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Joined: 03/13/2010
Posts: 18
Elk hunt camping sites and dealing with bears

Not sure if this is in the right forum or not, but I am going on an elk hunt with a friend in Colorado 1st rifle season October of this year.  We have very little experience camping in the Colorado mountains but have been doing extensive research.  My question is, what should we be looking for in a campsite up there?  How close to water do we want to be?  And lastly, we are going to haul our food, game, etc up in the trees away from our camp.  Is there any bear bags or scent proof bags that you guys prefer over others?  Thanks



Critter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4275
I have never worried about

I have never worried about the bears here in Colorado in over 20 years of hunting this state.  But then there are some that have had problems with them getting into their coolers and snacks.  As far as camping all you need to do is find yourself a wide spot on the side of the road in a small or large clearing and pitch your tent.  Water on the other hand is up to you.  I usually bring enough water for the whole trip and don't worry about refilling it.  If you are packing in you may want to bring a couple of the water filter pumps with you so that you can make use of the local running water.  Just be aware that most of the running water in this state in in the bottom of the valleys that you will be hunting.  For bear proofing your food supply all I would do is throw a rope over a tree limb around 15' off the ground.  Then take that end and tie it to another tree about 20' away from the first tree and about the same distance above the ground.  Then let the slack out of the rope so that you can tie your food to it in the middle.  Pull up on the loose end to where your food is at least 10' off of the ground and tie it off.  So in the end you will have the rope tied to two trees with your food in the middle. 

Location: Colorado
Joined: 10/05/2004
Posts: 126
Lions and Tigers and Bears..........oh my

When I first started bivouac hunting in this state many years ago, I also had the same questions and concerns.  Bears are creatures of habit and will associate a free meal with what you're willing to provide for them.  If you use your coconut and don't take any precautions, eventually you're going to have an issue with bears.  They're probably more afraid of you than you are of them and they're just trying to sneak in for a little snack at night.  Not aware of any scent proof bags for food storage, but then again, I don't do those backpack hunts anymore.

Take a few precuations with food storage and you'll eliminate 99% of your potential problems.

Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Meridian, Idaho
Joined: 04/16/2009
Posts: 662
I have always kept my food in

I have always kept my food in my wall tent, cooked in my wall tent and to this day have not had any unwanted visitors. With that being I'm doing a wilderness hunt this year close to the Montana border where F&G says Grizzles have been known to roam. I'm not going to keep any food or cook in the tent this year in that area. If your worried about it get a brear proof cooler or hoist the food up into a tree.

Location: Arizona
Joined: 06/07/2002
Posts: 506
Elk hunt camping sites and dealing with bears

I've never hunted Colorado, but do camp where there are bears. So far in 25 years or so where we go, we've never had any problems and they have left us alone... knock on wood I guess. We always keep our food outside of the tents for sure and in plastic containers/tubs, or these wooden military ammo boxes I have with lids, etc. I've never hung anything, but that's me. As far as the Elk, mine is usually in pieces to get it out easier, and depending on the time of day, it stays in the truck bed that night, or I have driven it out that day being lucky enough to be a couple hours drive away from a small road side stop that has two businesses that set-up there during Elk hunting seasons that will process or hang them in a refridgerated truck-trailer for you, then I go back to camp. I'm unaware if there are any scent-proof bags etc., just using the normal game type cloth bags myself.

Again, don't know that area but for the campsite, I would look for a place that won't get flooded if it rains, snow-melt etc., or that water won't flow into the tent area if it does pour; if you know what I mean. Some rocks around to build a fire-pit is nice as well, and down dry wood a plus of course. Depending on area, having a wind-break of some kind can be handy to keep the tent from flopping all night, and stay away from being too near open canyon edges for the same reason. 

Water wise, we bring plenty with us, bottled for drinking and for throwing in a pack, and some large bottles/containers for cooking and/or washing up etc. As a side note, I've found taking a box of diaper wipes to come in handy for the personal wash-up as well, LOL. Wink

I also sleep with my .44 handy too.... ;-)

Have fun, and good luck.


GooseHunter Jr's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/28/2005
Posts: 3750
I have hunted in CO for 20+

I have hunted in CO for 20+ years and have never seen a bear while big game hunitng.  We have hunted in aslot of places where they are common, and still have not had any issues.  Only thing I have had come into camp was a coyote and a fox.

ecubackpacker's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: NC
Joined: 09/11/2009
Posts: 1639
xman, you can use those

xman, you can use those flexible. roll-up dry bags for bears. I have used them for years ever since I went to Alaska.  I use them when backpacking and hunting. Once you roll them up and clip them to closed, there is a "handle" created in this process. I use it to tied a rope to and hoist the bags off the ground or place in/near a stream with the rope tied to a tree or rock.

Better yet, buy a couple of gortex compression sacks from a camping store or retailer. They usually have d-rings woven into the fabric to aid in attaching a rope. That way you can put them on the outside of your pack if need be.

SOBLE's picture
Joined: 07/12/2010
Posts: 162
If your looking for a bag the

If your looking for a bag the gortex compression socks are pretty awesome.

WesternHunter's picture
Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2374
Don't worry

I would not worry too much about bears in Colorado during your hunt.  We have black bears.  And some say a very small number of grizzlies that appear about every ten to twenty years or so.

I've never had a problem with black bears in camp during a hunt, and have never seen a grizzly in Colorado, though I do believe a very small number still exists.  It is always a good idea to keep youir food and meat hoisted up high when storing in camp. 

ecubackpacker's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: NC
Joined: 09/11/2009
Posts: 1639
Where abouts do you suspect

Where abouts do you suspect the grizzlies are holding out? I read the story about the attack some years ago but nothing recently. Where could they be that hunters wouldn't run across them?

Alamosa's picture
Location: Southern Colorado
Joined: 03/25/2005
Posts: 245
The answers depends a lot on

The answers depends a lot on where you are going to be, altitude, mode of travel, and how early or late.

I've had 3 bear encounters so far this year but never had them come into any of my camps.  All of the ones I've run into would rather avoid humans.  I've had them visit my kills many times.  They eat the gut piles and sometimes they'll pull down meat that is hanging.  Once I had one still hanging around when I came back to pack out meat but he was really only interested in the guts.

I like camps with natural cover.  I like to have water within walking distance but I don't like the sound of creeks and streams.  I prefer to hear what is going on.

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