Go Far But Not "Horse Far"

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Out here in Colorado, and in the units that I haunt, it is a tricky game to figure out how far to pack in on a rifle hunt. You want to get away from the masses that have moved game away from the roads but might want to stay close enough that you are taking advantage of the animals forced movements. There is no universal distance but I like the 1.5 to 4 mile range for day hunts where I am not planning on bivying out. This keeps you in that productive buffer zone where the animals are really moving. 

The other thing I try to avoid is trying to get so far back on a day hunt that I start bumping into all the horse guys. Hunting an area a couple years in a row really helps you figure out what the guys on horseback tend to do. 

Over the counter units usually require patience and knowledge of escape cover. Use these guidelines to help keep you into the action. 


arrowflipper's picture

great advice

I really like your advice.  For years, we archery hunted in a National Wilderness Area what allowed not wheels of any kind.  Horses or walk in only.  We were packed in every year but only went in about a mile and a half.  Almost every other horse group just kept going.  We were in that buffer zone and had good success.  We had elk in our camp lots of nights.  (they sure didn't stick around during daylight though) 

Being packed in, we set up a comfortable camp and would hunt in a one or two mile radius from camp.  We packed elk out on our backs rather than wait for the mules to come back.  We wanted our meat where it was cold in a hurry. 

I think too many hunters believe that there are way more animals the farther back you get.  That normally just isn't the case.  This is an understatement..... Animals are where you find them.

hunter25's picture

Excellent advice and from

Excellent advice and from experience I have to agree. I usually don't get more than 2 miles from the road at any given time partly because of the difficulty getting an animal back out alone if I am successful.

I also have to say that sometimes I run out after work with only an hour to spare and hunt within a few hundred yards of the road with good results. Even the lazy hunters usually go farther than that and many deer will take advantage of this also. Not the case with elk for sure but deer are another story.

new_elkchaser's picture

Thanks! A first timer like


A first timer like myself can use any info he can get.

ManOfTheFall's picture

Thanks, I'll kep that in mind

Thanks, I'll kep that in mind if I ever get out that way.

numbnutz's picture

Good info, i like to stay way

Good info, i like to stay way from roads