By the way, I post absolutely nothing on any social media about hunting. So I won't be adding any contributions to the overcrowding and tag creep to your state. I just hunt, enjoy it, and will call/text friends and family about my success. No need to tell 10k strangers I killed something in Colorado.
All I see online is people talking about backpacking deep into the backcountry and camping for a week or more. That seems fun and I'd love to do it one day but in the meantime, I won't have a buddy there to do it with. A lot can go wrong on an adventure like that so for safety it'd be best to have a friend or 2. So is it possible to have success with a mule deer or elk hunt by just camping near my truck, going into the woods to hunt sunrise to sunset, and returning to the truck? I camp and hunt for deer/turkeys in South Carolina often but it's way different here.
I'm not expecting trophy animals while hunting public land and drawing easy tags. Just want to have some doe muley or cow elk meat for now. I'll worry about preference points for a better hunt in later years after I've gained some experience on Western hunting, then try for a big buck/bull.
And as far as the draw goes, am I reading it right that some years I could go an entire season not having the opportunity to deer hunt? It seems there are elk zones that offer OTC tags for anyone who wants them, and I expect those zones to be very high pressure and frustrating, but at least I get to go and learn. What about the mule deer? Even if I'm willing to accept a less desired unit, is it possible I still won't draw a tag some seasons? Or does pretty much everyone have a shot at a leftover tag if they want it?
I plan to mostly bow hunt. Looks like somewhere around Colorado Springs is where we'd move to as it has the most job opportunity in my line of work.
Possible yes anything is possible but unlikely. If you build a strong understanding of the draw system and are willing to hunt less desirable tags there's no excuse to not have a elk, deer, and pronghorn tag every year as a resident. Use your points as often as possible and learn as much as you can about tags that can be drawn 2nd choice and you'll find plenty of hunting.
I have lived in Colorado Springs 25 years. It's been growing and continues to grow. I see many big apartment buildings being built. I'm glad I'm not looking to buy a house with the current prices. But I'm not planning on selling and leaving. Rent is also expensive.
Deer tags have been limited for years now but you can get tags. Study drawing odds and leftovers. Doe tags are available in some units.
I don't backpack in often anymore. It's not necessary and often almost as busy. My current favorite places are less than an hour hike, When you learn a unit you will find your own places to hunt.
I camp in an RV.
To add to the above mentioned good advise. You can have plenty of fun and success in sub par or even OTC units as long as you are not physically challenged, are willing to spend time to learn the unit and the patterns of the game in the unit. But even if you aren't able then you should still have fun and can still be successful. You should also be willing and know how to take apart an animal and pack it out on your back or with pack animals. If not, then I would suggest you educate and train yourself in those regards.
I would also suggest that you answer Jaquomo's question if you want some good information from those who've been around the block in this part of the hood. But only if you answer it correctly ;)
Get the right gear and enjoy what this great place still has to offer before they try to change the border to the shape of a circle. But try to be appreciative of it. Pick up any old flag tape and bury your toilet paper.
Oh and you might find this devise to be pretty handy.
Are you from the city or country? If you are used to the small-town life you probably won't be happy in Colorado Springs. Also, I've known a few people from warm climates who couldn't adapt to our short summers.
Neither of us like being in the city and plan to live as far on the outskirts as we can while still being close enough for a reasonable commute to work for me. We also can't be too remote as we are raising 2 daughters and want them to have friends.
The main thing I think I'll have a hard time getting used to is just being dealt x number of deer tags and 3 months to fill them with the weapon allowed during the time I'm hunting. I don't muzzleloader hunt, only bow and rifle. So it looks like I'll have a fun September then I'll have one week for rifle if I draw a tag. Then that's all the big game hunting I get to do.
What do yall do for the other weeks of hunting season? Hunt ducks, small game, and trout fish? Doesn't like like a bad plan, just wondering.
Pick a unit with good draw odds and a accessible public land
Scout the shit out of it, you'll find good spots. Deer in general will be easier to get near your truck/ require less of a hike.
Be wary of jaq... he's a self proclaimed private land tresspsasser
I hunt other states
Good goose hunting, decent duck hunting but not as much water as the SE. Coyote hunting is good.
One big change you will likely find if living on the front range is there isn't a lot of quick morning/evening hunts. Most stuff eats up a day or a weekend due to travel.
Lots of good hunting and fishing opportunities in surrounding states.
Colorado has changed dramatically in the last few decades but still has a lot of opportunity outdoors. If the wolves don't eat too many elk you should find plenty of hunting.
If your work dictates that you relocate to Colorado then I would spend as much time researching Co. as say Nebraska, or the other bordering states for hunting options.
Oh and btw Co. is not purple. It doesn’t resemble anything close to what it was even 10 years ago when it was purple. Yet there is still great hunting and fishing if you figure out how to navigate the hurdles.
If you want to eat your mule deer, research units east of I25 with agricultural. There are state lands that still hold some deer and they have white tails too (You are what you eat)
You’re still young so it certainly is possible. Try to find someone your age that you are compatible with and a similar amount of time devoted to the type of hunting you’re looking for. Two heads are better than one. A reliable hunting partner can be priceless especially on pack in trips.
Best of luck!
Have you looked at real estate/house prices in the area you think you can get a job? This is usually the wake up call for folks wanting to move to CO after experiencing its beauty and weather for a week or 2? It's expensive and everyone wants to live far enough away from major metro areas but still in commuting distance so that's not cheap. You may have to live in suburbia and suck it up. The good thing is your investment will only increase in value as everyone is moving here.
With that said on the front range you have the mountains for recreation and elk hunting to the west and the plains to the east for deer, antelope and pheasant. It's all within a reasonable drive but like said above it's not a before or after work hunt. You also have Kansas and Nebraska as options as well as NM and WY if you can draw a damn tag. Living on the front range is a sacrifice but it's also a great middle ground for everything offered east, west, north and south.
The front range has a lot of jobs but partially because people can't afford to live there and have those jobs too. Unfortunately we are and always will be a blue state because of the population of Denver and Boulder alone. Their demographics always dictate the elections while the other 75% of the state is red. It's definitely not the state it was 25 years ago but it's still a good place to live and depending on where you settle, raise kids. I'm never sad to come home to Colorado from visiting elsewhere.
Take those girls out east with a Platt Map or landowner app and knock on doors. You will find places to hunt with the kids. Target the smaller parcel landowners as the larger landowners usually lease to outfitters. Don't be afraid to ask. The worst they can say is no. The further you get east from the front range the more success you will have. My kids have enjoyed access to incredible private land hunting just by us asking.
Good luck with your move. I don't think you'll regret it.
PS- Get your CO drivers license as soon as you move and have an address. The sooner you have residency the sooner you can get cheaper tags and better draw odds. If you're coming from a state with lifetime licenses buy them before you leave.
Also ignore SoccermommyNY above he is everything that is wrong with CO. Lou/Jaq is not a trespasser and don't tell him I said it but is a good dude ;)
If walking up to a ranch house, knocking on the door like a man, shaking the rancher's hand (again, what an adult man would do) and politely asking permission to hunt while offering to help with some ranch work is considered "tresspsassing" by some no-nothing loser from New York, then yes, I am guilty. And thats why I have access to hunt multiple contiguous ranches, all posted with No Trespassing signs, and soccermommy does not. Lol!
Like if you have a "no soliciting" sign on your door. And I ignore it, knock on it to sell you something... just because you ended up buying from me doesn't mean i wasn't soliciting.
Colorado has some pretty dedicated backpackers that will go a ridiculous distance from roads. So often times they walk past elk.
My advice would be not to focus solely on hunting. Learn to fish the state, small game hunting. Rock and Ice climbing in Colorado can be phenomenal. Look up the “49rs” and Ouray Ice climbing. Colorado and Yosemite, Helped me get into climbing at extreme altitudes. Check out John MC posts. And look at what he does in CO.
I lived in SC while stationed in Charleston and it’s a pretty conservative state. so hopefully your values can help the residents a little.
I live in shame.
They all came to Colorado because it was ran so well, then are changing the laws so it's just like their home states: high taxes, attacks on gun owners, attacks on commerce, free handouts, high crime, weak crime penalties, homelessness, drug abuse, inflation; add any bad idea that drags down a state into the mud.
We're heading back into the 70's
My best, Paul
Yes, I have done it dozens of times, maybe hundreds, as has every other hunter on this thread. Post up the screen shots if you want. Turn me in to the Sheriff. I'll wait. Every ranch or farm in the West has "No Trespassing" signs posted. That means, "DO NOT COME ONTO THE PROPERTY TO HUNT OR RECREATE WITHOUT PERMISSION". It doesnt mean, "Don't walk up and introduce yourself". I have been granted permission to hunt many times on ranches posted like that, including on the four contiguous ranches where I have permission to hunt deer now. No one has EVER been accused of trespassing for that because it isn't considered trespassing by law enforcement or landowners. You still don't understand how life works outside the city, do you. SMH.
What is that off to the bulls right? Looks like a 22 target.