I am fairly sure you only have to buy the lottery ticket to apply, you don't even have to buy the $65 hunting license until your drawn.
Once your drawn you can decide to load up the card ;)
Another good thing about VC, is that you can buy lottery tickets and still apply in the general draw. If you are drawn for VC, they take your name out of the general draw, if not you can still have a chance to hunt elk.
Yeah, I know it's only $30 for the bull tag, $20 for the cow tag. I'd be afraid of actually drawing it though, then realizing I couldn't go........ Just rather not put in unless I am prepared to go on the trip.
I will also apply for my first preference point in CO, with my 2nd choice unit 70 and 3rd choice unit 65. There are a ton of elk in CO, so if I don't get drawn anywhere I will probably drive up for an OTC hunt.
The good thing about CO is that you can request a refund before the start of the season and still pay for and get the preference points. So if I get drawn in NM, I will ask for the refund in CO.
Unless you have a ton of points in CO, the quality of bulls is better here. I've heard VC has dropped off in the quality of bulls, but I still have to believe its better than any unit I could in get CO without having to accumulate points for 10 or more years.
I'm going to let my UT points go as the chance of drawing are slim and none. Never bothered putting in for CO elk. They have a ton,but not the quality of NM IMHO. I've seen great bulls all over NM,some areas have way more. The VC still has some 320-350 bulls. I was hunting for deer in a sleeper unit 3 years ago,and never saw a decent buck during my hunt,but I could have shot 6 bulls all over 300,one 340.Unit is not known for elk at all.
We chose 16 because of the landscape and the fact that most of it is Green on the unit map.
I haven't been hunting since I was about 10 and we went up by Cuba. Nobody got anything, but we had a great time. So we are useing "common sence" and I chose the area I felt had the highest chance of "seeing" a deer. Hopefullly we chose right and we will be successfull.
Elk have been killed close to roads where they could be loaded whole into the bed of a pickup. But it doesn't happen often and I'm not sure that is the experience that I long for. The type of elk hunting that I prefer requires rigorous physical exertion that can cripple someone who is not in shape. Being a college hockey player I have to be in at least fair physical condition most of the year but when one of my buddies got back from the Navy Seals he changed the way I think about physical...