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Souther Colorado pressure?
Anyone have any feedback as far as pressure in and around the San Juan Wilderness this year. Just curious for future reference, I have been down that way over labor day weekend and was a zoo was curious how things were this year?
I have only been in there climbing. But there is a fair amount of hiking and climbing traffic in the San Juan’s It sure didn’t bother the goats they were actually a nuisance around my tent.
It was an absolute zoo. Not only did you have as many or more elk and deer hunters as ever, they increased the rifle bear tags by many multiples. Nearly 900 bear tags overall in that area. It has been really bad over the past 10 years or so and this year was really, really, really bad. They have way too many bears and need to thin them out. I totally get that. They need to make all elk hunting a drawing just like deer. Not just bowhunting, all elk hunting. Not a popular statement but it is simply not sustainable under the current system.
Animal numbers are down in that region, people have been gravitating to other areas. Not sure what some feel is a "zoo" but I never run into other hunters. There may be vehicles or camps but it doesn`t equate to bumping into other hunters in the bush.
I ran into one other hunter during my week long trip. Lots of trucks, traffic and camps however.
It was bad, and the last two weeks were worse. It wasn't just the best hunters that made the woods very crowded... Over 68% of all bears checked in in 77/78 were 150 pound bear. Very few bears over 300 were checked it. The bear numbers were very low this year. We even had non resident hunters complaining about the high non resident hunters!! And I love how someone will chime in and say they didn't see other hunters. The local processing places took in more young cows then bulls. If it wasn't for the private land outfitters, they'd of had a slow season.
Yes, our elk numbers are very low, and with over 40%of gmu 77 being private, they hold a lot of the elk, out of reach for most. Elk were pushed onto private in many areas fast from the pressure of the first week elk hunters. Low elk numbers have been discussed with CPW and they gave us bogus elk numbers from the "count" they did, which no one knows about or participated in. I hunted 17 days in areas that usually hold elk. Elk numbers were low, and the majority of elk we saw was on the big private ranch below. Most of the elk killed were killed in the evening, and at daylight, the bulls shut down quick. A very slow season.
My situation in N. Colorado was similar to yours Buglmin. I actually saw more bears than elk and had 2 chips shots at a 300 lber but no tag....all sold out. The elk were all on private and hunting sucked.
I have friends that hunt Wyoming general and N. Mexico landowner tag. Where he goes it`s not that expensive as it not a "premo" unit but he took a nice 6x6 this year.
Might have to bite the bullet and give it a shot next year.
Less pressure than most the rest of the state. But CO OTC public land hunting quality is being destroyed by the CPW not being willing to manage the number of out of staters. Why so many out of staters want to hunt CO when they could hunt several others states that are so much better quality is beyond me.
It’s the first stop west John.
"It’s the first stop west John."
Yep, and it's otc. No need to learn all that confusing drawing, preference/bonus point nonsense. Just buy a tag at Walmart and go hunting.... just like their deer tag at home.
We're at that tipping point in history where there are more hunters than places to hunt.
Everything you promote on social media is another nail in the coffin.
Every outdoor forum you participate on is another nail in the coffin.
Every time you help some random nimrod, your cutting your own throat.
The hashtag whores are cutting your throat.
the truth is rarely popular
That's okay isn't it? The nimrods rarely kill anything, and them driving the elk into hiding translates to more elk in the future...
But CPW are claiming lower elk numbers in the S.W. There is a reason elk calving is down, not sure what it is.
Way more bears maybe. Bears prey on elk calves and fawns.
Everywhere is a "zoo" these days..
Getting so bad I wouldn't doubt there'll be someone in my casket when I finally get there!
Whole state needs to go limited, even if tag fees double. Not fun but true.
SW CO was a zoo this year. With bow hunters from every state, muzzle loader hunters, and bear hunters. I 100% agree that all elk units should be limited for all hunts.
Why hunt Colorado instead of other states? It's a closer drive, and guys can come out here for 7 days on 1100.00. Most of which are tags and fuel. CPW says hunters bring in lots of revenue to towns, which is a lie because skiers bring in money money now then hunters do. But they don't want to admit that.
Elk being pushed onto private means more elk in the future? When you have a low bull to cow ratio and only a certain number is being bred every year, no sir. You see, many don't understand that we have huge amounts of southern ute land around us, and most of the wintering range now belongs to southern ute, because of the big ranches they bought. And when they start hunting elk with a rifle in September through January, a lot of bulls are killed, and I mean a lot!! CPW don't tell you that.
So between predators and Native American hunters, our elk herds take a beating every year. CPW won't limit tags because of the monies they well loose. And now that they make you buy a fishing or small game tag before you can apply, they just add more monies to the pockets. Add the extra 1000 bear tags sold for 77/78, you can imagine the monies made on top of the elk tags sold. Think CPW care if you kill an elk?
Most of the trucks I see are from the midwest. It is really not that much or any closer for those guy than WY and maybe MT. I bet most of them head out on I80 take it all the way to Laramie WY then cut down into northern CO via Walden. If they were smart that would have a tag for WY in their pockets and head NW for Laramie. I'd guess in Southern CO you see a lot more guys from Texass and such.
Good explanation buglmin. Could not have know that...
JohnMC, Correct. More Texas hunters near the border. In the Sangre de Cristo’s I see more Texas plates than Midwest. Like myself.
But not nearly as many non residents down there as the rest of the state.
If you look on the CO website it usually has the lowest hunter days. Which equates to pressure.
Great hunting from Trinidad to SanLuis and up to Fort Garland back to LaVeta
If it wasn't for the opportunity to hunt one of the "trophy units" in the next few years, I'd probably give up on CO elk hunting. The overcrowding has taken the fun out of it for me. That's from a 57 year old Colorado native who has hunted CO big game since the age of 10. Perhaps that's my problem...I remember how good it used to be.
Back to The thread on all Colorado OTC units going to drawings.
How many would rather have a quality hunt every other year and see 50% less hunters.
Residents should get more of those tags.
We tried to do talk of over the counter non resident tags with caps. Also suggested raised tag fees to 100.00 for residents and 1000.00 for non residents. Man, you should of read the crying and complaining by the resident bowhunters on here!! I had most guys on Facebook agreeing with it, except the ones that are on Bowsite a lot. Even most of the non residents agreed to it. CBA suggested it, but CPW said no, they'd loose too much money. Proving to all that it's about monies to them, not wildlife management.
So the Utes are killing all the elk now.... Any numbers to prove that?
I’d gladly pay 100-200 as a resident for half the number of hunters. I’m considering going out of state for more quality hunts. That’ll be 1000 all said and done and I’d gladly pay it for a quality hunt.
I would also pay double or triple for a resident tag for half the number of hunters. Same goes for every resident elk bow hunter I know.
There’s a few things the Wyoming legislature, game commission, and game & fish department do that I’m not a fan of, but Thank God they haven’t opened up the state to an unlimited free-for-all!
I would pay a lot more also for a quality hunt.
Did the deer tag double when it went to draw?
So why won’t they do it? Seems pretty simple. If the demand outpaces the supply, raise the price.
Firstly, Why am I hilarious? Let's hear your thoughts and ideas...
Aspen Ghost, Just call the Southern Ute game department. They'll tell you the seasons. Also ask about licenses they give the family based on family size. A family of four, dad, mom and two kids, are allowed three buck tags and two elk tags. They can legally hunt year round if they tell the tribe they need more meat. And once they bought the Redding Ranch, they own most of the elk winter range now. The proof is all right there. We know an Indian that kills some monster bulls on the Redding Ranch in October through December as they migrate in from the Banded Peaks and Shannon ranches and the Crowly Reserve. He takes his family and relatives in there on horses. The southern Utes don't manage their game like the jics do.,
I'd pay 5x as much if they didn't let any non residents in :)
Beating the "non-res." horse again....lol
You guys act like you're the lone rangers in the "getting over ran" hunting dilemma. Any state that has trophy potential or offers species that the eastern half of this country doesn't have are getting pounded.. I don't hunt deer in my home state of Kansas anymore, and we (including extended family) own a fair amount of huntable ground.
Hopefully all you guys voted for all limited elk hunting. For the life of me I can't understand why the majority were against it in the surveys.
I did will! Where was the resident survey for “raising non resident fees”? Lol!!!!
Okay boys and girls, here it is in a nutshell.... I am 70 years old,,,, this year,,,, I started to hunt elk with the bow in 1971 and bears, when we had a spring season,, out of Cortez
what has ruined it all, is the internet, social media, and all the bs I hear on this site
I will tell you young fellows its a money game now, and most could care less about your quality or access to public land
not all your fault, this is how you been raised or introduced, to the hunting world
If I see another live hunt report, I would go nuts,,,, who gives s...
Most game Depts only care about the dollars, because that is what gives them a paycheck, which I can not blame them for....
as Dylan said, "the times are a changing"
I might go nuts if I see another Wisconsin license plate when I pull up to the trailhead! ;)
Cheeseheads are lethal. Something in the water.
I voted for all limited in the CBA survey. I would gladly rather have a quality hunt every other year if that's what it takes. I lucked out and drew NM non-resident tag this year. Only a small percentage of tags in NM and other western states go to non-residents, which is how it should be in CO.
I agree 100 % with groundhunter , social media and internet is huntings downfall , and all the stupid hunting shows , very few are any good . I'd be pissed to if i lived out west , but it's all our land to hunt , so quit whining . I'd bet before long demand is going to be so strong it will be a drawing for residents as well non residents to get a elk tag anywhere out west. Better take advantage while you can. I go every year , i enjoy riding my mules in the mountains as much as the hunting ,if i get a elk it's a bonus.
If the anti's and new age conservationists win public appeal of a more "balanced" eco system, with unchecked wolves, bears, and cats, soon enough there won't be many unlimited units in any state. Including CO.
I understand the irritation towards non resident bowhunters' participation expressed by many CO residents. But, do you guys truly believe that the problem lies in that? Or, are you just focusing on that because it is a winnable fight? Unless things have changed, bowhunters never have or, ever will be a large contributing factor in declining herd numbers of any prey animal. In any state. At any time in history. So why is it an issue with many of you?
Going to limited with caps is fine by me. But, you CO fellas had better get a game plan together because that isn't going to stop the predator banquet that agenda money is building. And, it isn't going to stop the hikers, bikers, birders, campers, and nature enthusiast causing this lopsided circus of spectators.
It's a hard place to be in. But, in my opinion, with what CO hunters are soon to face with this influx of liberal America, limiting hunter influences is the last thing I'd consider a good idea.
"Unless things have changed, bowhunters never have or, ever will be a large contributing factor in declining herd numbers of any prey animal. In any state. At any time in history. So why is it an issue with many of you?"
It's not declining herd numbers, WV, it's the physical numbers of hunters in the field. The overcrowding either pushes herds deeper into more difficult areas to hunt, or onto private lands. I witness it every year. Before the season, the elk are scattered out on BLM and other public lands going about their normal business. As soon as the hunting hoards show up, it's like an alarm goes off, and the elk move to private, and they stay there until the hunting seasons are over. The first couple days provide the only real opportunity to shoot an elk. After that, it's like going to a strip club....you can only watch the elk, but you can't touch them.
A limited state-wide drawing is really the only solution that will reverse the decline in CO elk hunting.
Game animals moving to posted property when hunting season starts is pretty common everywhere. Elk just do it in a big way. It seems that a more effective use of your money for a quality hunt if you aren't enjoying public land would be to pay the landowner a trespass fee rather than higher tag fees to the state. Blast away.
So, you are saying all other users of the outdoors are ignored and, the elk only pay attention to the hunters? Not being a wise guy either.
I've been told by the only elk hunters I have ever seen in the woods of Colorado, that the big rancher in the area I hunt, who buys grazing rights on the public lands I hunt, moves his sheep, cowboys, dogs, etc.... into the areas they do, in the time frame they do, in an orchestrated effort to move the elk onto their own private ground, where they sell hunts. I don't know if that is true or not but, those guys were CO residents, I first met them 10 years ago, and they claimed that knowledge came from the horses mouth. And, after seeing the movements of the herds by the cowboy and dog circus, first hand across multiple seasons and hunting pressure level, I don't know that I can call them a liar.
I understand the frustration. But, in my very limited experience in comparison, there seems to be a lot of issues plaguing the CO resident hunter concerning the elk hunting in OTC. Many of which generate no money to the DOW.
I'm just talking here and have no intent of GF'ing this thread up. And, as a nonresident, I strongly believe that I do not deserve the same access right to a resource found in CO, that it's residents do. I'm just trying to figure out why all we hear as NR hunters is how we are ruining the hunting for resident hunters. When I have never laid eyes on a NR one foot, in any direction, off any road in CO. Yet, I see hikers, bikers, horse riders, cowboys and their loud dogs and herds many miles from the closet vehicle access, every year I have been elk hunting in CO. These variables seem to be getting the back seat to the NR part of the equation.
The areas I hunt rarely see any human activity in the off-season other than the occasion rancher checking on cattle or fences. They aren't desirable areas for hikers, bikers, campers, bird watchers, or leaf peepers. The elk are relatively un-bothered until all the hunters show up. Then the mass exit to private begins.
And, yes, I too have seen rancher/outfitters deliberately sabotage the hunting on public lands. One rancher moves a herd of cattle to a large chunk of BLM right before the archery season every year. This chunk has no water on it, so he has to haul water to them every other day. When he's not hauling water, he rides his ATV all over the BLM, claiming he's "checking fences". Not surprisingly, he's ALWAYS checking fences at prime hunting time early and late in the day. Meanwhile, the elk flood to his private ground, complete with alfalfa fields, water, plenty of cover, and paying hunters. The rancher is very careful to never booger those elk.
So you are correct, the problem isn't just NR hunter numbers, but that's certainly the largest contributing factor based on my 45-plus years of elk hunting experience in CO.
"...if you aren't enjoying public land would be to pay the landowner a trespass fee rather than higher tag fees to the state. Blast away."
You obviously haven't spent much time hunting in Colorado, lately. The days of gaining hunting permission on quality private lands by paying a trespass fee, or by working for your permission, are long gone. Most landowners with good elk habitat have either leased it to an outfitter, or they save it for themselves, close friends and family. I'm sure exceptions exist, but that's the general rule.
I don’t think any residents want to kick out all the NR. I think it’s pretty universally believed that they should be limited just like other states with a quota “up to 10%” and caps on all units. Raising the resident fee is just an idea to offset the common argument that NR make that the DOW needs their money.
You would need to raise the tag fees substantially before you ever effected the hunters I see during elk season. The vast majority of them are wearing/carrying double to triple the amount of a thousand dollar tag ( crispi boots, exo or kifaru packs, sitka or kuiu clothing, all the latest electronics, inreach etc.) not to mention what they're driving and pulling while getting there, or riding while there.
The only effect you'll have is on a average guy, you know, the guy you'd enjoy sharing a camp with.
Buglmin, So you have no numbers, just making things up I guess.
Aspen ghost, seems you don't know how to look stuff up. So, I did it for you. It's very easy.. Archery season Aug 26 to Sept8 General Sept 9 to Dec 31 So you see, they are elk hunting right now. All you had to do was type in hunting season dates for the Southern ute Indian reservation. We know a family that has legally killed seven bulls already. One guy we know has killed two bighorn sheep, two mountain goats and the moose he killed was his second in two years. He is always posting pictures on Facebook.
newest Meateater podcast discusses hunting crowds in the San Juans after a recent ml hunt
"I've never seen anything like it"