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Request for info for archery elk in Colorado

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Request for info for archery elk in Colorado

Old 02-19-2007, 08:41 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 4
Default Request for info for archery elk in Colorado

I am planning a DIY archery elk hunt with my son (maybe 2 sons)in Colorado this fall. This would be my son(s) first elk hunt. I've been on a couple similar hunts in the past with friends so know a little what to expect.

My main criterias are:
1. Has to be in a wilderness so we are not bothered by 4-wheelers.
2. I'd like to be able to drive (4WD pickup) to a wilderness boundry, camp there and hunt by foot into the wilderness each day. Were not afraid to walk in 2-4 miles if necessary to hunt,as long as it isn'ttoostrenuous a climb either on the way in - or out. (We are from Wisconsin and our hills and bluffs are considered speed-bumps in Colorado).
3. Would prefer to camp below 10,500 ft if possible. That is about where we were at 2 other trips and it was still comfortable in Sept (and I could still breath).
4. Has to be an area that does not require a draw for a tag, and does not have an over-lapping muzzle-loader season. I've gota sense of what areas these might be by looking at 2006 regulations.
5. The area shouldnot have a lot of hikers,other hunters or other human traffic during the archery season, and should not be over-run by an outfitter and their clients.
6. Since it would be my son(s) first elk hunt, I'd like to count on seeing and hearing a fair number of elk, including some legal bulls.
7. I would consider about 7-8 days of hunting, during either the first/second week, or during the second/third week in Sept. Any preferences, comments, suggestions???
8. It would be a plus if there was trout fishing available in the area also.

I am currently considering the following wilderness areas, or at least the portions of them that meet criteria #4 above.
Collegiate Peaks
Eagles Nest
Fossil Ridge
Holy Cross
La Garita
Lizard Head
Maroon Bells-Snowmass
Mount Massive
San De Cristo
West Elk
Flat Tops (far eastern units 25, 26, 34, 231 met criteria #4 in 2006)

OK - so there is the challenge. I would deeply appreciate any help, info, suggestions, comments, etc.that will help me plan this trip.

Thank you and God Bless
[email protected]
schul44mag is offline  
Old 02-19-2007, 09:06 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Texas Gulf Coast
Posts: 27
Default RE: Request for info for archery elk in Colorado

There is good camping, access to wilderness, and good numbers of elk within hiking distance north of Vallecito Res. hunting in GMU 751. It is rugged terrain so you shouldnt see alot of folks.
Also should be some good fishin in the river upstream or in the res.

But i'll bet it will be a trip your son will never forget no matter where you go..........
feederwatcher is offline  
Old 02-20-2007, 11:18 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Colorado
Posts: 78
Default RE: Request for info for archery elk in Colorado

I'm not certain that such a place exist. You're putting alot of requests on an over the counter unit in Colorado. I suggest that this year you put in for a preference point for you and your sons in the draw in early April and then come on out and enjoy the mob that is Colorado over the counter elk country. Next year or the year after maybeyou can get in a place that's less crowded.
Don't restrict yourself to wilderness areas. Colorado has strict laws about the use of ATVs. By and large you can't legally take an ATV anywhere that I couldn't take my truck. That opens up your search to include large roadless areas in the national forest. I think wilderness areas have a way of concentrating outfitters anyway. Roads that go to the edge of the wilderness areas serve as points of departure for outfitters and do it yourselfers alike.
Hearing and seeing elk can be hit or miss. My family regularly hunts the same mountain side every archery season. Some years they do as well as 80% on elk harvest. Last year they only got one shot off and failed to connect.
Hunting around day hikers is something I try to avoid but some of the best elk spots that I've seen are driven by regularly and the granola munching tree hugging bunch make regular use of them.
I'd say build somepoints this year but goaheadand bring thesons out and enjoySeptember in the mountains.
willhunt4food is offline  
Old 02-20-2007, 04:05 PM
Fork Horn
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 473
Default RE: Request for info for archery elk in Colorado

I hunted CO for a good many years and if you think you are going to hunt
public land whether wilderness or draw area you are in for a surprise, The wilderness area's are hunted very hard. While I don't hunt the archery season I do go ML season. The whole state has a overlapping ML/archery season Ml is only 9 days tho. Compared to rifle season there are not as many hunters and you should have a great time. Some of these area's are draw but do not require points. I got my new regs. today
Redclub is offline  
Old 02-20-2007, 07:35 PM
Typical Buck
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: PUEBLO, CO, USA
Posts: 636
Default RE: Request for info for archery elk in Colorado

Good luck.
SILVERTIP-CO is offline  
Old 02-20-2007, 08:43 PM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Kerrville, Tx. USA
Posts: 2,722
Default RE: Request for info for archery elk in Colorado

The best quote I think I ever heard about elk hunting is: "Elk are where you find them".

Sounds like a "duh" comment, but it is really not. There are certain needs that an elk must have (food, water,and cover) but you will hike miles and miles of areas with all of that that hold no elk TODAY. It may have yesterday and it may tomorrow, but not today. When you are lucky enough to finally find an area with steaming poop piles and a real musky odor, slow down, backoff and try to hunt without running them out of the country.Don't be in a hurry, if the wind isn't right, back off and try again later or from another angle. If they smell you, they are liable to leave the country.

There are definately some places in Colorado where hikers and hunters rarely go, but generally it takes many, many years of hiking/hunting to find them, and then they only stay that way if you guard that secret place (eaiser said than done). They are also places that most hunters look up to or down in and say, boy, I don't want to ever kill an elk in there!If you only go places that aren't too steep coming or going, you will probably see lots of other hunters.

The muzzleloading season always overlaps the archery season, just don't go during that season! This year it is September 8-16. You have two weeks before and 1 week after. If you want to hear bugling and not be in the woods during muzzy season, the leaves really only the last week of the season.

Do your homework, and you will probably see elk, but prepare your boys for lots of elkless days, I would stress the experience. We did a drop camp 5 miles in a couple of years ago in an area that holds lots of elk. 3 of 4 of us saw decent numbers of elk, but one of us didn't see an elk until the ride out going home.

I would also take the first legal elk you get in range, male or female. I can't tell you how many times I passed on a cow only to come home empty handed.

Of the ones you mentioned, I would look at Weminuche, West Elk, and Maroon Bells. And 3-4 miles in is probably a good start. Many don't go beyond 1-2 miles, Outfitters go farther. Just remember that you need to be in hunting country at first light and stay till last light, so you will have to travel in the dark both ways. That also makes for long days and short nights. Remember that when you get in after hiking in 4 miles, hiking around another 4-5 during the day, then hiking out, you still have to cook dinner. For what you want, you might consider either doing a drop camp, or just plan on backpacking in and setting up a camp.

And by all means, start putting in for preference points. The only way you can truely get away from the crowds is to put in for a draw area.

Good luck.
txhunter58 is offline  
Old 02-21-2007, 06:27 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 4
Default RE: Request for info for archery elk in Colorado

So far, all great comments/suggestions - please, keep them coming!!!
I just heard the 2007 regs are out - I'll look them up today to see how much they differ from 2006, which is what I was going by so far. Per the 2006 regs, there was limited areas where there was an over-lapping ML season. If it is state-wide now, that may make me re-think my options (not that I have anything against the ML people, just prefer to bow hunt in camo).

schul44mag is offline  
Old 02-21-2007, 07:23 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Colorado
Posts: 78
Default RE: Request for info for archery elk in Colorado

TXHunter nailed it. Elk will be where you find them. They'll move based on food, water, cover and most importantly pressure. I know 2 different places in Colorado where I watch elk summer and calve in remote alpine basins. The older bulls are even further back in harder to reach areas. When September comes the cows move down the drainage into timber pockets very close to major roads, people and communities and the bulls come to them. I still see a few animals lingering in the high country but most have moved down. People drive by them all day long driving to the major trailheads. You could stay in a hotel and hunt these animals as effectively as you could pack in and camp.
Also keep in mind that there are limited entry units and statewide units for most elk hunts in Colorado. Muzz hunting for elk is by draw only. If the unit has an elk season and there's no specific hunt code for that unit's muzzleloader season hunt then it is probably covered by the general statewide muzz tag. That being said there are some units that are limited for some seasons but not all seasons. For example some units in the white river national forest have a limited entry archery and muzz season but are general rifle units. Read the regulations and call the DoW if you have any specific questions.
For an over the counter hunt I'd spend more time concentrating on enjoying being out with the sons than having a solitary elk hunting experience.
willhunt4food is offline  
Old 02-21-2007, 03:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Fort Collins CO
Posts: 69
Default RE: Request for info for archery elk in Colorado

excellent choice with CO, we got tons of wapiti. make sure your boys are in good physical shape (able to 5-10 miles with about 100 lbs and not get too winded. i would also get in the mindset of walking in at LEAST 4 miles. many out of staters head in 2 miles or less thinking they are in deep enough. don't get me wrong some are very successful, buddy of mine shot a nice 5x5 1/4 mile from the truck on the way to our secret spot(8.5 miles in) also remind your boys that there is a 15% success rate for elk in colorado, resident and non resident
maks_daddy is offline  
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