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Opinions wanted. Drop camp or DIY?

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Opinions wanted. Drop camp or DIY?

Old 01-20-2006, 07:53 PM
  #1  
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Default Opinions wanted. Drop camp or DIY?

Planning on heading to NW CO for a firstever elk hunt. It'll be 2nd or 3rd rifle. Party will be 2-3 hunters, not sure about the third hunter as he has employment commitments that might conflict with the season. Anyway we've been reading and studing all the different outfitters on the internet, we're thinking about doing a drop camp. None of us can afford a fully guided hunt, but we can scrape together the jack for a drop camp. So is a drop camp a better option for first time elk hunters or should we go strictly DIY? And how does one finda decent outfitter that does good drop camps?

We're experienced whitetail hunters ready and looking forward to the mountains. Only 8-9 months to go till elk season.
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Old 01-20-2006, 08:18 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
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Default RE: Opinions wanted. Drop camp or DIY?

Don't know much about NW Colorado but you could check with Tenderfoot Outfitters out of Gunnison they have I nice place to hunt. When you find one where you want to hunt check in www.huntinfo.com under outfitter reviews and you might find some usefull info.
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Old 01-20-2006, 10:20 PM
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Default RE: Opinions wanted. Drop camp or DIY?

Good questions all, and hard to answer.
You might start with the Colorado Outfitters Association. (do a search)
A lot of times you can get a "read" on an outfitter by looking at their operation. The Association might have certain criteria which weeds out the duds. A reputable outfitter should also offer a list of "testimonials". Good research, but read between the lines.
Keep one thing in mind, an outfitter cannot guarantee you taking a bull, any bull! But they should be able to guarantee putting you on them. Even a drop camp. I mean, they aren't gonna leave you in the parking lot of the local mall! Never know though, a lot of mountain communities get wildlife visits. I live in "Cheyoming" and we've had Moose, Elk, and even a black bear got treed at one of the golf courses. Talk about a hazzard?!
But I digress . . . Find an in state outfitter that can do all you want. Price, drop camp, Big Elk (or Any!) and whatever else you need. Find out if they are the actual outfitter, or just an agent.
Elk aren't whitetails. They live at altitudes that can make you sick. They can travel 5 miles where you go just 500 yards. They can travel miles after being shot in the boiler room. They might make it look easy on TV, but get in shape, and bring a big enough gun (That you are very familiar with and confident with) that will bring down an animal the size of a horse.
AND! Understand that once you've harvested your animal, then the work really begins.
Hope you have a good time. There's nothing else like being in the Rockies in the Fall.
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Old 01-20-2006, 10:38 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
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Default RE: Opinions wanted. Drop camp or DIY?

Bugs, I live in CO and hunt in the Steamboat area. I have hunted elk in that area for the last 8 years. I will tell you that the area is big. If you do not have an idea where the elk are, you could spend your whole trip just trying to locate them. That being said if you have the cash and dont mind spending $1,500 on a drop camp plus your tags, I would suggest doing the drop camp. Stay away from Black Elk Outfitters. I used them once and We were miserable. Make sure anyone you use is taking you to private ground. A lot of the outfitters will just take you up high on public ground where you will run into other hunters. Your chance of success will increase tremendously if you are on private ground. Look into Three Forks Ranch. These guys are first class and may be out of your price range but worth it. A buddy of mine got a bull on his first visit to Slater Creek. I dont know how much they charge. Last piece of advice. The season that you are looking at going depending on the weather is when the elk will be migrating towardsMaybell. If there is heavy snow, the elk will be lower. Ifit is possible, I would try to go the first elkrifle season. You will get the benefit of hunting the elk in thetail end of the rut. They will be talking and much easier tolocate. Learn how to cow call.Hope this helps.Good luck.
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Old 01-21-2006, 11:10 AM
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Default RE: Opinions wanted. Drop camp or DIY?

Elkfreak,

Thanks for the info. Some the outfitter websites that hunt public land state that private land is over hunted. I sure don't know the answer. I'm just looking for a chance at an elk, I'm not hung up on getting a 6x6... any legal bull or even a cow would make me more than happy.

What's the chances 2 out of state applicants will get drawn for the first season?

Bugs
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Old 01-21-2006, 12:01 PM
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Default RE: Opinions wanted. Drop camp or DIY?

Elkfreak may correct me, but it is my understanding that elk tags in Colorado are available over the counter. No drawings.
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Old 01-21-2006, 06:31 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Denver, CO
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Default RE: Opinions wanted. Drop camp or DIY?

bugs,

I think whether you get an elk or not, you will have a great experience. Being in the rockies during elk season is great. Focus more on having fun and enjoying the trip than bagging an elk. If a cow will do, I think you have a good chance with a rifle. Get up high in the morning. Hunt the benches and draws. Listen for bugles and go to it if you hear one. The wind will blow your hunt more than anything else. It will swirl in the mountains, so check it frequently. Cow call often. You can get one.

game4lunch is right. In Colorado, there are over the counter tags. The draw units are draw for a reason. They are better. I would suggest going to the DOW websight and you can see all the units and how many preference points the people used for last year to get into the unit. There are many that you can get in with 0 points. For example, I hunt in unit 4. I drew last year and did not have any preference points. You do have a second hunt code option which you can choose as over the counter (a non draw unit). If you do not get your first hunt code, you will be sent an over the counter tag. For rifle, you have to choose either a bull or a cow tag. You should also look into the Ranching for Wildlife program. This is where private ranches allow regular joe's to hunt on their ground in exchange they get benes from the DOW. I think you would have a good chance of getting on one of those for a cow. If you do, then it is a done deal. You will bag a cow. The website has all of this info too. Man, sorry I am so long winded. I know how difficult it is to hunt these critters, so I am trying to give you a short cut. Hope it helps. Let me know if there anything else you need.
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Old 01-21-2006, 06:34 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
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Default RE: Opinions wanted. Drop camp or DIY?

bugs,

I forgot to mention that if you are hunting with a group you should apply for the tags as a group. Otherwise one may draw and the others may not. Bummer deal. Make sure you have the same first and second hunt codes.
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Old 01-21-2006, 07:25 PM
  #9  
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Default RE: Opinions wanted. Drop camp or DIY?

Elkfreak,

I know I'llto enjoy the trip no matter if I score or not.

The way I understand DOW elk rifle seasons and drawing is this; 1st and 4th are 100% draw only. 2nd and 3rd unlimited bull licenses can be purchased over the counter for certain GMU's. DOW is scheduled to publish the 2006 apps on 2/15. I've already emailed them to get a copy along with the reg. booklets. I'm meeting with my hunting partner tomorrow afternoon to discuss options, do a little planning. I'd like to have a deposit to an drop camp outfitter by 3/1, if that's what we decide on doing. Hopefully the outfitter will be flexible when it comes to the 3rd guy in our party. At this time he may or may not be able to make the hunt come Autumn due to his job situation. We may end up applying for draw unit just to get some preferance points.

Thanks again for the info.

Bugs
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Old 01-21-2006, 07:49 PM
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Default RE: Opinions wanted. Drop camp or DIY?

Elkfreak,

Riddle me this; why do some GMU's not have point restrictions? Is it because they have too many bulls? I have a copy of the DOW 2005 Big Game Hunting in Northwestern Colorado, printed off from the DOW website a few months ago.

Bugs
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