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jim boyd's picture
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Colorado or Bust - 2012 Elk Trip

Hello Folks,

I am starting some long range plans to hunt out west in 2012 and I have pretty much settled on Colorado as my desination - although I can be talked out of that.

I do not have a ton of $$$ to throw at the trip and really hoped to do the whole trip for $4000.00 but that may be a pipe dream... and I am coming all the way from SC.

Most likely, I will have to go by myself.

I do not have any experience out west.

I am older - will be 55 then - but in fairly decent shape.

I would love to do a drop camp but I wonder if my lack of experience - and likely not having a partner - would spell doom to the trip?

With that said, I am now starting to think that a guided trip - 2:1 - or a semi guided trip are about my only real options at success.

Please offer me your opinions and be blunt - you are not going to hurt my feelings at all - about this dilemma...

If the conclusion is an guided hunt, semi guided hunt or drop camp - do any of the members here know of good guides to recommend in CO or other states with good elk numbers?

I am going to apply in 2011 and again in 2012 - but I think I need a good plan now so I know where to apply for - my head is spinning trying to sort all of this out.

I guess the last question is this... is there an area that would be good to apply for - that regardless of whether I took a guide or not - I could use the permit in either case - just knowing that a guide would tilt the odds dramatically in the favor of success?

Thanks in advance for any help!!

 

Jim (wishful in SC)

onzaman's picture
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I would have at least one guy

I would have at least one guy go with me, unless you get a real good guide service. Most drop camps will pack out your animal if they can get to it, but if they can't get a horse to it, then it may be up to you not saying one guy can't do it. Also the drive there with 2 will be more pleasant, we drive straight through taking turns driving from Michigan.

I have had the pleasure of going one time so far and we guided our selfs and my son got a nice 5x5 and some of the others had opportunity and I got lots of exercise. Me and one other guy put in for points last year and are going to try and draw this year. A drop camp would be nice.

I was 46 when I went and can say it paid off to start training ahead of time. I got lots of good info from the good folks on this forum.

Good luck on your journey

 

 

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That is good to hear Jim... I

That is good to hear Jim... I am glad that you are taking a leap of faith and have decided to give it a go. I think that your decision to come to Colorado is a good one. We have a lot of animals and you can get a bull tag over the counter which will make planning for the trip a little easier. I would suggest hunting a unit where you can hunt bulls and cows at the same time. You would put in for your cow tag through the draw and buy your bull tag over the counter. You need to look at the list B tag table in the Colorado Division of Wildlife's big game brochure to find units where cow tags can be held in addition to a bull tag. You can find the brochure on their website.

I agree that you should try and find someone to come out with. That would be one heck of a killer drive for just one guy to make. I also like your idea that you posted earlier of finding some people on the forum that have like desires in a hunt. If I remember right, Vermoster might have shown some interest. I also think that if you had some comrades, that you could pull it off without a guide but if its a one time thing, I guess I can see perks of a guide. Good luck and I like forward to seeing this hunt come to be.

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If you haven't done it yet

If you haven't done it yet you might want to invest a few bucks into the information that you can get off of Exbiologest's site at  http://westernhuntingdata.com/   He has spent quite a bit of time getting the information and even thoe I haven't used it I believe that it would help you a lot in planning a hunt as far as where to go. 

Also I think that to help your odds when the draw starts in 2012 look at hunts that offer either sex tags for elk in the draw.  That way if you do draw one of those tags you'll only be out the price of a bull tag what ever that may be that year and not the cost of a bull and a cow tag for the same year.  Sometimes it hard enough to fill one tag not to mention two.  Also just to look at what may be available you could down load this years hunting guide at Colorado's DOW web site  http://wildlife.state.co.us/  In it you can find all types of information such as drawing odds, harvest reports, and a whole bunch of information about hunting here in Colorado. 

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Jim, that's good to hear

Jim, that's good to hear about you formulating a plan to hunt Colorado. A word of advice: If you can't go at least every other year, don't go at all. Hahaha. It is a lot like turkey hunting is for me, I go every morning during turkey season. If I tag out, I still go with friends to help if I can. So, I can tell you elk hunting is a trip that is hard to live without.

All jokes aside, it is a tremendous experience. I'll agree with Critter about the either sex tag and info from www.westernhuntingdata.com. Both are points you should follow.

I went last year DIY by myself. I did my research(that's how I found this site & the best, most helpful advice) and purchased a left-over bull tag in a unit that is not known for a lot of elk. With the info from Ex's site, I was able to hunt the "secret spot" he had suggested. I think, for being a rookie to this area and DIY, I had a pretty darn good hunt. I was able to see a fair amount of elk and even had a shot at a legal 3x4 bull. I passed the shot, which I regret till this day, in hopes I would shoot a bigger bull. That didn't happen. I would leave that mindset in SC. I would shoot the first legal bull you see, get your meat and be happen. It was a learning experience that had to miss out on this year because of the economy.

I rented a Llama to help with the hauling of camp and the elk, if I were to be successful. This made the trip into the wilderness a lot easier.
And that would lead into a question to ask yourself. Do you want to get away from the crowds? If so, then I would do one of two things, if not both. I would hunt the wilderness to limit the competition and more room to spread out. I would also hunt the 1st season rifle which is a limited season. 2nd and 3rd season, they'll be a ton of people in the woods. 4th season, the weather really determines the location of elk and where to hunt and can be a very limiting factor for an out-of-state, DIY hunter.

DIY without a guide and driving with a partner, you should be able to get the trip completed for around $2500.

jim boyd's picture
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OK... so who else from out of

OK... so who else from out of state wants to hook up and go?

Share a guide 2:1 or share a drop camp?

Want to start applying this spring!!!

Jim

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Hey Jim, if it's for 2012, I

Hey Jim, if it's for 2012, I might be interested in hooking up for a hunt.

Depending on what part of Colorado, it's totally driveable.  I am looking at doing it anyway.

Let's see how it progresses, and how much interest this generates.

jim boyd's picture
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CA-V, Yes, 2012... I am

CA-V,

Yes, 2012... I am leaning toward NW Colorado but I am open!!!

I say let's do it... I am all in, one way or the other.

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Good to see folks wanting to

Good to see folks wanting to get the elk hunting bug:).  Jim, I would consider a semi-guided hunt with your price range.  These are usually done out of base camp with a lot of support from staff.  You don't need to worry about cooking and cleaning, which by yourself, can really tax your hunting.  I can't speak for other outfits, but our semi-guided hunters get at least one day in the field with a guide, and maybe more if a guide is freed up.  Frankly, I would not legally, or morally let just one guy go into a drop camp by themselves.  So drop camp option may be out for you if you are by yourself.  I would be very hesitant to book a hunt with an outfitter that had no problem just dropping off one fellow in a drop camp.  Saftey should always come first. 

Your budget is pretty tight.  You need to consider transportation cost, taxidermy, meat processing and shipping cost as well as your outfitted cost.  If you can bring a buddy in on the deal, you can not only reduce some of those cost, but get a better rate on a hunt through an outfitter.  Finally, you may want to select an outfit and then ask them if they have anybody else in your shoes.  I have clients that occassionally want to book, but don't have anybody to go with, they ask me if I know of anybody.  Last year I put a fellow from Georgia with a fellow from Wisconsin and they booked togather to get the 2 on 1 hunt rate.  Hope this helps.

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TwoBear, in what unit do you

TwoBear, in what unit do you guide hunters? Do you Guide all seasons(archery, muzzy & gun) and both muleys & elk? What kind of cost is involved per person for 3 or 4 people? Do you have a website that has all this info?

Jim, I may be interested in tagging along for a trip to Co. It depends on the particulars of the hunt. Which unit? Which season? Bull or cow doesn't really matter to me. I, like you, will not be able to spend a lotof money on the trip. We'll have to figure out the details.

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ecubackpacker wrote:
TwoBear, in what unit do you guide hunters? Do you Guide all seasons(archery, muzzy & gun) and both muleys & elk? What kind of cost is involved per person for 3 or 4 people? Do you have a website that has all this info? Jim, I may be interested in tagging along for a trip to Co. It depends on the particulars of the hunt. Which unit? Which season? Bull or cow doesn't really matter to me. I, like you, will not be able to spend a lotof money on the trip. We'll have to figure out the details.

 

I guide in Montana, Sapphire Mountain Range.  I believe Jim is looking for a Colorado hunt.  Yeah, we offer discounts for larger parties to a point.  We do a lot of repeat business, so we sort out what hunts we need to fill and go from there, sometimes even running sales but only for the current year.  Pretty hard to get an outfitter to bring down hunts from 2 years out, and we already have opening week rifle 2012 booked.  www.elkoutfitters.com

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