Don't hunt OTC, don't want to go to CO. I won't stay home as deer and elk bow season are at the same time so I go deer and scout for elk. Why stay home when you can get real life experience for when you do draw for elk?
I always hunt my back yard otc archery tag every year. Gen Arch Elk is the only otc tag still available in utah. Runs from the third sat in Aug until Dec 15th here on the Front east of Salt Lake. Pretty epic if you're into becoming a professional bow walker (aka, taking my bow for a walk on a daily basis)
Yes there are are some great elk up there, but from my record, I'll suggest nearly impossible to kill. I know this is probably not the place to post these, but I think it's appropriate and actually kind of funny.
Opening day I winded 7 bulls and passed on these two skinny spikes.
After a few days of dark to dark in my stand I took a day off to take my wife out for our 36th anniversary dinner. Went back to that stand the next day and small rag horn came in while I was away. Went to another spot to glass up some bulls for a couple days and came back to the stand to sit again on the 24th. This is the look when your 'honey hole' has seen zilch for 4 days.
Then go scout the units during the archery season you may want to hunt some time in the future. This one is of a unit I didn't draw this year with 10 points. It was 50/50 odds with 10 and I was the odd man out :)
From there it's just more taking my bow for a walk until Dec 15th. Maybe some day I'll get it right and be done on one of these off years before then.
In any case make the best of your time. It can still be an awesome adventure if you decide to make it one when you don't draw any tags.
I’ve never drawn a bull tag in my life. Granted I shoot for the fences when I apply but otc’s have been very good to me for years. This year I was forced to travel away for work the whole month of September so a capped rifle cow tag is as good as it gets for me.
Next year will probably be the first year I don't hunt elk since I started elk hunting in 2011. I have a moose hunt planned for September. I tried to get elk and moose smashed into September this year and short-changed both hunts.
After my 2018 LE hunt, I swore I wouldn't hunt elk anymore unless I had a LE tag, but I had to go back once more to the OTC spot where I killed my 2015 bull. Unfortunately it was covered up in guys so I left early. I won't go back. From now on, September is for moose, caribou, or mountain goats unless I draw a good elk tag.
OTC. Had a ton of fun in OTC areas. Yes, the popularity of archery elk hunting has changed things but when I go OTC I still find elbow room when off the beaten path a bit or hunting little spots everyone drives by. I have been hunting an easy to draw unit the last few years and see more people than I do in my usual OTC spots.
I burned a bunch of points a few years ago and had a great hunt with little pressure and lots of elk. I have my son old enough to hunt now and I want to be in the elk woods every Fall while we can. If that means OTC or easy to draw units with bumping into a few guys, hunting small raghorns and cows that have been spooked a couple times that week already, then so be it. Even on the worst hunts in poor areas there are usually enough great moments to offset the slow or frustrating parts.
My Colorado elk destination of choice is a low demand LE unit. Also apply for elk tags in seven other states. If I don't draw an elk tag, plans switch to other species versus going OTC. Alaska has become a more frequent destination than I ever imagined. At my age, I am seriously considering pursuing auction/landowner elk tags in the near future. Would not have imagined doing that just a few years ago....
I usually hunt OTC elk anyway knowing that the coveted tags only come once every several years. Been super blessed hunting OTC and there’s plenty of animals in those units if you’re willing to work for them.
Apply for points for different species when you know you more than likely won’t be drawing a elk tag and there’s always Alaska not a bad second choice at all lol. This year was a WY antelope hunt for us.
OTC western Washington. Not as many elk, but not as many hunters. That's more important, I always get into elk there but less often when there are more hunters around no matter where it is. May try Idaho sometime in the next couple years. CO would be last choice esp. with all the residents bitching about too many non-res hunters. I don't need that...and you don't either.
This year I didn't draw an elk tag, I actually didn't even put in for elk...because I had two good friends who I knew would draw tags in 76 and 61 and I got to help them, which was almost as great as having my own tag.
I immediately go into deep depression it starts with the Arizona draw really gets worse after New Mexico, medication and counseling with a shrink helps. This continues until January when hope springs anew as its app time. After I make my yearly non tax deductible donation to both states I make a amazing recovery before starting again. That's what I do.