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SSGJB's picture
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Joined: 09/16/2011
Posts: 44
Need Help with Elk hunt in CO

First of all i would just like to say i am brand spanking new to this forum. I have browsed some of the topics and post and been absoultly amazed by the replies and infomation that has been posted. It's almost as if you guys are all life long hunting buddies. I am proud to be part of this forum. The main reason i'm on here is to look for some advice and get as much help as possible. This will be only my second time elk hunting. Last year was my first time, and never saw a single elk :( Last year i hunted in GMU 18 near the King Mountain Ranch and along 125. This year i would like to go somewhere different. It will be just me and my dad hunting 2nd season OTC bull tags. Just some of the GMUsi have looked into are 62, 55, 71 and of course the white river national forest. Just to give you a little background on me. Last year our hunt started with a 6 hour hike on foot, my pack weighed 82 lbs. The terrain was pretty steep and rough. We hunted the 3rd season soo warmth was a factor to consider hence the 82lb pack. I am from WI so I'm used to the cold and snow. Both me and my Dd are military veterans, i'm still active my dad is retired. So hard work and pain is not new to us. But at the same time my Dad is 52 yrs old so i don't want to drag him through the roughest mountains possible although he would do it. Well i think i have rambled on enough. Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post i look forward to the replies.

R/

Jared

exbiologist's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
woah! you do need help

Welcome to BGH.  First of all, why the 82lb pack?  Mine typically weighs 17 to 20 pounds.  Were you backcountry camping?  If so, that probably isn't necessary in unit 18, as I'm not even sure if you can get 6 miles from road there.  Next, 18 is one of the worst units in the state, so good idea to look for somewhere better.  Those White River, assuming you mean Flat Tops units are extremely crowded and since you've obviously waited til now, you probably haven't even scouted.  However, you need a place like that with good road access, but decent elk numbers.  The units you mentioned could all work nicely, as they have some flatter areas you could hunt, but there's a lot of wilderness in 55 and some of the Flat Tops, so that might not be a good choice.  If you want to expand your search some more, grab a road atlas and see which areas have roads that'll take you to some of the higher country in the area to save you and your dad some of the heartache.  For a newby, a backpack, pure wilderness type hunt should be out of the question.  Go somewhere with good road access that will allow you to be mobile and react a little better to conditions on the ground.

But for God's sake, you can't be waiting until a month before the season starts to even consider getting out there and scouting.  So consider this year another learning experience year.  And your dad is only 52, which isn't that old.  I've met plenty of guys in their high 60s to mid 70s doing some pretty rough hunts.  If you're not able to scout, get your dad out there and looking around for you.

buckykm1's picture
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Location: Vicksburg, Mi
Joined: 11/24/2010
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Scouting

He lives in WI, when you live 1500 miles or more away,  it is kind of hard for a lot of us to get out and scout.

Kevin

exbiologist's picture
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wasn't specific...

buckykm1 wrote:

He lives in WI, when you live 1500 miles or more away,  it is kind of hard for a lot of us to get out and scout.

Kevin

I took it that he was from Wisconsin, but lives here now... Think

Ca_Vermonster's picture
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Welcome to the site!  As you

Welcome to the site!  As you can see, you will definately get some answers here, especially if it concerns elk in Colorado Wink

I too am planning a hunt, in unit 62, but for next year.  I might actually ask my dad along too, but he'll be 65 then.  Not sure if he'd do it, but I think it will be fun.

Stick around awhile, and throw up some photos and stories.  Best of luck on your hunt with your Dad!

hunter25's picture
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Location: Colorado western slope
Joined: 11/13/2009
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Welcome to BGH and like you

Welcome to BGH and like you said there's a lot of great information here. My first question was going to be where yuur from or at now as it sounded by your post like you live here somewhere. But it looks like you may be from quite a ways away. That would explain the lack of scouting of course but it need to know information as it will determine what part of the state your willing to hunt. I have not hunted any of the areas you mentioned myself. It would be a good idea to take any of the tips ex gives you as he knows the whole state better than most here and the elk herds in general. I live in 444 adn while there is a bunch of elk it's not one of the better ones overall for success.

Good luck in your search and I hope you have a great time.

My dad is 65 btw and does fine. Just make sure yours gets out and at least gets some good hiking in to get his stamina built up and those legs strong enough.

BikerRN's picture
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Advice

The best advice I can give you, being as I have never hunted in Colorado, is to be in hunting shape year 'round.

Being from WI you probably don't have the terrain or elevation that you will find in CO. This can create air sickness as well as respiratory and heart problems for those predisposed. While none of those things may have happened to you last year, that was last year. This is a new year and conditions and your bodies will be different to some degree, even if only marginal.

Talking with some friends that work in the ER's in CO they all have stories of the "hunting season medical disasters" that seem to come through the ER doors every hunting season. Do your best to not be a statistic. Also, Google Earth and topographic maps are your friend. It's amazing how much you can learn from maps and satellite imagery. I have topo maps of my deer hunting unit and while I've been out scouting, and will go out again, the information gleaned from the maps and imagery helped to narrow down my focus before I ever set foot in that hunting unit.

Another option is to perhaps hire a Guide to scout for you if you can't get out there to do it yourself. Being that you live so far away this seems like a possible avenue for you to pursue in that you would glean more knowlege of the area. They say that information is power and in essence what we are doing when we go scouting.

Good luck to the both of you and have fun!

 

Biker

SSGJB's picture
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Thanks

Wow, thanks for the quick response guys. I just want to say for the record i had an 82lb pack for a back county hunt. i had enough gear for 7 days in the middle of november. I do agree it was a little heavy.

Also i live in WI so getting out there and scouting is out of the question. I have done just about all i can do as far as research online. I've read several books, i've look at all the elk herd numbers, bull to cow ratios, and hunter success ratio for each unit. I have spent several hours looking at google earth and the interactive hunting maps on the CDOW website.

I also want to mention that the reason for late planning is me and my Dad where suppose to go out to CO with a cousin, which his father in law lives in CO. But he cannot go do to work so now his Father in law is not going anymore. They are the ones that knew the area. so with that being said me and my dad want to still go out to CO. Yes i don't plan on being very sucessful but anytime spent in the mountains of CO is quality time.

As far as being in shape, well i have to stay in shape for the military. But i am still working out on a regular basis. It is hard to prepare for the mountains and thin air, i don't want to say it will never happen to me(sickness) but i've been out there twice once skiing and once hunting and it hasn't happen to me. But anything can happen.

Thanks for the post and keep the replies coming it's all great info.

buckykm1's picture
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Location: Vicksburg, Mi
Joined: 11/24/2010
Posts: 366
71

I have hunted unit 71 about 6 times, second rifle, there are Elk there, but, it is very weather sensitive, on years when there is snow in the high country, hunting is decent, but if there is no snow up high, it sucks.

Kevin

SGM
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Welcome

 

SSG, Welcome to the forum and as you can guess by my name I am military too. I am currently deployed however Colorado is my home and was lucky enough to get stationed at Fort Carson also.  If my luck holds out I will be hunting 3rd season this year. As for your hunt, an 82 pound pack is crazy to carry. It is hunting, not a ruck march out on patrol. I would guess that my butt pack is about 5 pounds that I carry day to day. I understand you packed in all your gear but as suggested by others, camp in an area with a good road system and hunt from there.

 

I cannot help you on the numbered zones you picked as I have not hunted those however, I do know the White River area. If you want send me a PM and we can talk some areas.

 

 Here are a few other things for you to think about. It can get real cold and Colorado can get allot of snow during 2nd season so you needed to be prepared for both. Also have you looked at and considered getting a left over cow elk tag? Yes antlers are nice but a fat cow can fill the freezer very nicely. Now if antlers are your goal that is great, just something to think about as several units still have tags. Also as some have talked about already, elevation is a huge factor You are coming from a few hundred feet OSL to several thousand feet OSL. Make sure not to skimp on good hearty food and plenty of water. Being hungry and not drinking enough is a bad deal. Altitude sickness can kick your butt hard and will ruin a hunt very fast. Also not sure as to what vehicle you will have but if at all possible make sure it is a high clearance 4x4. I like to set up a base camp someplace I know I can get out of even if the weather turns to crap. My group then drives in to an area that we want to hunt and go by foot from there.

 

Again welcome to the site and hope you stick around and share some of your ideas and experiences with us. Good luck on the hunt and let us know how it goes.

P.S. 52 is not old!

Redroadking's picture
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Joined: 09/18/2011
Posts: 10
Hey Jared, I have been

Hey Jared, I have been hunting for elk in Colorado since 1994, almost every year in the last 10 years. I live in Texas, but I am fortunate to hunt with a bunch of guys that live in Colorado and have been hunting together for almost 40 years. I am very fortunate to say the least and I have had some success, I have elk in the freezer!

One of the first things I will tell you is to seriously consider buying a cow tag. I have purchased bull tags in the past but I have not been able to take one yet. For the past several years my group has put in for cow tags in units that have great success numbers and we have had very good results. So the second thing I would recommend is make sure next year you submit your application for a draw only unit. There are good reasons these units require drawing a tag, they usually produce elk. That is not always the case, but do your research and study the success rates and put in for those areas. Make sure you keep an eye on the Colorado DOW website, the deadline for applications is usually the first week in April. I can tell you from my personal experience, it is just as gratifying to harvest a big fat cow elk as it would be to take a great bull (well, maybe not quite the same, but close). These animals are not called "monarchs of the mountains" for nothing. They are all challenging and to be honest cows taste better!! That's my humble opinion.

The above information will not help you this year, so let me make a recommendation to you and your father. I am new to this forum myself so I do not know the best practices, but here goes. I have hunted unit 36 near Kremmling many times and there are elk there. I believe it is still a unit that you can buy OTC bull or cow tags (not 100% certain on cow). We used to camp at Slough Grass, it is easily accessible by vehicle and not hard to find. From there you can set out on foot and hunt up to 10000 feet or go lower if the elk have moved down. Like others have said in their postings, find a place you can camp at and drive to other locations in the unit or hike in to the woods from camp.

I hope this information helps you out and you and your dad have a great elk hunt! Remember, it's not the kill that determines the success of the hunt. It's the time in field with your dad and the memories you are collecting that make it a successful hunt. If harvesting an animal determines whether or not it was a good hunt than most of us would rarely have a one. The Rockies are like a church in my opinion and they provide a majestic setting for the memories you will collect. Good luck and good hunting!

Red

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