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6 weeks elk hunting-how to play it
So my retirement gift to myself is a entire fall chasing elk. I have a small camper, everything needed for spike camping and family and friends in NW CO to use as base as needed. Now comes the winter time fun of research and applications. My very base plan if I dont draw any premium units is archery season in NW CO and then rifle hunting in Idaho. I will be applying for WY, North New Mexico and a unit in central MT. I have ground time in all these locales so it wont be a hit or miss unit if I draw. Any other suggestions on how to play a entire fall chasing elk?
Not sure you can make much of a plan until you know what tags you draw. But sounds fun. Get on the stair master now!
Sounds like a pretty nice retirement gift. Good luck, you're on the right track.
Wow, that is a dream come true! Congratulations on your retirement! My only comment would be to have a backup plan for is you get lucky and tag out. I might have an ID archery permit in my pocket just in case!
I'm no help, but I can tell you I'm extremely jealous of your plan! Have fun with the details of planning and enjoy the ride knowing tens of thousands of guys at home/work will wish they were in your shoes for that 1.5 months!
First thing to do is put together a solid “plan B”. Look into states with OTC tags. Co, Idaho, Utah cow/spike tags (Utah starts early, mid August), Oregon. Lots of options there and you can plan that part now. Next would be to to research your best case scenario with possible successful draws. Obviously NM is a crap shoot so no planning until you have results there. But you should be able to get a good idea with some research on what you will/won’t draw in states like Co, Wy and Mt. have fun and good luck. Now we’re expecting a write up about a year from now detailing your 2019 fall!
One of the flys in the ointment is what to do if I score archery hunting as in where to relocate to. I have never hunted Idaho or Utah so a lot of my winter research is going to be centered around a good OTC unit in one those states coupled with a summer scout trip. The unit I'm looking at in Montana as well as New Mexico both have about a 20% success rate so there is a fair chance I can draw into one of those. A MT general tag is also an option. I can probably pull that ticket if needed after all the other draw information comes in being as Montana has been undersubscribed on their initial draw the last few years. Oregon is an option but I was hoping to not have to travel so far same reason Montana is not my top pick.
OTC tags for sure. Do CO and IDAHO. Have fun.
Living the dream man!!!! Hunting an entire 6 weeks straight in multiple locals is something very few get to do. Congrats and Good luck!
6 weeks straight hunting sounds nice but in reality it’s easy to burn out. Plan smart and stay tough mentally. As far as spots or states I have no clue :-)
If you have good insights into your otc areas, you might know (or be able to find out) which is likely to start rutting earlier. I know which ones of mine usually turn on first.
The hard part for me is finding the balance between hunting hard and burning myself out. I usually go hard for a week or so then take a down day as needed.
Another challenge is when to change areas. Lot of second guessing about where to be when you have multiple tags. Just try to make your best guesses, not sweat it too much and enjoy. You should learn years worth of elk hunting lessons in one fall.
I've had this same luxury for the past several seasons. Some things I learned: Understand that its about the journey and not the destination. Don't put pressure on yourself. Take some mornings and afternoons off now and then to stay fresh. Get in the best shape possible and accept that it still won't be good enough for a month or more straight. You WILL suffer some burnout and discouragement at some point. Accept it and regroup (maybe move to a completely new spot or go fishing for a day or two, drive around and visit some other camps and introduce yourself - you will meet some cool folks who may turn into hunting partners).
Above all, thank God and Lady Luck that you are in a position and able to do this. You're one of the lucky few..
Those are some good points about burnout. I left a solo hunt early a few years ago in Wyoming when my motivation crashed and I found myself for lack of a better term sad and lonely. I enjoy hunting solo because it can be extremely difficult to find the right kind of backcountry partner however hunting solo can be very tough at times. I think having the luxury of time will help me get around that issue. I can take a day off here and there as needed. I don't mind going fishing as well as I plan on several periods of rest hanging with my daughter who lives in Steamboat. matter of fact that's one of the reasons my primary hunt area will likely be Northwest Colorado in that way I was planning on dropping in on my daughter every 3 or so. I have even considered flying home for a few days. Airline tickets are pretty affordable right now.
This is a luxury I am unfamiliar with, but kudos!
But +2 to not getting burnt out. If I am on a single 2 week elk hunt, I get run down. Take what mother nature gives you. If it is raining hard, go back to camp. If you busted butt one day, find a nice ambush spot the next. Eat plenty of high calorie food to keep your energy level up. After a while, you will find a rhythm that works for you. Good luck and have fun.
Have you ever hunted on the road for 6 weeks straight before? It's mentally exhausting and socially isolating and can cause you to become burnt out and depressed. Plan on taking a day here and there to just sleep in and relax and visit with people.
Back in 2005, I spent the entire month hunting archery elk.
Everyday there was a campfire. Everyday there was camp chores to do. Everyday there was an afternoon nap. Everyday there was elk hunting.
Some days we took the afternoon off to fish brookies.
I remember the slow build up to the rut. I found that elk frequent certain areas before the rut and other areas during.
What worked for calling early, didn’t later.
I found out that bugling is great to hear but later bigger herds of bulls and cows require different tactics.
The biggest takeaway i learned is hunt a little every day. Sometimes mornings, sometimes mid-day, sometimes evenings.
Enjoy the journey. It’s not a race when you hunt for that long.
Use caution so you don’t end up disliking it because it’s not as romantic as most think.
I should add, we killed elk every week of the season that year
Best of luck on your retirement!
Enjoy the lack of time pressure elk hunt! Nothing beats having "unlimited" time off to watch the elk (or deer) come into the rut, etc. Good luck!
I love elk hunting, but 6 weeks? I honestly don’t think I could do it. I love my 3 day weekends.
I hope you have time to give us guys that can't go some updates and pics good luck!
Living out my dream... 6 weeks straight hunt the weather. Can't see really enjoying more than 2, maybe 3 states logistically. I would love nothing more than to be able to pick my days rather than constantly dealing with shit weather when I happen to have off from working for the man.
Warm sunny days... drink your beverage of choice, fish, bbq, do laundry, take care of woman/life/sleep business, etc.
Sounds like you have it all planned out! You will take a break here & there as needed, your body will let you know!
Who knows, when a guy has that kind of time with little pressure he generally tags out in the first 3 days! (grin) Good luck & don't put any pressure on yourself, have fun!
Good luck and enjoy the experience.
I’ve drawn AZ a few times and hunted the full two weeks all 3 times. Usually around day 9 it’s a hike out in the morn after the hunt, a drive to town, a hot tub, steak dinner, cold beer and a real bed and back hunting the next afternoon. Complete recharge and ready to rock again! It’s amazing how that will refocus you.
Sounds like quite a trip!
Congrats on retirement. I’ve been there for seven years. I share the concerns about burn out. I like to bow hunt a lot, but I would not want to do it six weeks straight. Maybe you do. Have fun.
6 weeks is a lot. I would say plan some down time if you are a "physical hunter".