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CO deer stat's help
I want to do an early rifle hunt. Mostly it's about doing the high altitude thing. I'll be just short of 71 and don't think I can make the stalks necessary to take one at altitude with my longbow. I've got 18 points and have been looking at unit 82. When I look up the hunter and harvest numbers this is what I found. 2015, 12 hunters took 6 deer. 2016, 21 hunters took 4 deer.
Am I not reading things right or did something strange happen. My questions are in two areas:
1. Why the nearly 300% increase in hunters????
2. With that many hunters (23) why such a low harvest???
Also, was there a big die off??
I haven’t looked up the stats you talk about, but I have hunt unit 83 for the past 12 years. It’s all private with Lots of deer and about 30 tags for each rifle season. I believe success is close to 100%. I have hunted Mosca Pass area in 82 for elk. Didn’t see that many deer where I was around Carbonate Mtn. There are some large ranches at lower altitude which seem to hold a lot of deer.
Best of luck.
From what I could tell for that unit, CPW has been issuing 24 resident and 6 non-resident tags in 82 for the early rifle hunt going back to 2013.
Actual success numbers in Colorado can be way off of what is reported due to low responses or inaccurate responses from hunters on the questionnaires.
There has not been any big die off in the Sangre de Cristos or winter range in a while and the deer numbers should still be pretty good.
Those early rifle hunts can be very difficult. If the timing is such that the deer have stripped velvet, they will be very difficult to find. I know a number of guys that have drawn those rifle tags and gone in expecting to have a walk in the park and just go up and shoot a big buck above treeline only to bust tail and draw a blank.
There are others that significantly underestimate the difficulty in accessing the country where the bucks live and never even get within miles of the high basins to even get to where the deer are. Or they are not physically able to move to another basin if they one they set their plans on gets blown out and they can only sit and admire the empty scenery.
Also, with those early rifle hunts occurring year after year, eventually the big bucks summering above treeline either get killed off or change their habits to stay lower where they are much more difficult to find. The bucks learn quickly that anything out of the ordinary means they are likely to get shot so they are pretty sketchy in those units and will blow out of a basin easily and not return till maybe next year.
The Sangre's are really steep.
It will help to have horses to be able to move around in there if you have too much company in your basin and have to move. I would not plan on making a big, nice camp and hunting out of it every day, but rather set up to be mobile if your basin gets blown out.
Top end optics and tripod are a requirement for finding bucks in the high country. You will want the best optics equipment can get your hands on and know how to use it.
BTW, Marv is still gettin' after 'em :)
My buddy had that tag in 2017, took 9 points i believe. We did a little scouting work and he was rewarded with success. Deer numbers looked fine. The Sangres are VERY steep.
The Colorado harvest stats are about as helpful as my wheelbarrow with a flat tire
Thanks for the info. This and pm's let me know that the CO stats aren't a great source of info on the health of the herd.
You also have to remember that there are several units that you can hunt with that tag. 86 and at least one other. So if they didn't hunt in 82 it won't show up in stats. Biggest problem and biggest plus of 82 is access. Lots of private limits access from the west. Be sure you have a plan on how you will get where you want to go. I did that hunt when I was 45. At 60 now it would give me pause. We hunted 82. Parked at 7500 feet and walked 4 miles to camp at 10,500. Killed a buck above timberline 6 miles from the truck
If you look at unit 86 is says 11 of 17 successful
Thanks for the help. I'm pretty sure I'll be going. The issue for me living 12-14 hours away will be knowing where the access options are. I believe the west side up north is fairly locked up due to private property.
That unit is RUGGED! Sure there are bucks in there, but did I mention the terrain?
This is the one I got. 29" wide 8x7 including double brow tines.
Nice buck, David!
Talked to a buddy yesterday that had hunted sheep in there two years ago. He said there were plenty of deer, but he didn’t see any of the giant bucks that this area used to produce 20+ years ago. He thinks it’s because of having the early rifle tag there year after year and the rifle hunters knocking the top end off the bucks that summer above tree line.
Could be. My hunt was in 2003. Had to have 8 points to draw that year
I did that rifle hunt back in the early 2000's. Scout / bowhunted it the year before and bow killed a small 4x4 buck. The rifle hunt was easy, shot a 30" buck opening morning. :)
Could have improved a bit since he was there - no winter kill and the later rifle hunts have been tough with no snow the last couple of years to push the deer down into the low country.
Larry, Did you decide to not do your archery hunt that we had talked about?