21 replies [Last post]
Offline
Joined: 07/06/2011
Posts: 19
Muzzleloader or 1st Rifle for Colorado Elk

Howdy all.  I am planning anothe elk hunt to Colorado this fall (last year was amazing, had a 5 point in bow range but didn't get a shot).  This time I am planning on either getting a Muzzleloader tag or 1st rifle tag (many units don't require any points to draw these).

 

Can someone pro-con these two types of hunt? Is the muzzleloader season going to be to early for rutting activity and 1st rifle to late?

 

 

Offline
Location: Colorado
Joined: 07/13/2011
Posts: 855
The real question is...will

The real question is...will 1st rifle season be too late for the rut?

Offline
Joined: 07/06/2011
Posts: 19
It seems to me that one would

It seems to me that one would think the muzzleloader success rates would be higher but actually they are higher in the first rifle season.

I am just wanting someone who has hunted both to compare/contrast.

Critter's picture
Offline
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 3868
Let's us see, if you are

Let's us see, if you are hunting during the ML hunt you are going to have to get within 150 yards for a effective shot on a elk with a single shot rifle, and no scope.  Now during the 1st rifle hunt you can take the shot out to as far as you feel comfortable with your rifle, you have multiple shots in the rifle, and you can use a scope for a more accurate shot.  Those are a few of the reasons that the 1st rifle hunt will have a better success rate than the ML hunt.  That along with fewer hunters I believe during the 1st rifle hunt than those out there with the old smoke pole.  As far as the rut it will go on from August until October depending on where you are at.  I have heard bulls bugling into November but you will never get them to come to a call.   

If I had my choice I would take the ML hunt.  I just like the challenge of hunting with the smoke pole and knowing that I have to get close and only having that one good shot. 

I did however take my largest elk with a rifle during a limited entry hunt in Utah in the middle of September. 

Offline
Joined: 07/06/2011
Posts: 19
Hunting elk is hard enough! I

Hunting elk is hard enough! I don't need any extra challenge!

I should have said how much more/less visible will the animals be in each season. I understand the technological advantage of a modern rifle probably accounts for a good portion of the 1st season success rates.

 

I guess what I am trying to say is, do you see more elk in the muzzleloader season?

Critter's picture
Offline
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 3868
Usually when I am out elk

Usually when I am out elk hunting or even deer hunting I will see a lot of elk, but then I usually get up high and glass for hours.  It doesn't matter if it is early or late I usually find them.  Now getting to them is a different story. 

If I wanted a nice hunt where I didn't have to worry about the deer hunters and just have the woods to myself and the other hunters in the uint or area that are hunting elk to worry about I would hunt fist season bull.  If you hunt the ML hunt you not only have to contend with the other ML hunters for both deer and elk but the archery hunters for both deer and elk as well.  But then in September your biggest worry about weather is rain, perhaps some snow, but come first season elk it all changes. 

Offline
Location: Colorado
Joined: 07/13/2011
Posts: 855
I have hunted both. You asked

I have hunted both. You asked about the rut. Not success rate. Success rates can sometimes be very misleading. If you hunted the archery season. You know how the ML season is. The 1st season can be anything. The rut could be over. Not usually, but you won't be in the peak of the rut either. Weather can be anything for 1st season. To me that would be a bigger concern than how many elk I see. I only need to see one.  Big smile

With that said. Even though I had success in ML elk season last year. I'm hunting 1st season this year.  Confused

SGM
SGM's picture
Offline
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Canon City, Colorado
Joined: 08/13/2011
Posts: 893
Do you see more elk in ML

Do you see more elk in ML season over rifle season? Well to be honest the answer is maybe. I have hunted both rifle and ML for 20 plus years and sometimes I see more in ML but in other seasons  I see more in rifle. What I do like about ML over rifle is the fact that there are less folks hunting and the elk have not been pushed very hard if at all. First rifle in the more popular areas can be a zoo. In the units I hunt the tag quota is 100 either sex and 100 cow tag during ML season compaired to 1st rifle which offers up 5000 tags. Does not take long to see why the succsse rate is higher in the 1st rifle but the crowds are huge. As for the rut, Critter hit that one already so no need to comment. If I have my way and can draw a tag I would take ML season over 1st rifle due to less crowds and the elk are not as spooked. That said, it still is no cake walk and by no means an easy hunt.    

Offline
Joined: 07/06/2011
Posts: 19
Decisions....

SGM wrote:

Do you see more elk in ML season over rifle season? Well to be honest the answer is maybe. I have hunted both rifle and ML for 20 plus years and sometimes I see more in ML but in other seasons  I see more in rifle. What I do like about ML over rifle is the fact that there are less folks hunting and the elk have not been pushed very hard if at all. First rifle in the more popular areas can be a zoo. In the units I hunt the tag quota is 100 either sex and 100 cow tag during ML season compaired to 1st rifle which offers up 5000 tags. Does not take long to see why the succsse rate is higher in the 1st rifle but the crowds are huge. As for the rut, Critter hit that one already so no need to comment. If I have my way and can draw a tag I would take ML season over 1st rifle due to less crowds and the elk are not as spooked. That said, it still is no cake walk and by no means an easy hunt.    

 

5,000 Tags? Surely you jest! But if there are more hunters, and a higher success rate, that means LOTS more elk are being shot.

In response to a comment earlier, I did hunt the last week of archery season last year, and the only bugling activity I heard from elk while hunting was right as the sun went down. Warm, and dry weather had the elk nocturnal.  Did meet a guy that shot a 5x5 that said he had a couple coming to bugles. My preference is to carry a rifle if I am not gonna get any rutting activity, which I am learning is highly dependent upon weather.

 

I did see some a big herd bull chasing off satellite bulls and screaming his head off the day I got into town, alas, they were on private land, but it was fun to stand there and watch!

SGM
SGM's picture
Offline
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Canon City, Colorado
Joined: 08/13/2011
Posts: 893
I jest not, now if you look

I jest not, now if you look at the tags for unit 11 that unit takes in 12 seperate unit and during ML season it is only 3 of those units but even if you average it out you get 416 to 67 tags per unit which is still more than 6 times the tags for rifle to ML. Also knowing the area majority of the hunters will hunt the 3 units I hunt during ML season. To say the least it is a zoo. You can look up any of the units on the web site Critter sent you.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Orig Quota 5000 | 5000 0 0 0 || Ttl Chce 1 5150 | 2646 2504 0 | 0 0
EE011O1R Cur Bal 0 | 0 0 0 0 || Chcs Drawn 5000 | 2643 2357 0 | 0 0
Choice 1 % Success 97 || Chce 1 Drwn 5000 | 2643 2357 0 | 0 0
|| Chce 2 Drwn 0 | 0 0 0 | 0 0
|| Chce 3 Drwn 0 | 0 0 0 | 0 0
|| Chce 4 Drwn 0 | 0 0 0 | 0 0
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

COMeatHunter's picture
Offline
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Joined: 06/01/2011
Posts: 596
Out of all the seasons

Out of all the seasons available in colorado I enjoy the ML season the most.  The time of year is almost perfect (except for last year with a bunch of rain).  The daytime highs are in the 50's & 60's, mornings are frosty but not too cold and the days are long enough you can hunt over 12 hours a day.  But that's just my personal opinion.  First rifle is good too.  Come to think of it, pretty much any season I can get out and elk hunt is a pretty good season.

With respect to the rut, the forecast for this year's peak is around Oct. 1, which is pretty much right in the middle of ML and 1st rifle.

 

Related Forum Threads You Might Like

ThreadThread StarterRepliesLast Updated
Colorado Point Creepexbiologist3006/24/2012 14:12 pm
Colorado Muzzleloadernick 22001/04/2013 19:14 pm
Colorado leftover license listsexbiologist607/09/2011 11:26 am
CO UNIT 66 muzzleloader huntshiner19006/18/2010 11:00 am
Moose with a muzzleloaderOrion-CO706/26/2012 21:41 pm