Mathews Inc.
New here looking for some advice?
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
LeaveNoTrace21 07-Dec-20
WI Shedhead 07-Dec-20
LeaveNoTrace21 07-Dec-20
JohnMC 07-Dec-20
JL 07-Dec-20
Inshart 07-Dec-20
Dale06 07-Dec-20
LeaveNoTrace21 07-Dec-20
WV Mountaineer 07-Dec-20
Ucsdryder 07-Dec-20
jingalls 07-Dec-20
LeaveNoTrace21 07-Dec-20
LeaveNoTrace21 07-Dec-20
WV Mountaineer 07-Dec-20
Jaquomo 07-Dec-20
Mule Power 07-Dec-20
Geno 07-Dec-20
JohnMC 07-Dec-20
Aspen Ghost 08-Dec-20
LeaveNoTrace21 08-Dec-20
altitude sick 08-Dec-20
LeaveNoTrace21 08-Dec-20
Treeline 08-Dec-20
LeaveNoTrace21 08-Dec-20
wyobullshooter 08-Dec-20
DonVathome 08-Dec-20
Quinn @work 08-Dec-20
Mule Power 08-Dec-20
Live2Hunt 08-Dec-20
LeaveNoTrace21 08-Dec-20
LeaveNoTrace21 08-Dec-20
joehunter 08-Dec-20
esean 08-Dec-20
Yellowjacket 08-Dec-20
trophyhill 08-Dec-20
Gotta Hunt 08-Dec-20
Cheesehead Mike 08-Dec-20
LeaveNoTrace21 09-Dec-20
altitude sick 09-Dec-20
Jaquomo 09-Dec-20
ElkNut1 09-Dec-20
Jaquomo 09-Dec-20
txhunter58 09-Dec-20
txhunter58 09-Dec-20
GrantK 09-Dec-20
Cheesehead Mike 10-Dec-20
Wally 10-Dec-20
JohnMC 10-Dec-20
Live2Hunt 10-Dec-20
Cheesehead Mike 13-Dec-20
Yellowjacket 20-Dec-20
07-Dec-20
Pa native here, looking to try something new.... And get away from the whitetails. So I started looking into Colorado for a DIY archery elk hunt. Done some research to the point where my eyes are almost bleeding and I have gotten seemingly no where. So please bare with me, here goes nothing! Figuring on 15 days in September. 11 or so of actual hunting Due to travel! Haven’t settled on a zone yet but was wondering with no preference points are we better off going with OTC archery tags? either sex? if you do you can hunt any otc Gmu? It would be a Backpack hunt with my girlfriend, by no means do I think we will get any animals, I’m looking at it as a learning experience, a break from reality , and a chance getting to see some new beautiful country. Thinking sept 10-26th but I know that’s muzzleloader season as well. So curious if that will affect our chances also? Unfortunately won’t be able to scout in person, being so far away. Also from what I’ve read the further we hike in the better off we will be getting away from the crowds? She did Do 20 miles or so of brutal Montana wilderness, fishing with me last August. So I have faith in her. Willing to burn a day just hiking to get away from people and make camp if needed. Then either go further the following day or just hunt based from wherever we end up. I Will be doing more research on the public lands, and GMUs with satellite maps. Am I Atleast in the right direction? I don’t want spots or anything just more general knowledge of what Im after and trying to get myself into! Anyone willing to help a newbie out And send a few messages back I have so many questions! I’m sure most of which are dumb, but I want to make sure if we try, that things go as smooth as possible Especially legality wise! Hope you guys don’t think I’m a moron Thank you for reading!

From: WI Shedhead
07-Dec-20
Nothing in the brutal montana wilderness seemed worth hunting? U can get that tag with no points too. And I would do that in a heartbeat before going it diy otc in Colorado

07-Dec-20
Montana’s further, more expensive and to be honest my girls not in for hunting with the obscene amount of grizzly bears . Wolves are soft and easy to flatten so are lions.... so they don’t concern me as much I loved Montana it was beautiful and maybe someday in the near future will try something there . Being just two of us with no Prior elk experience, I just don’t wanna bite off more than we can chew (even though we probably are) and add in another factor. Idaho was the main goal! But we just booked a trip to Co to snowboard so I figured why not try for a hunt this year too. My main goal is to not step on any toes, make anyone mad, and gain some elk knowledge. While seeing somewhere I’ve never been.... That’s why we chose archery I figured on seeing less people/ chance of screwing someone else up. thanks for responding !

From: JohnMC
07-Dec-20
CO OTC is tough. Lots and lots of people and elk can be difficult to find. CO can be a lot better if you have a few preference points and hunt a draw unit. If your happy paying for a tag that may turn into a glorified camping try go for it. You would be better off waiting a few years or looking at other Western States.

Keep in mind if you hike in a day like you suggested and kill something you now have to do that hike several times with heavy packs to get a several hundred pound animal out plus your camp you carried in. In September it can be warm enough that the meat can spoil before you get it done or cold and snow or rain. It is all a lot of fun, but bite off a little less than you think you can handle to first time. One plus to truck camping and day hunting out from camp at least at first and going to area you never been before is if first choice is not what you hoped because of crowds, no elk or sign you can move to your B or C spot easier. Also if weather gets bad you can have a lot more comforts than you can at a spike camp to stay dry and warm.

From: JL
07-Dec-20
I'd go with Montana. If the grizz is your concern, there should be places to hunt where the grizz isn't too big of an issue.

From: Inshart
07-Dec-20
Start applying for draw units, but do go and get some experience with "boots on the ground" while you wait a few years to draw.

By all means read John's second paragraph a couple times.

If you get back in a few miles and kill an elk, with 2 people you can plan on at least 2 trips depending on the size of the elk you kill and how much weight each of you can carry.

Once you get the elk on the ground it will take the 2 of you at least 3 hours to get it broke down. A good size elk will yield about 240 pounds of meat.

Last year I arrowed a nice fat cow an hour after first light. I was (by GPS) 1.6 miles from the ATV. It was in some miserable country with blow downs and a couple steep climbs. We boned it out and took it out in one load --- that really sucked, but it was getting hot very quick and we needed to make it out in a hurry. We did it and didn't loose any meat, but we were completely spent.

Try this ----- put 100 pounds in a pack and take off cross-country. I'm not trying to scare you, but there are a BUNCH of hunters on Bowsite that have done some really "sucky" pack outs - nothing easy about it .................BUT ................. when you get back to camp after that ,,,,,,,,,,,, IT IS REWARDING!!!!!!!!

Did I mention to read John's second paragraph.

Good luck and enjoy every minute - it is sooooo addicting.

From: Dale06
07-Dec-20
Unless you just want a hiking and camping trip, I’d not go on public land in Colo.

07-Dec-20
Thanks guys! Yeah meat handling was a concern. Both with what she can carry comfortably And the temps, I was hoping for more unsavory weather as opposed to the heat! Guess I was thinking Co would be colder than Pa in mid to late September. Never broken down an elk, but could do a deer with my eyes closed watched a few online videos of it , and maybe I’m crazy but it seemed pretty close just larger scale. As far as temps? If hot I wanna say I saw somewhere you can place it in packing bags like normal and carry 2 or 3 contractor garbage bags just Incase folded up in your pack , put meat bags in there then tie off and sink in a creek to help keep it cool? Does that sound right? Didn’t know ATV use was a thing there. We Can’t use them on our National Forest lands here. So y’all are saying I should trailer my quad haha thanks for the help..... like I said I’m expecting it to be just a learning experience, I’ll buy a small game tag and Try to get a grouse or something before I leave atleast I’d get to experience some new country and get a rest from this crazy world.

07-Dec-20
Truck camp until you find elk. By mid September, the elk should be bugling good enough to find them. If you aren’t hearing any and aren’t finding any sign, move.

Pressure can shut them down vocally. Pressure can also help you by consolidating them in nasty places. If I were you, I’d camp from the truck moving until I found sign. Then I’d spend a night in that area if I weren’t hearing them in the daylight. To try and hear bugles. Elk in CO like to bugle at night. If that didn’t work I’d weigh my options and go from there.

Just remember, they aren’t nearly as skittish as white tails. Unless they smell you in places they aren’t used to smelling people. They will totally leave an area if possible. However in Colorado, that ain’t possible a lot of times. Find nasty places others won’t go and you’ll likely find elk.

And, the key to killing any elk is you gotta find them first. That’s the hard part. They are social animals and want to be with other elk that time of year. So, don’t be afraid to call too.

I’ve turkey hunted the big woods of PA. If you have and know how to hunt those big areas for spring turkey, just apply that to elk. Because you are going to cover a lot of miles looking for what you seek. But, when you find one willing to talk, play it the same way. And, you’ll get your chances if the CO winds will hold long enough to not switch and spook him. Good luck and God Bless

From: Ucsdryder
07-Dec-20
If you decide Colorado is for you I wouldn’t pack in. I would look at a map of all the otc gmu and find lots and lots of places you want to hunt. Start with your #1 spot and have a plan on working down to spot #20. Then go for it. If you don’t get into elk move on. Be mobile and be prepared to cover country. A better option? Build some Wyoming points and wait for a decent hunt. If you’re like most of us, you’ve seen all the “otc public land bull” videos on YouTube. Realize that for every guy that kills one there are usually 95-96 guys that don’t and many of those don’t even see an elk.

From: jingalls
07-Dec-20
Good call on Montana LeaveNoTrace21! Stick with Colorado, and if the hunting is no good you can hit a dispensary. Just pack a lot of snacks for the trip!-)

07-Dec-20
Jingalls. We have a few days set aside to partake in the activities! Lmao Montana was beautiful. I can’t wait to go back..... we talk about moving there atleast 2 times a week. It stole a part of my soul..... If I didn’t think it was gonna already be hard enough we would face the grizzlys too, but I can’t have her keeping me up all night and not sleeping cause she “heard something “ lol. We will be in Vail around Christmas to snowboard and I’ll get to see some of the country.

07-Dec-20
Uscdryder unfortunately idk if it’s for me or not, I’ve only landed in Denver and flew out. We will be snowboarding at Vail after Christmas. I was just spitballing and thinking of trying it. I only said backpack because I didn’t know you could just truck camp and drive around or use ATVs it’s all new to me, I’m still trying to work through the book of regulations haha I’m just in it for a nice lesson, and an experience in some country I’ve never seen. Heck if I knew someone with some property I’d be paying a trespass fee and trying to get away from the people. I’ve heard some areas are public but blocked by private. In Pa we knock on doors and ask I’m not from there so I don’t know how it works or who to even ask

07-Dec-20
ATV’s aren’t legal off roads in all areas. Get a hold of the forest ranger for the district you choose. They’ll have maps for you to buy that explain where they can be used off road and where they can’t.

From: Jaquomo
07-Dec-20
If you Google Bowsite CO OTC you'll find a number of threads dealing with your questions. This is pretty much an annual event. Also, go on Amazon and buy Matt Dworak's excellent primer, "Public Land Elk Hunting". He is a Coloradoan and hunts public land, is also a Bowsiter (Dirty D). That, along with reading all the other previous threads, will get you on the right track.

From: Mule Power
07-Dec-20
Whew... square one.

Lots of areas in Montana and Wyoming do not have grizzlies.

I’m from Pa. The difference in weather in September between home and elk country can be night and day! It could snow 8 inches.

Before you think about killing elk you should look into weather and gear just to camp in the high country. Even if it’s at the truck.

Best of luck to you both.

From: Geno
07-Dec-20
The difference in weather in September between home and elk country can be night and day! It could snow 8 inches.

Or 16 inches like we had this past September in the backcountry of Colorado... The weather can throw anything and everything at you. We had 80 degrees the first week and single digits the second week with 16-20 inches of snow. Just be sure to be prepared for something like that.

I don't have much else to add to what was stated above as there is a lot of good advice.

From: JohnMC
07-Dec-20

JohnMC's Link
This might help

From: Aspen Ghost
08-Dec-20
Lots of good advice has been given here. As far as ATVs on National Forest - you can only use them on designated roads/trails. There are trails for 4x4s, Wide ATVs, narrow ATVs, Motorcycles, bicycles, horses and foot travel. You'll want an official Motor Vehicle use map for the National Forest you are hunting. If you have Gaia gps you can download these motor vehicle use maps on their website. Be aware that where ATVs are legal they are very popular. You will not be alone on the trail.

As far as weather, I was out through much of the season in North Central Colorado primarily between 8500 and 9500 feet. A lot of days hit 80 degrees. But there were also mornings that the temp was about 15 degrees. A blizzard rolled in fairly early in the season with 50 mph wind and 7 inches of snow. Guys who wanted to leave that day had to spend a lot of time cutting trees out of the road to get out. So bring a chain saw. The snow was gone in 2 days. Back to warm weather. You really should be ready for cold and snow, thunderstorms and hot, dry weather no matter when you go in September because any are possible - and you just might get them all in a 2 week period.

And it seems that forest fires have become pretty common the last few years. It really isn't much fun hunting in smoke and the smoke can cover a very large area.

08-Dec-20
Thank you guys! Yeah colder weather would be ideal, we don’t mind snow I’d much rather be colder than hot and muggy. For my sake and ( if by some miracle the meat) that’s why I was looking more middle toward the end of archery. Hoping it would be cooling down to reasonable temps. Trying to take everything in and get as much info as possible, just kinda spitballing here

08-Dec-20
Get in the random draws of Az and NM start getting points in WY, CO, MT. And then at the same time just jump into the deep end of OTC. There is no better teacher than your own trial and error. Success and failure.

My number one plan fell through in 2020 to fire and went to a new to me unit. Struggled but I was at least in the mountains. And where I was everyone was pretty cordial and respectful of each other’s camps. Everyone spread out pretty good.

One group we ran into was hunting the same elk we were. They were there first so we moved off to find more. If your expectations aren’t to high. And just walking and glassing is good enough. Which for me is half of the fun. The DOW website shows the amount of pressure each unit receives.

08-Dec-20
I will be looking into draws, just being me and her, I don’t want one of us to draw and one to not. Any of those states have like a group option for 2 people or it’s all random and we would just be praying we both got it?

From: Treeline
08-Dec-20
Lots of great advice above.

Good luck!

Come back and tell us how you did!

08-Dec-20
Thanks for all the advice and help guys I’m sure I’ll have more questions haha! And a special thanks to the guys PMing me and teaching me the ropes! Making me feel like I atleast have a direction to go lmao! Goodluck to everyone this year and if ya tag out early and wanna show some new comers the ropes one day! Shoot a message!

08-Dec-20

wyobullshooter's embedded Photo
wyobullshooter's embedded Photo
A few things to keep in mind. Be prepared for weather extremes regardless of the time of month. Attached is a pic taken 19 Sep 2017 at an elevation of 8500'. We got 5-6", higher elevations got around 10". This year, they were calling for 12-18" and cold...on the 8th of Sept! Luckily we didn't get near that much snow, but it got down to 12* for a couple nights. The last half of the month was exactly the opposite. High's in the 70's, and dry, with major forest fires exploding in both northern Co and southern WY.

Be prepared to deal with incredibly nasty downfall. Unless you've experienced it, you can't imagine how bad it is with all the beetle-killed trees coming down. It's hard enough to maneuver around just to hunt, let alone trying to get an elk out of the woods.

Again, don't assume that the bugling activity gets better simply because it's later in the month. There have been years when the bulls were going nuts the first week, then got quiet as a church mouse after that. Neither elk nor Mother Nature are on our schedule.

Lastly, packing in several miles is no guarantee there will be less people and more elk. The hordes of Sitka Warriors will very likely disappoint you. Three factors will determine where you're most likely to find elk...food, water, security. They certainly will find those pockets 5 miles in, but they'll also find those pockets 100yds from a heavily traveled road or highway.

My intention is not to discourage you, but to make you aware of some of the challenges you'll face. As long as you're prepared, you can most definitely have a safe and successful hunt. Good luck to you and your girlfriend regardless of where you choose to hunt.

From: DonVathome
08-Dec-20
OTC elk hunting is vastly different then drawing a good unit................ Elk hunting is easy - once you find elk and you are in shape. You cannot find elk that are not there. OTC hunting can be ok. It will not be like a good LE unit. At least apply in NM and if you do not draw do otc CO. If you draw an average unit in NM and give 110% you will see far far far more elk, much bigger elk and elk that are not as spooky and easier to call/hunt. Your odds at a mature bull are significantly improved, so are your odds at any elk.

WY general elk units are better then OTC Co.

From: Quinn @work
08-Dec-20
I’m surprised that no one has mentioned the weather in September? :)

Good luck on your hunt. You’re off to a good start here.

From: Mule Power
08-Dec-20
Most states allow you to apply as a group so you either both draw or neither does.

From: Live2Hunt
08-Dec-20
I would look at Idaho instead of Col. Just a suggestion.

08-Dec-20
Live2hunt that was the plan before this all happened, I was late buying tags there, and the zoneS I wanted to try are already sold out for the year that may be on next years list

08-Dec-20
I mean we could always take guns and do a different season, but it so much more rewarding to get it done with archery equipment than a gun in my eyes. And with guns, for some reason I got this pit in my stomach somehow we would end up with two dead elk and no way to get them out lol! I like getting things close as possible as opposed to squeezing off on something 300-1200 yards away Have the guns to do it, just always liked archery better

From: joehunter
08-Dec-20
1. Make sure you both have hunter safety certificates 2. Have several spots picked out in a driving distance of an hour. 3. Set up a comfortable base camp off the road- warm and dry! 4. Take light weight bivy/spike camp backpack gear so you can go in and hunt with out having to come back to base camp for a couple days. 5. If possible avoid trial heads. Park and go in off the road. Cross a river, ugly straight up climb, busy highway, overlooked areas! Look for spots that may get you away from the hike the trial hunters. In other words if you start away from all the parked trucks it will help. 6. If you avoid the nice marked trials you will avoid 75% of the hunters. Most will be with in a half mile of the trail. If you only have to compete with the 25% that get after it then you will likely find elk.

From: esean
08-Dec-20
Don't forget to spend a couple of months before you go hiking up and down the steepest hills you can find with a heavy pack on! If you can find a way to cut your oxygen intake in half while you do it that will help even more :)

From: Yellowjacket
08-Dec-20
I would reconsider the timing you're planning and not hunt CO OTC during muzzleloading season. To kill any elk, cow, bull or calf, i would hunt the 10 days or so before ML. If you want to hear more bugling and have cooler weather hunt after ML season. The last weekend of ML usually is ok to start as most of those hunters will be gone.

08-Dec-20
If this year is the new normal for CO OTC? I’d look elsewhere.

From: Gotta Hunt
08-Dec-20
Colorado OTC is a decent option. I have done it multiple times. You don't have to hike in 8 miles to get away from people. 2-3 miles is good, but gaining or losing elevation will get rid of a lot of hunters. Walk 3 miles and gain 2000 feet of elevation and you will be almost alone. Also. I would recommend hunting the last 11 days. Most guys hunt the first 3 weeks or leave early. Best of luck

08-Dec-20

Cheesehead Mike's embedded Photo
Cheesehead Mike's embedded Photo
Cheesehead Mike's embedded Photo
Cheesehead Mike's embedded Photo
Tire chains are a good idea too. This is my Colorado Basecamp this year 48 hours apart on September 7th and 9th.

09-Dec-20
Thanks guys! I think OTC CO is going to be our backup plan at the moment if we can’t draw for somewhere else. A lot of good info here, all is getting written down and logged into notebooks. As far as ML season either way we would still be there after it was over probably, just didn’t want to be too late and miss the rut! Guess it’s a toss up from what I’ve been able to find could be early could be later I’ve never even heard an elk in real life and would love to. Are tire chains for sure needed? I’ve also never used those, we get snow in Pa, but usually not more than 6-10 inches at a time our roads get trashed with ice though..... would probably be buying a new full-size before I came out, and because I’m still a child at heart probably lifted with big tires. Do the Chains help that much more than airing down and just going for it? Other than that another guy said bring a chainsaw..... also debating bringing ATV just Incase but most said it’s hard for non locals to know where you can and can’t take them.

09-Dec-20
Most people tend to start the hunt in areas that LOOK good to them. Classic elk country that Unpressured elk would prefer. For example when moving down a trail or road, It’s human nature to look for a spot that they can see good country. Few will start out on inconvenient place To park and go straight up through thick nasty brush. People look for a good parking spot With visible good looking country. For an example I had a little honey hole 1/4 from a heavily traveled road. But there was no convenient place to park. And it was a very steep climb right off the road. Most drive right by such a spot. The elk bedded at the top in that area of around 300 acres. It was a short pack out To carry the elk down to the road. I’m sure many use this tactic of letting others drive by the elk. Unfortunately they didn’t normally talk in my honey hole next to the road. And they were super alert.

There are no more remote places that people can’t get to. Everyone has the same map apps and great lightweight gear they are itching to use on an EXTREME back country hunt. Someone is either ahead of you or behind you.

From: Jaquomo
09-Dec-20
Tire chains are only needed when they're needed. Insurance. If you don't mind being marooned for awhile, the snow will melt. I have a F150 Off Road with aggressive tires. This year our home was being evacuated because of the fire so I needed to get back. The big Labor Day storm hit the night before I left camp and blew down thousands of trees, dumped close to a foot of heavy snow. We had to cut 32 trees blocking a main road. Then on a steep uphill grade I got sucked into the ditch, got high-centered, and had to dig a long trench in both directions to get out (barely). It was a scary deal with single digit wind chills and nobody around. And this was only at 8500'. I had stupidly left my chains at home, and I know better because I'm a lifer in CO.

From: ElkNut1
09-Dec-20
Wow Jaq, hell of a storm & story there! I agree a smart/experienced guy can be creative in tough situations & pull through.

Thread starter, chains or even cables are unreal when needed most, I prefer chains on the front tires when conditions are at their worst. Too, absolutely have a chain saw, a 12" to 16" bar on a saw such as a Stihl is all you need!

ElkNut

From: Jaquomo
09-Dec-20
One other thing that REALLY saved my butt this year was a portable battery jumper. My truck always started fine, even in super cold temps (I live in the mountains). Then one morning on the hunt it was dead. I've carried that little DBPower thing around behind my seat for years, topped off the charge a couple times a year, never needed it until that day. Insurance.

From: txhunter58
09-Dec-20
The peak of the rut is around October 1st so you won’t miss it if you go late.

You can put in as a group in Colorado and either you both draw or neither of you draws.

That said don’t think that just because there is a draw that it will be better. They just went to a draw only bow season in southwest Colorado and that is because the herd is down. They are pounding the bulls and not giving out many cow tags. This year we were 0 for 4 there. Only one of us saw a bull. And that was first rifle season.

From: txhunter58
09-Dec-20
The peak of the rut is around October 1st so you won’t miss it if you go late.

You can put in as a group in Colorado and either you both draw or neither of you draws.

That said don’t think that just because there is a draw that it will be better. They just went to a draw only bow season in southwest Colorado and that is because the herd is down. They are pounding the bulls and not giving out many cow tags. This year we were 0 for 4 there. Only one of us saw a bull. And that was first rifle season.

From: GrantK
09-Dec-20
Lots of hate on CO OTC here, not sure why, it's not all that hard to be successful, just ignore the masses that are pounding the same basin day after day even if there are no elk there...cover ground, different area every morning and evening until you get on elk and then stick with it, I usually see no point in backpacking but if you enjoy it then go ahead, better to do it after you know that elk are there though, and it can be hard to avoid spooking elk if you are trying to camp close... in general, I think the more you know the better time you will have once you do draw a good tag, if you go OTC CO for a couple of years a LE tag in a better state will seem like a petting zoo, good to get all the basics figured out on a low expectations hunt and then when you get in a good area you can effectively hunt it and not waste a bunch of time on figuring out all the stuff that inevitably you didn't know the first time out...

10-Dec-20

Cheesehead Mike's embedded Photo
Cheesehead Mike's embedded Photo
I've had some good hunts in OTC units as well. However, I'm guessing that last season was a zoo due to covid and so many people hunting and recreating outdoors since they weren't working. I was hunting in a draw unit that took several points to draw and I've never seen so much hunting pressure in my life. I'm guessing it was even worse in OTC units.

Yeah in regard to tire chains, you don't need them until you need them. On this trip to Wyoming there was no snow on the ground and it was just starting to snow when I went to bed. I woke up to about 16" of snow and I was parked facing up the mountain near the trailhead a lot farther in than I should have been. If I wouldn't have had a set of chains my truck might have been there until spring or at least a few weeks until I could get it out. That would have been a big problem. After that trip I bought a second set of chains for my rear tires. You could buy a set of chains and return them if you don't use them. I spend enough time in the mountains that mine are always in my truck when I go west.

In regard to the ATV, it can be a hassle pulling one around and a trailer is one more thing to break down. Personally I wouldn't bring one out west unless I had knowledge of the area and knew for sure I was going to use it. Not bringing the ATV and trailer are 2 less things to worry about.

From: Wally
10-Dec-20
Do it! I planned a trip looked at maps found things I thought were important to me. The same as you I figured I had to start somewhere, if I got an elk it would be a bonus. I packed in solo 5 miles with 60 pounds of food and gear for 12 days. I didn't see another hunter my entire hunt. I put in around 10 miles day wondering around for 5 days with no elk sighting no bugles period. Day 6, 3 elk bugling around my camp at 5:00 in the morning, my plan was to sleep in a little that day move camp. Flew out of my coffin tent freezing my ass off getting dressed. Whipped out the Hoocie Momma because I was afraid making a bad call. After what felt like hours a nice 5x5 come in, I never made it 50 yards from my camp sight. He came right in to 50 yards in the open meadow were I was able to shoot. Watched him walk 80 yards across the meadow and bed down, it was over that fast. CRAZY!! I did spend 2 1/2 days packing him and my camp out. I've been back out OTC hunting the last three years. Two of the three years if been in elk or called in elk but no shot. I did have a shot at cow year 3 she was a single with a calf I made the choice to let her walk. Totally addicted and planning 2021. Just DO IT

From: JohnMC
10-Dec-20
I am not telling you not brings chain or a chainsaw. But if you bring everything you might need you will need a large trailer. I have hunted CO archery elk season for about 20 years. I've seen snow a number those seasons. Including one big storm with about 2 feet in Sept. Even a big storm the snow usually gone in a few days. Most year the heat and/or thunderstorms are a bigger factor than cold and snow. Don't over think it. Have clothing for hunting when it is 85 degrees, raining, or 20 degrees. Make sure you have camp you and the girlfriend can tolerate if the weather sucks for a few days. For some that can be a bivy and others that better be a camper with A/C and heater. Don't bite of more than you can chew. Don't go full on ultralightweight live off what you can carry on your back miles from the truck for days on end your first hunt. Save that for your second trip after you got a little bit experience under your belt.

From: Live2Hunt
10-Dec-20
The one year we had access to a closed car hauler that had living area inside. It worked pretty slick, we brought 2 wheelers out with us. After unloading the wheelers, the back end of the hauler was then used as bunking area.

13-Dec-20
Chains don't take up a lot of room and for me it's good peace of mind knowing I have them especially after they saved my bacon in the past.

From: Yellowjacket
20-Dec-20
I would reconsider the timing you're planning and not hunt CO OTC during muzzleloading season. To kill any elk, cow, bull or calf, i would hunt the 10 days or so before ML. If you want to hear more bugling and have cooler weather hunt after ML season. The last weekend of ML usually is ok to start as most of those hunters will be gone.

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