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Colorado Elk Hunt - OTC
Heading out to Colorado for an bow hunt September 14th - 20th with friend of mine who's been out before on some rifle hunts but this will be my first time so pretty excited about going . The area's we initially have looked at are GMU's 24, 25, and 33. I'm just looking for general knowledge on those area's. We are going to be hiking in and camp will be a moving target depending on what we hear and see. Any help would be much appreciated
24 and 33 are draw areas. Check the preference points that it took to draw in 2018 as you may not be able to hunt those. 25 has elk, but like most areas, the trick is finding them once they start hiding.
Appreciate your feedback. Any thoughts on the Grand Mesa area GMU 421? We will keep 25 on the board, but just trying to set up a few options
My recommendation is not to hike in and camp until you've found elk and actually need to. Stay mobile with a truck camp and you'll be much more successful. As much as everyone like's to think that elk are 6-7 miles off the road it's not the only place they are at. There's a lot of elk 1-2 miles in you just have to stay away from the crowds and that means thinking outside the box and staying away from "Trailheads". Don't be afraid to skirt private land just know where you're at. Park your truck in the ditch and hike down that ravine and back up the other side and you'll find a place to call your own. Good luck.
Give yourself at least 2 weeks. Might take you 4 days to find elk. Then you only have 2 days to actually hunt. Guess that’s why most don’t kill elk. Few get lucky. For this reason I take off the entire month of sept every year. Good luck
Also, ML rifle elk season starts on Sept 14 and for the next 9 days. Not a huge issue unless you are a bow hunter so plan on guys in orange unless you are also hunting with a ML.
I would not archery hunt during ML season. Go the week before if you can.
Muzzleloader is hit and miss. Sometimes it has been a huge factor and other times it hasn't seemed to have any noticeable effect. No way to know how your spot will be effected without being there. It is a great week as far as rut timing.
Last year during muzzleloader I spent 40 minutes pinned down on the edge of a bedded herd with a super nice bull in it. I was under 100 yards from a county rd with vehicles going by every few minutes.
All great advice above. I have hunted the majority of these units before and they all hold elk. Get a hold of some maps of your units or On X maps app and get studying. These units will be heavily pressured but that doesn't mean you have to travel far off the road. Avoid trailheads and other camps or vehicles. Also, higher is not always better. Don't be afraid to hunt oak brush amd BLM. You may be surprised to find lots of elk and few if any hunters. As mentioned before be mobile and pack in when you find them. Have multiple plans and don't be afraid to move if you don't find them. In these units I have found elk in some very steep drainages that most people will not go into. Always have a plan for getting elk out. Just because you can get in there does not mean you can get an elk out before it spoils.
Lots of info on here if you search. Also a ton of info on the CDOW website. Do your homework and have fun
Thank you all. We are using OnX as a tool and networking the best we can. If you think of anything else just let me know. I will sure share our experience. I’d like to help by sharing what did and doesn’t work so I can payback the help I’m getting
Time is a giant multiplier in elk success. Be ready to hit the woods as soon as you show up. A week goes by in a blink and its common to just be figuring out the mountain as time runs out.
There was a great article in Bowhunting World a couple issues ago by a Bowsiter about their first trip to CO on a DIY elk hunt. What they did right and wrong. Lots of good lessons.
As far as bowhunting during ML season, depends on the area. Where I hunt it seems like there are actually fewer hunters in the woods because a lot of bowhunters avoid that week, and MLs tend to hunt closer to roads in less rugged country. But I know others who hunt different units who have some conflicts.
Wherever you go stay within wilderness areas for an excellent hunting experience. No ATV’s, no motorized vehicles, no bicycles, not too many hunters due to somewhat difficult terrain. Seek elk on N and NE facing slopes. Look at unit 78 carefully, especially the Northern part - Weminuche Wilderness. Also you might want to scout Lizard Head Wilderness in units 71 and 70. Plan for at least 2 weeks. It is fun. Good luck.
I hope you are in shape if u try to conquer these areas. I have done the weminuche. Brutal on foot but good hunting in there once u put a few miles behind you. I think I saw more outfitted hunters and the diy sitka army than I saw Texans in pagosa. The sitka army goes deep now days and there is an outfitter camp in each drainage. 711 has some low country that has lower elk densities but also less hunters.
You might grab "Public Land Elk Hunting" by a fellow Bowsiter who knows his stuff.