8 replies [Last post]
Joined: 03/12/2011
Posts: 11
Elk Hunt

Hello fellow hunters,

I am trying to plan a future elk hunt.  I am looking for suggestions on decent areas to go with good public hunting where I can get over the counter bull/either sex tags.  I am trying to do this without the expence of a guide. Plus I like the challenge and look forward to the adventure of it.  I am looking into Colorado, Wyoming, or I guess really anywhere that I can have a decent chance on public ground.  I live in IA so the only way I can really figure out how to start is get some ideas from other hunters.  Any info is a huge help.

Thanks Dave

Joined: 03/12/2011
Posts: 11
I forgot to mention I would

I forgot to mention I would prefer to do this in a rifle season.  Then my second elk later on come back with my bow. 


buckykm1's picture
Location: Vicksburg, Mi
Joined: 11/24/2010
Posts: 366
Elk tags

For a otc tag, i think you only have 3 choices, CO, ID or Utah. i don't know much about ID or Utah. i would say CO is your best chance, there is tons of public land to hunt. check the CO, DOW web site, it will give you tons of info.


rgbwmb's picture
Joined: 02/19/2011
Posts: 26
Elk hunt

I am also looking into a hunt in 2012 and have 2 possibilites. Beaver Springs Tresspass Hunts in Co and Black Elk Outfitters in Co. Google them and you will find the best prices around. I hunted with the latter in 1995 and of the three of us took 2 bulls and had other shots as well. Good hunting...

JimmyB's picture
Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 09/04/2009
Posts: 74
^^What he said^^ Except I

^^What he said^^ Except I think Idaho is a draw only for non-resident, otherwise those are the only states a non-resident can buy an OTC elk tag,  (someone correct me if I'm wrong) I'm assuming this is your first Elk hunt from your 2cd post so to pick the tag/state that is going to work best for you , you need to figure out your max budget for the trip or what you want to spend on a tag  and if you want a cow or bull tag, if a bull tag then you need to decide if you want to go for a monster or "trophy" bull or if you will take the first bull you see. If ur looking for an OTC Elk tag and don't care about the size of bull or ok with taking a cow, I would say Colorado would be your best chance at that. They have the biggest population of elk and if I remember correctly they have one of the best or the best bull:cow ratio in the country (again someonecorrect me if that's wrong). If that sounds like what you want it would be best to talk to some of the knowledgeable elk hunters on here from Colorado and get info on a unit to hunt and which season to hunt (I think 1&4th rifle season are draw only and 2cd rifle season is unlimited tags)  A Non-Resident Colorado OTC tag will cost $554 or you can do an Elk/Deer combo in 2cd-3rd season I think, that will cost a little bit more $$$ and they have a few different rifle seasons depending on if you want cow or bull. If you are looking for a cheaper tag or looking to have a  better chance at a very good sized bull  but with lower overall success rate then I'd say Utah.  Utah has plenty of  good accessible public land to hunt but if you hunt close to the roads it WILL be crowded!  Utah  has some very strong,healthy elk populations through out the state, with some very very big bulls on public land reaching the magical 400" mark and even freaks like "Spider Bull" running around on public land,  but Utah's Elk population is nothing compared to Colorado or Montana's elk population. Utah has 2 different types of units for the general season elk. There's "Any bull" units and "spike only" units. A lot of Utah is either Limited Entry/Trophy Units (main units in Central Utah and Eastern Utah) and some of those units are closed off during general season. The units with higher elk populations and  "more" big bulls will be the "spike only" units for general season. Utah opened up two trophy/LE units to Spike Only general season 2 years ago and tags sold out faster than I've ever seen.  Those units are good with mature bulls but the chances of seeing a spike bull or yearling bull in those units is less than seeing a trophy bull. The "Any Bull" units usually have a much lower elk population than the "Spike Only" units but there are a few areas where only a highway divides the boundary between a Any Bull and a Spike Only unit so you are going to have a better chance at seeing elk in an areas like that., There are plenty of big bulls taken every year in Utah from the "Any Bull" units. I've seen numerous bulls over 350" taken on public land, "Any Bull" units.   The Any Bull units are mainly located in Northern/North Eastern Utah. The Utah Non-Res. tag is $388.00 and includes a 1 yr fishing license and is the cheapest Non-resident OTC Elk tag I can think of  off the top of my head.  Another state to maybe consider is Montana..... You have to draw out for a Non-resident tag but they are very easy to draw out, and is good statewide besides of few small "tropy units"  It is $812 for non-res Elk and $912 for Elk/Deer combo with a 30+ day hunting season. I think the application deadline is March 15/16th. Even with all the Wolves in Montana and however bad people say the elk populations are right now from the wolves.... They still have better elk populations  than any other state except Colorado, and some of Montana's biggest bulls EVER were taken this last general season on public land!


I Hope this info is helpful and not too confusing for ya. Let us all know where you decide to get a tag!   If you have any questions or want more details about hunting elk in Utah or Montana just shoot me a PM and I'll be happy to help. Or if you need help/info about  hunting Colorado there's plenty of guys I've seen on the forum from Colorado with more knowledge and experience on hunting/harvasting Elk than most people could ever hope for! *cough-cough* ......elkkill!!

Joined: 03/12/2011
Posts: 11

Thank you everybody for the helpful information.  I am not stuck on a monster bull.  This would be my first time going so I just wanna make sure I can go somewhere that I have the opportunity to see some bulls.  The cow probably wouldnt interest me as the bull or either sex tag.  I love the thrill of hunting the trophy animals.  I just need to find, i dont wanna say easy, just the more areas that are likely for a beginner to have oppurtunities to get on some bulls.  I will check into all your ideas.  Keep them coming if anybody has anything else.  Thanks again you all have been very helpful. 

Topgun 30-06's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Allegan, MI
Joined: 12/11/2010
Posts: 693
Idaho does have some units

Idaho does have some units with nonresident OTC bull tags and they go on sale on December 1 for the following fall hunt.  Some of the units sell out within a day or two and some take a little while, but not real long and you can apply online.  I would agree with Colorado being your best bet and probably the northwest corner up around Craig if you really want to start honing in on an area that has a lot of elk and easier country to get at them than a lot of areas from what I've heard.

numbnutz's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: portland,oregon
Joined: 09/06/2007
Posts: 3058
Oregon also has OTC elk

Oregon also has OTC elk hunting, in eastern oregon it would be spike only, in western oregon it would be a bull tag, some units have 3+point restrictions. this is for rifle. If you were to archery hunt you can hunt 85% of the state with an OTC tag. its a bit  farther than other states mentioned but its another option. keep in mind OR has the 3rd largest elk herd behind Colorado and montana. And we have 2 types of elk, the rocky mt and roosevelt. good luck with your choices.

Joined: 03/12/2011
Posts: 11
Ok guys Another question

Ok so I have been doing some research on this.  Gonna try it next fall.  Found alot of units that r otc tags in Colorado.  Anybody have any suggestions on good units for a 2nd or 3rd rifle season?  I wasnt sure where my chances would be better at that time of yr?  They surely wouldnt be heading back up high in the mountains into the harsh weather would they?  Its hard to do all the scouting from home.  The internet can show u alot but it sure cant do all the homework for you.  If anybody has any suggestions for good units with great populations of bull at that time of yr please dont hold back.  Public ground is where im looking into so I was thinking somewhere around White Water National forest or west of there.  Anything is helpful.  Oh yeah also around that area in the winter time, Is that area have trouble keeping their main roads open?  I dont want to plan something and get there and have to hike 40 miles to get to where i need to go. lol


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