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OK. Starting over. Unit 2. I should be able to draw unit 2 in the next few years. I'm retired now & will have plenty of time to scout out the area in the summer(s). Just looking for some pointers. The Canyon/Gates of Lodore area looks very interesting. Any other areas I should give a look? PM me if you'd prefer. I'll be 64 in the spring but am still in pretty good shape for my age. I'll have my 30 YO son calling & packing. We're used to hiking 2-3 miles a day ( each way) to get into elk, although a 3 mile pack out with an elk is getting to be more than I want to do. I suppose I could spend that trespass fee money on leasing some horses & maybe run down Douglas Mountain? The country in unit 2 looks to be quite a bit easier than the Weiminuche/San Juans that we've been hunting for years. No National Forest or Wilderness, just tons of Public Lands, but few roads on my map atlas. Should I concentrate south of 318? Any & all tips & info would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
You definitely don't need horses, but they could help you get into a couple of places up there.
I was all over that unit this year. Lots of country that doesn't get hunted in 2.
The vast majority of the hunters focus on Douglas Mountain. There are elk in places you would not expect.
Winter time is not bad up there. Might be worth going up and just poking around and getting to know some of the roads and country. Plus, the Green is decent fishing in the winter if you bring a fly rod...
I disagree with the idea that winter time is not bad up there... I have hunted predators in the area for many winters. Right now we have a very mild winter start. But also realize that one storm can almost completely shut off the entire unit. In the winter, you may only have access on the county roads in Grey Stone and 318 and county road 4 to the north. If the wind and snow hit you might find 4 foot deep drifts in 50 feet from the plowed road.
If you go in the winter be very prepared, it is a long ways out and during the winter there are not many people there...
As for the unit, I have spent a lot of time in the unit and would echo what has been said... Most people focus solely on the Boulevard area. Walkers ranch etc. Majority of elk are there, but there are elk through out the unit. Last year I photographed a 340 bull in the sage flats, and found elk pretty much any where I had went...
Robb, I head up there and into SW Wyoming myself in the winter for predators. After living in Leadville for many years and now Steamboat, that country out there feels pretty tropical:)
Yes, you do have to pay attention to the weather and be careful about where you try to go up there - especially if you are alone. That can apply even in the summer. Some of those roads get better with some rain and some become impossible! I always have lots of stuff to get unstuck, extra gas, a winch, and two spares when wandering around up there.
No worries about winter here. If I went, I'd be very prepared. I have a 4 seasons hard shell fold out camper, and I don't plan too head up there until late spring at the earliest anyway. Where is Sage Flats? I'll have the time to do a lot of exploring this coming year. If I read it right, there will only be 6 or so Res tags allotted, for the whole archery. season, so the competition shouldn't be too steep. Are there several LO tags as well? Having worked up there, I know how remote and alone it CAN be. We'll probably be in two vehicles. Sometimes my son like to run off & go fishing on occasions where I prefer a nap. Please feel free to PM me if you don't want to let the whole world know where some "good spots" are!
I'm getting way too amp'd up about this for 8+ months to go ( or 20). 'Just re-read Treeline's account again... It feels like August. I'll probably make my first scouting foray in early May - or whenever Spring is well under way. In the mean time I'm staying distracted patenting the new design for my base camp camper trailer.
I'm also looking at GMU 2 as well as 10 and 201. I expect they will leave the "general draw" licenses at the same level as last year. Even if they increase each GMU by one license, it'll make a difference, but not much. 2017 resident "general draw" licenses for GMU's 2, 10, and 201 for archery were 6, 11, and 7 respectively and 7, 4, and 7 for muzzleloader. One of the "unknowns" for being able to draw are the number of people that apply for just preference points and the time when they will finally decide to try and use them and for which GMU, which I suspect will be quite a few for 2, 10, or 201. Based on 2017 "pre-draw," there were 249 people with 22 or more resident points.
249 with 22 points is a little disheartening. although, didn't seem like there were that many people with 20+ applying for the trophy units last year. Must be alot going into preference points. Have been doing pref points but may just have to start putting in and hope the draw comes before the wheel chair, Ha
After reading the last 2 posts I decided to do a little research on the pre draw applicants for 2017. I looked at all residents who had 20 or more points going into this years draw. The number of people who applied for points only and the number who applied for an actual license is almost the same. By my reckoning it's about 52% for points against 48% for licenses. Of course we don't know exactly when these people will apply, or for which units, but most guys with 20 or more points have a pretty good idea what they want to do. So if you look at the 20+ point applicants for any hunt and double it, it will give you a pretty accurate idea of how many 20+ guys are interested in that particular hunt, but not when they will apply. The relative difficulty of drawing the northwest units has stayed pretty constant for quite a few years. Some of the RFW hunts have some really big numbers as well, but they are pretty much all rifle guys. I looked at the number that someone posted of 249 residents with 22+points, and as scary as that number sounds, the real number is actually higher. The mitigating factor in our favor is that the rifle applicants far outnumber the archery..... Any way you slice it you need a pile of points to draw one of these tags and it's not going down.
My son-in-law has 15 points for a resident license and the 2017 "pre-draw" preference points of 16 and greater (all ahead of him) and only applying for a first choice preference point totals 1,768. If the same number apply for a license in GMU's 2, 10, and 201 and then include those applying for just the preference point and the number of "general draw" license remains the same...he'll have to live to be as old as Methusella to have a chance of being successful.
Most of those residents with 22 are rifle hunters and I believe 22 are still a couple years out of the creep threshold for rifle, which means they may not draw for another 10 years.
If you guys draw shoot me a PM with your email and I'll send you my feature story on our unit 2 hunt from Bow&Arrow Hunting magazine. Also see if you can find the two-part show on Danny Farris's hunt on Bowhunter TV online.
What many don't realize is that the herd in that DAU is only about 1/4 of the numbers during the "glory years" of the early 2000's before the massive herd reduction efforts started with all the rifle cow tags. It's still a great hunt but a lot tougher now. Seems like every year some guys draw with very limited archery elk experience, and they usually struggle.
To further add to "disheartening," the number of resident, pre-draw people in 2017 who only applied for a preference point were another 152 with 21 points and 212 with 20 points for a total of 2,466. DOW has a major problem to face with "point creep." Makes me curious about the awareness and understanding of those applying with 0-15, or 16, or 17 points and the odds that they will never hunt those units unless there are some significant changes to the system and recognizing that those with 5 or more points can go for a "hybrid license," if available, in those units.
Jaquomo, you're exactly right. These posts are my first on the website, although I've been here for about a year and have done some reading of other's posts. I'd like to get acquainted with some of the members and utilize our experiences such as in these units. I'm at the level of having an estimated success of apply for these GMU's of 25-100%, depending on whether I choose archery or muzzleloader. I've been in those units but they seem to be greatly different in the type of terrain and vegetation than most other areas of the state. I'd like to hear more about your offer of info to use
Brun, You've delved into the numbers like me and, it seems, without changes to the application process, there are few who will have the opportunity to hunt those units with a "general draw" license. Wild guess here...most of those with 20 points or more are "baby boomers" and waiting until retirement to apply to hunt those units because they'll have the "free" time and more than most to hunt those units for a trophy animal. Meaning, maybe there will be a big die-off which will accelerate the opportunity to hunt for those with less points...ha
Blade, you nailed it on the "Boomer Bubble" and point creep. That's exactly what my partner and I did except we were within the draw window as we collected points. Guys with fewer points may be applying for the hybrid tag.
As far as the CPW having a "problem" with so many high point holders, I have to respectfully disagree. The only problem is for the point holders. Matters not to the CPW because they'll still sell virtually every limited tag in the state regardless of the stack of hunters holding points.
Fifteen years from now hunter numbers will be 25-30% fewer than today. The drawing dynamics will change dramatically.
If you draw you'll find a number of guys on here who will help you get started.
Yeah, I'm nearing that "die off" crowd, which is why I'm planning to use my points as soon as I can. Heck, If No Ko launches we may all be in the "die off" crowd. :0 I've been leading my older son along - making sure he's accruing pts. He now has 11. I figure he'll have to settle for a lesser unit if he wants to use them while I'm still able to go. There certainly doesn't appear to be any simple answer as to how to address the point creep issue. Any "solution" is sure to hurt those who have been playing by the rules of the game. Perhaps a couple more hybrid tags per premium unit per year would be the least painful approach? Increasing tag numbers after reducing herd numbers makes no sense, but we can't change the past - just try to repair the future. Re-establishing the "credit card" system, and letting it run concurrently, might also help. I'd still consider drawing 3 or 4 "better" unit hunts, right now, if that were still an option. In " the glass is half full" category, a friend got this archery bull in 201, in 2016, with 21 pts.
I agree with the comment that the ones really bothered are the point holders while the CPW is concerned about revenue from license sales to meet their budget requirements. But, the complaints they're getting are increasing and becoming more vocal with a demand from the hunting public to provide more quality opportunities. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a solution. I know one of the problems they recognize and are concerned about is bringing younger people into big game hunting. With the "point creep," and their (younger people) desire to hunt some of the areas with as few as 2, 3...points, with them starting to accumulate points for those hunts, they're going to be facing several years, or more, to hunt those units. In the meantime, they're option is to hunt OTC until that day comes. As a result, overcrowding is apparently becoming a problem in the OTC units like 80 and 81. Another issue affecting this is the hunters with lots of points and some realizing they may not be able to hunt the NW units will start applying for units such as 61 that takes 12-15 points for either archery or muzzleloader and then it has the same issues that creates a domino affect with other areas. You're right about the CPW and selling licenses and the high point holders not having the complaints of those with few points, but the complaints are increasing and being heard. The number of residents that applied for just preference points in 2016 for elk as their first choice totaled 31,133 with those having 5 or fewer points representing 21,668 and those with more than 5 points being 9,465. The group of 5 and fewer is more vocal and demanding more attention. Nonetheless, and in spite of the numbers, at least we all have the opportunity to take advantage of hunting opportunities in CO.
ColoBull, that is a great bull. Where did you harvest him at? From one of your previous posts, it sounds like we're in a similar situation. I've had some of the same thoughts about considering other GMU's that require lesser points as I have a son-in-law that has 15 points and with the same desire to hunt together as you and your son have, however, he is adamant that I continue to pursue the NW areas. As a side note, I met a couple guys that have unsuccessfully applied for resident, rifle elk and are considering applying for archery or muzzleloader because their odds are better for drawing. They cite technology of the bow and muzzleloader as one of the reasons; they believe the effective killing range of a bow to be 100 yds and muzzleloader to be 200 yds and both weapons to be within their constant range to call elk.
I wish it were mine. That was a bull that a friend got. The pic embedded at the top of the post, while the reference sentence was at the very last. Like I said, he drew an archery tag for unit 201, in 2016, with just 21 pts. (Just ... ha). My point was that there is still some luck involved. He was lucky enough to be the "low man on the totem pole" and still get the draw. Apparently most of the tags went to guys with 22 ( or more) pts that put in in 2016. He was perhaps the only guy with 21 pts to draw one of the 6 tags. I haven't looked at the stats, but that's what happened for him. It gives me inspiration that I too might soon be one of those lucky guys who gets one of the last tags with fewer than the most points needed. I hope they can come up with a reasonably equitable solution to point creep. One of my son's falls into the "might get there some day" category, while the other is in the "probably never" under the current system.
I have a friend that applied for one of those units with 22 points. They filled all the tags, except one, with everyone that applied and who had 23 or more points. With one tag remaining, they had to drop down to those who had 22 points, of which there were 5, and they drew him. Yea, some luck is involved. As mentioned before, even though he has 15 points, the odds are minimal my son-in-law will ever draw for those NW units.
Bob, I just checked the 2016 stats. In 2016 only one guy applied with 22 points in Unit 201 and he drew. Five guys applied that year with 21 points and all five drew. Blade, I hope you will inform the guys you spoke with that 100 yards with a bow for elk is completely unreasonable. Half that is farther than most guys should shoot at an elk. I'm not as knowledgeable about muzzleloaders, but 200 yards also sounds well beyond reasonable range with open sights on a muzzleloader. I would also like to interject here that I think Colorado's overall system is better than most other states. We can still hunt every year when we are building points, and you can plan your hunt much more easily when you have a good idea when you will draw. It's true that if someone is just starting out it would be smarter to hunt on easier to draw Limited Entry Tags every few years, but there are a lot of great hunts that only require a few points. As Jacquomo pointed out the northwest units are not the easy pickings that a lot of people imagine. If you think it's unfair for people with only a few points, how do you think you'd feel if you had been waiting 18-20 years and they changed things and made your points basically useless? As far as Unit 61 is concerned, it's a great hunt, more fun in many ways that the northwest, and people have been bailing out of the northwest game for many years and it has not escalated there any faster than other hard to draw units. I would personally like to see us have more drawing only units for elk, especially for nonresidents, but we come back to the revenue issues for CPW. Non resident elk licenses are the cash cow and a move to severely restrict those is highly unlikely in my view. I believe Colorado offers more opportunities to hunt elk than any other state, and the simple fact is there will never be enough tags for everyone to hunt the northwest units and still keep the quality of the herds up there. I won't personally support, nor do I think wholesale changes in our system are necessary or likely.
As you no doubt have probably heard, one of the items that has come up in discussions is changing bowhunting to a Limited Draw, statewide, as they have done with muzzleloaders. It's easy to think of pros and cons, but does it resolve the issue of point creep in the units that have high demand by increasing and improving the quantity & quality of elk? With increased elk numbers and quality of elk (more trophy elk) in more units, does that attract hunters to apply for more units that have been "improved" and take some of the pressure off the currently popular units?
The whole "trophy elk in a few units" idea is a myth. Huge bulls are being killed every year in OTC and low-point units. I see bulls as big in the zero point unit I hunt now as I did in unit 2. Making the entire state draw for elk would screw tens of thousands of hunters and turn the whole system upside down for years. Boomers with a bunch of points will be totally hosed, and those in the "nether regions" of points may find themselves not being able to hunt, or burning a bunch of points to hunt their OTC units they've hunted for decades.
When deer went all draw I had to burn a boatload of points to hunt my unit that took zero points. Now point creep has hit there too, and it's about 80% one point draw.
I would like to see CO go to more elk draw units for NRs, especially the OTC units overrun with NRs, and allow residents to still hunt those units OTC. Or make it all draw for NRs like WY and sell points for $75. WY does it right for residents. But then as Brun notes, it's all about the money.
What are the opinions of all of you when the CO DOW tested "banking points?" Example: if you had accumulated 10 points and applied successfully for a GMU requiring 5 points, you would use 5 of your points to draw and also subtract 1 additional point, leaving a balance of 4 points.
I read in a discussion, and believe that point banking will cause great point creep in lower and mid point units.
I read in a discussion, and believe that point banking will cause great point creep in lower and mid point units.
As a note to "banking points," I questioned the old DOW about continuing past the year they tested it. The same response was given 3 different times at events where their booth and officers were attending. The response was, in summary, that it was too difficult to establish a tracking system on their computer software and then update and monitor the results; no other reason was given for discontinuing the program.
I took advantage of the point banking year and drew a muzzleloader deer tag that took 0-1 point but had to be first choice. Had a great hunt. If it would have remained in effect, I would have burned 1-2 points a year and would be out of the pool now. Since it didn't, I stayed in and have 11. I may burn them all on a 0-1 point archery tag next year because I have access to some great property at the moment and that could change at the drop of a hat.
I burned my elk points earlier than I planned due to creep and have no regrets. Been hunting a low point unit since close to home that had to drive past to hunt OTC before.
There really isn't a solution to point creep that won't make someone mad. The supply/demand ratio is just too skewed. You can cut up a pie 100 different ways but its still just one pie. The solution to the PR issue point creep causes was addressing the issue with a different system way before it got to where it is today.
Like Jacuomo - We've encountered huge bulls on OTC public land all over the state. Usually just one or two but they ARE there, and I think a lot of that has to do with having gained the hunting experience to know where to hunt. I read somewhere that 90 % of the game is in 10% of the area and that seems to be a pretty reasonable assessment. Having watched every video I can find on the premium units, it does appear that there are a LOT more elk and large bulls up there , and a lot more opportunities. As to making the whole state draw only, if it were to happen I would only hope it would be more of a regional thing - a "block" of units - divvying the state up into 10 or maybe 20 blocks. But perhaps that is too simplistic. There are bound to be holes in the concept but I would hate to be limited to just one unit - we've often hunted more than one OTC unit in the same year. If the weather down low was too warm, we've headed for higher elevation units. If the boys could only pull off a long weekend, we might chose an area closer to home.
PECO - that is true about the point creep in the lower levels. Another "logjam" created.
Ultimately, changes could make everyone upset, or, make a few happy and the rest upset; can't imagine making everyone happy. I guess, be happy for what we have and being a CO resident.