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Location: Northern Wisconsin
Joined: 07/20/2009
Posts: 6
New to Elk Hunting

I have recently been asked to join a few friends on an Elk bow hunt in Colorado this year. It was reletivlely short notice as in they just asked me on Sautrday 7/18/09 and about all the information I've gathered from my friends is: We will be purchasing over the counter tags and I believe that we will be hunting in the Radium area and Sheephorn Creek by Statebridge. Unless they decide to go to Gunnesion.

I want to make sure I'm as prepared as possible and that we aren't going out there blind and just spinning our wheels. I have hunted in mountains before so I know the physical challenges I may face. But any information that I can get about where to hunt and where not to waste my time, what type of weather to expect (although in mountians anything can happen), what type of habits to expect from the elk, anything pertaining to the hunt or where to hunt would be very useful.

Thanks and I look forward to gettting some great information!!

exbiologist's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
New to Elk Hunting

Those are some pretty broad questions, if you narrow down what you're specifically looking for, some of us can help you out. If your friends have hunted elk before, they should be prepared to answer your questions. Also, I wouldn't be looking for advice on where else to go if they are the ones doing the planning, especially if they have been before. If it's eveeryone's first time, then I can appreciate your concerns. It sounds like at least someone must have done some research to pick out a specific area, so I'm not going to go against what they have dug up.
But back to your questions, what kind of habits are you wondering about? Basically, they eat, sleep, drink and hump during archery season. What were you specifically wondering about?
And you answered your own question about the weather.
I'm happy to help, but I'm not quite sure what you're after

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Location: Northern Wisconsin
Joined: 07/20/2009
Posts: 6
New to Elk Hunting

exbiologist- Thanks for the reply!

I'll try to be a little more specific.....Only one guy of the group has hunted elk and hunted in those area's only once before, so we are all basically new to hunting elk and the area. I don't know if Radium or Gunnison have a good herd population or what the chances of seeing, let alone killing one are. I don't anticipate going out there and having all of us fill our tags, but one or two would be nice.
Here are couple of questions I have: Is it safe to believe the elk will be up high since it is still warm and they probably have a good food souce yet? Should we locate a bull and then set up in the morning or evening ? or just try to go after him that same day(depending on the wind obviously)? What about calling, bugle, cow, or calf calls or just don't bother with it? Is there a certain weight I should be pulling on my bow? What's a realistic distance for a shot with a bow 20yds, 30yds, 40yds? Should I use any scent or just a cover scent?

Please feel free to add anything you can think of. Thanks!

SoCoKHntr's picture
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Location: Pueblo Colorado
Joined: 12/18/2006
Posts: 1776
New to Elk Hunting
Sconniehunter wrote:
exbiologist- Thanks for the reply!

I'll try to be a little more specific.....Only one guy of the group has hunted elk and hunted in those area's only once before, so we are all basically new to hunting elk and the area. I don't know if Radium or Gunnison have a good herd population or what the chances of seeing, let alone killing one are. I don't anticipate going out there and having all of us fill our tags, but one or two would be nice.
Here are couple of questions I have: Is it safe to believe the elk will be up high since it is still warm and they probably have a good food souce yet? Should we locate a bull and then set up in the morning or evening ? or just try to go after him that same day(depending on the wind obviously)? What about calling, bugle, cow, or calf calls or just don't bother with it? Is there a certain weight I should be pulling on my bow? What's a realistic distance for a shot with a bow 20yds, 30yds, 40yds? Should I use any scent or just a cover scent?

Please feel free to add anything you can think of. Thanks!

Yes, many elk will be up high this time of year. You should be in your hunting area before first light and if necessary hunt all day until last shooting light. Be prepared to 'set up' on a bull when the opportunity presents itself be that morning or evening. Bugling, cow and calf calling can both be effective or not effective given the circumstances. Experience will teach you more about this. Regarding the bow questions I'm not a bow hunter so definitely not an authority, but I've watched enough shows where bow hunters take elk up to forty yards which I believe would be considered a fairly long shot. Unless you're Cameron Hanes you'd be better served limiting your shots to thirty yards or under. Most preferably twenty or less. Being elk hunting rookies if you do happen to bring a bull in your nerves and 'elk' fever will likely be hitting you like a freight train making the closest shot possible the best chance.

Main thing with being a successful elk hunter is an intimate knowledge of the area being hunted by you, the hunter. If this intimacy with your area is lacking the odds are stacked against you.

Good luck and have fun.

exbiologist's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
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New to Elk Hunting

I'll second everything SoCo said. And to address your population questions there are good elk herds in both places. I'd say you would double your odds of bagging if you returned to where you friend hunted last just so you aren't starting over again completely. I'm sure there were elk nearby.

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Location: Northern Wisconsin
Joined: 07/20/2009
Posts: 6
New to Elk Hunting

SoCo and Exbiologist - Thanks for the information...Good luck this fall and I'm very excited to hunt my first elk!!!

SoCoKHntr's picture
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Good luck SH and be sure to post up some pics after your hunt. Thumbs up

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Location: Underhill, VT
Joined: 08/20/2008
Posts: 27
New to Elk Hunting

I'm doing my first elk hunt ever in about 3 weeks and it's an archery hunt.
I was concerned whether or not I had enough bow. I asked around on differnet forums etc. on what I needed etc. I'm pulling 60lbs and shooting an arrow that is about 430grains +/-. I've been told by many that my setup will do the job. I've been practicing out to 50 yards but would not shoot that far. I'm really hoping for a nice 20 yard broadside shot. I feel very comfortable with a 30 yard shot. I am also using full cutting fix broadheads. I'm not an expert by any stretch, but the elk hunters that I've talked with agree that what I'm using will do the job nicely. One guy told me that the real issue with first time elk hunters isn't whether they can shoot accurately out to 50 yards but more the case of sever elk fever and having them freeze up when a big bull come rushing in and is standing 12 yards away Laugh Laugh I shouldn't laugh, this may be me eye roll eye roll

hellomcfly's picture
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Location: Denver Colorado
Joined: 04/29/2007
Posts: 324
New to Elk Hunting

Anywhere between 45 and 70 will get the job done. It's whatever you feel comfortable with and whatever your bow is adjustable to. personally i shoot 60 lbs on my hoyt. Fixed broad heads are said to be the better choice for elk because elk are really thick and have big shoulder bones, but i've also heard many success stories about mechanicals. mechanicals will fly truer than fixed because the blades fold down but there is a chance that they will fail to open which could result in a wounded elk. i'd go fixed broadheads just to be safe. but again....whatever you feel comfortable with. I personally like to be dialed in out to 50 yards. you HAVE to be proficient out to at least 30 yds when hunting elk but you really should be dialed in out farther because then you dont limit yourself.

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Location: Northern Wisconsin
Joined: 07/20/2009
Posts: 6
New to Elk Hunting

First, I want to thank everyone for being so generous on offering their knowledge of elk hunting with me. But, i do have another question.

I'll be hunting the opener of bow season, what kind of tactics should I be using to bag a bull. I know I'll be doing a tremendous amount of glassing and walking. What is a good rule of thumb to go by as far as hunting. Spot and stalk, calling, ambushing, etc. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks Again!
Sconniehunter

SoCoKHntr's picture
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Location: Pueblo Colorado
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Posts: 1776
New to Elk Hunting

Glassing and locating by sight and by sign will dictate the tactics you the hunter will employee.

If you glass a herd or a lone bull and the terrain allows for a stalk getting you into shooting range there you go.

If you see elk or their sign using a certain area or trail daily to get to and from bedding areas you can set up an ambush attempt by sneaking in early and hiding along the route.

If you find they are sticking to the timber tightly you can get in there and slowly still hunt the timber.

You can conservatively try a bugle or cow call periodically to see if you get a response and take it from there.

You've got to be adaptable and locating the elk is the biggest hurdle to overcome. Once you find em then you can decide how you're going to get a shot at em.

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