3 replies [Last post]
Joined: 12/30/2009
Posts: 5
Help on Elk hunt in Colorado

I am starting to plan a Elk hunt for 2011 and need plenty of information for this hunt. I was wondering which part of Colorado I would want to hunt for the best sucess at getting an Elk during the rifle season. Also what is the best season to hunt 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th. Also any recomedations on where to stay would be appriciated and areas to hunt while there. This is the first Elk hunt I have ever been on and am planning to come out with my nephew on the hunt who has also never hunted elk. We would like to stay in a motel setting to cut the cost of the trip down but wanted to know if there is such thing as getting a guide to hunt with if we do not stat at one of the outfitters? IF so what is the usual price per day for a guide? Also if hunting the 1st rife season what are the odds of pulling a tag with no pref points? Is there anyway between now and 2011 we can get enough pref point to draw? Any information would be greatly appriciated. Thanks Steve Green
Please email me at sdgreen3@verizon.net if you want I can call you and get this info if you do not want to type it all up since I am asking for a lot of information. Also what are the chances of getting a deer tag to go along with this hunt and is it a wise thing to do when coming out for Elk? Thanks Again


onzaman's picture
Location: Michigan
Joined: 02/19/2009
Posts: 161
Re: Help on Elk hunt in Colorado

I've only been one time and can say getting one would of been nice but thats hunting, my son got one and he slept in every other day and put about 60% towards getting one and we did it self guided can say a guided hunt would increase your chances and would help teach you what to look for and he should know the area you will be hunting.

We hunted West Elk Wilderness 2nd season some guys saw several bulls and some like me saw 3 cows at 8oo yards and some saw none. And after talking to lots of guys who have gone before to the same area and season say it can be different each year.

I applied for a deer tag and didn't draw but can say I'm 46 and hunt hard here in Michigan and saw the biggest deer I've ever saw with a gun in my hands on a 9 day hunt there.... Think Now bow season here I've seen several Pope and young bucks here.
We are looking at going back in 2011 also so I will apply for points again this year unsure Muzzle loader or first season.
Either way it was a trip of a life time and we got lots of good info from the good folks on here and all the people who was willing to share and read alot on the Internet ect.

Good luck

exbiologist's picture
Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2397
Re: Help on Elk hunt in Colorado

Welcome to BGH.
First the easy questions:
Can you draw a 1st rifle tag with no pref points? Yes. In most units that is possible. Can you also earn an additional point to help ensure you draw that tag in 2011? Yes, you can apply for a preference point this year if you do not want to risk drawing a tag that you aren't ready to use yet.

Now, as for which season to hunt, I'll give you a quick breakdown of the 105 units that I track. 1st and 4th season will be either sex success rates. 2nd and 3rd season will be bull only success rates. 1st season 31.15%, 2nd season 19.7%, 3rd season 16.2%, 4th season 21%. If going strictly by the numbers, 1st season is your best season to hunt.

However, if you want a deer tag, you cannot hunt in 1st season. And 4th season deer tags are severely restricted in any of the halfway decent places to hunt. So now you're back to 2nd and 3rd season. 2nd and 3rd season tags elk tags are unlimited in most of western Colorado, including some very good units. As for the best season to hunt, the 2nd season buck deer average is 44%, 3rd season 49%.

So you need to ask yourself, "what do I really want to do?" Is this really an elk hunt, with a side of deer? Deer hunt with elk as a bonus? A true gung-ho combo hunt? Adding deer to the logistics really complicates things and forces you to hunt in a less desireable season for elk, unless you try to draw a 4th season tag, but many of those will take a lot more than the 1 point you could have with 1 year of drawing.

Adding a deer tag certainly increases your odds of coming home with something and if this is a once in a lifetime hunt for you, then do it. If you think you will be able to do this again, maybe forget about the deer for now and focus on the 1st season elk.

Lastly, as for an area to focus on. They all have pluses and minuses, so you need to be honest with yourself. You asked which would be the best for success. That's not an easy question, because it depends on the season in some places. But let's say 1st season elk. Some of the Flat Tops units have incredibly high success rates, so do the Bear's Ears. However, those units are for everyone. Pressure is extremely high and can be a real turn off. But guys go back year after year and love it.
As for the guide questions, maybe peruse through the Colorado Outfitter's Association website for guides who might do what you are looking for. I'm not much help there.

Location: Powderhorn, Colorado
Joined: 04/07/2003
Posts: 167
Re: Help on Elk hunt in Colorado

I f you choose any services of a licensed-bonded outfitter/guide be sure to ask for a lot of references and how long they have been in business. Also if they do not return your calls for more than a day or two, forget them and scratch them off your list! I would go with the Colorado Outfitters Assoc. for any of them. I used to be an outfitter and I did a guide service by the day and it was usually in the third or fourth seasons where there's a chance of more snow. Prices varied by the equipment used, meals or what the client needs are. A basic guiding service where you pay and stay in a motel, do your own meals, etc., guide picks you up every day to go elk hunting with 4X4 vehicles and returns you to your room each night would run about $250-$300 per person, per day. This was in the late 1990's, early 2002. Cow elk hunts are little cheaper.......fully equipped drop camps (tent) by pack-in horses only in a wilderness area is another way to go for elk, but are more expensive.......but increases your odds by a bunch.........and with the right outfitter and the right area, can be a blast. Make sure it's a wilderness area designated by the USFS. Also make sure your in good physical shape for the hunt too. good luck!!!

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