15 replies [Last post]
flewthecoupe's picture
Offline
Joined: 06/07/2011
Posts: 79
Drew GMU 59 for elk, first timer.

Hi everyone,

First timer here posting but have been lurking in the shadows for a while before registering. Been years since I've hunted and last fall got a wild hair and decided I wasn't much on genetically modified, 5000 animal per acre industrial sized cattle/pig farms, etc. Went and bought a Browning XBolt .300WM and set my sights on finding an elk to fill the freezer.

I drew GMU 59 for first season rifle, cow tag. All the guys I know that hunt hunt bow. So I might be a little out of luck there for having a hunting party. I've been looking over the maps and overlays, etc and have heard of good hunting around the Crags and behind NORAD. Seems some rough country but not too horrible. Wanting to bivy hunt instead of spike hunting. Maybe it's just me but I just can't get the idea of waking up at 2AM, walking for 3 hours, setting up to glass an area hoping to find an elk, and then, if unlucky, having to walk back and repeat this process for 4 more days. Seems staying light and moving to different areas allow for much more ground to be covered and increases the chance of finding something. I realize it also limits campfire time, etc.

Any thoughts on general areas? Not wanting anyone to come right out and say, "here they are", because that takes the fun out of it and with them being the unpredictable creatures they are it would be a little hard to nail that down, anyway.

Anyone out there spike hunt? Advantages? Disadvantages? I've been hiking with a 72# ruck to get ready for miles on the ground and am planning to work up to 100# or so to be ready to haul anything out. Right now, my ruck, gear, and rifle are weighing in at about 40#. Need to add in the weight for my cold weather gear and food. Still planning on keeping the ruck with gear to less than 50# with my 7# rifle slung. So even getting an average bull that's quartered and deboned coming in around 250# I should be able to haul that out in 3 trips. Less if I'm lucky enough to be able to get someone on the phone to help pack it out. Thoughts on me going out there by myself? This is what my initial plan was, going alone, but there's the risk if no one is around and God forbid something happens and there's no cell phone coverage, etc. I'm well versed in land nav, map reading, first aid, basic survival, etc. from my Army days so not too concerned about getting lost. But there's that 1 in a million chance of catching a stray round, having a boulder fall on my head, twisting an ankle or breaking a nail.

 

Okay, long, rambling first post and not so much of a long story short. Wink

Thanks for any advice!

 

Michael

Ca_Vermonster's picture
Offline
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: San Diego, CA
Joined: 07/27/2007
Posts: 5792
Welcome to the site!  There

Welcome to the site!  There are plenty of people here with elk hunting knowledge from Colorado, so you should get a bunch of replies.

Good luck!

flewthecoupe's picture
Offline
Joined: 06/07/2011
Posts: 79
Thanks for the welcome,

Thanks for the welcome, Ca_Vermonster. Where are those Colorado people you mentioned? Wink

cowgal's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: Colorado
Joined: 03/10/2002
Posts: 1787
Welcome to BGH! We may have

Welcome to BGH!

We may have some folks on here that have hunted 59, but most usually come over to the western slope to hunt. Several members live on the eastern side, so hopefully they'll see this post and give you some pointers. 

flewthecoupe's picture
Offline
Joined: 06/07/2011
Posts: 79
Thanks, Cowgal!

Thanks, Cowgal!

Critter's picture
Offline
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4206
I'd be more than happy to

I'd be more than happy to give you some ideas on where to hunt that unit except for the problem that I have never hunted it.  Now if you draw a tag for 44, 35, 36, 371, or 444 I would be more than happy to give you a hand. 

The big problem is that Colorado is divided up into a lot of different units and the best are west of the divide.  Even a lot of the hunters on the eastern slope that I know drive over here for their hunting seasons.  Also if any of your buddies hunt that unit bow hunting you might hit them up.  The end of the bow hunt and the first season are not that far apart and the animals should be in the same locations.

I don't know if it would help you but you can check out Western Hunting Data

  http://www.westernhuntingdata.com/

You might have to sign up and spend a few dollars but it might help you out. 

flewthecoupe's picture
Offline
Joined: 06/07/2011
Posts: 79
You know, I've been staring

You know, I've been staring at topo maps and think, I'd go there, or there, or there, or there, or there, or.... LOL

These are places well off from the beaten path. DOW shows it summer range and then I look at elevation. Most of those places are in the 8500' - 9500' range in elevation. Nothing reaches 10000' feet. Good water supplies it seems. Grassy meadows. Good trees/shrub, etc. But from everything I've seen about elk.. they like to be high. So I wonder, are they going to be there? Or someplace higher until the snows push them down. I know boots on the ground is the best, but without having to scout ALL of 59, I'm kinda struggling where to start looking on the ground.

Critter's picture
Offline
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4206
A lot of the area that I bow

A lot of the area that I bow hunt every year is right around 10,500'.  You will find a few elk up there but most of them are hanging around 7,000'-8,000'.  That is where the water, feed, and dark timber is at for them to get out of the sun.  So right now if you get a weekend off where you could get out there and check it out for yourself you could learn a lot about that unit.

flewthecoupe's picture
Offline
Joined: 06/07/2011
Posts: 79
Thanks for that. There are

Thanks for that. There are places in 59, The Crags for one, that are supposed to be good hunting and alot of that area is high, over 10000'. But a lot of roads and public access for hiking, etc. so I was wanting to stay away from that area if I could find good sign elsewhere, even if it meant lower elevations. So it's good to hear that it's a good possibility they'll be where I'm looking.

Offline
Location: Colorado Springs
Joined: 09/21/2011
Posts: 8
I also got a tag for Unit 59

I also got a tag for Unit 59 for my first Big Game Hunt, only mine is 4th Rifle Bull. (I guess there is a reason why tags are "Leftover") Good luck to you and let me know what you find, I'm thinking a spike camp since it's going to be pretty much full on winter during my season. I plan on getting up there long before sunup and being able to boogie back down the mountain to the springs for a warm meal and bed, yeah im a rookie Big smile

Redroadking's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/18/2011
Posts: 10
I have never hunted unit 59,

I have never hunted unit 59, but my comment is geared towards your hunting plan. I am not a fan of hunting alone, especially if you are not going to be camping in the same location every night. There are too many risk in the mountains to be out there alone. I know you will be on the front range but weather is a biggie and no matter how well you plan you are putting yourself at too much risk. You mentioned it in your post so I know you may have some concerns as well, and do not put to much emphasis on having cell coverage, you can be hurt and still not have enough time to be rescued. I would do everything in my power to have a buddy tag along, even if they are not a hunter. It is better to have someone close to help if you need it than to have to pick up the phone and call for help. And think positive, you are going to need help hauling out the freezer full of meat you bag!

Red

Related Forum Threads You Might Like

ThreadThread StarterRepliesLast Updated
new to the gamemaveric411/16/2004 20:35 pm
Deer Feeders starting at $100nativeoutdoors005/04/2006 11:03 am
Got my goat back... yay for record bookshawkeye2701203/20/2012 20:27 pm
Mountain PartyRick106/21/2007 13:47 pm
Colorado backdoor elk is upexbiologist1805/26/2011 18:51 pm