.  However, to get your feet wet, still have the potential for decent weather and a little bugling (to help locate the elk, not to call them in) go with 1st rifle.

Striker's picture
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Location: Kuna, ID
Joined: 10/29/2012
Posts: 204
Units

I have some questions for you as well on units. First, I've archery hunted my whole life and taken many elk around the 300 range. I just moved to CO from Idaho and I can't hunt until next year as well. I'm looking to find the best units for OTC archery that might have a chance for a 350 bull or bigger. Many people tell me they are hard to find unless you have a great draw unit. I've been looking at units 28, 371, and 18. Tell me what you think.

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Joined: 10/22/2012
Posts: 7
Me????? LOL

Striker wrote:

I have some questions for you as well on units. First, I've archery hunted my whole life and taken many elk around the 300 range. I just moved to CO from Idaho and I can't hunt until next year as well. I'm looking to find the best units for OTC archery that might have a chance for a 350 bull or bigger. Many people tell me they are hard to find unless you have a great draw unit. I've been looking at units 28, 371, and 18. Tell me what you think.

I hope you are asking someone other than myself!!!  I couldn't help you there bu I know there has to be someone here that can give some insight.  I took a quick look at the success rate of those units you mentioned and man you must be up for a real task.  those percentages are pretty low.  But then again maybe since not many are shot, more grow up to be bigger.  This is totally my opinion and I'm not expert.  I have a friend though that hunts first rifel every year on private out of Vail.  It borders public and they hunt public too.  He has mentioned that he has seen some really nice bulls in that area.  330+.  I'm not sure exactly where around Vail but those units you mentioned are pretty dang close!

Striker's picture
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Location: Kuna, ID
Joined: 10/29/2012
Posts: 204
Ya. I looked at the

Ya. I looked at the statistics to. I hoping that's because the terrain and thickness of the woods and maybe even access. I like 18 and 28 because they border the national park wich I know there are big bulls in there and I could get lucky hunting the border line. I like 371 becuase it's just plain beautiful and I have a co-worker who owns property up there and I've been impressed by some of his pictures. It's to early to decide. I'll just have to plan on some good scouting next summer. Thanks.

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Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: NC
Joined: 09/10/2009
Posts: 1639
d, I'll send u a pm about the

d, I'll send u a pm about the Wem. I just ran across this post & it's late est std time( hunting the am ). Any info Ex is willing to part with is good info. I followed his advice on my first Colorado elk hunt but passed on a rag horn. Anyway, I'll send a pm later 2day or 2morrow. Good luck & good hunting!

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