Hello, I am going on an archery drop camp hunt this year in GMU 521 and was wondering what advice I could get about the unit, elk herd, and basically just any information about the unit. I am use to hunting a little farther south than this in gmu 67
I have hunted with a rifle in 521 for about 10 years. Let me know which area of that unit you will be hunting and if I have been near there I may be able to give you a bit more detailed information. (Send me the location in a private message if you wish).
In general, unit 521 is a part of Date Analysis Unit (DAU) E-14. If you go to the Colorado Division of Wildlife web site under “hunting” and then “big game” you can find their data and plans for the unit in “herd management plans”.
On their statistics pages, 2009 (and previous) Colorado Division of Wildlife data can be looked at and you will find a 2009 success rate in 521 of 25% for all hunting methods, but more than 50% of the animals taken were cows and calves. Archery runs about 20% according to their limited survey data. I do not know how that compares to all other units, but that may help you out a bit if you care to compare units. Tags for 521 are also valid in several other units during some seasons. Hunting pressure in 521 is what I would call relatively high.
Five years ago the DOW changed the first and fourth season rifle hunting from applying for a bull tag or a cow tag, to either sex. This year it is changing back. Second and third seasons are over the counter for bull tags and a draw for cow tags. The unit is very popular with archery and muzzleloader hunters for some reason. Maybe the new regulations limiting muzzleloader permits to specific units will help?
Access in 521 is not too difficult and that may bring in hunters, and each year I see many hunters who are hunting there for the first time - and only time. Part of the unit is on the Grand Mesa and that area is always popular, but I do not hunt there.
My personal observations are that the herd numbers are down in the areas that we hunt. We hunt only a very small part of that unit so that may not mean much and all things are subject to change over time. We are battling the effects of more mining and drilling, too many hunters and private lands that are holding animals on non-hunted lands.
So, if you are interested in more detail send me your location and the outfitters name (in a private message) and I will help you out if I can. I know some really good outfitters and some others too.
I am planning a hunt in 521 with a drop camp during archery season. Do you know anything about hubbard creek outfitters. Hopefully they put you in a pretty good area where we will have some chances at an elk. Any info would be appreciated. Also if you know the area they hunt that would be greatly appreciated so I can study topos.
I am not familiar with the outfitter you mention, but I have heard of them - and have not heard anything bad. I think they hunt the east side of the Mesa, but again I am not sure. If you have a hunt booked with them, they should be able to send you whatever info you need. If you have not booked with them yet and are looking for a good area to hunt, I can give you the contact information of a (legal, licensed) outfitter that I know in that unit. I know them personally and they do a real nice job, and hunt really good areas. No matter who you go with, be sure that you include the drop off, pick up, AND packing out any elk meat that you get - if you are a ways off the trail. It sounds really neat to do these do-it-yourself hunts, but there are way too many stories told about spoiled meat, deep snow, bears eating meat, etc from hunters who really did not plan ahead for the hardest part of the "hunt". Let me know if I can be of further help. I do not check this site daily , but I will get back eventually. Best of luck to you on your hunt.
When placing a trail camera don't just look for a well used trail. What you want to do is look for a freshly used trail off by itself that goes from a north facing ridge, thick forest, brushy knob or some other similar bedding area to a food source. Don't forget water sources. Especially in the summer months the deer need water so look for a good trail going down too a creek surrounded by thick cover and place the camera 100 yards up from the water source.
Scent control is very important...