Mathews Inc.
Good old days
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
goelk 27-Mar-19
goelk 27-Mar-19
cnelk 27-Mar-19
goelk 27-Mar-19
Paul@thefort 27-Mar-19
wildwilderness 27-Mar-19
PO Cedar 27-Mar-19
Jaquomo 27-Mar-19
goelk 27-Mar-19
drycreek 27-Mar-19
t-roy 27-Mar-19
Adventurewriter 27-Mar-19
Glunt@work 27-Mar-19
Jaquomo 28-Mar-19
t-roy 28-Mar-19
Jaquomo 28-Mar-19
TrapperKayak 28-Mar-19
salt 28-Mar-19
Kurt 28-Mar-19
BOHUNTER09 28-Mar-19
Kodiak 28-Mar-19
Big John 28-Mar-19
Paul@thefort 28-Mar-19
Jaquomo 28-Mar-19
Jaquomo 28-Mar-19
Ziek 28-Mar-19
South Farm 28-Mar-19
PECO 28-Mar-19
Whocares 28-Mar-19
1HankS 28-Mar-19
goelk 29-Mar-19
bowyer45 29-Mar-19
APauls 29-Mar-19
cnelk 29-Mar-19
Surfbow 29-Mar-19
Treeline 29-Mar-19
DL 29-Mar-19
Ziek 29-Mar-19
wildwilderness 29-Mar-19
goelk 29-Mar-19
Ucsdryder 29-Mar-19
Treeline 29-Mar-19
Kurt 29-Mar-19
Jaquomo 30-Mar-19
Tjw 30-Mar-19
Fdales Finest 01-Apr-19
Fdales Finest 01-Apr-19
AZ~Rich 01-Apr-19
cnelk 01-Apr-19
Fdales Finest 01-Apr-19
Jaquomo 01-Apr-19
Aluminum Rain 01-Apr-19
Jaquomo 01-Apr-19
Aluminum Rain 01-Apr-19
Z Barebow 01-Apr-19
PO Cedar 08-Apr-19
PO Cedar 08-Apr-19
GregE 08-Apr-19
PO Cedar 08-Apr-19
PO Cedar 08-Apr-19
Billyvanness 08-Apr-19
JusPassin 14-Apr-19
ahunter76 14-Apr-19
From: goelk
27-Mar-19

goelk's embedded Photo
goelk's embedded Photo
Found a 1981 Bowhunter Magazine at Doctor office.

From: goelk
27-Mar-19

goelk's embedded Photo
Good old days
goelk's embedded Photo
Good old days
Found a 1981 Bowhunter Magazine at Doctor office.

From: cnelk
27-Mar-19
I wonder if NRs bitched about the $135 tag cost back then too?

From: goelk
27-Mar-19

Yes

From: Paul@thefort
27-Mar-19
The first time I hunted Colorado as a non resident in 1988, the elk license was $250 and the elk herd was est at 170,000. I believe in 1988 there were around 20,000 archery license sold. Today the herd is near 280,000 (peak population was in 2001 at 320,000) and archery elk licenses are around 43,000 of which 20,000 are non resident.

My resident elk license this season was $54.75 and the non resident license was $661.75 ( but that also includes a fishing license :) which should make it a very good deal! :) LOL

27-Mar-19
I would say the Glory days for CO elk was the 2000's with the huge population as Paul pointed out. I remember when the first time the elk harvest passed the deer harvest, about when they made the effort to bring the population down.

From: PO Cedar
27-Mar-19
1981...my first archery elk hunt in Colorado...hunted out of Creede, Unit #76..left the wife and 3 year old in the campground..backpacked up on Snowshoe Mtn...hunted in 7 Parks on the back side...hooked and no, didn't flinch at the 135.00 elk tag price...it was 90.00 for mule deer that year but the police dept. didn't pay enough back then for both tags....

From: Jaquomo
27-Mar-19
Started September 10, ran until October 7th. We hunted OTC and never saw other hunters in the woods, only one other camp in the entire valley. Now you can't find a place to park in that same valley, and if an elk happens to bugle, its a footrace to see who can get there first.

From: goelk
27-Mar-19
Really interesting to hear. I remember you could buy OTC deer and elk rifle if you did not tag out in archery.

From: drycreek
27-Mar-19
$100 in 1981 is equal to $278 in 2019 according to a chart I googled. Looks like the state outran inflation ! :-(

From: t-roy
27-Mar-19
I wonder if some of the residents still bitched about the nonresidents coming in from out of state to hunt elk back then too.

27-Mar-19
The early 2000's were the best I was in to elk every day... and then for our own good they decided to kill them off wityh the "great tag giveaway" alas

From: Glunt@work
27-Mar-19
Wow...8,850 bowhunters. I was thinking bowhunter numbers tripled since I started but its more like 5X.

From: Jaquomo
28-Mar-19
T-roy, I remember when some guys from South Dakota made a camp in our valley. Sort of a novelty back then. Out-of-staters! Wonder how they found this place? Good guys except every year they brought more.

Last year I went back to that big valley and it was about 80% nonresident plates. Unit-wide it was roughly 45% nonresidents according to the CPW.

Nobody has a problem with the nonresident concept since we are all NRs in 49 states. We just wish the CPW would give the same consideration to NRs (and residents) as those other states do to us.

From: t-roy
28-Mar-19
Totally agree Lou, except the part about the “nobody” part of your statement. The guy that slashed 2 of my tires back in ‘83 up by Mt Zirkel evidently did, as well as about 3 other out of state vehicles in the same parking area that year. Can’t say for sure it was a local, but I’d highly suspect it was. It was a long walk to Hayden to get a couple of tires for the Honda Accord! Thankfully I hitched a ride from a road hunting muzzleloader guy that came along. No such luck for me finding a good lookin hippie chick that day!

From: Jaquomo
28-Mar-19
Well that really sucks. I've heard of it happening to vehicles with hunting decals, etc.. at Zirkel and Rawah trailheads. Both resident and NRs. Some people are just dickheads.

From: TrapperKayak
28-Mar-19
No CO residents should be bitching about NRs bringing in hunting revenue $$ to the state, that's for sure, especially if they leave afterwards. NRs can bitch all they want, they don't have to go there.

From: salt
28-Mar-19
I for one , have never bitched about tag prices. Just feel fortunate to be able to go out of state and spend time in elk woods. Pay up or stay home.

From: Kurt
28-Mar-19
CO bow season was mid-August until late September (6 weeks plus a weekend, 44 days) for the first dozen or more years I lived there...1975 until it got shortened by 2 weeks and the start date was moved back to late August. Not sure what year the season was shortened to 30 days but it was post-1987 for sure.

From: BOHUNTER09
28-Mar-19
I remember getting elk and deer both under 250 total. Got to hunt 76 every other year and 66 on the alternate years. Did not know how good i had it

From: Kodiak
28-Mar-19
What cost $135 in 1981 would cost $376.47 in 2018.

From: Big John
28-Mar-19
In the mid-70's was when I first started hunting Colorado. I was a non-res who was 14 years old. You could purchase what they called a "Sportsman Tag" which was a elk tag, deer tag and a bear tag for I believe $135.00. I think the NR elk was about $75.00 back then. Had a blast then and I'm still having a blast now. The tickets to the party just cost a little more!!! Best of luck this coming fall Big John

From: Paul@thefort
28-Mar-19
interesting from the OP's article, that the success % has not changed much, ie, then 11% and now 12% . Yea, we kill more elk (around 5,000) now but the percentage of kill has not changed much. Wonder why with all of the state of the art stuff we can use?

From: Jaquomo
28-Mar-19
Paul, because back then we could blow on a wooden flute or coiled gas tube and elk would come running. Then factor in 5X the number of hunters chasing them around, and it's surprising to me that the success rate is as high as 12%. Public land success isn't 12%. My unit is almost all public land (where the elk live, anyway) and it runs around 7% consistently.

Kurt, from goelk's 1981 report from DOW in the article, the elk bow season started on September 10th. I don't remember if deer started earlier but seems like it did. I got married on October 6th in '83 and half my friends missed the wedding because they were still hunting elk.

From: Jaquomo
28-Mar-19
In 1962, resident deer licenses were $5.00 and NR were $7.50. You could buy multiple tags and the NR success rate was over 90% (this was before separate bow seasons). There were over 300,000 deer, and around 45-50,000 elk "at a level consistent with good land use".

This 1962 hunt recap is really interesting, but doesn't show the price of elk tags.

From: Ziek
28-Mar-19
"...percentage of kill has not changed much. Wonder why with all of the state of the art stuff we can use?"

Because back then we learned how to hunt instead of learning how to use technology. Just look at the Adak bino harness thread. The developer never learned how to judge distance. So what did he do? Did he learn how to judge distance when he "discovered" that was important? NO. He developed a quicker, quieter way to access his range finder. Most technology is like that. A fix for lack of developing personal expertise. Making access easier for the masses in place of dedication and personal development that take time and dedication to develop.

You see it everywhere. Just look at the recent 737 crashes. Basically a malfunction of technology designed to circumvent the pilots, who, especially in third world countries, can't be expected to be very proficient. A co-pilot with 200 flight hours?! WTF! That jet requires two qualified pilots. There is NO way someone who has all of 200 hours could be qualified. The more high tech is used, the more it is depended on, at the expense of personal skills that take time, training, and experience to develop.

From: South Farm
28-Mar-19
One thing that hasn't changed is the shortage of oxygen hiking up 12,000 feet. Burns just as much as it ever did!

From: PECO
28-Mar-19
"No CO residents should be bitching about NRs bringing in hunting revenue $$ to the state..."

Yes we should. Colorado takes in more revenue than any other 2 western states combined. Colorado sells unlimited tags, it's too crowded, and it's even crowded when you go in deep. When the nonresidents bitch about it being too crowded, the locals "should" and will bitch also.

From: Whocares
28-Mar-19
I ain't bitchin bout nuthin. It is what it is. I'm just glad to still be able to go. That said, I don't particularly care to run in to other hunters either, prolly cuz I'm a solo hunter anyway. And it's definitely more crowded! Remember years ago when they raised the NR license above $250 or wherever it was, my wife said Gee, if it goes up much more you'll probably quit. I replied they couldn't raise it high enuf. She knowingly smiled! To me it's a great adventure at a reasonable price for what I get out of it. Rather go to a Caribbean beach? Not this boy. But you guys are all right about the flood of NR's changing the scene out there.

From: 1HankS
28-Mar-19
As my dad used to say, whenever you are hunting...those are the good old days!

From: goelk
29-Mar-19
So true 1HankS

From: bowyer45
29-Mar-19
Too many people trying to make a living off the "hunter" period. That includes the state. Back in the seventies a non resident Colorado archery elk licence was $50.00. now they want the hunter to pay for parking lots and fancy toilets and generous retirement programs and many other luxuries. Yes things have changed allot. Hunting will never recover. I feel sorry for the young hunter. The quality is fading fast. But we have fancy trucks and buildings now. Hoo-raw!

From: APauls
29-Mar-19
It's too crowded and the cost is too high. I wonder what will happen if they lower the prices.

From: cnelk
29-Mar-19

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo
I first hunted Colorado as a NonRes in '79 or '80 [cant remember] also dont remember what it cost either. But I killed my first elk

From: Surfbow
29-Mar-19
Per the first inflation calculator i found online, 1981 prices would be equivalent to $44.49 for a resident tag, and $375.41 for a nonresident tag. Success rates are roughly the same, and there are a lot more elk now. Were the good old days really that much better?

From: Treeline
29-Mar-19
Not sure but think my mom still has pictures from the 50’s and 60’s when my grandad and uncles would go deer hunting. They hunted Southwestern Colorado over into Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. Not a lot of pictures but some really neat ones that I always loved growing up. Really classic with wool plaid flannel and lots of big bucks hanging from the meat pole.

Not sure what the limit was but they would stay out till they filled all the tags and come home with a pile of deer.

Wish I knew where some of those racks got off to! Wowzer!

Over about 30 years, they only managed to kill a couple of elk though. Remember my grandad killed a spike bill in the early 60’s and that was a big deal. His take was that he wouldn’t shoot another one because they were too damn big!

Elk hunting all across the west has really exploded. We are probably past the peak but still in what has to be the “good old days” of elk hunting!

From: DL
29-Mar-19

DL's embedded Photo
DL's embedded Photo
1930s

From: Ziek
29-Mar-19

Ziek's embedded Photo
Ziek's embedded Photo
We are definitely past the peak of elk hunting. I was lucky to have experienced it. This was taken on my first ever big game hunt in 1974. I got a lot of crap for that borrowed 8mm Mauser - until I killed a 5 X 6 bull with it that year. Most guys never even saw branch antlered bulls back then. It remained the largest our group killed for decades, and we killed at least two out of three or four almost every year. I still hunt with those guys although we now use bows.

29-Mar-19
Good old days were pre-Colombian with over 10 million elk across the continent. The number dropped to as low as 100,000 in the 1890’s. So the 2000s with over a million elk was A huge improvement.

From: goelk
29-Mar-19

goelk's embedded Photo
1969
goelk's embedded Photo
1969

From: Ucsdryder
29-Mar-19
If the wolves get introduced we’ll be saying these were the good old days...

From: Treeline
29-Mar-19
The natives actually worked hard to keep wolf numbers down for thousands of years before the Europeans showed up...

From: Kurt
29-Mar-19
Lou, first CO archery elk hunt for me started Aug 16, 1975 as I remember. In 1987 I had a unit 2 tag that started around the same time. I shot a 376” gross and 357” net bull Sept 13 on the 24 th day I hunted that season and had worked a few days during the August part of the season too.

Oct closing must have been a few seasons when I filled my tag early as I forgotten it. It would be interesting to see the historical opening and closing dates dating back to the 60s.

As I think about it, there was some complaining about too short of a gap between bow and first rifle and we lost some season length and likely the Oct hunting I’ve forgotten.

I never had much luck with a gas pipe or notched pipe, but the first few years with a mouth diaphragm call and vacuum cleaner hose were dynamite!

From: Jaquomo
30-Mar-19
Kurt, you're right about the early season opener dates in the mid 70s, when it opened on the third Saturday of August. That was the 16th in '75. We were able to get in some good hunting time before college began. I remember seeing a photo of you with that bull in Arrowdynamics and thought it was something amazing to kill that giant thing with a bow. I didn't start keeping journals until later but in '84 the archery elk season started on September 8th and ended on October 7th. Dwight Schuh mentions the Sept start date in his book that was published in 83. Not sure exactly which year they jumped it ahead but by '88 they had settled on the last Saturday in August and it has stayed that way ever since.

A Sept 8 - Oct 7 elk bow season sure sounds nice now. I don't think we realized how good we had it then....

From: Tjw
30-Mar-19
I have a hard time with too many hunters.. we are still asked to recruit more?? I like Utah's general seasons better now than when I was a kid in the late 70s and early 80s .. dividing up seasons and limiting tags has helped quality both with experience and deer size.. the big camps where a blast, cousins friends, heck they pretty much closed schools down. But up on the hill it was a fricken war zone. Every year a couple guys would get shot. Some ways it better now then it was back then. The limited entry hunts just plain suck with point creep. 20 pts for once in a life time moose, and I will never draw. Started in my 20s and I will never draw a once in a lifetime in my own state..

01-Apr-19
For those of you bitching about the Nonresidents and the number of people you are running into you are missing the big picture. We as hunters only make up about 2% of the population and we as a group are getting older with the average age around the country of about 50. If we don't recruit YOUNGER and MORE hunters those that don't understand our passion will be taking more control and squeezing us out by Banning firearms, increasing the minimum age to hunt and trap ( like is going on in NJ), reducing where we can hunt in the name of safety etc.. With the internet and video games, increased demands on our time to make ends meet we are destined at the current rate to be extinct unless we stick together and stop the infighting and start recruiting more hunters. I will be going to Colorado for the first time this fall and as a NR even on a DIY trip it is going to be major expense. I will be bringing y son so the cost is double. We will be spending $1300 on license, its a 30hr drive roughly 2200 mile one way so looking at 6-700 for gas, spent $2000 accumulating good quality but not the most expensive by any means gear that didn't break the bank. So I am at over $4000 to try and be successful at something with roughly a 10% success rate so more than likely it' going be be a Bow Hiking Trip more so than anything. But it's an experience to get closer with my son, try new things and have an adventure and no amount of negativity will deter us or many other NR's. As a hunter from NJ I have to laugh at what people are bitching about with hunting pressure. I hunt a county park that I consistently get near P&Y quality deer from but they only have 50 acres open to hunt of the 700 acres and I am competing with on average 30 other hunters according to the county park statistics.. Then I look at the public land in Colorado and a single zone has nearly 1/2 the open lands that we have in the entire state. Then there is the whole thing that the majority of the public land is National Forest land that even my taxes from the east coast helps pay. My point is that if you want to continue hunting you need to adapt or quit. It's your choice but I for one will continue to hunt and gladly put up with a little inconvenience if it means I can still do what I love. I wish you all good luck and hope you kill a bull or buck of a lifetime!

01-Apr-19

Fdales Finest's Link
This is what you are looking at if we keep infighting.

From: AZ~Rich
01-Apr-19
FDale, I see your point but obviously hunting whitetails in NJ is a very different than elk in the mountain West. Quoting NJ game dept: "Compilation of data from capture and marking studies in Hunterdon County(January 1970 to July 1976) indicate the main home range size of New Jersey deer to be one mile or less. In this study, the largest percentage of deer, 68.2% (122/179), were recovered within one mile of their original capture locations; 26.8% (48) ranged from one to eight miles and 4.5% (8) ranged from 10 to 19 miles. One deer (.6%) was recovered 30 miles from the release site. The general range size is the same for males and females; however, there is a greater tendency for bucks to disperse long distances. November is the principal month for dispersal. This is the period of the rut, which may influence movement of bucks *12*. Males tend to remain in the area they occupied as yearlings. *162*"

Growing up and hunting in NJ I remember how crowded it can be on public lands. By comparison the home range of elk in CO is vastly greater and you simply need a whole lot more area to locate and hunt them. Plus they are very sensitive to any hunting pressure and you're generally on foot, not in a treestand. Once while on a bowhunt there, at the crack of the first muzzleloader shot, (that season is nested within the archery season) , I observed a herd of ~100 elk that we had been working for days simply funnel out of the dark timber onto a vast open stretch of sage plain and watched them disappear through binoculars into their own cloud of dust maybe 6-7 miles away. They were still moving fast even as they vanished from view. They can easily move 10-20 miles away to a safer haven. Put too many hunters in an area and the elk will likely move out of the area unless they are acclimated to seeing lots of humans; as they do in the National Parks. Between the hunters and non hunters: (hikers, mountain bikers, bird watchers, you name it), CO has become very crowded in many areas. If you don't mind hiking in miles to your location only to be competing with others illegally running the game trails with ATVs and moving in on your stalks with no regard or ethics, then by all means go and enjoy. It still will be a great and memorable adventure for you and your son. Those of us that live and hunt in the Mountain West over the years have seen much larger numbers of people in general spilling out into the wild country like no time before. Access on ATVs has made it very easy for anyone and the result IMO has been a devaluation of the hunting experience. It's still better than not hunting but sadly many will never know what it was like before. I worked for the AZ G&F and the Forest Service in the 70's and have observed this firsthand. My buddy worked with CO DOW for 26 years and things are different in some respects (more game in CO) but still is generally overcrowded in popular areas with multi-use designations. More population has moved West into these states and everyone is feeling the changes. Some are not so great. It will never be as crowded as hunting in NJ but these things are relative. CO is relatively more crowded than it ever was for elk hunting and it does not take very much of that to completely alter the enjoyable elements of a Mountain hunt. Good luck and I hope you find a place to hunt in CO that gives you a relatively non-crowded experience.

From: cnelk
01-Apr-19
Just because there is vastness for terrain in the west, doesnt equate that elk inhabit all of it

01-Apr-19
Az-Rick & Cnelk,

I fully understand that they are different species and require entirely different habitat and not every area has them. What I am saying primarily is appreciate what you have because most of us would kill for the opportunity that will never happen for various reasons. I used that county park for a very specific reason because it is ridiculously small with a huge amount of pressure. There is upwards of 100 or more prehung stands but by being willing to go where others won't and thinking outside of the box combined with good scouting myself and a friend will most years account for half of the 10-15 deer taken from this park. It's not my primary area to hunt but once day light savings time is over I can get there from the office in 10 minutes on my way home from work and be hunting within 30 minutes of leaving. I have been successful by learning the deer's escape routes and using other hunters pressure to my advantage. But I also don't get upset when a guy sets up 50 yards from me because I understand I have to share. Again good luck to everyone!

From: Jaquomo
01-Apr-19
Fdales, please do us a favor and report back after your hunt with an honest assessment of the quality of your DIY elk hunt. Not the quality time you spent with your son, or the scenery, or the birds singing in the trees and the communion with nature, but the elk hunt itself. I presume you are hunting CO because you can get an OTC tag, while we here can't draw NR tags in the neighboring states. What we are asking is that CO limit NRs just as every other western state does. Thats all. 45% NRs in OTC units is 30% too many. You'll find out for yourself when you get here.

01-Apr-19
Jaq, We cant draw tags in your neighboring states either and would like to do so just as much as you would. Like Fdale said, we are all federal tax payers. It would be nice to be able to continue to hunt those federal lands in western states without being discriminated against by the draw systems.

From: Jaquomo
01-Apr-19
Aluminum rain, the states "own" the wildlife by law. You can do anything else you want on your federal land on our state and all the others. Now in Wyoming that's not the case. Even with a state-issued hunting license you can't hunt huge swaths of National Forest without a guide. THAT is wrong.

01-Apr-19
I understand that, however it doesnt necesarily make it right. The federal govt doesnt charge CO for grazing rights for those elk, etc. Maybe they should. I wouldn't expect to feed my animals off your land without paying you. If CPW had to pay to feed "its" animals I bet they would want to sell more tags for more money and we would all bitch harder about that. So may e the current system isn't as bad as some make it out to be.

From: Z Barebow
01-Apr-19
AL Rain- Um yes ranchers do pay grazing fees on federal land. (Forest Svc and BLM) Albeit at a discounted rate when compared to grazing fees on private.

It comes down to case law has come down that each state "owns" the wildlife and controls the wildlife management within that state border. Any arguments not recognizing that fact are equivalent to p!ssing in the wind.

From: PO Cedar
08-Apr-19

PO Cedar's embedded Photo
PO Cedar's embedded Photo
I read this article in the 1980 Sports Afield and knew I had to try elk hunting in Colorado..went out to Creede the next 2 years backpack hunting...ADDICTED!

From: PO Cedar
08-Apr-19

From: GregE
08-Apr-19
Port Orford Cedar - sure wish that was more in focus. these old eyes ....... That's quite a loop in the divide, bet that's what we call 'scenic' when all the brown contour lines nearly . ;) G

From: PO Cedar
08-Apr-19

PO Cedar's embedded Photo
PO Cedar's embedded Photo

From: PO Cedar
08-Apr-19
Unit 76, he was traveling Hwy.149...over Spring Creek Pass, then Slumgullion Pass, from Creede to Lake City...

08-Apr-19
Just did some work for a guy who showed me a bull rack he acquired, killed in the early 1940’s on the old Rader ranch near Steamboat. Measures 406” with a few broken tines.

10-Apr-19
I used to buy a deer and elk tag every year.....hunted lots of units that are now draw. It really was the good old days. That Lake City is sure an interesting town....last time I passed through there in October it was a pure ghost town....didn't see a soul.

From: JusPassin
14-Apr-19
That was bow hunting prior to full compound usage, as another thread asked.

From: ahunter76
14-Apr-19

ahunter76's embedded Photo
ahunter76's embedded Photo
My 1st trip to Co. was in 1964 after 5 year stint in Navy/Marines. I think my Elk & Mule Deer Tag was $35. I managed over 30 trips in those early days. My last Elk hunt in Co. was somewhere around 84 I think. I had some awesome times in those Mountains.

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