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PotholeHunter's picture
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Joined: 07/21/2011
Posts: 11
Trophy Elk-Realistic?

Alright guys:

I have a lot of deer hunting experience but little for elk, so I wanted to defer this question to some of yall with more experience in the elk woods.

I've been hunting mule deer in Colorado with a stick and string for the past two years in a wilderness setting, and each year have gotten a shot (missed) or near shot on a 180+ mulie.  I draw this tag each year without fail, with no preference points.  This is, however, a physically grueling hunt (20+ miles hiking, up and down 1000's of feet, etc.)

Is it realistic to find trophy elk, if your willing to hunt hard, during archery season, with 0-1 preference points?  I consider a trophy 270+ on a bull.  I want to know how to start planning my elk hunts over the next 3-4 years in search of a trophy.  Do I wait back on preference points for a limited draw unit or do I get after it in the wilderness?  Is it realistic to find a trophy if its not a limited draw unit or just an OTC archery tag?  I don't need to know any areas, just what yall think.  Thanks in advance.

Umpqua Hunter's picture
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Joined: 05/26/2011
Posts: 64
Colorado?

Hey Pothole Hunter.  Are you from Colorado?  Is that the only state you are looking at?  Sounds like you are willing to work for it, I am sure there are a lot of opportunities for 270 class bulls.

Critter's picture
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Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 3894
I'd say finding a 270+ pt

I'd say finding a 270+ pt bull should be quite easy here in Colorado.  I have a friend that hunts toward the Utah border and he is into bulls pushing 400 every year, now getting a arrow into them might be another problem.  Also where he is hunting it is a over the counter unit but a lot of the access is tied up in private property so unless you know someone it is hard to get into it.  But then there is the area north of Grand Junction.  There are real nice bulls in that area, so you just need to decide on where you want to go and then start planning and doing some scouting trips. 

PotholeHunter's picture
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Joined: 07/21/2011
Posts: 11
I live in Colorado and have

I live in Colorado and have the entire summers to scout.  Is it simply a matter of scouting to find the quality elk I'm looking for on OTC or low preference point areas?  When I've been out deer hunting, I am incredibly surprised by how much the elk move, so I find it hard to scout a single, trophy elk.  Or am I wrong here?

Critter's picture
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Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 3894
You will find that elk are

You will find that elk are really a creature of habit.  If you watch them enough you will see that they usually go to the same area to bed, feed, and water.  If they are not in the area today they will be in the next couple of days, so you just have to wait them out.  They'll do this until they are either pushed out by hunters or they go to find cows during the rut.  I have even seen them after the rut return to what they were doing pre-rut or fairly close to it.  So to answer your question it would be yes you can scout a trophy elk. 

As a example the famous Spider Bull that was shot in Utah a few years ago.  His habit of returning to the same drainage and the same area time and time again was his demise.  I actually saw him 3 years before he was shot and he was within a half a mile of where he was shot at 3 years later.

elkkill06's picture
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Location: Fruita Colorado
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Very realistic !!

It is very possible to take a great bull on OTC units. As Critter said, the elk are patternable as long as they are not pressured out. I have seen elk move over 20 miles in one move when pressured hard.

If you can find that out of the way drainage, canyon, or hole in the earth, that they do not get bothered in, that is the key to finding the bigger bulls. The other part that helps is knowing where they go when they do get pressured. So you can find them when they do move, but it is doable.

Good luck with your quest !

Quinton

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