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Picking my first elk spot and i'm currently looking at the SW corner of CO units 71,72,73,74,75 base on some suggestions.
Can anyone tell me what the terrain is really like here? I see it has some high elevations, but not sure how rugged it really is.
Are there road camping areas or would it be best to hike in to camping locations?
What is the elk population like from your experiences and hunting pressure?
This is my first time DIY and not really sure how to finalize on a unit, but want to pick one soon, and start game planning!
Any information would be SUPER helpful!!
Good elk population extreme hunting pressure lots of places to camp elk not likely to be near any of these camping areas unless u spike.
thanks swamp, have you hunted any of those areas with success?
Ditto what swampokie said. Have hunted there in 71 several times. Always saw elk, didn't always connect. We drive in/up then camp. Elk can be within 1 mile of camp/roads. It's usually later in the archery season before you hear much bugling. If you connect and want someone to pack it out, call Al Cannon at Circle K Ranch, ckranch.com. They are located up 145 from Dolores. He is an outfitter in the area.
thanks mudhole, i'll keep the contact, i really don't expect to need it, but maybe!?!?!?!
I hunted 75 a little this past year. Good elk country just extreme amount of pressure in archery season with all the other deer bear elk muzz going on. If u hunt the first week u wont have as many hunters but u will catch labor day hellrazors . U will not be hunting the rut tho. My friend hunted 74 with not much luck last year. I don't think he got more than a couple hundred yards from camp tho.
Thanks swamp, sent you a pm
Similar to any OTC area in Colo be sure to circle on your maps the steepest, nastiest, and most remote country in the area. Hunting pressure is outrageous off the main road, trails, and 4 wheeler trails. The longer you can spend in remote areas the more chance to see elk. You may consider backpacking a base camp into those areas. It may take several years before you figure things out and even find elk! The more time you are willing to scout the better chance you will be successful. There is an art to backpack hunting and you may try some summer trips to scout and figure out equipment, access, camping spots, elk hang outs, etc. Be prepared for company...especially during late Sept when the elk start rutting and all the camo rif-raf come out of the woodwork.
“Hunting pressure is outrageous “
Why in the world would you subject yourself to that situation???
Jims, thanks for this thoughts, have you hunted those areas? I'm sure its going to take several years to learn anything, only have one elk hunt under my belt so far, but that was more like a very long hike...
Mule, you asking me? Well, not sure where i'm headed yet but looking for options. Also, have learned, can't believe everything you read on here...
I hunted elk for the first time on a OTC archery tag in 75/751 in 2016 the second week of September. I managed to see elk almost every day of a ten day hunt and was in bow range twice but was never able to seal the deal it was still a blast. The terrain can definitely be rough but the roughest nastiest places are where you'll find the elk. The trailheads can definitely be a zoo but get 2-3 miles into the thick stuff and you'll have far less company. Don't be intimidated by the hunting pressure with some scouting and hiking you can find a spot. As far as camping I camped by the truck most nights but brought the gear to make a small spike camp if needed. Depending on how my New Mexico draw goes I'll probably be back there this year with a muzzleloader.
I'll post this again...
You dont have to go 2-3 miles to get into elk in OTC Colorado units. I sure am glad for those that do tho!
Ive almost lost count the number of elk we've killed within 1/2 - 3/4 mile from the trucks since the 'go deep' craze started.
Go deep boys, go deep
1/2 to 3/4 mile is what flatlanders call 2-3 miles Brad :)
Boom! Thumbs up otcwill :)
You obviously don't have to go 2 -3 miles in to get away from crowds. Sometimes it pays to think outside the box to figure out overlooked spots on heavily hunted public land. Elk learn in a hurry these overlooked and/or super steep and deep areas where not many hunters tread. If you think about it OTC Colo elk get hammered by hunters from August through mid Nov every year....cow elk into Dec/Jan in many units. Do you think elk have learned where to go to get away from hunting pressure...possibly private land...hint...hint!
Those units you listed all have good elk populations. Just turn 90 degrees from where everyone else is going and you'll find elk. Head into the nasty stuff (sometimes the nasty stuff is down low, not up high) and you'll find elk. If you don't find elk or their fresh, green poo, try another spot the next day. Keep doing that and you'll be in them eventually.
There are exceptions to every rule. Ive found that most people either go deep or road hunt flatlanders and mountaineers alike.
Somewhere in-between the "go-deepers" and the road huggers. I don't mind hunting a mile from ATV trails because the ATV hunters seldom go more than a true 1/2 mile from their trusty steed, and that gap between them and the go-deepers is where elk aren't bothered.
thanks everyone for the notes here and the PMs.. I think i replied to everyone with more questions.. lol
I wish the PM system on here was a bit better but oh well..
I'm thinking i'll be in one of those units, not sure which yet cause i don't know how to finally select one, so maybe i'll just throw a dart and see what happens.. Lot of skill in that! Ha..
I have another state we are looking at as well, but not sure i want to go there yet....
OTC Willy you are so right! I’ve had guys tell me “I’d say I put on about 20 miles or so in a day” I want to ask them “Is that driving to the trailhead or what?”
so how can you tell where roads end on these satellite photos? I mean, how do i know how far i can drive a vehicle and where i will have to get on foot?
For instance, ill see highlighted roads through the mountains and they are named, but then it just ends... If you zoom in, you can still see tracks continuing, so can i keep driving on? Maybe there is a gate?
also, how do i find "trail heads"?
You probably need to get a forest service map that shows not only the roads and trails, but what can be used on them. Autos, 4 wheelers, trailheads, or no motorized traffic.
Here is a good interactive map that shows these features:
Just zoom in to the area you are interested in. You can also get printed copies of these
Google Colorado Hunt atlas. Overlay the viehicle map that shows dispersed camping. Toggle back and forth from satellite image to topo.
Pryannah- I find I am unable to use GE alone. I load a topo overlay also but that won't tell you everything either. I find I have to view the MVUM for a NF to give me the best picture on what roads I can travel (And which vehicle I am allowed to travel)
I was burned a few years ago. I viewed an area in GE that had an old FS road that I planned on following. Had the waypoint marked to park my vehicle and everything. What I didn't see in GE was the locked gate 3 miles short of waypoint. (Once I zoomed in I could see it!) This led to a grueling hike in an effort to take a "shortcut". Luckily this was a scouting trip. That is how you live/learn.
I’m a flat lander but Will is right. I’m convinced most flat landers never get further than .5 mile from a road because it feels like they’ve went 2-3 miles. This year my first Colorado experience I’d have 2-3 bulls bugling any direction from camp but I never had one offer up an unsolicited bugle. Had I not bugled I would have thought there were no elk there.
Do you guys not use a gps unit? The place I got into the most elk on my last hunt was 2.3 miles from where I left the truck according to my gps. But maybe my gps is a "flat lander".
Push co I use one. My buddy didn’t have one this year. He’s a 34 year old ex marine officer, he’s 170 pounds can bench 350, no supplements. He could outdo me all day but I once asked him how far he thought we had back to the truck. He thought over a mile, It was less than .5 and we were in elk. When your used to walking on flat ground .5 mile with terrain and elevation seams further. If flat landers are not using a gps they likely aren’t going very far from the truck.