Due to work and family, this year's hunt will be an OTC, 2nd season elk hunt. (I put in for several tags in GMU 58, but didn't get any. I know parts of that unit well and recently bought some land there.) Several years in a row I've hunted units 25 and 26, including bow season, cow only rifle hunts, and 2nd season gun/deer hunts. I've seen a few elk, usually the wrong sex for my tag, but never took a shot. I have also gone a few years and didn't see a single animal. I know these units well too, but would really like to try someplace else.
Based on the 2007-2009 CDOW 2nd rifle season statistics, units 211, 13, and 131 consitently have success rates over 30%. This is by no means great, but far better than some unit's single digit success rates. I have BLM maps of these units and except for scattered BLM lands and some state land (with unknown potential leases), they appear to be mostly private. Is that the reason for the high success rates? Ranchers shooting the elk or leasing the land to guides? A 25% success rate in another unit might be actually be higher once you consider many hunters never get out of sight of their ATV and these other units are all private land.
Should I consider 211, 13, 131, or go back to 25/26 or try someplace completely new. I'm open to suggestions and can walk in, tent camp, or RV camp, doesn't matter. I'd like to be within 4 hours of Denver too. I don't really care too much about other hunters as we usually hunt a few miles in from camp and typically see less than 1-3 other hunters a day. Many days we don't see anyone else. Most hunters seem pretty lazy or maybe it's because they know better than to shoot an 800lb. animal 5 miles from the nearest road. I've found a elk honey hole in some black timber during bow season (impossible to get a shot in there with a bow), would the elk still be there during mid. October?
I would appreciate any advice.