10 replies [Last post]
Joined: 06/02/2012
Posts: 29
New Colorado hunter looking for advice

This 2012 season will be my first year hunting. Growing up camping and fishing I never hunted or shot a firearm. Last summer my passion for the outdoors led me into a new realm of the outdoors. I purchased a Remington 870 for waterfowl/small game and have since been working my hand at shooting clays. My passions took on another progression as I purchased my first two rifles. A Marlin X7S 308. Stainless with a 3x9x40 Nikon bdc; and a Weatherby Vanguard Series II blued in 25-06 with a Burris 4x12x42.

I have been reading and asking as many questions as possible leading up to the 2012 big game events. From the draw I acquired a deer point as well as an elk point. 

Deer, elk, and antelope are the species I favor most to chase this 2012 season. 511 for elk and unit 20 for deer are two possibilities. How will I know if 20 will have any leftover deer tags? What units within a two hour drive from the Denver/boulder area would you reccomend for a cow leftover hunt? What knowledge will you guys divulge on the Pawnee grasslands for hunting speed goats?

I'm not looking for a trophy, but rather rich experience on fairly mild terrain. Harvesting my first big game is now a dream and the task.

- Taylor


Location: Colorado
Joined: 07/13/2011
Posts: 924
Did you choose the leftover

Did you choose the leftover list if you don't get the 1st pick? You should have, and that list will be mailed to you in 3 days.

Did you take a cow as a 2nd choice?

You should have posted here before the draw, so we could have helped with your choices.

Joined: 06/02/2012
Posts: 29
I believe I had cow elk unit

I believe I had cow elk unit 511 as my first choice and buck as second. I did check for the leftover list option. They mail it out in three days, meaning they go on sale in three days or not tell later?

Location: Colorado Springs
Joined: 10/14/2008
Posts: 35
Hunt Choices

How many PP's have you accumulated so far?

Location: Colorado
Joined: 07/13/2011
Posts: 924
The left over list you get

The left over list you get will be another draw. Later in Aug when the public gets what's left on the list it's a first come first served.

All your questions can be answered on the DOW site. Most of the time when someone gives you an answer here, that's what they have to do. You might as well learn how to do it.  Big smile

WishIWasHunting's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Brighton, CO
Joined: 01/31/2011
Posts: 700

Congrats on taking up hunting!  It is a wonderful hobby/passion/way of life!  I like your shotgun and rifle choices.  I have an old-school 870 Remington, a .308 barrel for my Thompson Encore, and a Vanguard in .257 Weatherby.  

Good work on getting points for deer and elk.  However, since you are new to hunting, I would try to focus on hunts/areas where you can get a tag every year.  Even if you want to build preference points, you should find an area that you can learn really well that you can hunt OTC or that typically makes it to leftovers.  The best way to learn is to get out there and hunt.   

Antelope hunting in Colorado generally requires a decent number of preference points, particularly if you want to buck hunt, and even more so if you are sticking to public land.  If you really want to antelope hunt every year, you should look to Wyoming.  The tags are rather cheap, for an out of state proposition, and you can get tags with good numbers of animals and public land much more regularly.  There are several people on this site that can point you in the right direction if that is something you are interested in pursuing.  

As for the Pawnee National Grasslands, I really don't think there are many secrets to divulge.  Get a good map, because many maps only show the administrative boundaries, and there are many parcels of private land mixed in.  If you haven't found the Hunter Atlas on the CDOW website, check it out.  Because it is so wide open, you can drive and glass large portions of it in a single day.  Since there are good numbers of antelope out there, and it represents a large portion of the public land antelope hunting in the state, the tags are difficult to come by.  

To find out if any Unit 20 deer tags might make it to leftovers, go to the Statistics page on CDOW website, click on the drawing summary for deer, and look at the Unit 20 tags.  Look at the number next to the "Cur Bal" to see how many tags are going into the leftover draw.  If you selected the leftover draw option when you applied, you will get a list of tags that consists of all the tags that have anything but a "0" next to Cur Bal.  After the leftover draw takes place, any remaining tags are what is left as "Leftover Tags".  Looking at Unit 20, there are some private land only, as well as archery and muzzle loader tags going into the leftover draw still available, but I don't know how many will make it to leftovers.  

You can use the same process identified above to get an idea of which tags might make it to leftovers for elk.  I don't have any recommendations for leftover cow elk tags within 2 hours of Denver.  I would venture that most people will suggest that you head further west to increase your odds on a leftover cow tag.  

Stick around and ask more questions as they come to you.  Lots of people on this site help whenever they can.  Welcome to BGH and welcome to hunting!

Joined: 06/02/2012
Posts: 29
Thank you very much for all

Thank you very much for all the information guys, I look forward to the use of this site and the support of its members! I will post questions as they come and look forward to writing about my first hunt!

exbiologist's picture
Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2397
just to add a little

Just to kind of reiterate, you're several years out from being able to hunt bucks on the Pawnee Grasslands.  My buddy drew this year with seven points, but I think you only need 5 or 6.  Most of us that hunt antelope on a regular basis either hunt Wyoming or have private ground in Eastern Colorado in a unit that is easier to draw.  There's a lot of hunters in this state, and not enough antelope to go around.

Anyway, good choices on the guns, and I'd really encourage you to get serious about shooting from field positions.  However, don't over look the importance of scouting.  Depending on where you're going to hunt, you may not be able to sneak out for a few hours after work to scout, and instead have to dedicate a full weekend on occasion.  Lots of shooting ranges are open in the evenings, so I'd try to start mapping out your time now.

Because I'm assuming you don't know many of these units that will be OTC or leftovers, I'd encourage you to start scouting now.  29 and 38 are some of the only units that will have leftovers for deer this year on the Front Range.  Beyond that, probably just the Middle Park units: 27/181 and 18/28/37/371, then the southeast end of the Flat Tops in unit 34 and that's it.  So, anyone who wants to hunt deer on public land will really only have those units to choose from.

For elk you have a lot more options.  If you want to do a combo hunt, consider either those Middle Park units or unit 34.  29 won't be an option and 38 is a really tough option.  Lotsa hunters in Middle Park though.  27and 34 are probably the least pressured of those.  If you want to put all of your eggs in one basket, you can probably get a 2nd  or 3rd season buck, doe, elk and cow license for the same units.  If you want to spread things out, you'll just have to pick one of those few deer options.  For elk, you have quite a bit more to choose from and like I've mentioned numerous times before, the elk hunting gets better the further you get from I70 and the Continental Divide.  I'd want to go further than just 2 hours from Denver.  Lotsa hunters out there.  If you want a dedicated elk hunt, think about a 4th season leftover for a lighter pressure hunt.  That will probably be your only option for an either sex tag.

Ca_Vermonster's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: San Diego, CA
Joined: 07/27/2007
Posts: 5813
Welcome tot he site, and to

Welcome tot he site, and to the wonderful, addictive, frustrating, but rewarding past-time of hunting.... Wink

Lots of good guys on here, to give you lots of good info!

WesternHunter's picture
Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2374
welcome aboard

Welcome to the forum and good luck on your hunts.  I share the same advice that exbiologist offered.  Learn the importance of scouting and more importantly shoot often and safely.  Firearms safety is the #1 thing to practice always no matter where you are.  Now that you are new to all this, get some proper instructions.  Take some NRA certified firearms course and learn all about shooting and safety.  Most ranges and clubs offer these classes, just inquire about them from the range or club.  Private clubs will usually allow non-members to take their classes but will charge a bit more for non-members, just inquire.  In years past I took a few courses at Boulder Rifle Club despite being raised by avid shooters and hunters.  Look them up online.  I was very pleased with their offerings and learned a lot from the NRA courses they offered.  Colo Div of Wildlife also offers many free seminars throughout the year, check their site for listing, they are worth it most times.

Now that you are a gun owner I also encourage you to and highly recommend that you join the NRA.  No gun owner or hunter should need any explananation of why.  I also encourage you to join at least one sportsman conservation organization, you will learn a lot about the world of hunting and how it plays a role in wildlife conservation.  There are many good ones out there that are pro-hunting - Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, Boone & Crockett Club, etc.

As far as Pawnee goes, get a good grassland map through the US forest service and get a good road atlas (Delorme) and scout the area during the summer to get the lay out of the land then scout for where the pronghorn are the few weeks leading upto rifle season.  Treat your scouting like a hunt.  Take along a GPS and good binoculars, get off the roads and trek in a ways and glass the areas.  I always bring a small notebook and pen along to jot down notes of my scouting adventure i.e. where game signs are, where game is, where access is, route directions, ambush areas, hiding places for ambush, watering holes, etc. Good luck. Thumbs up

BikerRN's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Joined: 05/23/2011
Posts: 715

Welcome to the site and to hunting.

Lots of good advice can be found here, and also in the previous threads and stories. I've learned a lot in my short time here and even managed to make a few friends here.

Enjoy learning, as I am, and good luck learning to hunt, as I also am.

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