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New guy needs some advice/help.

Hey guys, I'm a new guy on here and I'm totally green when it comes to elk hunting. I'm from Louisiana and I live in Texas. I have done alot of whitetale hunting and I'm ready for the challenge of Elk. My dad and I are planning to take a trip to Colorado to take advantage of the OTC archery tags. We are looking at doing it the hard way, we want to go to a public camp ground, and hike into the woods each day looking for Elk, no guide. I know it will be  difficult, but I'm looking more for the exprience than anything. I am planning on buying an either sex tag. I would love to get a bull, but I would be happy wth a cow as well. Any elk would be a trophy for me.

I need help as to which unit I should look at for decent hunting chances? I know some of the units are high preference and are draw hunts only, so those are out of the question. I also need options of units that have public camp grounds in them. Can anyone point me in the right direction or give me some Units to research? Thanks in advance! BTW, the forum looks like a pretty awesome site.

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Welcome to the forum and the

Welcome to the forum and the wonderful world of elk hunting.  First off as far as a public campground and being able to hike out of it to go elk hunting there are some but not too many.  Most of us that camp out for the hunt just do it on National Forest or BLM land which there is plenty of.  Just find yourself a nice wide spot and pull into it and set up your camp.  As for you being a first time elk hunter I would suggest that you spend a few bucks and sign up on this web site  http://www.westernhuntingdata.com/  the person that runs it is a member here and just might chime in with his opinion on where to go.  Another good site would be the Colorado's elk hunting university http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/ElkHuntingUniversity/   You will find more information there than any forum could ever give you. 

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thanks for the plug Critter

Like he said, first you need to do some reading and figure out EXACTLY what you want to do.  I also wrote two of those Elk Hunting University articles, plus another one that is coming out on Friday and several articles here on my blog that will help a new person figure out what they want to do:   http://www.biggamehunt.net/blogs/western-hunter

I'll second the notion that you do not want to hunt directly out of a campground.  One of my rules is to be hunting at least 2 miles from a campground.  Those areas tend to concentrate hunters and clear out game animals.  Or, just be willing to drive a little each morning to a trailhead, or a flat spot to park your vehiclle and hike in.  

As far as units go, check out the DOW's OTC archery unit map:http://wildlife.state.co.us/NR/rdonlyres/62602FC2-E639-4F6C-80B4-6CDA170B6A5C/0/OTCEitherSexElkArchery1.pdf

Also take a look at the wilderness area maps, which may or may not be for you:

http://wildlife.state.co.us/NR/rdonlyres/6CF46B80-CDE5-4740-8EC9-FEF143B1FA56/0/BigGameGMUMapWildAreas.pdf

It's also not too late to earn a preference point for a better hunt next year.  April 5th is the deadline to apply.

There's also some additional articles on my website that might help you understand some of the data that's out there.

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for more specific unit research

Also look through some of the older posts on this site in the Rocky Mountains and here in the elk section

 

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Joined: 03/21/2011
Posts: 17
Thank you

Thanks guys for the input! I will go check out your sight exbiologist. I just finished reading several of the articles and I think I have refined my search a bit. I'm all about walking 2 to 3 miles in to find the game and I now know that I don't want to hike from my camp site, and I'm open to wilderness areas. That leads me to a few questions.

How does truck hunting work? Do you drive around the unit and just pull off on the side of the road and hike in? Should I stay away from units with wasting Elk disease? How can i find available campsite or BLM areas?

This is so different from hunting Whitetails down here, which is really exciting to me. Thanks again guys.

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truck hunting

In most parts of the National Forests, as long as there is a road, and no sign saying No Camping (usually just near developed areas, such as pay campsites and picnic areas), you can pull your truck off and camp.  As for hunting, you just park on the side of the road, then head out into the woods.  Please try to remember that on average, in most elk country, you'll be walking closer to 1 mile per hour.  So if your goal is a meadow two miles away, and unless there's a trail that you can follow, you'll need to give yourself a two hour headstart in the dark to get there by dawn.

I don't worry about Chronic Wasting Disease.  Some people do, so if you want to worry about it, go to a unit with no history of it, and then have your animal tested, just to cover all your bases.

BLM areas, or Bureau of Land Management lands, are marked on most maps.  If your map only shows forest service lands, get a new map.   Pretty much every unit west of the Continental Divide has some BLM lands. I prefer the Roads of Colorado Atlas.  Far superior to Delorme, as it shows private inholdings much better.  For trail maps, I like the National Geographic Series.  They show topo, publc lands, trails, gates, hillshade, and are waterproof. 

For finding campsites, atlases are good place to start, the forest service website can also be used.  There aren't many official BLM campsites, just a lot of wide spots, gravel pits, turnarounds, ends of the roads, and similar type places

exbiologist's picture
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truck camping example:

End of the road:

Location: Marengo IA
Joined: 03/25/2006
Posts: 17
exbioligist reading this

exbioligist reading this thread and noticed you made reference to the CO road atlas also in another thread. Is this the CO road & recreation atlas?Thanks

exbiologist's picture
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no, that one is probably worse than Delorme

Its by Mapsco, Roads of Colorado Atlas:

http://www.amazon.com/Roads-Colorado-2nd-Mapsco/dp/1569663599/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1300743721&sr=1-2

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Location: Colorado western slope
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First of all welcome to the

First of all welcome to the forum.

You will get no better advice than the research tips given by Critter and Exbiologist. Once you have it narrowed down to where you generally want to go then keep asking for more specific tips to the area you will be hunting.

You seem really set on a campground of some kind but like they said it is really not necessary and much more enjoyable without all the extra people around. Even if pulling a really big camper you should always be able to find a spot to set up as hunters have been doing it for many many years. The public land and camping is wide open out here not at all like Texas or similar states.

Hope your planning and hunt goes well and keep the questions coming.

Thanks for the link to that map Exbiologist I need to look for one of those myself.

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Joined: 03/21/2011
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Thank you guys for the warm welcome

Thank you guys for the warm welcome and thank you again for all the advice.

My mind is blown with the fact that you can just pull over on the side of road and set up camp and start hunting! That is crazy and awesome all at the same time! I'm so used to being in Texas where 98% of the land is private and you almost have to pay top dollar for a lease. I'm really not dead set on a camp ground, I'm just having a hard time wrapping my mind around the ability to set up camp almost anywhere. I have this ingrained feeling that I will get in trouble if I just pull off the road to camp and hunt. I am going to buy one of those maps and pay for one of your data packages exbiologist. Thanks again for all the advice, and the article are awesome!

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