Contributors to this thread:
Because this is Bowsite I might be asking the wrong people. I want to do an early rifle above timberline hunt, probably 74 or 82. I've checked and there is no specific altitude for the hunts.
I've checked with the Salida office and plan to check with Durango to get some advice. Hopefully from a warden. Conversation so far is that you have to be above timberline which is obvious, but Google Earth makes it even more obvious that figuring that out can be tough. One spot has a small line of trees at the crest, above 11k, with a big bowl under them. Is that above timberline?? I'm not even sure you could see the trees from below. Last thing I want is to ruin a hunt with a citation
Anyone have any information on this?
You will know when you get there.it's obvious.Above tree line is about 11,000 ft.
I wish that was always true, but a friend pointed out a spot he knew would be good. Well above 11k, but lots of timber. Wouldn't be bad if it wasn't spotty with large openings with timber above.
There is usually a pretty definitive tree line
I wouldn't hunt at 9000 ft, but no one is going to question you killing a buck with a few trees around at 11,000. Yes, there are a few trees "above timberline", but there is a definite boundary where the majority of trees stop. Don't worry if there are a few above that.
Usually treeline is higher than that in 82 or 74. Gets higher as you go south and it is about 11,600-11,800 around Leadville.
I think when you get that tag it will say above 10,000' on it. As others have stated you are looking at another 1000' + before you are truly above the tree line.
Probably going with 74 and have contacted CO state. There is no altitude assigned to either 82 or 74. They were somewhat helpful with one picture but it was an easy picture to see where you should not be hunting. I've Google earthed a bunch of the country and it's full of place like Paul showed that are tough to call. I got answers like "you'll know" and "it will be up to the local officer".
Will continue to check it out, but probably have to error on the safe side.
Pick your area, map T/L using GE, and then send it to the local CO and ask if you stay on the uphill side of the mapped line are you GTG? No reasonable person would consider alpine islands of trees "below T/L". T/L should be a continuous line and you can quote me on that!
You guys are way over thinking it...
Also consider that a deer may run downhill after being shot and your gut pile may end up below timberline. I would GPS where you shot from and where the deer was when shot.
I'll second what Steve H. says. You can try and get info from hunters all you want, but at the end of the day the CPW officer is going to have final say. In essence, our opinion doesn't matter.
Treeline's right until the law gets involved, and then all bets are off. We all agree that timberline's a pretty well established geographical feature, but if something went weird it'd be a pretty weak defense to say, "the guys on bowsite said I'd be ok". Call the local CPW officer and get concrete clarification.
Would love to hear what they say.
I have heard from wardens that it is generally above 11,000' when I had issues with gun hunters in those early seasons. At 11,000', there is typically still a lot of heavy timber on the sides but the bottoms will have a lot of willow. and the bucks will use those areas where the willows go up features like avalanche chutes - especially in the areas that have the early rifle season year after year.
True treeline is probably around 11,800' down in SW Colorado. The timber will start thinning out a lot from 11,500 on up to 11,800 in most places but you will still get big spruce trees up to about 11,800'. The stunted bristlecone and limber pines will make it up to 12,000' in some places and the willows will keep going up over 12,000'.
be a pretty weak defense to say, "the guys on bowsite said
What! that’s is to generic how about “ guys on BOWSITE Paul@thefort , Juaquomo and Treeline said “. That should do it, end of conversation... continue hunting.
You could call 20 CPW employees and get 20 different concrete explanations.
I agree with Treeline as it'd be interesting to hear what they say. In particularly the Warden that patrols the area has to say. Glunt brings up a good point as they're all different people with different interpretations of the law. I guess I outta edit my previous statement that the only opinion that matters is the one of the officer on scene. Treeline also brought up another good point with the avalanche chutes. Are they considered above timberline? Some of those things go a couple thousand feet and are well below what is traditionally thought of as timberline.
I would call the District Wildlife Manager for the area. There may be several different WCOs for the unit(s). The DWM should have consistent guidance, and if not I would press him for HIS interpretation and write it down along with the date and time of the call.
We have some of the same issues with hunting bears over a gut pile or gutless carcass. The head law enforcement official at Denver HQ told me it is absolutely illegal. One local WCO in my unit believes it is legal if the carcass hasn't been "adjusted". Another local WCO really doesn't care one way or the other because he wants some bears killed, and even suggested I might want to "fry up a bacon sandwich" before climbing up in my tree.
I don't bear hunt anymore so I haven't pressed it, but goes to show how nebulous some of these interpretations are.
Thanks to all. I really appreciate all the comments. Have tried to get the Durango office to respond and will do so again. I know this hunt will be all and maybe a bit more than I should attempt, but if I don't try I'll be kicking myself into that last box.
I never started doing goat/sheep hunts until after I retired from the navy. I learned that if I was able to go high, stay high while being miserable, I killed things. That's how this hunt will have to be.
I've never killed a Dall with my longbow and it's because I've turned down shots at animals that I was uncertain of. Tony Russ told me on one that I should have killed it. I didn't shoot because I didn't want my first bow sheep to become a confiscation and ticket.
Well, the same applies to this hunt. I don't expect to kill a bigger deer but I want to have a great story. That's not possible if I lose the animal because of a timberline ticket.
No, I don't think bowsite is the absolute right place to find out the answer, but I agree that he is way overthinking this thing. Go up to where the trees stop and hunt. If there was anyone who had been ticketed for hunting where some stunted trees were at timberline, we would certainly have heard about it on social media.
I don’t think it’s this difficult. You will know timberline when you see it and your lungs will know when you get to it
Reason I brought up avalanche chutes was that I had a bad experience in a unit with an early rifle hunt many years ago.
Almost got shot when I was set up close to a group of bucks in an avalanche chute at about 11,000' - well below timberline in that unit. Couple of rifle hunters opened up from probably 1,000 yards away and bullets definitely came close.
Have avoided deer hunting in areas with that early rifle season ever since.
It is very apparent what above timberline is in the parts of 74 that I was in this year. I was up there from the start of archery to the start of the early rifle hunt. If you'd like to discuss anything feel free to shoot me a text and we can arrange a phone call.