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Joined: 09/04/2011
Posts: 11
New guy here...

I'll try to make my intro quick and painless. I've been out west for the snow, but never game. Whitetails have kept me occupied for years until I met some friends that travel west every fall. I've finally got the means to head west and it is coming down to a last minute decision for a solo trip.

As of today, I've read the 2011 big game guide for the 3rd time. Between the CO DOW website, forums, maps and other various reading my eyes and brain are mush so this is a request for additional insight. 

My goal is to hunt/camp for the last 5-10days of elk archery season in CO.  I'm less concerned about harvest this year as I am about enjoying the experience and at the very least seeing or hearing the quarry I seek. I'm even open to helping a stranger pack out if needed just for the experience.

My plan is to use the truck as a base camp and cover as much ground as possible on foot with enough gear to spent a night or two away from base camp. I've gone through my travel, hunt and hike gear and still have to pick up a few things which I may do on the way out there.

Since I am doing this as a solo OTC trip, I've narrowed my search down to two areas, White River or Grand Mesa region.

hunter25's picture
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Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Colorado western slope
Joined: 11/13/2009
Posts: 3013
Welcome to BGH. I'm sure you

Welcome to BGH. I'm sure you would have gotten a much bigger welcome but a lot of the guys are already out chasing the deer and elk around now. Both of the areas you have mentioned are sound choices with a lot of different terrain and elevatin in each. I don't archery hunt and generally don't hunt elk as hard as I do deer so I'm not much help other than that.

Where are you coming from and why not a trip with the friends that you mentioned?

Btw if you can spend a little money you can get some good information from Exbiologist.

http://www.westernhuntingdata.com/

SGM
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Location: Canon City, Colorado
Joined: 08/13/2011
Posts: 849
Welcome

Welcome to the site, always good to see another active hunter. You’re not kidding about last minute since the season is going on. I never hunted the Grand Mesa so cannot help you there but have hunted in the White River for several years. That is a huge national forest at 2.3 million acres but a good part is not OTC so you are limited. The area I hunt in is all draw so no help to you. You really need to narrow it down to a specific zone or area to have a real shot at and elk. I would also suggest stopping and getting a good national forest map, some BLM maps and a Gazetteer Atlas of Colorado. You can get the atlas at Wal-Mart for about $20 when you pick up your tag. Once you pick your area you should have no issue getting a camping spot in the National Forest. Some areas might have fire bans in effect so it is best to ask in the local town you plan to hunt or look it up on the web before you leave.  Here are two other things to consider; Elevation, guessing you are coming from east or south of Colorado the elevation can seriously kick your butt. Hope you are in good shape as humping the hills out here will test you. Make sure to drink plenty of water and don't overdo it as altitude sickness can ruin a trip fast. Second point is understand you are hunting elk not whitetails. Not sure how much reading you have done on elk but it is a whole new way of hunting. Cannot tell you how many folks I have seen from the east that hunt elk the same as whitetails and did little to no research on their habits, movements or home range. I hope this helps some and you enjoy your trip. Let us know how you do on the trip.

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Joined: 09/04/2011
Posts: 11
Thanks for the warm welcome

Thanks for the warm welcome guys. I am coming from the east and grew up on meadows and cornfields,not mountains. My other passion is cycling (road and MTB) so I am in pretty decent shape having spent the summer riding my butt off. Thats not to say elevation won't work me over, but still willing to get after it with some common sense of course.

As much as I would like to join my friends, they have had there own close knit group of about 6 guys and no room for a newbie with no preference points. If I am doing this, its solo for a while which I don't mind. The other problem is planning, it's difficult for me to plan ahead because of my job. I'd rather take a last minute trip than read about it all the time. I know what GMU's I am targeting but am hesitate to post specifics. Forums are great but man they can ruin somebodys honey in hole in a flash.

I've got a GPS, map and know elk need food, shelter and water. There eyes are great, noses are better and I'll have to hike to find them. My question about GMU's is that during archery season the pressure looks low based on the previous years stats. I am taking a guess to say that most hunters are not being recorded that are unsuccessful?

 

 

SGM
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Location: Canon City, Colorado
Joined: 08/13/2011
Posts: 849
Welcome

The cycling will help so that is a good thing. Also sounds like you have done some homework. As for harvest stats/hunters afield type stats, in Colorado it is based on a survey sent out to a section of hunters. There is no mandatory check in for elk and not every hunter is e-mailed. Last year I got a survey but my wife and son did not. I am sure they are fairly accurate as to harvest amounts. Hope that answers your question. If not we can talk more.

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Location: San Diego, CA
Joined: 07/27/2007
Posts: 5703
Well, welcome to the site! 

Well, welcome to the site!  As you can see, if you ask about elk, and Colorado, you're going to get some great advice on this site! 

Hopefully you will stick around, and let us know how you do with some photos and a story.  I am also planning a DIY OTC hunt next year, and it looks like it may be solo too.  I have already ben picking these guys' brains for a couple of months, and plan to continue doing so.... Wink

Hope you have a great hunt!

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Joined: 09/04/2011
Posts: 11
One question about the roads.

One question about the roads. As much as I would like to take my superduty on this trip, I may have to take the explorer if it's till in the shop. Will I have enough ground clearence with the explorer in most of the back roads? It's 4x4 of course.

 

I've got two areas that are about 5 miles apart pretty much pinned down. With next to nothing as far road access.

 

 

SGM
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Location: Canon City, Colorado
Joined: 08/13/2011
Posts: 849
Roads

 Sounds like you drive what is in my garage. I have a 250, 150 and an Explorer. The Explorer should do ok on most regular forest service roads that are main routes. If you start to get off on spur routes or any primitive roads it will be difficult to a complete NO-GO. Spur routes are usually roads with a letter in the route such as FR101A. Have been on a few primitive roads that 4 wheels have a hard time getting over let alone a full size vehicle. If you have chains bring them, if not might want to consider getting a set as the snow and mud can get bad. If you want to talk more specifics shoot me your e-mail and we can talk.