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Joined: 02/23/2014
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planning my first elk hunt

I'm from Michigan looking to plan a first time elk hunt for my brothers and dad this fall. First thing i dont want to come across as the guy thats posting looking for someones hunting spots or for it all ot be handed to him. I'm posting here only because this is all new to us and i wanted to post what i've found out and what my tentative plan is and see if there is anything that i'm missing or any suggestions as far as preparation or anything else to consider. We're looking to double up on a hunt so that we can do Elk and Mule deer to try and increase our chances of going home with something.

I've talked with a hunt planner from the Colorado parks dept for over an hour talking OTC and 0 point draw units available for the 2014 Elk season and have narrowed down the search so far.

Thinking of the possibility of season 1 Elk for a bull only tag and then sticking around for season 2 Mule deer and possibly a cow tag depending on the outlook of the hunt. The units available dont seem to have vast areas of land that you can hike back into and set up camp to get away from the crowds which we were preparing ourselves for but rather it seems that there are county roads that are scattered throughout. we're looking at GMU 3, 301, 65 or a few others.

We were originally going to do the OTC tag for the second season and hike in to increase our odds and haven't gave up on that idea yet but right now i'm looking into the season 1/2 split based on what i was told about success rates for Elk and Mule deer and what i would be able to consider my best odds.

If anyone has suggestions for a first time out west hunter any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Brent

Critter's picture
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Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 3988
I can't help you on any of

I can't help you on any of those units since I have never hunted them but for elk you just need to remember that they need three things.  Food, cover, and water.  It may take awhile for you to figure them out but that is what hunting is all about. 

You also don't have to worry too much about seeing other hunters very far from the roads.  Most hunters very seldom venture more than a quarter of a mile away from one but then again it is hard to hike into a area that is compleatly away from roads unless you go into a wilderness area and even then you really are not too far from a road if you know the area. 

I am also quite sure that the hunt planner that you talke to recommended for you to take a look at the Elk Hunting University on the Parks and Wildlife page.  It has more information than a lot of hunters can comprehend and should be a must read for the first time elk hunter. 

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Joined: 05/15/2012
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Look at hunt code EM-011-01R

Units 3 and 301 are out in the sage, which is more of a wintering ground.  However, there is a lot of public BLM land in those units.  Here is the link where you need to look for how many pref points it takes for the different hunt codes:  http://wildlife.state.co.us/SiteCollectionDocuments/DOW/Hunting/BigGame/Statistics/Elk/2013ElkPreferencePoint.pdf

Hunt code EM-011-01R for rifle bull 1st season has 5000 tags available and only 3,500 applied as a first choice last year, so you will have no problem getting that tag with 0 points as a first choice.  That hunt code actually encompasses 12 different units (11, 12, 13, 23, 24, 25, 26, 33, 34, 131, 211, and 231), so you have a huge area to hunt and can move around between those units.  That area is around the Flat Tops which has the highest population of elk in the state.  Yes, you will have 5,000 other bull elk hunters, but they will be spread out among all those units. According to the statistics for 2012, there were 357 bulls taken in unit 12 alone during the 1st season. Just something to think about.

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Joined: 02/23/2014
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Thanks to both of you, i've

Thanks to both of you, i've been scrolling through web page after web page looking at checklists and whatnot. I've started reading through the elk university and there is a lot of information there. I'll be looking into the unit 11 unit along with the units that are included in it as well, lots of federal land there to hunt and camp as well.

Thanks,

Brent

 

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Location: Western Colorado
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Posts: 3988
One other thing that you

One other thing that you might consider is a cow tag.  The tags are plentyful and a cow is a lot easier to find than a bull.  Or talk to the other hunters in your group and perhaps split the tags 50% cows and 50% bulls.  But you would have to decide before the application period ends.

Location: Michigan
Joined: 09/23/2009
Posts: 17
Where u at in Mi? We started

Where u at in Mi? We started a few years back now and had deer and cow tags. We took 3 of 5 on deer nothing huge, a 3x3, 4x4,and a scrub buck. Never did see an elk other than on private ranches. I personally would not have both tags in my pocket again unless I had already been to an area and was confident I had a chance at both. For us we have now hunted another area in Wyoming with cow only tags and at least going in blind it seems it's easier to concentrate on one species. Near the area your thinking about we hunted east from meeker I forget the unit number off hand. Lots of hunters but it's very true if you just put on a mile (sometimes a very tough up hill mile) you will be all alone. We had success quietly walking on mornings when we didn't have a clue where we were headed that day.Take your time and enjoy the scenery and animals seem to pop up. If you think you might be headed near meeker shoot me a pm I don't have any gangbusters info but I'll tell you what we learned about the deer. We might be headed toward one of the units you mentioned as well this year if we draw for deer. Same thing going in blind again. We were headed back to Wyo for elk but failed to draw.

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