7 replies [Last post]
Offline
Joined: 12/22/2009
Posts: 4
Thinking about hunting 231 in CO for elk INFO?

I am trying to put together an archery elk hunt in Colorado. I hope to have three other guys with me(all hunting). We are talking about hunting 231. I haven't been the one gathering the info so this is my attempt to get some new info from guys who may have actually hunted the area. I would be interested in any info good or bad. We haven't set anything in stone so other units that may be better are a welcome option. We are looking for an OTC bull unit that we can hunt the first half of september. We are all flat-landers who are willing to commit to preparing so we can hike in and pack out as far as needed(we want to get away from the pressure). We all understand the fact that we might not fill but its about the hunt not the kill anyway. We all just know how much more fun a hunt with animal opportunities is as apposed to one with no animals. And mw freeze would welcome a bunch of fresh steaks,

Bronco29

exbiologist's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
Re: Thinking about hunting 231 in CO for elk INFO?

Curious why you decided on 231? Just had another post this week about someone from New York asking about the area. Several comments and suggestions. I'm kind of on a crusade to dissuade people from hunting the Flat Tops, so I personally wouldn't hunt there. Yes there are a lot of elk and yes there is plenty of public land and some wilderness and yes the access is good. You will not get away from the pressure by packing in, you will have company. Also, the second half of September tends to have better rutting activity. Anyway, if you like the Flat Tops, units 25,26 or 34 would be better. Also, since this is only December, you should consider applying for one of the limited areas in the Flat Tops, the unit 33 tag (which includes parts of 23 and 24). That tag doesn't require any nonres pref points.

Offline
Joined: 12/22/2009
Posts: 4
Re: Thinking about hunting 231 in CO for elk INFO?

exbiologist
We are still putting our information together. We started with 231 because one of the guys uncle hunted there for twenty years. It was just an area that we had maps for and a place to start. We are going to get together and go over any info we have gathered and decide what we want to do. I appreciate the info. We are all open to any suggestions. If you had to pick a unit in our situation, where and when would you go. I don't think we have a preference on hunting the flat-tops or not. The reason for early september was for work vacation reasons. Just gave us a couple of extra days. Maybe a shorter trip at the right time would be better? We are just gathering info and trying to give ourselves the best hunting experience possible. Any other info general or other would be a great help and much appreciated!

Thanks
Bronco29

Offline
Joined: 12/22/2009
Posts: 4
Re: Thinking about hunting 231 in CO for elk INFO?

We also didn't know how much the muzzleloaders change things?

Bronco29

exbiologist's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
Re: Thinking about hunting 231 in CO for elk INFO?

Well, rather than recommend a unit for you, I'll share some info with you that I gave the last guy who was looking to hunt 231. As for muzzleloaders, you'd certainly be better off with one, plus you'll be hunting closer to the peak of the rut. It's just really hard to say how the draw is going to play out, but I'd except 231 to be one of the harder draws.

This is from a PM from last week from someone curious about 231:

Without giving away too much of the information that I sell, how about a quick comparison on 231 vs. 34? They are on opposite sides of the Flat Tops, with 34 sharing some of the Glennwood Canyon area on the south, while 231 is in the northeast corner of the Flat Tops. I don't have the information compiled for the limited draw hunts, but I will before applications are due this spring. Currently trying to finish Wyoming up. More than likely the unit 33/23/24 tag would be better.

Anyway, I've hunted the Flat Tops a little and there are a lot of elk. There are just way too many people for me. And trust me archery season has a lot of hunters too. So I rank 34 as my 46th best OTC archery unit, right next to 25 (43rd), and 26 (47th), but way better than 231 (60th) out of 68 OTC units.
So, one of the first things I look at is the hunter density. I divide the number of hunters by the sq miles of public land (USFS and BLM mostly, plus a little state land) to get the number of hunters per square mile. Just looking at the archers (muzzleloader season is in the middle of archery season), I come up with 1.7 hunters per square mile in 34 and 25, 3.4 in 26 and 3.4 in 231. Of course hunters aren't evenly distributed across the wilderness, but you get the point, 34 and 25 have half the pressure of 26 and 231. Another stat you won't get anywhere else is a measure of trophy potential. Now these are all part of the same DAU, so you come up with the same number of elk per square mile and the same % of bulls harvested (45%, that's not good). But I dissect that a little further by just applying the density to the amount of public land and assuming all bulls were harvested on public land, we come up with a public bull pressure index, expressed as a % of the available public bulls being harvested. It makes a lot of assumptions, but it's the best way I can come up with to determine a less heavily pressured area within a heavilly pressured DAU (several hunting units make up one Data Analysis Unit in Colorado). Anyway, in 34 you're looking at .31 (meaning 31% of the theoretically available bulls harvested), 25 is .63, 26 is .43 and 231 .62. Sometimes this stat gives me an impossible number over 100%, which would mean that the private land harvest is significantly greater than on public land.
But, putting this to a practical use, lets say that 31% of the bulls are harvested annually in 34 and 62% in 231. Now in Colorado, spike bulls are generally not allowed, even with an either sex archery tag, so beginning at age 2, a bull has a 69% chance of survival in 34, and a 38% chance of survival in 231, assuming no winter mortality, which is rare in elk. A three year old bull would make a lot of first timers pretty happy. Now, let's take this a little further, what's the chance of a bull in 34 making it to 5 years old vs. 231. I come up with about a 32% chance of a bull making it that far in 34. But in 231, by multiplying .38x.38x.38, you get a 5% chance of a bull living to 5 years old. See the importance of that?
Of course this all theoretical, but the Flat Tops are not known for trophy bulls due to the heavy pressure, even though there are a lot of elk.
Oh and the 5 year average success rates are all in the 10-13% range, so there isn't much difference there. But that also should be an eye opener for you, more than likely you will not harvest. In fact 9 times out of 10 you likely won't kill an elk. Of course, all you can do is arm yourself with the best information possible to increase your odds over the general public. The past the years I've harvested 4 elk here in Colorado. The odds of that are miniscule(something like 2 tenths of 1%, or 0.002- which is 2 out of 1,000), but I like to think I'm better than the average hunter at setting myself up to succeed. I do a lot of homework, scout my tail off and have a better knowledge of habits and habitat than most.
You're doing the right thing by trying to gather information, since you more than likely won't be able to scout. But you will want to learn how to use Google Earth, and get to know the country you intend to hunt. It's amazing how you'll recognize places you've never been before if you study the aerial photos long enough.
Now, like I said, I don't have the limited draw information together yet, but I'd bet it would be better than the OTC hunts. So you may want to think about that this spring.

Offline
Joined: 12/22/2009
Posts: 4
Re: Thinking about hunting 231 in CO for elk INFO?

Exbiologist

Thanks for the info. We are still trying to do our homework. I think we were hoping to apply for a point and then hunt otc if that is a possibility. I really do appreciate the info. In all honestly, I have come to the conclusion that the success of these first few hunts will not be judged in kills but in information gained. We just want to find a spot that we can pack in and learn some stuff as we go. We all are very capable bowhunters and we are wanting to try our hand at elk.
Thanks again!

Bronco29

Offline
Joined: 12/27/2009
Posts: 1
Re: Thinking about hunting 231 in CO for elk INFO?

I'm from Colorado and i would recommend hunting Colorado GMY Units 68,681 near the town of Saguache, my fam has been hunting there for years and have always seen elk, infact there is a old bull that i have been hunting since i was 13, manages to always slip away he was a 8 x 8 last year. but the average bull u will pull out is at least a 5x6 or 6x6 there is some smaller. but ppl have been doing well in this unit so well that the Colorado Division of Wildlife is thinking about turning it in to a trophy unit only. as far as archery goes my uncle does well, most the ranchers around will let u hunt on thier land if u ask, and the mountains are also another great place, use your calls well and they will be buglining in ur face.

if u want any more inf please feel free to email, i know alot of ppl in the town and the person who owns the hotel is my cousin,
Kevin_Chacon_07@hotmail.com

Offline
Moderator
Location: Kentucky/ Colorado
Joined: 06/23/2005
Posts: 1744
Re: Thinking about hunting 231 in CO for elk INFO?

Chaonkg , Thanks for helping out. Welcome to BGH! Stick around.

Related Forum Threads You Might Like

ThreadThread StarterRepliesLast Updated
27-1jcbhuntandrun002/23/2012 11:51 am
new gun2506deerslayer1601/29/2005 17:53 pm
The Remington 7600 pump ?Country Boy509/07/2004 19:22 pm
Best bear hunting sidearmPsycho D1403/13/2006 15:18 pm
wy. mule deerjalee37190101/24/2009 15:12 pm