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Joined: 08/24/2014
Posts: 3
First-time elk hunt in northern Colorado

Hi – new to the forum. Just bought my first rifle – a Savage 30-06 and am psyched to get out there  in a couple months with an OTC bull and a leftover cow elk tag. I already have plans to be in unit 371 for the 2nd weekend of 2nd rifle, but am planning to pickup a leftover cow tag for either 2nd or 3rd rifle as well. From looking through the list the CPW regional guides and searching the forum, I’ve narrowed it down to 11/211, 12/23/24, 13, 15. All of these have options for 2nd and 3rd rifle still available. I had also looked at 42 and 421, but it looks like those units are usually over-run with OHVs, which I’d prefer to stay away from.

I’m pretty fit and spend most of my summer weekends in the mountains hiking and camping, so backpacking or hiking around doesn’t bother me in the least. That said, I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew. I do have a 4wd vehicle, so in general, 4x4 roads to access points shouldn’t be a problem.

I’m excited, but am a little overwhelmed by all of the options and information out there. I’m hoping  to get out there to do some scouting over the next few weeks, But if anyone has recommendations for a first-timer, I’d really appreciate it.

Joined: 05/31/2013
Posts: 118
I felt the same way, a little

I felt the same way, a little overwhelmed by all the options, in the area I was in last year for 1st rifle.  I ended up going to the area 3 or 4 times over the summer, and drove roads all over the place in all parts of the unit, and come "go time", I still wasn't really sure where I should go.  I think if I could do it over again I would just pick one area, and really scout that area good, instead of trying to blanket everything in my scouting trips.  In other words, I felt like since I didn't know the area I wanted to get a general idea of a large area, and might have been better off getting very familiar with one small area.   I do have a better idea of the entire area though, and if I go back to that unit in the future I'll know where I want to go to start my focus. 

Good luck with your hunts!

Striker's picture
Location: Kuna, ID
Joined: 10/29/2012
Posts: 223
First hunt advice.

I don't know the area you are hunting to well so I can't help you there but getting to know the area and the habits of the elk in that area is key. Be looking at maps and spend some time finding out where the elk migrate to. Where they are roughly in their summer range and winter. Then look at what time of year you are going.
If this really is your first elk hunt ever and you have never killed any big game, then you seriously need to look into how to take care of a elk after you kill one. If you don't know how to do that you better figure things out or get some hunting partners to show you the ropes. Having three or four people to help pack out meat is very favaorable over doing it yourself. If you don't have help you might consider hunting close to access points. You don't want to kill a huge animal a long ways from the truck. Trust me, you will regret it. You need to think about processing the meat to. Even though getting an elk your first year can be tough you need to make plans incase you do.
There is a lot online that can help you. Do your research.
Good luck.

SGM's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Canon City, Colorado
Joined: 08/13/2011
Posts: 1147
Since this is your first year

Since this is your first year I would not try to hunt 2nd season in two different units. It is almost impossible and a waste of time. I would recommend hunting your OTC 2nd then a cow 3rd but that is a lot of time out in the woods. As said before getting to know one unit is a good idea and is hard to do in one season unless you do a bunch of scouting. I have hunted basically the same unit for 30 years and still find something or place new. Game cleaning and prep is very important as stated. If you have not field dressed or packed out an elk, you will be surprised at how big and heavy they really are. As for 3rd season, do you know any of the areas you listed? If so start there if not I would go for 11/211 or 12/23/24 as these units have good access, plenty of public land and a good number of critters. That said there will be a bunch of hunters too. Doing your homework and looking at maps is a good start. If you can get in a scouting trip that is the best by far.

Joined: 08/24/2014
Posts: 3
I'm thinking of heading out

I'm thinking of heading out to unit 33 this weekend to scout around. If anyone is willing to point me in a direction, I'd appreciate it.

Joined: 07/16/2009
Posts: 70
I spent years in the Flat

I spent years in the Flat Tops north of 33, but never anytime in 33. It's a big area and the largest elk herd in the state - I think. It's also heavily hunted for those reasons. My experience in the Flat Tops area, was get in as far as you could drive, walk 4 more miles, and then cross your fingers. I did see nice elk in there - it's a good area, but not for the weak or unconditioned hunter.

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