Sitka Mountain Gear
Staying down in low country
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
salt 05-Mar-20
JohnMC 05-Mar-20
Firsty 05-Mar-20
Glunt@work 05-Mar-20
LINK 05-Mar-20
Ucsdryder 05-Mar-20
fubar racin 05-Mar-20
thrasher 05-Mar-20
PoudreCanyon 05-Mar-20
SBH 05-Mar-20
Jaquomo 05-Mar-20
Jrhendricks 06-Mar-20
SlipShot 06-Mar-20
Grasshopper 06-Mar-20
salt 06-Mar-20
MichaelArnette 07-Mar-20
Huntcell 07-Mar-20
Bloodtrail 07-Mar-20
Arrowslinger53 07-Mar-20
Jaquomo 07-Mar-20
Bloodtrail 07-Mar-20
Jaquomo 07-Mar-20
From: salt
05-Mar-20
Last year while bow hunting elk in Colorado, there seemed to be none in areas that had historically had elk. Local people said they had gone down to low country ( private) and had calved there and had stayed. Do you guys think this was BS or have any of you experienced this.

From: JohnMC
05-Mar-20
There was a lot of snow in the winter of 2018-2019 that did not melt until way into the summer. It could have kept elk lower. I guess it possible there would have been less forage for them being that above treeline had snow on the ground well into summer prevent it from growing. But that is just a guess.

From: Firsty
05-Mar-20
Rule #1 for hunting Colorado ,do not believe the locals.

From: Glunt@work
05-Mar-20
The area I have been hunting the last 5 years was way down on numbers. Local CPW guy said basically the same thing.

From: LINK
05-Mar-20
The elk last year where I hunted weren’t where the were the previous year but you could tell I was behind them 5-10 days. I think the pressure was enough they had moved. I moved to the other side of the drainage and there were elk all over the ridge behind several campers. You just never know. The people camped there weren’t hunting them and must not have heard them bugling all hours of day.

From: Ucsdryder
05-Mar-20
Lots of water last year which meant lots of GOOD grass. Depending on the area, elk didn’t have to travel to find nutritious feed.

From: fubar racin
05-Mar-20
The elk calves low because of the snow lack of food up high then never moved up as much as normal

From: thrasher
05-Mar-20
Lots more locals, recreating in the high country= LOTS more human disturbances up there. You'll notice private land only tags being issued- to try to push the elk off private, back to the public.

From: PoudreCanyon
05-Mar-20
No one can say for sure if this was what happened in your area last year, but what you described is an increasingly common phenomenon in Colorado, particularly in OTC units. Hordes of hunters can move elk off of public onto private in a hurry.

From: SBH
05-Mar-20
Noticed it here in MT last year. Doesn’t help the rancher ran 5 billion cows up high all Summer and ate all the grass off the forest service land. By fall the only feed left was down low so all the elk where in the fields. Right there with his outfitted clients. Hmmmm.... not a bad setup for the landowner. Don’t worry, MT provided shoulder seasons to slaughter the cows when he was done wanting the elk on his land and his paying clients had taken their bulls. He had his cake with a cherry on top! Thanks MTFWP!

From: Jaquomo
05-Mar-20
^^^ Or move them into strange places where nobody bothers them. Last year I started my hunt at over 10K and elk weren't in their usual September places in NoCo. But it was a late summer, too, lots of moisture, food everywhere. Ended up killing my bull down at 7800' and there were a lot of elk lower than that. But there are always a lot of elk down in the low foothills either on private or in places where nobody thinks to hunt.

Also happening - deadfall is concentrating hunters, even in limited draw units, so while hunter numbers may be the same, there are more hunters hunting fewer accessible areas. This also moves the elk to where they aren't bothered.

From: Jrhendricks
06-Mar-20
Whole heartedly believe that elk are starting to calve lower. Hordes of non-hunter activity above timberline in the traditional summer calving grounds have displaced elk in Colorado.

From: SlipShot
06-Mar-20
Could be, I took my son hunting first rifle where I hunt during archery. We hunted first couple days up high where the elk where during Archery and where we have killed during rifle in the past. We did not see anything other than hunters; more hunters than I have seen in the past. On the third day we went low into the oak brush. We just about got to where we plan to setup when he shot 360 gross bull. We saw over 60 elk with about dozen of them being bulls. It is good to know your area, and know where they are going to move.

From: Grasshopper
06-Mar-20

Grasshopper's embedded Photo
Grasshopper's embedded Photo
All I know is they have been down low all winter around here

From: salt
06-Mar-20
Thanks for everyone’s opinions. Amazing photo grasshopper

07-Mar-20
I do think there are more elk down lower than people think. So many people in the back country these days the elk are maneuvering around into private land areas. In 2016 I hunted the back country 4-7 miles in for eight days and went down to 7000 feet and shot my bull 300 yards behind someone’s house off a county road!? They are where they are

From: Huntcell
07-Mar-20
“They go HIGH, we go LOW” saith sneaky elk

From: Bloodtrail
07-Mar-20

Bloodtrail's embedded Photo
Right behind a winery....
Bloodtrail's embedded Photo
Right behind a winery....
Thought they only came down low after the rut....had this guy and many others outside of Estes Park just laying around resting.

07-Mar-20
Wintering at the winery this year, LOL. Not a bad choice.

From: Jaquomo
07-Mar-20
Bloodtrail, in CO there are elk that summer real high above timberline and migrate down to winter low, others that summer at mid elevation like where I live, 7-8500, which also winter lower (although I still have a herd hanging around at 8400 now) and there are a LOT of elk that never get above 6000' in their entire lives. Those elk live on the foothills "winter range" year round.

I have a photo of a herd of over 200 feeding out in the sagebrush at 5500' in July when the temp on my truck thermometer was 94. So much for the myth that they go high to cool off. Elk were originally plains animals, and are well adapted to low country.

From: Bloodtrail
07-Mar-20

Bloodtrail's embedded Photo
The golfers were just playing around them. Lol
Bloodtrail's embedded Photo
The golfers were just playing around them. Lol
I was amazed at all the elk on the golf courses out there in early November....

From: Jaquomo
07-Mar-20

Jaquomo's embedded Photo
Jaquomo's embedded Photo
Those elk move down to golf courses in Loveland/Lyons when the snow comes to Estes.

  • Sitka Gear