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first rifle unit 61 colorado
Was able to draw first rifle Oct 16 unit 61 colorado for elk. Been researching this unit for several years. Has anyone hunted it during the rifle and noticed if the on going drought has affected the water sources - vegetation or elk population. Been "E" scouting and will probably be in unit a couple of days before season starts. Will look at small dirt trails or other away from the main roads. Killed many elk both archery and rifle so able and willing to park, bivy, hike. Any suggestions. Thanks for the help. Jerry
I have no experience hunting 61. But I can tell you that area has the highest drought rating ( D3 - Exceptional Drought). So, unless conditions improve, expect water to be very scarce. And expect any areas that still have water to be loaded with hunters. Hopefully the entire unit won't be on fire in Sept-Oct.
Good luck, and I hope others with hunting experience in that unit chime in.
Hunted this is archery season a few years back. Non-stop bugles from 4am to 11am every day :) it’s been in a draught for a long time. Elk are still where they are… you will be fine!!hold off for a 340+ Until the last days of your hunt. Seen too many hunters shoot a sub 300 in this unit.
I've hunted up along the divide road on the 62 side a few times and there seemed to be lots of water high up there even when it's dry. I suspect the 61 side will also have a reasonable amount of water up high but haven't had boots on the ground on that side. Of course that doesn't necessarily mean the elk will be up there when the pressure arrives.
Ftr..they're aren't many IF any 340 bulls in 61. If you hold out for that you will go home empty handed. I doubt you see any bulls over 300 your entire trip. They're simply NOT there.
"I doubt you see any bulls over 300 your entire trip. They're simply NOT there."
That's a pretty definitive statement coming from a guy who lives in Arkansas. I've seen some great bulls come out of 61.
That is pretty funny.
I'm going to have to second GG.
340s are there but will likely take some time, luck, patience and the ability to capitalize on the opportunity when it comes. Hunted it once and helped a buddy once, both in archery. Should have multiple opportunities at 270+ bulls if you spend some time and boot leather.
Dead 300”+ bulls in pictures kind of undoes the “They are NOT there” bologna. A unit that takes 20 plus NR points to draw and not a 300” bull to be even seen - ok.
A good buddy of mine rifle hunted first season unit 40 (adjacent to 61) a couple years ago.
It was a dry year then too. Most all of the good bulls were busted up by that time. His guide mentioned that because of the dry conditions the antlers didn’t get the heft like they do on wetter years.
Best be prepared for busted up racks.
I'm just telling it like it is. I've talked to ALL of the CO officer's that work the unit and ALL together they may see three 300" bulls a year in 61. Dead and alive! That days everything to me. Y'all can try to make it what it isn't but it isn't going to make it any better than it is. I've hunted 61...the first morning I was ever in the unit I saw about 300 head in one spot... On probably around 1.000 acres or so...probably 50-55 bulls best I could tell. None were over 260ish.
If you want to find big bulls in unit 61 find out how Pop-r hunted it (that one time) and who he talked to...and do the opposite of what they say...
Grey Ghost's Link
Lol... I've hunted it several times. You never see anyone posting their pics of these huge bulls... ?? Most talk it up and hunt it and go home defeated. I'm not gaining anything by telling the truth. In the times I've hunted it I saw one bull killed and it was about a 250" busted up 5x6. I've personally never held a tag there but I've covered most every 40 in the southern end. I would bet you you can't take an airplane down there & find a 340 bull in a week.
Pics of unit 61 bulls are pretty easy to find.
Pop-r sounds exactly like the bowhunter who camped on top of me in unit 10 last year. The guy showed up on opening morning expecting to see 300"-plus bulls behind every bush. He had done zero scouting, and his only intel was an old tattered BLM map that someone had circled a few of the most popular spots on. He hunted unsuccessfully for 3 days, then he packed up and left, convinced the unit was "way overrated" and "there aren't any big bulls there." LOL.
Above is a link to another Bowsite thread in which Pop-r spread the same misinformation. As you can see, several members posted pics of great bulls taken from unit 61. Yet, Pop-r insists they aren't there based on his one hunt in the unit in 2017.
More unit 61 bulls that Pop-r claims don't exist. LOL.
My buddy drew the 1st rifle tag 2 years ago, had never stepped foot in the unit, I went down there with him and we found at least 5 bulls the evening before opener that were easily over 300", the largest 3 were much bigger than that. All the road-hunting fools were driving right past them...
I hunted it with my dad in 2019 for first rifle. Hunting was quite a bit harder than we really expected as bulls were not bugling at all or even responding to bugles. The other item we were not quite in tune with was the amount of cattle being pastured everywhere in 61. It was also very dry that year.
We did hunt hard and walked a lot of areas looking for sign, glassing, etc. for a couple days in advance. This was helpful and recommended.
Plan to put some boot leather on the ground and realize that you will see people cruising the roads on ATV/UTVs but most don't get far from those roads.
Look for fresh sign is my best advice and be prepared to keep moving until you find it. There are absolutely some monster bulls in the unit but they are not behind evert tree on in every canyon.
Welp, I guess pop-r desire to slow the point creep just got blown out of the water. Lol
I’ll be in there with a buddy helping him this year during archery. We scouted a few weeks back, plus a few previous scouting trips he made during archery season the last couple of years in prep for the tag. We have some excellent places to start, but being as this has become a OIL tag, if anybody has any input I’d love to hear about it through PM.
Yep. My thoughts exactly.
344". Yes there's one less 300" bull in the unit :)
My buddy missed 2 over 350" on the same hunt and happily ate tag soup.
I stand corrected IF these bulls came from there. These pics may be from the last 30 yrs? Who knows? I base my Intel on what I have seen personally and what the CO's have shared. It's odd they don't ever see these elk to me. Maybe it isn't to anyone else. Brad killed the biggest elk in the unit in about 15' and it wasn't 340 as some of those pics may not be from the best I can tell. Lol
I have 25 NR points and should be able to draw a 61 archery tag next year. With all the conflicting reports I am pretty happy my company is sending us out to Denver three days mid September for software training, LOL. I will extend my trip, get a rental truck, and drive there to scout for myself. Need to check it out for cell & nearby WiFi as well, scouting 4-7 days. Will make the best of getting shutout in all the draws, and at least be in some elk country during peak rut. Maybe do some fly fishing too.
Hey Pop, I put hands on a bull that went 390 last year in 61, I also saw in person another that went 341. So, I personally saw two great bulls in 61 last year.
That is awesome! I know they say the harvest has been way down for several years before last so apparently some really mature animals did make it through & get harvested.