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Joined: 07/18/2009
Posts: 3
Need some advice on Colorado cow elk hunt...Please

I am planning my 4th trip to Colorado. My first couple trips were in a really rugged area near Aspen, then the past couple years in GMU 7 and 8...I really liked 7 and 8 as far as terrain, but there is a really low elk population...after 2 years of hunting, I saw a total of one cow!!!!
I am wanting to get an over-the-counter tag and just kill a cow this year to get my first elk in the bag..Does anyone know what areas I would have the best chance at seeing a lot of elk and having a chance at a cow??

I am used to rugged terrain and hunt daylight to dark, so that is not an issue at all...

Thanks for any input...

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Location: Hayden, Colorado
Joined: 03/25/2009
Posts: 45
Need some advice on Colorado cow elk hunt...Please

Anything for this year and you will have plenty of company, next year I would find a late season( all of Dec). have fun see lots of animals and few people.

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
Need some advice on Colorado cow elk hunt...Please

Welcome to the forum. Unit 12 is popular for a reason. There are lots of elk and the success rate is high. But there are a ton of people, so it kinda goes with the territory. Unit 4 also has very good public land success, but this year there won't be any leftovers. You're going to have to wait until after this week's leftover draw to see where you can even get a tag.
Although, right now you can buy a unit 25, 26 cow tag. But I would first try for a first season rifle cow tag. The following units are decent and might have 1st season leftovers after the leftover draw and will be available in August:
Units 6,16,17,161,171
Units 11,12,13,23,24,25,26,33,34,131,211,231
Unit 14
Unit 15
Units18,181
Unit 28,37
Unit 54
Unit 79

You're going to have to put up with some people, but that unit 11-231 tag is pretty likely to make it into the first-come-first served stage. None of these are great options for seeing lots of elk, and no people, and some of these are just as rugged as the country outside of Aspen (54 especially).
All I can say is keep trying, right now you're running about average, the statewide success for rifle hunts is often in the low 20% range. You'll get one.

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Joined: 07/18/2009
Posts: 3
Cow Tag Advice

Thanks for the input and suggestions....Unit 54 was a very tough area to hunt..virtually impossible in the Fravert Basin area on-foot...just too rugged..

I will check into some of the areas that you suggested for sure. I know it is a real double-edged sword....where the elk population is high...so will be the hunters..and I am just not a crowd hunter at all.. The area I have been going in 7-8 always seems to have leftovers, so I think that I may go one more time this year and give it a chance. Of all my hunts in 3 different GMU's, it has more sign in there as anywhere I have been, and I had a bull tag last year, and did see a few cows..I did the first rifle hunt last year and like it much better because the second season has deer hunters too...so the people double.

exbiologist's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
Need some advice on Colorado cow elk hunt...Please

I took a real nice bull in 7 a few years ago, then put some friends in the same area and they got into some, but couldn't seal the deal. You'll certainly see fewer people during 1st rifle in 7 and or 19 than most other places because there are any cow or deer hunters.

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Joined: 07/18/2009
Posts: 3
GMU 8

In Unit 7 in the Glendevey area that portion really has one main trailhead that all the hunters use on horseback, the rest is cut off by private property...It looks like a great area but without a horse seems to be extremely tough. Is there a different access point in 7 that would be easier on-foot??

exbiologist's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
Need some advice on Colorado cow elk hunt...Please

The wilderness area in 7 isn't very productive if on foot becuase it is solid black timber out of Glendevey until you get higher. If you want to hunt the wilderness, hunt further south in the Aspen foothills outside of the Rawah Ranch or down towards Cameron Pass. If you'd rather hunt regular forest service there is a lot of logged country on Bull Mountain. Otherwise, hunt north of the Rawahs.

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