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rdean28's picture
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Which GMU? Colorado Archery Elk Hunt

Hey ya'll, 

 

I'm writing from the Middle East and dreaming about my first chance to elk hunt in CO this fall.  I grew up hunting in Wyoming and it's been about 7 years since I've had a chance to go and I miss it.  I drew a good tag for New Mexico and unfortunately got deployed w/ the military so I wasn't able to go, again.  Anyways, I'm moving up to Colorado Springs and I will have to buy an OTC archery elk license. 

Any suggestions on good areas? I will be there for one month before the hunt starts which limits my scouting time.  I love to hike and hunt hard during the week. I am not afraid of driving 4 hours either if it will get me into a lower pressure area that will increase my chances.  Any suggestions? I wish I had more time but the military won't let me move until July. Thanks for the help!

Ryan

exbiologist's picture
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welcome to BGH

Thanks you for your service.

Now, speaking for myself at least, you're gonna have to do more than just ask what's a good area.  No one is going to just hand you a good spot to go hunting.  You've got to at least do some research on your own and specify likes and dislikes in hunting areas.  Clearly you've figured out how to do that in Wyoming and New Mexico.  Sorry, not trying to be a jerk or anything.

rdean28's picture
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Here's some areas that I like.

West side of GMU 85 look like a good place to hunt and it's a long ways from Denver so there might be less pressure,  I hope. Also, 421 and 521 look pretty good going off the historical success rates.  It looks like about a 5-6 mile hike headed east into the backcountry from Vega Reservoir.  Anyone been up in these areas?  I imagaine the farther I get from road the less likely someone would be willing to pack an elk out!

 

Also, how accurate are the Summer concentration ranges and production ranges on the MAPIT on the Colorado Division of Wildlife website? I notice higher success in area 521, but not a lot of summer range concentration or production concentration. Thoughts?

exbiologist's picture
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fair options

Regarding those concentration maps, they are pretty vague.  I wouldn't call them inaccurate, just not overly detailed.

For those Grand Mesa units, you'll want an ATV.  All those trails are open to ATVs and motorcycles, so you really can't get away from the pressure there.  However, you can use it to your advantage by getting on a little saddle or somethinng between two trails.

In 85, you'd be surprised how much pressure it gets.  Some good bulls there, and a good mix of rugged stuff in the Spanish Peaks and not quite as rugged in the Sangres.  However, it's hard to get more than about two miles from a road.  Works well for a short hunt though.

Good elk country in both of those units.

SoCoKHntr's picture
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Check

Out Bear and Blue lake up the road from the town of La Veta in unit 85. Good high elk country with public land for a Sep. hunt. 85 doesn't have a ton of public but that is one area a guy hunting archery who's in shape and willing to hump may have a good chance of calling in a satellite bull. As Ex said even though far from Denver still a lot of pressure from hunters from in and out of state. But, again, for guys willing to hit the trail and log miles you got a good chance.

rdean28's picture
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I will put in the miles!

I am planning on doing some hard hiking.  Does anyone have any suggestions of rugged country that I could hunt that is far from roads and does not allow motorized vehicles? I am looking to hunt on public land and I'm pretty good w/ a map and compass. 

 

I am dissappointed to hear that 421/521 allow ATVs on all the trails.  I really want to get in a place that I need to hike 5-6 miles to get into the elk.  I think 85 will be good for a 3 day trip, but what if I've got 7-8 days?

exbiologist's picture
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you can do that in a lot of places, but...

They are almost exclusively wilderness areas, so not too hard to find.  Assuming you're after OTC, theres the Sangre de Cristos, Weminuche, South San Juan, Mt Zirkel, Raggeds, Sarvis Creek, Eagle's Nest, Holy Cross, Uncompahgre, Lizard Head, Mt. Sneffels, parts of the Flat Tops and West Elks, Maroon Bells, Hunter FryingPan, Collegiate Peaks, La Garita and probably a bunch of others.

rdean28's picture
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% public land in each GMU?

Do you know where I can find the percentage of public land in each GMU?

The herd management plans have it for the management areas, but I can't find a comprehensive list of all the GMUs. Thanks. 

exbiologist's picture
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nope

I've seen a little guide that some of the guys in the call center have, but that's it.  There's nothing published with a nice little summary.  You should be able to get a rough estimate with a decent atlas and the ol Mark I eyeball.  Obviously the highest percentage will be in units on the west slope, especially those that have Forest Service and BLM, and most of them do.  Not much BLM on the Front Range units to provide mid and low elevation access.

However, since you're willing to hunt wilderness areas, check out this map:

http://wildlife.state.co.us/NR/rdonlyres/6CF46B80-CDE5-4740-8EC9-FEF143B1FA56/0/BigGameGMUMapWildAreas.pdf

it has the % of wilderness in each unit.

rdean28's picture
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Eagles Nest Wilderness

Anyone ever seen in elk up on top around 12000 ft?  I hiked up to Cataract Lake and a little higher but didn't go on top...man, there is some thick timber up there. There are probably some big bulls in that timber, but I don't know how you would hunt them.  It seems like the elk would just stay lower down, IDK.  any thoughts?

rdean28's picture
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Thanks

Just wanted to thank everyone for all your posts! Being new to hunting in Colorado I was thrilled to get some info before heading out to hunt.  I was even more thrilled to kill my first Colorado Archery elk a few weeks ago.  Now,  I'm looking forward to a mule deer hunt in November. See you on the mountain!

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