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Location: Brandon,MS
Joined: 02/16/2009
Posts: 2
Colorado Elk hunting

Hi Folks,
A friend and I have accumulated 12 preference points for a Elk hunt in Colorado. We have applying for GMU #76. We are now wondering if we should be applying for a different unit if we want a 300 plus bull. A lot of the reading on the internet says that unit 76 has a lot of elk but not many that are 300 plus bulls. Can anyone offer advice on weather we should stay with unit# 76 or advice on a better unit?

elkkill06's picture
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Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Fruita Colorado
Joined: 02/02/2009
Posts: 1974
Colorado Elk hunting

Hey welcome to BGH. I do not much about unit 76, but exbiologist sure knows alot about that unit. I know if you hunt hard and are willing to put in the time, unit 61 you could definitely take a bull over 300 inches. in unit 40 you could also have a chance at giant bull, but there is tons of private property you have to work around. Good luck and good huniting! Check out the the thread under ELK/ Colorado Prefrence Points.

exbiologist's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
Colorado Elk hunting

Unit 76 is a great unit and you stand as good a chance of taking a 300 inch bull there as you do anywhere else. It has a very high success rate, lots of high quality public land and a good age structure. Less than 25% of the bulls are taken anually in that unit, which helps the bulls develop(about 40% is average for most of Colorado). In my opinion, unit 40 offers you the best chance outside of the northwest units, with. It does have many drawbacks due to it's landownership pattern (which also is reflected in the mediocre success rate)and is not a unit I'd recommend for someone not willing or able to learn the boundaries, as they will not be readily marked. Unit 61 has great bulls, but the age structure is only slightly better than average. It would be better if Unit 62 wasn't the most heavily hunted unit in the state.
I'd recommend you stay with unit 76, don't get caught up on the difference between a 280 and a 300 inch bull. Either one will make you happy. Besides, you may still run into a 350 inch bull, it's much more scenic, classic elk country, and you won't end up road hunting like you would be tempted to do in 40. And 76 has an over 60% success rate for 1st season. The other trophy units you qualify for are significantly worse.

elkkill06's picture
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Location: Fruita Colorado
Joined: 02/02/2009
Posts: 1974
Colorado Elk hunting

Hey X. Nice to see your here so fast. I Love reading your answers, but I think there may be to much biologist still in you (just kidding). There is no road hunting in unit 40, if you want the big bulls you better put on your boots lol. Especially if you take your horses in from Unaweep Canyon. The things most people don't kinow is there has been a 390 to 400 inch bull killed in unit 40 four out of the last seven years. Yes they were on private, but there are many great bulls on public. Too many people read the stats and do not understand that only a handfull of people tell the truth when its comes to CDOW. I see more giant animals leave this state never recognized. I found this site, BGH, looking for big animals in unit 62 and 61. I feel not a lot of people care about being recognized in Boone and Crockett or Pope and Young. I seen a buck taken three years ago in unit 61 by some Washington boys, a huge non-typical with a 7 inch drop tine 37 inches wide and scored over 219 and they did not even realize what they had. I wouldn't always go by the stats, if I could get my scanner to work I would put some great pictures on here for you. Unit 62 is very heavily hunted, true, but those elk know where to go when the shooting starts. I wasn't bashing you X we just need to get a little more DOW out of you LOL. Have a great one guys. Good luck and good hunting!

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Location: Colorado
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Colorado Elk hunting

Elkill,
You're alot better for on the ground info for these areas than I am. I was never DOW. I worked Nebraska, Montana, and Texas before moving here to work for a private organization(I wrote kind of joke biography a few weeks ago in the rifle section if you want to read it). What I've got are essentially odds, and not even the DOW has what I have. My database does not account for B&C or P&Y entries, and cannot account for differences in nutrition or genetics. My numbers are combined with ground experience most of which reinforce the impressions the data creates.
But there is no replacement for age when it comes to growing antlers, and that's what I can help with. What I'm saying is that if only 10% of the bulls over two years old are killed every year, then you've got a great age structure in unit 40(compared to 37% or so in 61, 25% in 76). I also know human habits, and with many parts of Unit 40, you'll be driving from canyon to canyon, and people being what they are, aren't going to get out and hunt every single time they hit a piece of BLM, hence the road hunting remark.
Anyway, if you're playing the odds to put yourself in the best position to either:
kill a big bull, see very few hunters, kill any bull, kill any elk, see lots of game, etc I can help with what I've pulled out of available data. I can't know the ins and outs of every unit. But that's where experience like yours comes in to help, to give further detail.

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Location: Brandon,MS
Joined: 02/16/2009
Posts: 2
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Elkkill & Exbio
I appreciate the quick response. Looks like we should stay with unit 76 and hunt hard. We are thinking about hireing a local guide for the hunt if we get drawn.Last year they drew 60 applicants and issued 48 resident license and 12 nonresident license. You had to have 12 preference points to be drawn. There were 34 nonresidents that applied with 11 or 12 points. Only 12 of them got a license. We put in with 11 last year and are going in with 12 this year. We feel like we have a chance this year.
Thanks again

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Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Fruita Colorado
Joined: 02/02/2009
Posts: 1974
Colorado Elk hunting

Hey X
I was bustin your chops, I really do enjoy reading your stuff. Your fun and I think you know more than you let on about unit 76. And I think alot of the system you have come up with is very helpful. Keep up the great work and never get to serious, if I was to pick someone to go hunting with from BGH it would be you. As always Good luck and good hunting!

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Location: Fort Collins, Co
Joined: 06/05/2008
Posts: 14
Colorado Elk hunting

I am in the same boat as you are, I like what Exbiologist had to say about the area. Several weeks ago I put a phone call into the biologist that manages unit 76. He did mention really the average bulls in the area that they see are usually around 260-280 large five points and decent six points. He did say on occasion they do see some elk come out of the area around 300 to 325, but have not seen anything extremely large come out of there the past couple years. I really like the info Exbiologist gave you about the B&C and other info. It is what you would call classic elk country. Before I had talked to the Biologist in the area I had a few places picked out on maps to ask him about.

I also agree with elkkill Colorado can be tricky when crunching statistics. I am obsessed when it come to the numbers, but they are best used as an indicator. Talking to folks will help prove your theories. I have a freind that hunted unit 61 this past season 1st rifle. He said most of the bulls he saw in trucks were around the 280 class. He was holding out for a 350 and came home empty handed, but said he had seen at least 25 in the 300 mark, and the sheer numbers are hard to beat. He had seen nearly 70 elk a day.

This is why Colorado can be so difficult to choose an area, There are spots in every unit that can produce what we are all looking for at any moment. That is why it is so hard for me to save up a decade worth of preference points when I can hunt in a unit that is similar every other year to couple of years. Good luck in your decision.

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