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Location: Midwest
Joined: 03/21/2009
Posts: 40
Where would you hunt - if you were me ? ? ?

I have a fairly nice situation in hand and am asking for a few of you to offer your opinions on what you would do if you were in this situation.

Just to set the stage for you: I am a 60-ish non-resident looking to hunt elk in Colorado. I have hunted elk each year in Colorado for the past 15 years and I have also accumulated 15 elk preference points. (I wish now that I had used them up every few year for a nice hunt, but that is hindsight). I have hunted with a nice group of fellows ranging from 2–5 hunters each year and we have always gone out first or second season rifle. We pack in our own gear and have not hired an outfitter. We have hiked in, used ATVs, and used horses. We really enjoy the trip, camp, fishing, scouting and of course the hunt. Once in awhile we take home some fine elk meat. We started hunting in unit 15 and for the last 10 years we have been hunting in unit 521.

I have been watching and studying the Colorado Division of Wildlife site for these 15 years and I watch the various changes that have an effect on my application. This year I see that I could loose – or gain - due to the hybrid drawings.

Friends have hunted and recommend units 61 and 76. Both appear to be excellent units and within reach at 15 points. I am very confident with my 7mm, and I have a nice muzzleloader that I can also do well with. Archery is not an option. I would be the only hunter, but would bring someone along to help out.

It appears that I could draw a first season rifle hunt in unit 61, or a first season rifle or a muzzleloader season hunt in Unit 76, depending upon the effects of the hybrid drawing (It looks like those hunts will not be affected by the hybrid drawing). I could also try for the magical units in the northwest part of the state – hoping to get in on the 20% of the tags that will go to those who apply with more than 5 points in some units.

The most important thing to me is the quality of the hunt - fewer hunters, seeing and hearing elk, no motors, etc. I can spend time this summer scouting and in the prehunt days scouting some more.

I am willing to pay for an outfitter to take me back in with horses – or get me out with horses, as I would certainly need one in a place like unit 76, but I want to hunt unguided. It’s just a personal thing.

I know that I have not considered all options, and I do not want to limit myself by overlooking other areas and options. So I am asking ……with the 15 points that I now have .....what would you do if you were in my boots ?

Thanks.
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exbiologist's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
Re: Where would you hunt - if you were me ? ? ?

It's tricky, because with the hybrid draw you now stand a chance of pulling a 2,10 or 201 tag. But it could also mean you now have to wait even longer due to the point creep. So you could be 60ish plus 10 when you draw one of those tags. Do you want to be 70 when you finally get that tag? If your health is still with you, I'd go with 76. There will be far less pressure in that unit that in 61. 61 isn't really pressured, but it shares a road with 62, which is. I think you'd enjoy 76 more, and you know you'd actually draw the tag and could plan on a scouting trip to make it a good hunt. Much of that unit is wilderness, but there are some accessible areas for truck hunters. But since you're willing, go all out and do a drop camp in 76. You'll have the time of your life.

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Location: Fruita Colorado
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Re: Where would you hunt - if you were me ? ? ?

I would have to agree with Ex on this also. If your looking for less pressure and noise it would be 76. Although me personally I know 61 better and the caliber of bulls in the unit so I would have to hunt there even with the different hunt with that many points.

Alamosa's picture
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Location: Southern Colorado
Joined: 03/25/2005
Posts: 245
Re: Where would you hunt - if you were me ? ? ?

I think 61 and 76 are the correct units to consider.
Either would be a really great wilderness experience. 61 has really nice ponderosa forest and red sandstone and fantastic camping. 76 is alpine. Stories abound of nice bulls above treeline in 76.
Altitude is one of the big differences. In 76 you will be hunting at higher altitude.
I think the density of hunters during 1st rifle season will be similar in either one. It seems like during 1st season they restrict the numbers in most all areas so that it's not too crowded.
In 61 you'll need to carry more water. In 76 you'll need warmer clothes.
61 probably has better quality bulls but 76 is excellent also.
61 has a little more ATV access but it sounds like you want to get away from that.
Good Luck.

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Location: Midwest
Joined: 03/21/2009
Posts: 40
Re: Where would you hunt - if you were me ? ? ?

Thanks for the replies so far.

I have friends that are trying to talk me into both zones, and I was wondering about any others that I should also consider. I hope others will add in some more comments about these two zones or possibly others.

Both units 76 and 61 have their pluses and minuses, so I will keep reading and talking to people before the deadline in April.

Thanks for the help so far, and if you care to add anything - or send a PM - feel free to do so.
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Festus's picture
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Location: northern Colorado
Joined: 07/05/2009
Posts: 52
Re: Where would you hunt - if you were me ? ? ?

I would have to say that 61 by far has better bulls than 76 both are great units and would be great hunts. I Hunted 61 1st season last year and had a great hunt check out some of the story and pics on the post about unit 40 and 66 I beleive it is on the second page on the elk forum now........

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Location: Midwest
Joined: 03/21/2009
Posts: 40
Re: Where would you hunt - if you were me ? ? ?

:Thanks for the information festus. I found that post (as well as others) and it helps, and congratulations on your hunt last year.

Aside from unit 61, unit 40 sounds interesting also, but I am not sure about the access into the public areas and the crowding issue that may come up. I am comfortable with a gps, compass and mapping so I think the public/private boundaries would not be a problem. Unit 61 offers alot more public lands and seems to offer about the same for quality animals.
Unit 76 is still very intriguing since I could draw a muzzleloader tag there. I am just unfamiliar with what the terrain is like once you get high up. I am wondering if it is all very steep or are there meadows, etc up near the top.

I will keep reading and asking - and hopefully be ready to make a decision once April shows up on the calendar.

(I also have 15 points for deer - so I think I may post a similar question on that forum topic in case I should be going to the same unit for both - but in different seasons or years).

Thanks again to those who have replied - I sincerely appreciate it ! ! !
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Location: Midwest
Joined: 03/21/2009
Posts: 40
Re: Where would you hunt - if you were me ? ? ?

Thanks to all of you for your help. I will follow your advice and select either unit 76 or unit 61. I am still undecided as I would like to go during a time when the elk are more active in bugling – muzzleloader in unit 76, but unit 61 may be better for getting someone to come along with me due to several reasons.

I figured out how to find more of the posts from the past on this site and I see that similar questions have been asked and answered a few times before. I also see by the number of views on this post that this must be a popular question. Perhaps this is helping others as well.

I think some past posts have put it in proper perspective where they talk about the top tier units, then the next tier of units, etc. Once you decide which tier you can be successful at drawing a permit in, it is pretty much splitting hairs deciding which may be “best”. The rest is up to the hunter, personal preference and some luck.

So again, thanks for your posts and I will let you know what happens.

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Location: Colorado Springs
Joined: 10/14/2008
Posts: 37
Re: Where would you hunt - if you were me ? ? ?

In my book GU 76 is a very good choice. It would be mine if I had that many PP's. I have lots of experience with the GU76/68 boundary. I access the La Garita Wilderness through GU 76. I can tell you that I have played hide and seek with many a herd in this one particular area that seems to be overlooked during the rifle season. If you feel comfortable shooting out to 300+ yards you would have a very high probability of taking a very nice bull in the area I am thinking of.

You could apply as a group leader on your application and add a friend or two to hunt with you. Maybe take somebody who knows the area fairly well? Wink Wink Wink Wink Wink Wink

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Location: western co.
Joined: 08/23/2009
Posts: 126
Re: Where would you hunt - if you were me ? ? ?

they use the person with the least PP's in your group so if they dont have any points worthy of drawing the tag you want then that is not an option,even if u apply as group leader. Think

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Location: Colorado Springs
Joined: 10/14/2008
Posts: 37
Re: Where would you hunt - if you were me ? ? ?

Having never taken the time to actually look into the regs regarding group applications... I stand corrected. Oops!

Doesn't this rule seem backwards? It actually penalizes people who have accumulated PP's when they try to apply with a group. It doesn't make any sense why the person with the most points can't be designated as group leader. Just limit the group size.

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