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Contributors to this thread:
Ikepete 17-Jul-23
Jaquomo 17-Jul-23
TJS 19-Jul-23
Grey Ghost 19-Jul-23
Beendare 20-Jul-23
jcneng 20-Jul-23
smurph 20-Jul-23
Michael 20-Jul-23
Mule Power 20-Jul-23
jordanathome 20-Jul-23
Glunt@work 20-Jul-23
badbull 20-Jul-23
bowhunt 20-Jul-23
Jaquomo 21-Jul-23
MichaelArnette 21-Jul-23
MichaelArnette 21-Jul-23
Inshart 23-Jul-23
From: Ikepete
Hello, I have just been relocated to Colorado Springs for work, and accidentally fell deeply in love with archery last year (first year hunting) and i plan on hunting OTC elk. I am just curious if anyone is willing to send me some pointers/tips on where I should start to be successful this season, thanks!

From: Jaquomo
Study the CPW interactive maps and harvest stats, then put boots on the ground for the next six weeks. Lots of good online resources out there, including past elk theeads on here, Chris Roe Hunting Resources, Elk101, etc.. Every OTC unit has elk, and will have hunters. Up to you to find the elk when the starting gun goes off. Don't call too much, and cover ground listening and watching. Good luck, and enjoy the journey!

From: TJS
NORTH facing slopes and drainages. Look on maps and ask questions at local sporting good stores for starting points.

From: Grey Ghost
"South facing slopes and drainages."

Hmmm....that's a new one on me, and I've hunted elk for almost 50 years. During the heat of the day, elk will almost always seek out a shady north facing slope to bed down on.

Jacuomo's advise is spot on. There are no "secret spots" on OTC anymore. Generally speaking, the harder you work to separate yourself from the crowds, the more success you will have, but not always. Sometimes easy spots get overlooked.

I actually feel a little sorry for a newcomer OTC elk hunter in Colorado. You should expect to see far more hunters than elk. Animals that you may find while pre-season scouting aren't likely to be in the same spots when the season starts. They know the drill, and as soon as the camo'd army starts to arrive, they will head to known sanctuaries where they aren't hunted, usually private property or some hell hole.

I don't mean to discourage you, just trying to curb your expectations. I've pretty much given up on the OTC game. I used to view the over-crowding as a challenge to become a better hunter. Now it's just irritating.

Good luck on your adventure.


From: Beendare

The number 1 factor to contend with is hunter pressure in those OTC hunts, plan accordingly.

Its the relationship of where those elk go…and what they do with all of those hunters in the woods. Figure that out for success.

Spoiler alert- walking up a trail blowing a call every 2 minutes ain’t it.

From: jcneng
Over the counter elk spots with elk are HARD to find. They do exist, keep changing locations and trying new areas until you find elk. Then guard the location as if your life depended on it!

From: smurph
I don't hunt Colorado, but have been in your situation in many new areas. Everything Jaq said but I would add a couple things I wish I would have done sooner. 1. Get in the woods way before Daylight. For me an hour or more. Elk are talking more and not moving into cover yet. For me, far easier to get in close to elk at "grey light" then day light. You will appreciate the extra time even if it is dark. 2. Stay away from major trail heads. Generally those are elk deserts. 3. Pay attention to where Rigs are parking on roadsides when traveling the roads. (kinda dirty but works pretty well if needed) 4. Don't get too attached to one area. you can't cover enough country when learning new areas. Even when I find elk in a spot I don't beat it to death every day,

From: Michael
A couple of tips I was taught in my beginning days. Have a plan A, B, C, D….. Sometimes the little acreages get over looked because the masses see the big stuff and head there.

And here is one I learned on my own. Just because the research and everyone says it’s a migration area doesn’t mean there isn’t some resident elk that live there year round.

From: Mule Power
In semi open country where you get to vantage points to glass tons of country. That will save you miles of hiking, keep you from spooking elk that you didn’t know were there, And it will speed up your learning curve as you are trying to learn about a new area.

Yes I have found elk on north slopes. I’ve also killed them on n east slopes, south facing slopes, and west slopes. You’d be surprised where elk decide to hang out.

From: jordanathome
Oh Micheal......shushhhhh...... Elk are not hard to find. Killing an elk is hard as hell. My experience. Your mileage may vary.....hopefully on the killing part. Sigh.

Find what elk need and you are likely to find elk. Find out what they need. Work the maps, mark likely spots.....go find out if the suck or not. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Move fast until you find fresh sign elk are around then SLOW THE FORK DOWN. By move fast, I mean as fast as you can be quiet and still vigilent to everything around you. Another way to say it is slow is smooth, smooth is fast......

Do not shy away from action or sound. Elk make a lot of noise some times. Use it and go to them. Don't petrify on the spot wondering what to do and worrying about spooking the elk. They are busy being can be somewhat loud too.

Find your own spots. Even when someone puts you on a spot or an area, do it yourself and find your own spots. Hunt what speaks to you and has good sign.

Kumbaya and all that shart.......

From: Glunt@work
Advice a very experienced elk killer gave me many years ago:

The most important elk tracks are the 4 that are still filled with elk.

Basically, don't spend all your time in great elk country that should hold elk but currently doesn't. Move and find elk. In the winter there is a limited supply of suitable habitat. In bow season there is way, way more great habitat than there is elk to occupy it. That leaves a lot of great country with food, water, and cover but not many elk.

From: badbull
Advice from some of the best above. For instance, I recall reading an article many years ago in Bowhunter Magazine relative to what beginning elk bowhunters should consider and learn in order to become successful. l remember thinking it being the best article that I had seen on that subject. The author was Jaquomo from the above post but I do not remember the exact title. I do believe the Colorado OTC hunts are challenging so you need every edge that you can muster. The biggest problem for me over the years bow elk hunting has been running out of time at the end of a hunt.

From: bowhunt
Great tip Glunt

Where I hunt the good areas change each year.

All great habitat, but the elk just aren’t in all of the good areas each season.

It takes us a while each year to figure out where the highest concentrations of elk are

From: Jaquomo
Funny, badbull, because the seasons when I didn't kill a bull, it was either because I ran out of time, got greedy, or both! Thanks for the kind words. I believe that one was called "Elk Tactics for Whitetail Hunters".

The best advice I can give you is to not go over the counter, see if you can get some thing on the leftovers

The best advice I can give you is to not go over the counter, see if you can get some thing on the leftovers

From: Inshart
There is a ton of info out there. Try doing a search (using Lou's "Elk Tactics for Whitetail Hunters") Try something like this Google --- ""bowsite forums elk tactics for whitetail hunters"". OR bowsite forums "new to elk hunting" Mosts likely you will come up with a few bowsite forums dealing with tips and tactics on how to hunt elk.

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