Summit Treestands
Scout 76 or hunt OTC?
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
Darrell 25-Jul-21
AZ8 25-Jul-21
jstephens61 25-Jul-21
Grey Ghost 25-Jul-21
Darrell 25-Jul-21
elkster 25-Jul-21
wildwilderness 25-Jul-21
Scoot 25-Jul-21
[email protected] 25-Jul-21
kentuckbowhnter 25-Jul-21
Chuckster 25-Jul-21
DonVathome 25-Jul-21
Darrell 25-Jul-21
KSflatlander 25-Jul-21
Don K 25-Jul-21
Pop-r 25-Jul-21
Grey Ghost 25-Jul-21
Tdwhip 25-Jul-21
wyobullshooter 25-Jul-21
Zim 25-Jul-21
Pop-r 25-Jul-21
FORESTBOWS 25-Jul-21
Phaseolus 25-Jul-21
Deercy 25-Jul-21
Surfbow 26-Jul-21
Zim 26-Jul-21
Deercy 26-Jul-21
Grey Ghost 26-Jul-21
Treeline 26-Jul-21
Darrell 26-Jul-21
Hank_S 26-Jul-21
wyobullshooter 26-Jul-21
LINK 26-Jul-21
Firsty 26-Jul-21
wildwilderness 26-Jul-21
Grey Ghost 26-Jul-21
cnelk 26-Jul-21
Rickm 27-Jul-21
Quinn @work 27-Jul-21
MarkU 27-Jul-21
KHunter 28-Jul-21
Firsty 28-Jul-21
Jethro 28-Jul-21
Buskill 29-Jul-21
backstraps 29-Jul-21
From: Darrell
25-Jul-21
September is around the corner and I need to make a decision. I have a unit 76 tag in my near future, likely 2022 or 2023. My usual hunting partner is out this year due to parent's health issues so I'm considering not hunting but instead taking a week to scout in 76 during the same time I will hunt it when I eventually draw the tag. If doing the latter, I will of course give preference to guys with tags. I.e. if I go someplace and see a vehicle or signs of hunters, I'll go elsewhere or ask them if they want a caller.

My OTC option is OK but not great. I hunted it in 2019 and could have killed a small bull on my first morning but let him walk because the way I got to where I was at was too nasty to think about packing out a raghorn by myself. (Of course I discovered a main game trail down to the hiking trail later that day that if I had known about, I would have taken the shot). I was also there the third week and the elk had been mostly pushed to private so if I go back, I'm going to fight the crowds the first week and try to use what I learned in 19 to use the pressure of opening week to push elk by me as I noted a number of escape routes that had obviously been well used.

Anyway, its a decision I need to make soon for a number of reasons. I'm super excited to hunt 76 and scouting in the rut in a place like that would be super fun, but there's always an extra edge when I have a tag in my pocket and my bow in my hand.

Another factor is I'm not in as good of shape this year as I would like to be for either hunt. Been fighting, feet, knee and back issues this year which has certainly not helped. (Getting old sucks, guys so don't do it.)

My wife and I just got back from spending a few days in 76 so I know I have to be in the best shape of my life when I do draw the tag so training for next year started on our hikes last week.

So, what would you do? Scout for a great tag next year or hunt a difficult place this year? I am going back and forth.

Thoughts?

From: AZ8
25-Jul-21
Live for the day. Go hunt. You don’t know what tomorrow brings.

From: jstephens61
25-Jul-21
Go hunt and if you tag out, head into 76 with the time left.

From: Grey Ghost
25-Jul-21
I think scouting an area without a tag, during a on-going season, shows a lack of courtesy to the hunters who are trying to fill tags.

I know you said you'd go "elsewhere" if you saw signs of hunters. But, what if that "elsewhere" is a spot a hunter hopes to hunt later that day? So, the hunter shows up for an evening hunt, and he's immediately disheartened to see your rig parked there, so he changes his evening hunting plans. Now, think about the snowball affect if every potential future tag holder decided to do the same thing you are doing. I saw that exact phenomenon in unit 10 last year, and it ruined several of my hunts.

No matter how unobtrusive you try to be, you will probably affect someone else's hunt, one way or another, especially if you are tromping thru the woods. Or worse, driving an ATV around the area. IMO, you should scout in the off-season only.

Matt

From: Darrell
25-Jul-21
Matt,

Yeah, I'm wrestling with that. I could also go October 1st which would likely still have them talking but also have a greater chance of snow and bad weather but I'm sure the bulls would still be very vocal and it would also give me a great idea where they go when pressured.

From: elkster
25-Jul-21
AZ8 x 2

25-Jul-21
Go Scout 76! The information you gain will be beneficial to your future hunt.

I’m sure you can find someone to help, and also find areas with nobody there.

It’s public land, there will be others recreating. Bring a fishing rod

From: Scoot
25-Jul-21
Hunt. Not sure how old you are, but crap can happen fast (that's regardless of age actually).

25-Jul-21
Hunt. There's only so many elk seasons left for any of us.

25-Jul-21
Hunt now. The elk you find this year may never be there the year you are there.

From: Chuckster
25-Jul-21
Grey Ghost X1000. Nothing pisses me off more than a gaggle of guys scouting for a hunt the following month or year while your hunt is ongoing. They'll be out first thing in the am and last 90 minutes of daylight while the critters are moving around. The fact you are very conscious about doing this during a hunt tells me you are of high moral character and I applaud you. Go do your OTC hunt this year and get your body and mind ready for this hunt in 2022, you'll have one year. I don't know this unit but based on the years of reading on this site, guys that are in so-so condition post about wishing they were in better physical condition for a hunt they just completed. Do you want to go on great hunt in not the best of shape and be wiped out in 3-4 days or do you want to go on an awesome hunt that you can get after it day after day until you are successful?

From: DonVathome
25-Jul-21
I would definitely scout 76

From: Darrell
25-Jul-21
GreyGost,

Yeah I get that. I know for myself and most non-residents its a once in a lifetime hunt and I certainly wouldn't want to mess with anyone's hunt, and at the same time I want to make the most of my own. I'm leaning towards the OTC.

Now if someone with a 76 tag this year wanted a caller who had some spots to share (ones I found while there this week, not ones a couple guys here have shared with me) but wouldn't mind said caller took every other day off to go fish and recoup I might could be pursuaded. :)

From: KSflatlander
25-Jul-21
Couple questions:

Why not scout before and/or after season?

How much scouting information transfers from year to year?

From: Don K
25-Jul-21
Hunt OTC, theres elk all over 76 and you wont need a whole week for scouting.

From: Pop-r
25-Jul-21
I wouldn't have a problem scouting amongst tag holders. It's public ground. Your intentions are good. That being said as you know, 76 is HUGE country! If you're not in shape there's no need going there and expecting to have a good time.

From: Grey Ghost
25-Jul-21
It’s interesting, there seems to be 2 camps on this issue, based on this and the thread I started on the same subject a few weeks ago.

One is the “me first” camp. They point to the fact that it’s public ground, and a scouter has the same right to be there as a tag holding hunter. I can’t argue with that.

The second camp believes the Golden Rule still applies, even to hunting.

I’ll take the second camp, always.

Matt

From: Tdwhip
25-Jul-21
Darrell, Don't over think this go hunt. I Work hard all year to keep in shap so I can spend the hole summer and fall in the mountains. This year in April I fell and ruptured my Achilles. Now I'm 11 weeks post surgery, The doctor is telling there will be no Elk season for me. I can't tell you how bad this bites. There are only so many Elk seasons the lord allows you to have.

25-Jul-21
GG, you’re accusing the first camp of being “me first”. I’m having a hard time understanding how the same can’t be said about your second camp.

From: Zim
25-Jul-21
I’m in your exact same situation except it’s unit 61 I can draw next year. I chose to go scout for a week mid-Sept. this year. I scout & hunt entirely on foot. Don’t use calls hunting, much less scouting. No ATV which most use and have ruined my past hunts with. I would not think twice about selectively scouting during a hunt. Not after all the incredible yahoo’s I’ve seen out there. I would only wish there was a guy stealthfully scouting on foot compared to my unbelievable encounters with loud monster RCV’s, side by sides, & ATV’s illegally in wilderness areas no less, etc! Oh and forgot the tag holder towing an eight member posse! This is the no brainer of the century. If you don’t go scout after waiting a decade+ or 26 years like me, you’d be criticized by the same guys here advising you to not scout. But those same guys won’t help you with location suggestions. You can’t win.

From: Pop-r
25-Jul-21
Exactly wyobullshooter. How does camp 1 not have the right to scout and make the most of his tag against someone that didn't have the time or willing to put the effort in to scout to make the most of his 20 something points and just shows up and hoped for the best or maybe he has scouted for the last 5 yrs?... I think it's very wise for someone who intends to burn 20? points to try his best to make a wise decision on whether to hunt the unit or not and where. I think if he does not then he is very much not doing his homework. This research may take years upon years to complete and other tag holders are the very least of your worries at that point although that may be unfortunate for them.

25-Jul-21
Both. Man up!

From: Phaseolus
25-Jul-21
Hey Zim, there will be plenty of recreational atv riders on those legal trails in 61 all season long, not just hunters. Don’t bang up that pacemaker being self righteous. BeanMan

From: Deercy
25-Jul-21
I would never go in to a hunt that takes that amount of commitment without a precise game plan. 76 is not the place to try to get lucky.

From: Surfbow
26-Jul-21
76 doesn't need lots of scouting, it needs lots of physical conditioning

From: Zim
26-Jul-21
Phaseolus, What’s your point? If the units going to be full of ATV’s anyway, why the hell would I even consider not scouting? Just give a thumbs up and move on.

From: Deercy
26-Jul-21
Lots of people leave 76 without a bull. Scouting always helps. You can learn roads, spend time behind binoculars from the road, listen for bugles at that little bit of light early and late, eat crepes at that delightful coffee and breakfast spot in South Fork.....

From: Grey Ghost
26-Jul-21
"GG, you’re accusing the first camp of being “me first”. I’m having a hard time understanding how the same can’t be said about your second camp."

I'm not following your logic, Wyobull. The second camp treats people how they'd want to be treated. They recognize that any addition human presence in the woods during a hunting season potentially disrupts the hunters who are trying to fill tags. Since they wouldn't want a gaggle of scouters in the area during their hunt, they choose not to scout during someone else's hunt. It's called common courtesy.

Matt

From: Treeline
26-Jul-21
Absolutely go scout during the season!

The more you know about a unit, the better your hunt will be. If that knowledge is gained during hunting season, it is even better.

You’re being out there will not screw up someone’s hunt unless it is intentional. Not a lot of tags and there will be lots of others out and about recreating.

Who knows, you might meet up with someone and get to help them achieve their dream!

Big difference between 76 and 10. The elk are all over a big unit in 76 and very concentrated in a few areas of big units up in the NW corner like 10.

From: Darrell
26-Jul-21
My problem is I know I can't be in the elk woods in September without creating a ruckus. No matter how much I tell myself to not call, when I hear the bugle, I can't resist. "Leave your calls at home" you say. Problem is I do a mean cow call with my voice and a decent enough spike whistle without a call to get them cranked and coming my way.

I want to hunt and I'm feeling better every day about the scouting I have already done. Will make another trip next summer and will make a number of calls to forest service, game wardens, others who hunt the unit, etc. I think I'll be in good shape for a fantastic hunt as long as I can get my knee pain under control enough to get in decent shape. (Yes, I know I want to be in the best shape of my life, but knees are a significant limiting factor.)

Now, I need to nail down a new boot as my Irish Setters gave me some significant issues last week.

From: Hank_S
26-Jul-21
Ditto AZ8!

In 2020, I fractured my pelvis (cycling accident) on August 20th...lost the hunting season (except for goose hunting) and ate a landowner voucher.

Hunt this year!

There are enough folks to help you out on areas to concentrate on in 76.

26-Jul-21
"I'm not following your logic, Wyobull."

It's public land, which makes it a playground for everyone, not just hunters. You want anyone that isn't hunting to show common courtesy and stay out of the woods during hunting season so you can have this public land all to yourself. The OP says he'll stay away from hunters, but you're still concerned he might disturb elk in areas that someone might hunt later? You can put whatever spin you want on it by talking about the Golden Rule and common courtesy, but if what you want and expect others to do doesn't scream "Me First", I don't know what does.

As far as scouting out of season, that may or may not be productive. You can scout all summer long in my area and the only thing you'll find are cows, calves, and an occasional spike. The raghorns don't start showing up until the last week in August, and the bigger bulls normally start showing up the middle to end of the first week in September. As soon as the rifle banging starts in October, they disappear into their nasty hidey holes.

Look, I get it. I'd love to be able to turn back time to where I basically had the elk woods to myself. Unfortunately that ship has sailed and it ain't coming back to port. Now the woods, roads, and camping areas are crawling with other hunters, hikers, campers, atv's, motorcycles, dogs, etc, etc, etc.

Bottom line is, this is the world we now live in and it's getting worse every year. Nobody likes it any better than you. But to think your "right" to have others stay off public land during hunting season trumps their right to use it for whatever legal activity they choose is a bit hypocritical IMO.

From: LINK
26-Jul-21
Had you posted this in April I would have said get in shape and find someone with a tag the will let you call or tag along. Since you’re not in great shape at this point I’d be afraid of dragging someone down. Id hunt OTC this year.

From: Firsty
26-Jul-21
I would scout it, just be cognizant to not mess with anyone actually hunting. That is a huge unit shouldn't have any issues finding solitude and running into hunters.

26-Jul-21
Here is the golden rule- I would like someone to volunteer to help me hunt! So if you don't find anyone before season I am 100% sure you could show up in 76 and find an archer who would be grateful for your assistance, in calling, packing out an elk, or even scouting an area for them!

For those who do not know elk this is my experience-

In my experience there is a huge movement in elk right in the middle of Archery Season. There are rutting areas that have no elk before Labor Day, then come Sept 15 are covered up in rutting bulls! Also hunting pressure- usually during muzzy season moves elk to more protected areas, private, etc. If you want to know where elk will be in the rut, you have to be there in the rut.

Pre-season scouting will only help for opening week, sitting water etc. Very rare to find a big bull at that time. It also has effects on other hunters......

Post-season scouting- Colorado has way to many rifle seasons- Early, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, Late!!! That's 6 season in some units so there really isn't any Post Season that will be beneficial to where elk will be in September, or "out of other hunters way"

From: Grey Ghost
26-Jul-21
"You want anyone that isn't hunting to show common courtesy and stay out of the woods during hunting season so you can have this public land all to yourself."

Nonsense. I specifically said I can't argue with those who point to public land rights as their selfish reason to scout during an ongoing season. And I said nothing about wanting the woods to myself.

I just think there is a higher ground that we as hunters can tread on in order to respect the other hunters who have waited over 2 decades to hunt the same areas we dream of hunting some day.

As a native of Colorado, I've had ample opportunity to scout the "trophy unit" that I've dreamed of hunting all my life. I resisted scouting during the archery season out of respect for those with the same dream and patience. When I finally drew the tag, I spent the summer getting in shape, and scouted the unit for a total of 30 days before any hunting seasons. The elk didn't suddenly move to different areas once the season started. They were there, but they were much less visible and more cautious during hunting hours. I attribute that directly to the increased human pressure they were under. There were more scouters in the woods than hunters, so I attribute the elk's change in behavior more to scouting pressure than hunting pressure.

You can throw your hands up in the air and say "times have changed" all you want, but I refuse to believe that common courtesy doesn't ultimately get rewarded.

Matt

From: cnelk
26-Jul-21
^^^ somebody’s living in the past

From: Rickm
27-Jul-21
Didn't read all the responses so forgive if I double or triple up. Do both. Spend a couple days on either end of your OTC hunt scouting. Learn the access points and roads. Keep it low impact. Glass and go fishing. You may actually be able to help someone with a tag and get a feel for the unit at the same time. Stay in touch with any current tag holders. It's a win win.

From: Quinn @work
27-Jul-21
I not sure comparing Unit 10 and 76 in regards to scouting during the season is apples to apples? With that said I've never hunted either unit.

Darrell do what makes YOU happy and what YOU feel is the best use of your time. As you can see there are advantages and disadvantages to both scenarios hence you posting asking for people's opinions. Good luck!

From: MarkU
27-Jul-21
I have no knowledge of any units in CO, but the way it's going, it could be burned to crisp next year. Or the year after.

I'd go hunt when you can.

From: KHunter
28-Jul-21
Darrell,

I am bowhunting elk in 76 this year and have these comments...

Soon you will burn an absurd amount of nonres pref points for elk there. Go Scout! Enjoy every bit of the advance planning process you can cuz this my be your last really good limited colo elk tag.

And when you blow out some big bull I am chasing , just remind me I said it was cool. LOL.

Don’t listen to guys saying you will ruin guys hunts. They can always go deeper if needed to find more elk. And if you can call worth a darn, you can be in my grip and grin, LOL.

Had the tag as a reissue in 2017&2018. Each snagged out of thin air 2 and 3 days before season started which meant zero scouting, just pack N go. Not 2 hours after meeting OTCWill at 4 am on side of road, we had a beautiful bull screaming at me from 26 yards, then that evening he had a bull coming right by me at 40 yards following the cows he called right by me, then a day later when we went ‘deep’ he stopped a big bull broadside at 34 yards with me at full draw. Point? Serious elk hunters who do not know each other can put together some cool azz elk encounters in short order in a good unit and I had a much more fun hunt that year and gained a new great friend for life since we both said ‘sure why not join up for a few days of elk chasin’.

I was blessed to have the tag as a freebie at the last minute twice on reissue and even so, now having all summer to scout and plan, I am loving the opportunity to invest time to prep, to be followed by up to 3 weeks of hunting, to fill two tags in camp for me and my nonres brother. Think about the res/nonres points to draw, we are very fortunate to both be able to draw at same time. Had I not picked up reissues, I would have had no qualms scouting in Sept if I had time or helping someone who drew so i could put some time in the unit for our 2021 hunt we had been scheming for years in advance.

And yeah, some self discipline to not be trying to call in elk would be the decent thing to shoot for. Or partner up with a tag holder as your ‘scouting’ trip.

From: Firsty
28-Jul-21
Scout yes, but please dont be a jackarse and call during the season.

From: Jethro
28-Jul-21
In this particular case, I'd hunt the OTC unit this year. When you finally draw 76 if you have a map understanding of the roads/trails to get you to your planned starting spots, you'll be fine. Finding elk won't be a problem.

I'm not against in season scouting. Should be low impact though. Don't call in bulls and no "ruckus creating". Not sure what that even is.

From: Buskill
29-Jul-21
I’d just do whatever I want. It’s public land. It’s not reserved for the guys who are currently hunting. I would not hesitate to go somewhere and scout, take pictures, get some exercise or have a dang picnic if I desired. Naturally I would not interfere with anyone’s hunt on purpose just like I would not disturb another’s pursuits regardless of what they are but if my presence does impact your hunt....well, too damn bad. Buy some land of your own or pay money for private access if you are so delicate you can’t handle another guys potential presence.

From: backstraps
29-Jul-21
Don't get sucked into that... you're going to step on somebody's toes BS. You obviously have a lot of years into this adventure you'd be foolish to not scout! You make your own luck!

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