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Questions for planning first elk/deer hunt 2013-Colorado

I've finally decided I want to go out west and try my luck for an elk/mule deer hunt. But I have a few questions I was hoping someone can help me with. I've decided on 2nd rifle season although I could go archery if needed. I'm looking at units 25 or 34 as both of those have otc elk bull tags and are easy to draw for mule....or so i've been told. From what I've heard those units, and all of White River National Forest holds a lot of elk and even more hunters come 2nd rilfe season from what I've been told. I don't mind getting in a ways by the time the hunt rolls around I plan on being able to jog 5-6 miles w/50lbs of weight. But I've also heard any of the units in white river are crowded w/hunters and it doesn't matter how far back you go there will be a lot of people. Is this true on these units? If so can someone recommend an otc elk unit and that is also and easy to draw mule deer unit, where I can get away from the crowd if I hike in a ways? Would like to keep it w/in 2-3 hours of Denver if possible, but open to anything.

I've tried to figure it out on the DOW website but couldn't figure out the chances of drawing a mule deer tag for a non resident w/0 points for 2nd season rifle. Also should I be putting in some of the hard to draw units for both elk/deer to get points built up? or can you just buy points w/o putting in? And if so can someone recommend a unit for that? Not looking for anyone's sweet spot, just looking to get out on some public land w/a opprotunity which is why I initially thought units 25 or 34.

Thanks

Brian

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25 has private land sancutary

25 has private land sancutary issues during second season.  You might do well up Sweetwater creek, but there are lots of people and lots of outfitter traffic no matter how far in you go either from the top or bottom.

34 has tons of people driving around coffepot road on the top, but no one goes into the canyons (Grizzly, No Name, Blue Gulch, Deadhorse, Deep) and all the elk bail off the top and head into the canyons, normally by first season.  You can go into the canyons and get elk, but you better study the map and know what you are doing.  The cliffs shown on the topos are real -- 2000+ feet tall.  Do not underestimate what you are in for if you go.   The elk are there, and there are very large bulls, but you have to be in seriously good shape.  There are also very large muleys in there (and bears for that matter), they are in the same place -- down in the canyons. We always joked that the only way to get animals out was in your belly.

Good luck.

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thx for the reply. does

thx for the reply. does 34have a lot of outfitters? im not worried about hiking in/out even if its a couple milea. want i want to do is try to avoid as many people as possble outfitters included. do you know if 34 is a high draw unit for mule deer. from what i saw on the dow site it is but not sure i read it right. also any other units that anyone could recommend?

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Without digging through the

Without digging through the DOW web site it doesn't look like 34 is a high draw area for 2 or 3 season for mule deer and can be drawn with 0 points since there are more tags than applicants. As for outfitters there are quite a few that will operate in 34 and 25 and other units on the Flattops just for the simple reason that is where a lot of elk are located. That along with a good number of hunters that don't use outfitters.

As was mentioned after the first shot the deer and elk head into the canyons off of the top where all the hunters are. Some that head to wards the east will end up on private property where a outfitter will have the advantage if they have the hunting lease on the property that the elk and deer head into. Sweetwater is a prime example of this. If they head to the south to wards Glenwood Canyon then it gets real rugged real fast.

For a first time hunter in the area I would recommend that you try archery hunting first if you are into archery. That way you can get to know the country without having to fight snow and wet weather but it can be wet in September. Also the elk tags are over the counter and are for either sex and the mule deer tags would be a lot easier to draw if you would like a chance to take multiple animals.

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thx. i thought about archery

thx. i thought about archery or muzzleloader since i hunt both of them here locally too. 

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Muzzle loader could be a

Muzzle loader could be a little bit harder since both deer and elk muzzle loader tags are limited and need to be drawn. The last couple of years you didn't need any points to draw those tags it can change.

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Is anyone able to recommned

Is anyone able to recommned any units that are easy to draw for archery or muzzleloader. Not looking for a trophy although that'd be nice but just want to see some elk. 

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You can check licensed

You can check licensed outfitters in any unit from the DoW website.  As far as I know, there is only one outfitter operating in Unit 34 -- they park at Grizzly lake (the lake just south of Duck lake) and go down Palmer ridge on the south side of South Grizzly.  There may be others that park at Broken Rib spring and cross Grizzly to hunt the same general area around Palmer lake.

There is some private land right when you top out on the Coffeepot road that can get to be a santuary -- it trends over towards Deep Creek.  The guy build a house and has fenced in the area and I suspect that he invites his buddies up to hunt.  Lots of bears on that property (lots and lots).

I've never seen good deer up on top, but we have taken some nice bucks on the Glenwood Canyon rims.  I've found sheds from bucks that would go 180+.

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Unit 444

kbmiller wrote:

You can check licensed outfitters in any unit from the DoW website.  As far as I know, there is only one outfitter operating in Unit 34 -- they park at Grizzly lake (the lake just south of Duck lake) and go down Palmer ridge on the south side of South Grizzly.  There may be others that park at Broken Rib spring and cross Grizzly to hunt the same general area around Palmer lake.

There is some private land right when you top out on the Coffeepot road that can get to be a santuary -- it trends over towards Deep Creek.  The guy build a house and has fenced in the area and I suspect that he invites his buddies up to hunt.  Lots of bears on that property (lots and lots).

I've never seen good deer up on top, but we have taken some nice bucks on the Glenwood Canyon rims.  I've found sheds from bucks that would go 180+.

 

Thx for the info. Seems like unit 34 might be a good starting place. I've also been looking at unit 444. My only concern with archery is if I got something getting the meat out before it spoils. I don't mind carrying it out, it just that making 4-6 trips might not be fast enough before some goes bad. I've read that you can pay outfitters to pack meat out for you. Which leads me to my next question, would any outfitter who is willing to do this be ok, or do they have to operate in the unit to be able to pack meat out for somone? thx

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I don't know the rules for

I don't know the rules for outfitters just packing things out; never used them.  They do advertise packing services.  Probably couldn't get horses down into the canyons anyhow.

4-6 trips is not needed.  One person can carry out a whole elk in 2, maybe 3 trips.  Plan on boning the animal on the spot, get a good pack, and load it clear full.  Hind and front shoulder + loins/tenderloins for trip 1, hind + front shoulder + neck/ribs next trip.   I've carried > 130 lbs at a time (was a lot younger at the time, though).  Just be in shape.  Remember, pain is just weakness leaving the body.

444 has some very rough, remote country.  South side of Glenwood Canyon has lots of elk, but good luck getting in there -- it is tougher than the north side.  At least on the north side you can take your elk down to the road, south side is just river and RR tracks with no access across.

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There are some roads in 444

There are some roads in 444 on the south side of Glenwood Canyon but most of them are accessed through private property which are gated unless you know the owners or caretakers. Also a lot of the areas that the elk hang out in 444 is private unless you know the area.

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