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Location: Ohio
Joined: 09/08/2009
Posts: 2
Need advice for units in San Juan NF

Myself and my wife will be bowhunting elk the last week of archery Sept 20-27. Originally we were going to head up to the OTC units of 25 and 26, but have recently been intrigued of trying the San Juan region units of 711 and 71. I'm also open to giving the OTC region of 74-78 a try. Problem is being from out of state, I've never been able to scout that region so not sure the type of terrain each unit includes. From what I've read, 711 has good access and elk numbers, but lots of pressure, 71 is more rugged, but less hunters. Not sure about units 74, 75, 751, 77, and 78. We have the gear neccessary to hike in and camp from 1-4 miles off the road and then hunt from there. Would really appreciate some recommendations on specific regions and road access points to do that and get into some decent elk country/scenery. Am willing to take either sex, just really after a good enjoyable diy hunt with the Mrs. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Centennial's picture
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Location: Front Range, CO
Joined: 10/12/2006
Posts: 55
Need advice for units in San Juan NF

PM enroute.

Joined: 08/25/2009
Posts: 1
Need advice for units in San Juan NF

Farmerkev,
I just got back from hunting unit 77&78 for the last 12 days. NO luck, didn't even see an elk. I saw lots of sign, some very fresh in the dark timber. This was my first time in CO Elk hunting, a very humbling experience overall. I'm in good shape and hiked 1-2.5 hours one way into the Weminuche wilderness daily and definitely put in the legwork. I heard one bull bugle when I went to about 10600ft. north of Williams creek reservoir. The elk are there, however, the first week it was very hot and I was only hunting around 9-9.5k feet, once I figured out I needed to go higher labor day weekend was here and everyone was crawling around the area surely impacting game movement. The ranchers just put a lot of cattle into some of the areas I was hunting and this probably pushed some of the elk out.The moon was full and bright and you didn't need a flashlight at night. Those are some of the reasons why I think I didn't see elk like I thought I would but I believe judging from the sign that there are plenty of elk there. I was staying at Sportsmans campground, north of Pagosa springs, Co. on county road 631. It sounds like you are going at a much better time, the elk should be lower, weather & moon should be more conducive. My suggestion to you is as soon as you get to the area you are hunting go as high as you can on your first outing and assess the area for meadows that have a water source in them. The reason I say this there are a lot of meadows that are not visible from the bottom of the valley and you need to go high to be able to see them. Second you should be able to hear them bugling, I only heard one bull during my 12 days. There were 5 guys that shot 5 cows while I was there, but they did this in the first couple of days over a water hole. They hadn't been disturbed yet and probably had some sort of pattern. These critters aren't like midwestern whitetails and don't follow a pattern. If you want more info pm me with your number and I'll tell you more details. WIBS

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Location: Ohio
Joined: 09/08/2009
Posts: 2
Need advice for units in San Juan NF

I think we're getting it narrowed down to 71 somewhere between Stoner and Rico, the only thing I'm worried about is that there might be too much hunting pressure in that area especially coming off of muzzeloader week. Most of the elevation is in the 8000-9000 range, perhaps that is still a little too low given the temperatures you all are having out there right now. My question is, is that area to "popular" or do we need to be thinking somewhere else?

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