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Graduation Archery Elk Hunt for Son
Planning an Archery Elk hunt for my son's graduation from college (fall 2022). Initially focusing on Colorado, researching drop camps or DIY. I've got a couple DIY locations from friends and a half dozen drop camp outfitters I've heard positive things about. Via this post hoping to hear from folks who have recently been on a drop camp that they would recommend...hoping to get a few that match the ones I'm considering. He could have 3 points by then but prefer an OTC unit.
Not concerned about mature bulls, rather just enjoying time with him experiencing his first time in the west in an area where we can encounter bugling bulls w/o excessive hunting pressure. I predict he'll become addicted to elk hunting, just as he is to Whitetails (of course harvesting a 181 & 161 in his young career probably helped).
Of course, to be a good father I should probably go myself this year or next year to ensure it's the hunt we desire. Prefer OTC as I'm sitting on 15 Colorado points and researching how realistic a unit 40 archery DIY is, knowing the challenges with the amount of Private land in this unit. Have spoke with wildlife manager and researching how best to seek obtaining trespass rights to hunt on or access BLM/public. If anybody has done that recently would greatly appreciate any suggestions. In return would be willing to provide my marked up map and notes given this would be my only hunt in that unit. If not DIY in unit 40 also considering a drop camp in unit 76, but keep coming back to unit 40 being my best chance at a more mature bull.
Sorry...got off topic, back to the purpose of this post...starting now to arrange a wonderful experience for my son's first archery elk hunt. I don't plan to hunt, just guide him and enjoy our time together in one God's greatest gifts - the Rocky Mountains.
Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom. Hope you all get your desired tags this spring.
Well... OTC may not exist in Colorado by 2022...
If you have a couple years I’d build a few points in a different state and go that route.
What a fine graduation gift.
Get points, bugling bulls and low pressure don’t go with otc. With more units going to draw next year the remaining otc units will have even more pressure.
Get points in Colorado. They will be golden.
Get points in other states too!!!
Some excellent options in several other states for much higher quality hunts than what you can get in Colorado. Even with only a few points!
Thanks all, Have been reading a bit on here about Colorado possibly going to Limited for more units, but admit I haven't followed closely- good point to consider. He has 9 points in Arizona, but we both agreed it made sense to get a hunt under his belt before using that tag. Regardless will get a couple more points before 2022 to have more options.
My thought of a drop camp is to slightly reduce hunting pressure by getting farther from roads (and a horseback trip & staying in a wall tent is something we've always talked about). Perhaps I'm underestimating how much this really reduces pressure. Selecting the proper drop camp will be key....thx
Nice gift.... Hunt AZ, why not,,,, he knows how to shoot, what is the difference... Me I am strictly now going for Wy,,,,,, Colorado has been good to me, but its now getting to be a zoo,............................ beware of drop camps,,,, do your home work,,,, I went on a lot of them in the 80's and 90's and they were all great,, but that work ethic etc, on many of them do not exist today........................... Also if you do not want to burn the points, I would go to Utah,,,,, lots of quality hunts there, both private and OTC public
Not sure about any great drop camps here in Colorado.
I would seriously look into Wyoming though. Some great REAL backcountry there with great elk hunting on the general tag.
Montana might also be an option.
New Mexico has some great opportunities and no points as well. A little harder to plan but perhaps look at a landowner tag.
I know you said bow, which is what my 17 year old also does now, but if you really want to give him a better shot at a good bull I'd look at some of the 1st season rifle tags in CO he could draw or WY general. There are some 1st season rifle tags I'd be putting in for if I did not have so many CO points like you.
As far as 40, I'd recommend spending some time in that unit before you decide. I'm at 13 and have also looked closely at it. Even spent 2nd season deer hunting with my son so I could really look at it. If I had 15 I know I would go 76 and take my son. The experience would be so much better. There are good bulls in 40, but the land is so broken with not really huge private pieces. The elk easily travel across multiple pieces. Unless you could get on one of the bigger ones up top, which is going to cost you HUGE $$, It could be really frustrating. I learned my lesson in the deer hunt watching guides sit on fence lines waiting for bucks to cross. I can't imagine doing that with a huge bull and a bow.
Question: How come you didn’t buy PPs for your son all these years?
That’s what I did for my kids while they were in college. Now it’s just a matter of deciding when to use them.
Get him PPs this year and next year for Colorado and Wyoming. He’ll have 2 for each state. That’ll get him into something above average
Did the same for my sons. Greatest times of my fatherhood. Agree you should go ahead and build points in Co, Wyo etc but you should also apply in top units in Nm and Idaho as they are straight odds. Should you draw a great unit in NM you could have a world class hunt. Haven’t hunted idaho for elk, only moose but again it is straight draw on even the best units. Also, there are some affordable landowner tags in some NM units that can provide better hunts than otc Colorado. It will be fun no matter what but more fun if he has lots of action. FWIW my sons wanted me to hunt with them and were excited when I tagged out. You might want to apply as a “group” of two. Never know what could happen
I sent you a personal message
It will cost more, but I’d look at New Mexico, private land hunt, guided or not.
Thanks all, Do plan to get points the next couple years for him for Colorado & Wyoming. I probably should have been getting him points before now, but spent enough money getting he & his brother points in Ar. (once they were too old for youth license it added up quick). I do have one option I feel pretty good about for a drop camp in Colorado, still have a few references to check and will continue to explore all options suggested...thanks.
Seriously considering cashing in my Colorado points this fall for unit 40, then hunt the drop camp next year so I'll be familiar with the area the following year when I take him (that's the logic I'm telling my wife).
Thanks for all the suggestions, appreciate it.
Wyoming would be a good choice, as discussed. Save your points and go with him as an observer. You’ll still get to “hunt” and the thrill of the encounters will be just as exciting for you as it will be for him. Use the money you would’ve spent on yourself towards his hunt. It’ll be just as rewarding.
I planned on doing the same graduation present for my son 2 years ago.
My wife brought up some good points. First you have no idea what your health will be then. Second you have no idea what his employment situation may be at that time. He may start a new job the day after he graduates.
The year before last we weren't able to go due to wildfires where we planned on going and then just a week before we were supposed to go we lost two cars to flash floods in NJ. We went this past September and had elk bugling on the next ridge ten minutes after we pulled into our campsite the Thursday before the opening Saturday. It was an awesome trip having elk respond to our calls and almost got it done on a cow the third day at a watering hole until the wind shifted and she smelled us. Unfortunately my son woke up with altitude sickness on the 4th day and we had to cut the trip 5 days early.
Good luck in whatever you do.
Anybody ever hunt with "Old Time Outfitting", that's the hunting part of "D&G Horses & Oufitting" based out of Meridth, Colorado? Specialize in Drop Camps, would be 1st ones to hunt a particular drop camp regardless of what week select, and have a lot of repeat clients. Leading candidate at this point for our hunt. Thanks,
I’ve been planning to do the same thing since I could get points for my son in Wyoming. We’ve each got 9 to use now, hoping for 2022.
Get those Wyoming PP and come hunt a general area with less pressure than otc Colorado.
Don't know that outfitter, but it's pretty big country around there so it could be a better place for a drop camp that many spots in Colorado. Those areas have gone to draw only for archery so you may not be able to hunt it two years in a row. Getting points in Wyo is a good idea, but you may not be able to get a general tag with two points each which is what you've have in 2022 if I'm reading this correctly. I also agree you shouldn't burn his Arizona points on his first elk hunt. There is a lot more to it than just shooting. I have guided many first time elk hunters who were successful whitetail hunters and its generally very difficult for them. Having at least one elk hunt under his belt would greatly increase his odds of making good on a great tag in Arizona. Great thing to do for your son and good luck with whatever you decide.
I did this with my son a few years back when he was a HS senior; while he came very close to arrowing a nice bull had to settle for some good father/son memories, I liked the area so much that I have been returning just about every year since, first with my own bull tag and then cow tags. Been building up our points again so we can try again when he graduates from college.
Shrewski I might know a good spot for you and your son, make sure you guys get points this year! I think it might take 10 points this year in the regular draw, 9 in the special draw. I am sending several PBS buddies there this year if they draw their bull tags.
Took my son on an archery antelope hunt in WY for his HS graduation present and on an elk hunt in CO for his college graduation. He closed the deal on both hunts. Memories that will make me smile until my last breath.
Good luck to you and your son and enjoy every second of it!
Thanks all, appreciate the input & suggestions. Taking all into account....like starting Wyoming pp's. Pig Doc, looks like some awesome memories for you & your son. Congrats & thanks for sharing the pics.