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buckykm1's picture
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Colorado Elk Numbers

I am thinking about coming back to CO to Elk Hunt again, After 3 years hunting MT, but i really want to try a different area then what i hunted before, it was just so so if there was a lot of snow in the high country, but no snow up high very few elk where i hunted, So i have been looking at some Stats, does the post season count really tell you anything ?. if it is done after the season, i would assume that a lot of elk would have already moved to there wintering grounds. ?. and those are the only count stats i see ?.

Kevin

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From what I understand most

From what I understand most of the counts are performed during winter when the elk have moved to their wintering areas.  However, this may not be entirely correct.  I also read in one of the DAU plans that they have changed their methods of analysis and counting too which they believe results in a more accurate number.  I'm sure others on this forum have a much better understanding of how the counts are performed and analyzed and they may correct me on this.

The way I've always looked at the elk numbers is in terms of total herd numbers and the defined units those herds reside in.  Then I can compare a relative "density" of elk in number per sq. mile across the state.  Can't really say if this does much good because I've really only hunted in about 1/3 of the state, but it makes me feel like I'm doing my homework on the hunt area each year.

exbiologist's picture
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yes

Unlike Montana's awful stats, Colorado breaks up individual GMUs into DAUs for the purposes of herd counts and management.  So Montana's stats will show some units with a wildly inflated number that translates to 15 to 20 elk per square mile in a few units, and other units, especially wilderness units will be mostly devoid in the winter time.  Colorado's system is much better, but it gives the impression of there being the same elk density across all units in the DAU, which of course isn't true either.

SGM
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I do not think the post

I do not think the post season stats are very good. Like you said this is after the seasons and these elk are in their winter range which is much different than the summer/Autumn range. Also elk numbers in one area can very from year to year due to weather conditions. As no system I have seen is 100%, I go more off the percent of hunters and what the success rate in an area is for a given season and unit. You can get these stats on line from the DOW under the hunting tab and sub tab of stats. Again this in not 100% but at least I see real numbers and know XXX hunters hunted unit XX and bagged XX bulls and XX cows for a success rate of XX% during the season/unit you are looking to hunt. There are other factor to think about also such as private land vs public land to hunt and of course weather such as early heavy snows or very dry weather all year long. A unit may have a high desity of elk per square mile but if 10,000 hunters are chasing them or you only have a small percentage of public land to hunt you have to ask is it worth it?  

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I don't like success rates

Success rates are misleading, and shouldn't be used in a vaccuum.  That's what gets people interested in hunting units like 9 or 13 for elk, when there is basically no public land, but you have a high success rate due to all the private land hunting.  Also, in wilderness heavy units, despite some with high elk densities, you can have misleadingly low success rate.  So you need to take in proper context

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If we all had to report our

If we all had to report our kills. The success rate would be more accurate. As it is. It's just sort of close.

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But the question would be

But the question would be would you report it correctly?  I hunt in Arizona every year and every year they send me a hunters questioner.  It asks what unit, number of days, if I shot one and didn't recover the animal, and if I did manage to harvest one.  It is no problem for me to answer all the questions accuracy but I know of a few hunters that don't.  They'll say that they didn't shoot one and that they hunted the maximum number of days.  So where does that get you by reporting anything. 

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mandatory

In Oregon reporting has been mandatory for 3 years now and there has been no penalties for the 3 year grace period and reporting has been around 50% which is better than the 20% it was. However starting in the 2012 seasons if you don't report you wont be able to buy your 2013 licence or tags without paying a fine. its not much, it will only be $25 the first year but there have been talks of it going to $40 the fallowing year. I like the idea of it. it will get more people to report.

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That seems kind of stupid to

That seems kind of stupid to me to report hunting the maximum number of days without harvest regardless of the actual number of days and harvests.  Not trying to pick an argument, but if hunters provide misinformation to the game managers then the result of mismanaged game populations is to be expected.  If you want to help improve your hunting experience every year, helping with good, accurate data is one of the best ways to do this.  Artificially deflating the success rates for hunters in your unit as a way to discourage others from hunting there is really just hurting your own hunting area in the long term.  It's also likely to backfire when more and more permits are issued for the area to achieve a certain harvest level when game managers apply a success rate that isn't representative of the true harvest.

 

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For what reason would they

For what reason would they say that? I don't get it?

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