Contributors to this thread:
Sister in laws ex boyfriends heading out shortly…. If I’m correct, didn’t this area get burnt too a crisp (not all obviously but a lot) with the fires…??? He seems to think I’m wrong and it didn’t get burnt up with the fires.
Check out a fire map for that area for exact locations of the burn. Not a good idea to just show up. What elk were in the area move off to the side and some might return to any areas not burned. Other elk, hard to tell where the might me. But yes, a large area was scorched.
Yes, the Willow Creek fire burned a sizable portion of the NF on both sides of highway 125 from Granby up to the Continental Divide. There was about a 14 mile stretch that was closed down to all uses the last time I checked in mid September. It included many of my favorite hunting spots in unit 18.
I hunted 18 before. I'm curious what the elk activity will be in the burn areas. Might be too soon to return or they might be loving it there as they often do in post burn areas. Haven't been in the area since the fires
I think it's going to a long time before the elk move back into some of the burn areas in 18. In some spots it literally looks like a nuclear bomb site. It burned every stick of timber and undergrowth to dirt. Some of those areas still have little, or no, vegetation growing at all. In other areas the fire left dead trees standing like large tooth picks sticking out of the ground. Those areas didn't burn as hot, and there are some nice grasses and other vegetation coming back, but there is still zero cover for shade or protection for the elk.
My wife and I were shocked when we drove thru the area the first time after the fire. Unlike other fires that jump around leaving pockets of unburnt timber, this fire burned everything in its path for miles.
Ya I’m not betting this trip goes well for anyone. The “group” is inexperienced never hunted out west, never attempted to hunt more than Wisconsin whitetails from a box blind. I haven’t been out west yet but when I do I’ll be prepared thanks to a lot of information here from you fellas. Learn a lot just reading. And first trip will almost certainly be with a guide. They thought it was be “fun” to put in for the lottery and all drew tags….or so I’m told. I’m glad I’m not involved in this debacle about to unfold.. was just curious how burnt it really was. Thanks for the info guys!
If they drew the tags, at this point all they can do is go hunt. Debacle or not.
CPW radio collars point to animals returned to most areas of the burn scar.
Sounds like you are rooting against him. That is a shame.
John there is not one hunting brain in the group. Not a one. Rooting against id say not, if they connect I’d be thrilled to hear the story. More worried about inexperience people, not even hunters, going out into the units and hurting themselves.
I bowhunted in the unit 8-19 scar and the elk were right back in there. Tough to bowhunt that stuff. Tell your buddies to hunt the edges and the unburned areas and they should find elk. They didn't burn up.
Good to know Lou. I hope they find some. See what happens.
I lived in and hunted unit 18 all during the 1990s when the hunting was good. IN the late 1990s, the elk population was reduced by 1/4- 1/2, lots of cow permits were issued and still are. The 2020 data shows(all manners of take is 9% for unit 18 and 13% for 181. These are some of the lowest percentages of success in all GMU statewide. I stopped bow hunting the units 7 years ago because of the lack of elk sightings, increased numbers of hunters, very low success rates, and now this fire.