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elk bugling activity in Colorado

I was planning on an elk muzzleloader hunt(Sept. 11-19) in Colorado area 76 this fall. I have 13 prefernce points. I now see they have started an early rifle season, Oct. 1-7. My question is, in which season would I hear the most bugling?

exbiologist's picture
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Re: elk bugling activity in Colorado

Good question. From backdating elk calving dates, I found the 90% of the conceptions to be between September 16th and October 7th. So presumably, the bulls would be most responsive to bugling and cow calling by hunters just prior to most of the breeding while they are gathering their harems. So either the end of the muzzleloader season or the end of the archery season would actually be best by my guestimation. I think the bulls would mostly be locked down and breeding in early October.

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Re: elk bugling activity in Colorado

From many of my experiences. I feel you will here more bugling during muzzy season, but if you are looking to take a big mature bull, you would have a better chance from Oct 1-7. The bulls will be dead set on breeding and a lot easier to find and take.

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Re: elk bugling activity in Colorado

Not sure I would pass on that early season. If they only give out a small amount of those you should tear it up. The last 5 years or so it seems the rut is later and later. I know it has been off the charts the first week of Oct. in the Gunnison area. They were still vocal in 2nd season last year once the pressure left. If it were me, I would jump on that early season. You extend your range with a rifle by 200 yds over a muzzle loader. Take the gift the Division has decided to give you. Hammer

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Re: elk bugling activity in Colorado

Thanks everyone for the help. I called the Colorado Division of wildlife and they don't know how many tags they will be issuing for that early rifle season yet. I have to get my application filed in the next couple of days.

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Re: elk bugling activity in Colorado

Decided to apply for the early rifle season, Oct.1-7. Should have a pretty good chance of drawing with 13 points. I am wondering if anyone has hunted area 76 or can suggest any specific drainages or areas? I would probably like to hike in a mile or two from the roads and set up camp and hunt from there. Any help will be appreciated.

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Re: elk bugling activity in Colorado

I would think that the Muzzleloader season would have more bugling activity, but I'm not familiar with 76. I'm surprised it takes that many points to draw.

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Re: elk bugling activity in Colorado

Me and my dad have muzzleloader hunted for elk and deer the last six or seven years straight doing fairly well taking four bulls and one cow in that time between us. We've noticed, at least in our area of Southern Colorado, that the rut activity really starts firing up around the Wed. or Thursday into the last weekend of muzzleloader season. The first part of muzzleloader season we've seen no rut activity for the most part and hunting them is traditional spot and stalk namely.

This year however, I've rolled the dice on the first season elk only tag. From what I've heard from hunters and ranchers in our area the elk are still bugling and rutting well into the second and even third week of Oct. After at least six years of having to get into or bring them into muzzleloader range I'm looking forward to three hundred yard shooting opportunity if needed and I'm itching to use my new 30-06. With the limited amount of hunters due to it being a draw tag and it sounding like the bulls can still be either called in or preoccupied with breeding and stalked easier it should be a good hunt.

Oh, and the first rifle only season is Oct. 16th to the 20th. I think you had it listed as the 1st thru 7th.

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Re: elk bugling activity in Colorado

Thanks SoCoKHntr. From the information I have recieved from other hunters it sounds like the best time to hit peak breeding season is usually the last week of September and the first week of October. There is a new season this year in area 76 Early Rifle Oct. 1-7. Its in the 2010 application brochure. Thats why I jumped on it instead of muzzleloader.

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Re: elk bugling activity in Colorado
djmtwood wrote:
Thanks SoCoKHntr. From the information I have recieved from other hunters it sounds like the best time to hit peak breeding season is usually the last week of September and the first week of October. There is a new season this year in area 76 Early Rifle Oct. 1-7. Its in the 2010 application brochure. Thats why I jumped on it instead of muzzleloader.

Whoa guy! It looks like you are set, that is prime time and with a rifles capabilites you are in like flynn. Your biggest problem should be holding out for a real wall hanger.

Good luck and post pics!!!

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Re: elk bugling activity in Colorado

Someone on another forum said they were issuing 23 tags for this new early season and expect at least 10 points to draw.
Now I'm not sure how he would know that because it seems as though it may be yet to be determined - influenced by the meeting below.
The following is copied from the DOW website.

MONTE VISTA, Colo. - The Colorado Division of Wildlife has scheduled two public meetings in the San Luis Valley to discuss big game management and license allocations for the 2010 hunting seasons in Game Management Units 68, 681, 682, 76, 79, 791, 80, 81, 82 and 83.

The first meeting is 6:30 p.m., April 15, at the Monte Vista Co-op, at, 1901 E. U.S. Highway 160.

The second meeting is 6:30 p.m., April 20 at the Blanca/Fort Garland Community Center, located about one mile west of Fort Garland on the north side of U.S. Highway 160.

Every year, DOW biologists evaluate big game harvest and population estimates to set license numbers for the seasons.

Brad Weinmeister, terrestrial biologist for the DOW in Monte Vista, will explain proposed license numbers for big game species: deer, elk, bear, pronghorn and moose.

For more information, call Weinmeister at (719)587-6905.

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