In '15 and 17 you could get around anywhere. In '16 they had a ton of rain and many roads were impassable. If you have a gps, get one of the state map programs to keep you off private. Vehicle game recovery off marked roads in the CMR is not allowed, even if possible. Other hunters will turn you in if you try it.
While the elk do better, deer may have suffered from the terrible winter.
Get on Giggle Earth and you can pretty well scout. Roads show well. Have a plan what to do if it starts to rain. Consider camping up near gravel, not on the river if you must get out by some deadline.
You have the buffalo association and 3 big ranches that are off limits and harbor huge numbers of elk..........very frustrating. Burke ranch is a great idea in the fact that at least you'll be into elk. You could have great luck down along the river if the mosquitoes don't carry you off. I often chose to get away from people and hunt way out on the BLM flats with fewer hunters but often times fewer animals too.
I burnt out on the unit and moved this year to a different one in the breaks. Good luck as their are tons of hunters that you'll need to navigate around and they'll all be wanting to walk out the usual patches of timber open to the public. Because of that, you most likely won't have elk in the same place two days in a row and scouting won't mean much but you may have other hunters run elk into you as well.
Last year, I had 3 and 4 inch wide cracks in the dirt that went several feet deep and couldn't find elk in my usual spots but shot a deer early and found an elk later in the season. A couple years before that, I put my life on the line driving blind through a flooded valley to access my area......I've been stranded out in an area because of rain and the gumbo and had to wait it out. It's all part of the experience there but make sure you have your deer tag and antelope permit if you can. You never know what you'll run into. It's awesome to have a pocket full of tags and shoot whatever you run into:)
Nothing wrong with that bull at all.
Good luck, Robb
Very rare to get a good critter on the first day! And elk usually mean a long hard grind! Good job man!