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smitty1hunter's picture
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Location: Madisonville, Louisiana
Joined: 06/11/2009
Posts: 7
New Guy

New to this forum, but am very impressed. I have been hunting in SW Mississippi for several years now and love to hunt deer and turkey. One of the guys I work with has been hunting in Co in unit 481 for some time. We are hopefully going to make a trip together for next year's season for elk and mule deer. Hopefully we can draw a combination tag for 1st season. I recently found out my sister will be moving to Denver this Dec. and may be going to visit her sometime early next year. I am planning to do a little scouting in the area just to get a lay of the land and do some hiking.

I know it is a bit pre-mature but I am excited to make the trip already. I realized I have a lot of equipment I would like to purchase to be prepared for this trip and have started to compile a list of equipment. Although I would love to purchase a new 300WSM, my funds are limited so I will stick with my 7mmRemMag which is a tackdriver for now. Besides a gun, I would like to see any tips or suggestions on equipment that anyone would have that maybe is not mentioned on most general supplies list that some of you veteran elk/mule deer guys would like to share. It can be anything from favorite socks to gps units, game bags, whatever. If you have any hunting tips, have hunted this area before or anything else, I would like to hear whatever tips /suggestions you might have also. Thanks for any input guys and if you want to post any photos feel free.

exbiologist's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
New Guy

Welcome to BGH Smitty,
I'm glad you've finally decided to give western hunting a try. But first of all there is no combination hunt available during 1st season. 2nd, 3rd and in some places 4th season offer deer/elk combos.
Secondly, it takes a minimum of 1 preference point for a nonresident to hunt 481, or at least it did this year. 2nd season requires 0 points for both elk and deer, so I think that would be a better option for you.
As far as gear goes, your rifle is perfect, but there's no better excuse to get a new one than an elk hunt. I prefer heavy for caliber bullets for most hunting, so either 160 or 175 gr. slugs is what I would recommend. If you're going that heavy, don't be afraid to use standard cup and core bullets if they shoot well in your gun.
Other important gear: good padded socks, I've been known to drop between $10 and $20 for a single pair. I use a Garmin Rino GPS, which is nice because of the built in radio that also allows you to "beam" your location to your buddy. Make sure your boots are worn in and have one of those rubberized toes so it doesn't tear on the rocks.

smitty1hunter's picture
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Location: Madisonville, Louisiana
Joined: 06/11/2009
Posts: 7
New Guy

Sorry, should have said first dates for combination hunt. Thanks for info.

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Location: WESTERN COLORADO
Joined: 03/18/2009
Posts: 78
New Guy

In the high country the saying goes cotton kills! You want as much fleese , wool , and synthetic or blends of those materials. as you can get.Head lamps, give the flash lights to the kids.Small survival kit/pack with good fire starter material, and a loud whissel , parachute cord ect. dont ever leave camp with out it any time of year in the high country it can snow in July , snowed this week in fact. If you are camping out have a sleeping bag 20 degrees warmer than you think you need I like a -20 bag for hunting zero or +20 ok for summer. For your deer hunt scout some very low country as close to hwy 285/24 as you can get maybe on the BLM or state land , my brother in law hunts deer just across the highway in unit 49 and he can hear the cars and he does very good there.but the elk will be higher.... stay dry stay warm good luck have fun !

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Location: Arvada, CO
Joined: 01/24/2007
Posts: 15
New Guy
rcryan wrote:
In the high country the saying goes cotton kills! You want as much fleese , wool , and synthetic or blends of those materials. as you can get.Head lamps, give the flash lights to the kids.Small survival kit/pack with good fire starter material, and a loud whissel , parachute cord ect. dont ever leave camp with out it any time of year in the high country it can snow in July , snowed this week in fact. If you are camping out have a sleeping bag 20 degrees warmer than you think you need I like a -20 bag for hunting zero or +20 ok for summer. For your deer hunt scout some very low country as close to hwy 285/24 as you can get maybe on the BLM or state land , my brother in law hunts deer just across the highway in unit 49 and he can hear the cars and he does very good there.but the elk will be higher.... stay dry stay warm good luck have fun !

To expand on rcryan's suggestions...be prepared for ANY kind of weather. I have lived here my entire life and the only thing predictable about Colorado weather is that it is unpredictable, especially in the mountains. You can have sunny and 60 in the morning, then by late afternoon have heavy snow, cold, and wind. I'm not saying you need to carry a 4 season wardrobe with you, but I would advise layers, and maybe a day-pack to carry an extra sweatshirt and gloves, or to take off a layer if you get too hot.

And now, the obligatory advice: get yourself in good physical condition and be prepared to carry/drink plenty of water. Hiking around at 10,000 ft chasing elk and deer takes quite a toll on you, even more so if there is a foot or more of snow on the ground. Dehydration (altitude sickness) also plays a big role in your body's ability to function in the mountains, so drink plenty of water. Just last fall I caught part of a story on the news about how heart attacks are becoming one of the top "injuries" experienced by hunters in Colorado - people being too out of shape.

Unit 481 is in the collegiate peaks area just west of Buena Vista - a beautiful part of the state. I think you will have a great time on your hunt, no matter what the outcome. Best of luck to you.

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Joined: 08/02/2010
Posts: 135
im soooo excited i drew 1st

im soooo excited i drew 1st season bull tag for unit 481!!!

have it narrowed down to where we will be hunting and took a short 3 day trip in to look around last weekend! wow this is some monster country to say the least. will be 2 of us hunting and of course the planning has been going on for a couple of months. sounds like the bulls are not monsterous in the area but a 300 class should be possible?>?> really just looking for a back country experience. no doubt that will happen...

Anyone here hunt that area?

exbiologist's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
It's a lower pressure unit

481 is nice, but a 300 inch bull would be unlikely but not impossible.  They kill over 40% of the bulls in that unit, despite the low pressure ( good success rates).  Killing 40% of you bulls that are two and up leaves you without many 3 and 4 year olds for the 300 inch animals. 

R. Smith's picture
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Location: Greeley Co
Joined: 04/14/2010
Posts: 92
Well to keep kickin the can,

Well to keep kickin the can, I strongly suggest a back pack with the following items. Extra clothes(long sleeves,socks,gloves)etc, PLENTY of water, an over night bag( waterproof matches, firestarter,space blanket, compass, signal mirror, sharp knive-s). For myself I always carry enough food with me for an unexpected overnight stay(granola bars, apple, jerkey etc). I hope that this little bit of info helps you to enjoy your hunt here in the Great state of CO. P.S. please remember the weather here in Co changes without warning and can be VERY drastic in nature.

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Joined: 08/02/2010
Posts: 135
ya thats why i said 300

ya thats why i said 300 possible. i am not planning on it just hopeful... smile