Hello everyone, This is my first post to this forum and I have a bit of a dilemma. I am an accomplished elk hunter, having hunted elk for over 40 years all over the state of Colorado. I have been fortunate enough to have taken a lot of elk, most of them with a bow. For several years I worked as a guide for some notable Colorado outfitters. I am 54 years old now and even though I have taken a lot of elk, I have never taken a really good bull (something over 300). While I believe that any elk is a good one, once in my life - and before I can no longer haul a pack into the backcountry - I would like to take a nice bull. God knows I have had opportunities, but for more reasons than I can remember it just did not pan out. It made for a lot of exciting times though. Anyhow, I have finally accumulated enough points to comfortably draw unit 61 or 40 - both having a reputation for holding some good animals. I have little knowledge of these 2 areas and would like some advice as far as access and a starting point goes. 40 is rather small and contains a lot of private ground, 60 is quite large with a ton of public ground. Either will work. Even though I am over 50 I am no slouch. I still hunt out of a pack a week at a time in some of the most remote and beautiful country the state has and I look at a LOT of elk but the clock is ticking and I am not sure if I want to wait for another 5 or 6 years to draw a really choice unit like 10. Besides, there are a lot of good units that can be had for a point or 2 and by holding out I am missing out on some really good hunts. The places I hunt now are some of the best of the OTC units and even though these are very remote areas, a 300+ bull is hard to find and even harder to bring home. I see a couple a year and like I said, I get an occasional crack at one, but it is elk hunting. If anyone would like to share some specifics about these units I would appreciate it. In return, I can turn you on to some really good OTC honeyholes. I have talked to DOW folks about these units and even though they are polite and helpful, everyone gets the same story. I have lived in Colorado all of my life and know most of the state very well. Thanks.
Unless you are willing to pay to get on Private land in 40, go with 61! The small amount of public in 40 is marginal once the season gets underway. I have looked at almost every angle to make 40 work and always come up with need to hire an outfitter.
I have rifle hunted unit 40 for the first time last year. Your right, 40 does have a fair amount of private land, and I don't think that unit is managed for trophy output. But of course there is always the exception to the rule.
Also for archery, doesn't it take about 9 pts to get a tag for unit 61,and only 3 for 40? Sorry I don't have those stat's in front of me.
It interested I can PM you where I hunted third season. I did get into animals regularly, no real toads though.
Best of luck to you.
No question 61 would be my choice. As stated, takes 10 points for a sure thing in 61, only takes 4 for 40.
Good luck 'tomo'!
I will be in 61 soon!
It will take you a boatload of points for 61 and only a few for 40. Big difference. How many points do you have? That will probably make the decision for you.
RickM, Anglinarcher: I spoke to the DOW field officer that covers unit 40. He also covered unit 61 for several years. This was this afternoon. He acknowledged that access in 40 can be a problem but he was pretty insistent that the quality of bulls tends to be better in 40 than 61 on the high end. He stated several times that if I wanted a 350 class bull odds were better in 40, but if I wanted a 300 class bull then 61 was a better choice. The forest ground in 40 only covers 12 square miles. The balance is BLM and private ground. He did mention several areas to hunt but he also reminded me that 40 can be had for 3 points and 61 takes 9-10. He suggested possibly hunting 61 now (I have 10 points) and coming back to 40 in a couple of years. Regardless, I still have the same dilemma. Any details about either area would still be much appreciated. My plan is to hunt either area out of a pack and on foot. I like this because I can look at a lot of ground. One positive for 40 is that one of the big Glade Park ranches is participating in the RFW program this year and this might tend to move some elk off the ranch. They start gun hunting in late August. BTW, this ranch gets $10,000 for an elk hunt.
My buddy's bull out of GMU 40.2007 3rd rifle season.
1st rifle season in 40 is also a possibility. The biologist also suggested that I hunt 40 during the 4th season as some of these elk tend to move lower onto public ground a little later - snow or not. ????
If I were sitting in your position I would do just as you said. Pull 61 now and then hunt 40 in 3-4 years. 40 has not had the points creep because of the access issue.
Should be a good hunt iether way, I wish I had your problem!!!!!
Go for unit 61 if you have the points. More bulls above 300 and more ground to hunt.
If you go to 61 you need to be prepared to go down in the scrub and bushwhack through it to get to where the animals hang out...especially later in the season. BB hunted there last year and there was a good thread on that unit going. I think a search would turn that up. In fact there are lots of threads about 61.
61 if you have the points. most the big bulls you hear of in 40 are off the private, and yes, there a big ones. for $5k to 10k you can hunt them!
Do you want to spend your whole hunt sitting on the boundary waiting for a bull to cross? Or be following a bull and have it go on private? Or worse shoot a bull but have it go onto private and you can't recover?
61 is big and public with tons of elk. You can just hunt. As mentioned some had a hard time in 61 but imo they werent aggressive enough. Here is me holding one my buddy got in 61 a couple years ago on the archery.
If you have the points for 61, no brainer, 61. If you have access to private property in 40, then maybe 40.
BB's hunt was in 61 last year if I remember correctly. Lots of info and pictures galore.
This was what to expect in 61 when you are into the elk.
Sorry wrong one
That's a great video! Is inducing a heart attack a legal method of take?
Thanks for getting back to me, I didn't know that about unit 40. Like I said, last year was my first year. We were able to tag out quick with cow tags. Yes there isn't much for dark forest, there is alot of sage flats in that area (Glade Park). What little national forest there was I did cut alot of human tracks even in the snow, which of course was not was i was looking for. And plenty of private land up there. Since we tagged quickly on cows, I didn't look to hard for any quality bulls. Of course what I was looking for and what you want are two entirely different things.
I have to agree with most everybody else on here, if you got the points go for 60. 40 will come up in a few years. Besides a solid 300+ bull is nothing to scoff at IMO.
You guys are making this a rather easy choice. Along with the posts to the forum, several folks have offered some commentary off line. Nice. I will follow up with the suggestions. ANY suggestions will be appreciated. Some of the stories I have read over the past couple of days have me really looking forward to September. I have hunted 62 a number of years back. I would imagine the terrain is similar. Most likely a downhill hunt from the Divide road which makes humpin' quarters an uphill and rather unpleasant affair. I will be hunting on my own which I really prefer but I am over 50 and this doesn't get any easier with age. I hope to get into some remote pockets and maybe root one out. I have taken some elk in some gawdawful places but if you do not find one, it is very hard to kill one. Elk or not, it is a great pastime and every hunt is an adventure.
Tomo. I say 61, that way in 15 years when I can draw a tag, I know where to go for advise.
I say blow your points in 40... One less hunter I have to wait on to get my 61 tag.
61 for sure...
No Brainer....61. I thought the terrain in 61 was about average for elk hunting. I have been in a lot worse. Mike - TN
61 for sure... archery hunted 40 a few years back and the private issue is HUGE! People might say 40 is "doable" but it's not unless you obtain private access. I have 3 points now and it's not on my radar this year at all! I don't care if I can draw it... basically throwing points away.
Honestly, the terrain in 61 is very tame compared to many other elk units in Colorado. As far as being "uphill" from Divide Road...there are many places in the unit where you can actually place a vehicle on one road and an ATV at another. Then, you can hunt all of the area in between, which can be quite extensive. We did this last year during my buddy's rifle tag. It made for an easy pack out after he shot his monster bull. Research some maps and you'll find many areas in this unit where you can do this. If I were you, I would hunt 61 while you still have a chance. You won't be disappointed.
61. We are getting more over 300 every year, and even up to 350 in 70. I am 9 miles south of Unit 61 and Sm River and we get some spill over into 70 of good bulls. Most bulls ( 90%) are 4x4 and 5x5 , which I pass, but the out of staters tend to take what is Legal.
Unit 40 went to 4 pref points this year for non res. There is a lot of BLM land with access if you do your homework.The NF may be amall, but holds good bulls during the bow season. I will be hunting the 2010 archery season in Unit 40 and very excited about it. Talked to past hunters, locals and biologist for the area and nothing but good info and feedback. The Ranching For Wildlife on the private land will move more bulls into NF and BLM land.They dont get $10,000 for nothing, its becaus there are big bulls in unit 40.
I was hoping the RFW in 40 would be gone for good but looks like it is back. They shoot rutting bulls w/rifles and definitely take the cream of the crop. Before RFW there used to be some super bulls in 40 but they hammer the heck out of the top bulls on those hunts.
Also, with only little public land available in 40...guess where many of the bulls generally end up....on private ground. Most of the bulls know exactly where the fencelines are!
The biologist that said there are more top end bulls in 40 than 61 needs his head examined! From what I've seen over the years the RFW has taken it's toll on any 330+ bulls in 40 and you will be EXTREMELY lucky to get a 300 to 320 bull in 40...especially during the archery seasons!
Seeing that you have enough points to draw 61 I would hunt it and draw 40 in a few years. I have heard there are good bulls in 40, but it has access problems because of all the private land.
I took a 315 PY bull in unit 40 in 2005 (private land) with my recurve. I've road through the national forest a few times while I was there and it isn't a place I would like to hunt based on the numbers of people I saw camped.
I talked to a Tennesee bowhunter that hunted 40 last year and he said if he had 30 points he would do it again. He used his 8 points last year and his 4 hunting partners used their 6. All 5 took their bulls on NF land. 2 350+ bulls, 2 300+ bulls, and 1 5x5. They saw over 25 different 300 class bulls. There were campers and bike riders every where,especially Labor Day weekend, but the bulls were used to the people.The bulls were even screaming behind one of the main camps.RFW will take its toll on big bulls in 40 in a year or 2. Only 3 RFW tags were issued for 40 and it took 18 PP. If the picture went thru, it is the 358 bull one of the Tennesee boys took last year on NF land. CrazyElkHunter/Mossy Oak Far West Big Game Pro Staff