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CVC
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I have to second what Hawkeye

I have to second what Hawkeye said about pronghorn.  I even wrote the hunting tip for someone like you who might want to do a western DIY hunt and suggested a pronghorn hunt as a first hunt.

It is a great introduction to the west and frankly, it is a fun and rewarding hunt.  It doesn't take a lot of days to do the hunt and can be combined with another game animal.  The meat tastes great (I just finished eating some right before I wrote this) and if you like to have trophy mounts, they rank near the top of beautiful mounts.

They also make a great european mount which can make the hunt and trophy mount very economical.  You could do a pronghorn hunt in 2011, get some intel on the area and come back in 2012 for elk or mule deer.

Just a suggestion.  Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

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CVC, I read the hunting tip

CVC,

I read the hunting tip you wrote and it is filled with good information, no doubt.

i can not do a trip in 2011 - that much is for sure.

2012 is a possibility but I better start saving my pennies now!

My deal is this... if I am going to go all the way out there - I might as well go and at least try to do what I really want - and that seems (at least for now) to be go on a mule deer or elk hunt.

I have started doing some rudimentary research and it looks like the permits alone (if and when you get them) for mulies and elk, along with some habitat stamps, etc... are gonna be about $800 or so. If you even start to combine this with travel costs, living expenses, etc... this is NOT gonna be a cheap trip!

No worries, I knew that when I started thinking about it... so if I can go, I want to maximize the potential return... and try for the elk or mule deer (until, perhaps, logisitics and common sense overrule!).

CVC
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Jim, can't argue with what

Jim, can't argue with what you wrote.  A trip like this must be a trip that you want to take and a DIY hunt while cheaper than a guided one is not cheap.

Will you drive there or fly and then rent a car?  If you drive will you be able to find some buddies to share the driving and the expense? 

I don't know about you, but planning a hunt like this is almost as much fun as the hunt itself for me.

Good luck with your research and keep us updated.

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CVC, I lean toward driving

CVC, I lean toward driving just so I could take everything I would need with me from home.

I would have to have at least a partner and it sounds like two groups of two hunters would be ideal... you could hunt as a pair each day and then if or when someone got an animal, you would have extra hands to help get it out.

Additionally, if having the ATV was permissable (even advisable?) I would have to drive.

At a minimum, I would come with at least one other hunter, if nothing else than for the safety aspect of it.

I read too that it is often a joint effort in a stalk, in that you have a hunter and a spotter - at least this is how it reads in some areas.

You are 100% correct - just the thinking and the start of the planning holds a lot of promise and is certainly one of the best things about a trip!

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In my opinion if you are

In my opinion if you are planning on coming out west to hunt don't plan on hunting both deer and elk at the same time unless you have somebody that knows the area or you hire a guide the first time.  Figure it this way, if you shoot an elk in unknown territory and you do not have access to horses you may just spend the next two days getting him out of the canyon.  My suggestion would be to put in for a archery deer tag since they are fairly easy to get and then come out and check out the hunting.  That way you won't be out that much money and you will start to get to know the area and not have to worry about the weather condidtions and weather or not you'll be able to get your vehicle off of the mountain in a snow storm. 

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Very good point, Critter and

Very good point, Critter and I appreciate the feedback!

Since I do not know much about the area - maybe trying to be able to hunt two species is way over the top, so to speak.

That brings another question - you mention put in for an archery deer tag - which would be great - when you hunt mule deer with a bow - do you set up and try to wait the deer out (as we do out east) or do you spot and stalk - or maybe just do a slow stalk?

If I had to choose between elk and deer (and to your point, it sounds like that is a better plan), I lean toward the elk actually - just because they are so spectacular... but again, since I have no experience out west, your comments are very well taken!

I would be delighted to be able to deer hunt out there with a bow and would feel in now way that I was being "short changed" if I did not have an elk tag.

Thanks!

CVC
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I think you can set up and

I think you can set up and wait for mule deer like you do white tail, but I think most spot and stalk.  Something to consider about elk hunting is being able to get the meat out from where you killed it and it ultimately died.  If you can take an ATV and if the area permits them, then I think that is a great idea.  Otherwise, if you can't take an ATV, then you need to be prepared to make multiple trips to pack all the meat out.

I think if you go out west to hunt, you're not really going on a hunt, but on an adventure.

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Hawkeye, I do not know enough

Hawkeye,

I do not know enough about western hunting to have anything against pronghorns!

The only thing I might say is that they seem to perhaps be a "starter" hunt or maybe even a fill in hunt.... we sort of look at hog hunting here in the south as fill in hunting - if that makes any sense.

Looking at SimonG's excellent comments and hints above - he is very pro Colorado.

I am in the car with the wife on I-95 and working on my new netbook, so I have had some time to do some web surfing - Colorado seems to be ranked very highly as it relates to DIY elk hunts... and I have not even starting looking at mule deer yet.

Going back to species preference, I guess the racks on the elks and the mule deer create a greater draw for me than the pronghorn do... not wanting to sound greedy - in fact, I know the early hunts will be hard for me and the likelyhood of taking a buck may be minimal.

As for planning, I could see this becoming an event that I could perhaps pull off once every two or three years... my challenge will be finding a group that will participate on a regular basis.

I will take all of the hints and advice I can get - please do keep all of the ideas coming!

 

 

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I may as well put my 2 cents

I may as well put my 2 cents in on this.

I have been doing DIY hunts for a while now, BTW i live in MI.

hunting out west is totally different then hunting back east, if you have never hunted out west, i would suggest that you go with someone that has, or concider a guided hunt. with the drastic weather change and altatude, you make a mistake out there you may be dead. and get in the best shape you can, when you get at 6000 to 10,000 feet it will kick your butt.

 

Kevin

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Bucky, Your points are well

Bucky,

Your points are well taken, although I do not feel I can do a guided hunt.

I will try to rely on getting in better shape (I am 53, after all) and getting the very best information I can get before I go.

I will look for an early season hunt but since I really do not know that much (yet) about the process by which you draw tags or purchase over the counter tags, I amy end up hunting in whatever season is required.

If I can see some great scenery, see some wildlife and at least be in the game, I will be happy!

I do hear you, though... and I beleive you... I know you can get in trouble out there in a hurry.

Thanks!

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