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Hi all, new Minnesotan here wanting to do some archery elk hunting if it works out for time off, tags, etc. I went back in 2017 with a couple friends (GMU 35) and while there it was very clear that we were woefully under-prepared to hunt elk because none of us have ever done it. With that being said, I was wondering if anyone would be willing to share a few tips to help my chances? I have the OnX hunt app and have been doing online scouting as well as calling a few local CO wildlife offices to get some knowledge. I'm also planning on doing some pre-scouting if I am able to hunt where I would bring a cellular trail cam and scout that way too. This would likely be a solo hunt so any information would help. Thanks!
From what u posted I would look into Elk101.com you will learn a lot there..
You will also learn a ton right here at Bowsite. Ed
I would start with the Colorado Harvest Statistic Reports from recent years. Yes, I know they aren't terribly accurate, but at least they'd narrow your unit search a bit. Once you determine what unit you want to hunt, nothing beats preseason scouting to find where in the unit to hunt. Be advised, elk that you find during preseason may not be anywhere around once the hoards of hunters show up.
If you're in decent shape, I'd concentrate on wilderness areas with restricted motorized access. That will separate you from 80-90% of the hunters. Avoid popular trailheads, as they will usually be packed with non-resident rigs and horse trailers.
Basically, I think you need to hunt the other hunters more than the elk in Colorado. Try to determine the areas with the easiest access for lazy hunters, then go somewhere else.
Good luck, and thanks for spending your vacation dollars in Colorado. ;-)
I would suggest reviewing Bowsite Elk Forum for prior posts. You can spend weeks getting an education. (And you will learn who is full of cr@p!)
To find info specific to CO, visit state forum in Bowsite and you will find more tidbits.
(These tip are in addition to the CDOW website. They have a great hunt planner)
This advice is not specific to elk hunting, but I'd suggest identifying several spots to park your vehicle and then from each parking spot, identify a few smaller areas to hunt. You never know which areas are going to have hunter pressure, hiker pressure, bad wind, local drought, etc. until you get out there, so you need to have several options.
I learned after the 88 season. Hunt ID , MT or Wy. If you like hunting Roosevelts in thick terrain, then western OR.
Will never hunt CO with their current state of affairs. Unless its on Private
Posted this link on the CO site also
I'd pick a different state. Everybody hunts Colorado...and if you don't believe me wait until you get there! No matter how far in you go there will be somebody there...and if not, they'll be along shortly.
I figured I'd go back to CO because of ease of getting a tag. Lots of GMUs with OTC tags available. I know that means more pressure, but I would imagine any time out in elk country is better than sitting at home waiting to get drawn in a different state and then squandering that opportunity because I don't know how to hunt elk. If CO isn't the place to go, then where is?
I’ve hunted Colorado every year since 2015, have had some good hunts for sure and got a bull my second trip. Could have gotten an elk every trip if I could shoot 50-60 yards Someone said that wilderness areas will keep you away from 80-90% of other hunters? I think not, you can’t hike yourself away from people in Colorado. There are fewer people in those units but the ones who are there are more mobile and move around as much as a dozen roadside campers. I’m going to try out some other states these next few years. I don’t like how Colorado manages their elk. It’s really a shame.
The best thing to do in my opinion is to keep moving until you see elk, don’t get stuck on one particular area because pressures change from year to year and it seems that elk movement changes from year to year as well
2018 - first year elk hunting - first elk with bow - OTC 7 x 7 down after 2 weeks of hard grinding and failing 9 times - took 6 months of research, learning, training, and a squirrel for guide, he he he, good times on the mountain.
Get out there and keep grinding until you get into elk.
Leave camp in the dark and return in the dark. You gotta want it.
Buy a trophy area bow tag in ID OTC, every year no issues.
And put in for a control tag, get drAwn turn in OTC and your hunting 360’s.
Try that in CO. Plus you top put below 10,000!!!!!!!
The beetle-kill deadfall in much of CO is making many areas nearly impossible to hunt. This is compressing hunters into smaller and smaller areas. Of my six best spots I've spent years learning how to hunt, only one is huntable now. And in several of the others, even the elk have stopped using them. If I were you Id6steer clear of any parts of CO that have beetle kill, unless you have a LOT of time to scout in the summer. Even then, your hunting will be about managing the other hunters as much as finding elk.
I’d stay clear of unit 81 anywhere in the backcountry with the beetle kill, I bet it’s at 90% in the wilderness parts. Up north seems to have significantly less beetle kill
North-central CO got hit especially hard
^^^ whaa? Up north like Montana?
The beetle kill epicenter is Grand Lake area (18/28) and goes north into Wyoming
This pic is in the Sierra Madres
Check out the Born and Raised Outdoors videos. Many CO hunts and good info on how they select an area- but they will Not discuss specific areas/ units.
My last CO ELK was 2010, hoping to go back in 2020 while I can still get around. :) G
Go Hunt.com is a find a spot or three aid and maybe a help for your search. Insider is their paid search site
Everyone knows where the BRO guys hunted for their videos in NoCo. More than 40 vehicles at that trailhead the past two years. They wrecked a really good hunting area for those that knew, and had enough help to pack one off that mountain. It wil never be the same. You should hunt there. You'll meet a lot of new friends!
I like that, best drainage busted out by some Upsate NYers. What a pity.
Where the BRO guys hunt it will be flooded with hunters the next year.
OK, I’ll bite. Who are the “BROs”?
Ya, the BRO guys are typical instafamers that "do it for the love of the craft.....and the likes."
Sorry, off topic.
Pick a unit and giver hell.
I'm going to give you the piece of advice I wish someone had hammered home to me 20 years ago: Go elk hunting. Do your research, find a spot YOU like, and start going. EVERY YEAR. You will figure it out eventually. You might even get lucky early on and kill an elk or two. The most important thing is: GO ELK HUNTING EVERY YEAR. The rest will fall into place, you might learn easy or you might learn hard but you will learn and it will be priceless.
Born and Raised Outdoors. A group of hard-charging, limits-testing, happy-dancing, hip-hopping, fist-bumping, YouTube video-making, merchandise-selling guys who kill a lot of stuff.
I'm cool with all that but many wish they would be more discreet about where they are hunting.
Anyone who kills an elk on their first bow hunt.... on public land, can attribute it to one thing. Luck. If you don’t know the area and have no experience hunting a particular animal it can’t really be much else. Hard work is a requirement no doubt but lots of guys who work their tails off end up in the 80% who don’t kill elk. If you do get one on your first hunt congratulations man but the learning curve has barely begun.
BRO = Back Rub Outdoors. You gotta watch to appreciate
Hunt where the BRO guys go.
My area has the worst beetle kill I wouldn't hunt there. North Central CO
Be like HH and don't go to CO.
Hope that helps. :)
How bad is the beetle kill in 76? I have 19 nonres points. I'm seriously thinking of using them this year. I'm in pretty good shape for 62 but I'm not getting any younger and thats some rough country. That plus I'll never get out of points limbo, thanks.
Geez Mule Power, I'm a little insulted, lol!
Back in '98 on my first elk hunt on public land in the Colorado flattops I missed a nice 5x5 and then less than 24 hours later I killed a good 5x6. I worked hard and smart to find that luck and I'm glad I did because I've been doing my best to ride it every year.
People told me I would be lucky if I just saw elk on my first hunt and I agreed but inside I said "f that, I'm killing a bull".
I think it's important not to sell yourself short and you should go into it with the belief that you'll be successful otherwise you might depend too much on luck and be more willing to accept not succeeding.
Yes absolutely there is luck involved, but I believe that the more determined you are the better your chances are at getting lucky.
I have read to hunt them just like turkeys, and you should have success on your first trip;-)
Lots of good advice above. Don't look for the farthest place from the road on a map it will be crowded. Instead look for the closest place that has no hunters and keep checking new ones until you find some elk. I would rather check 5 likely spots in 1 day than hike all day to check 1. Elk will remain in close proximity to the road if left alone. Like already mentioned keep a can do attitude no matter how bad it gets its a zero to hero sport and there are more lows than highs.
I do exactly what 320 bull suggests. This year I killed my bull about 250 yards from a main county road, in the 4th different place I'd checked the day before. Found him the night before at last shooting light, went back in and killed him first thing the next morning. I could hear dozens of cars driving past on the way to work during my stalk. Hunt where other hunters are not. That's where elk will be.