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DIY Colorado Elk Hunting??? #7583873 08/19/19 06:01 PM
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Gents,
My brother-in-law, father-in-law, and myself are wanting to go on a DIY Colorado Elk Hunt next year. Too close in time now. They seem to think it will be easier then I say so I am trying to see if anyone has done this? We have never been but are in shape, have the tools, and the time. Just not the knowledge, location, and or general idea on cost. Anything would help as far as rough cost estimate and best time of year suggestions.

** I don’t want to have a guide until I get the first experience in myself but am not 100% against it either.


JD

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Re: DIY Colorado Elk Hunting??? [Re: Paralax22] #7585028 08/20/19 11:53 PM
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Roughly 1200 a trip(includes tag)if you already have gear.

Obviously it cheapens back more cost share you can implement.

Colorado has really good website does well explaining seasons. Once you pick a unit, it’s just matter of just going and exploring


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Re: DIY Colorado Elk Hunting??? [Re: Paralax22] #7585549 08/21/19 04:24 PM
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Paralax22 you should check out some of the western hunting forums for some tips as well. Rokslide, Hunt Talk and sometimes Eastman's have good info from other hunters. TexasBowhunter has lots of folks who go the OTC Colorado route every year.
I would listen to what BOBO has to say as well.
Having the equipment is a big cost saver.

Elk hunting can be humbling but it is also very exhilarating. My advice would be don't pass up a good shot on any legal elk for the first hunt, unless you are on private land.

Re: DIY Colorado Elk Hunting??? [Re: Paralax22] #7585553 08/21/19 04:27 PM
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Their are some outfits that will pack in your gear for you and any animals out for fees. https://halfmoonpacking.com/hunting/hunting-services/pack-services/

Probably others out there as well.

Re: DIY Colorado Elk Hunting??? [Re: Paralax22] #7585598 08/21/19 05:13 PM
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You guys help a lot. Thank you. Continuing to look into this as I am more excited about the experience then the hunt itself.


JD

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Re: DIY Colorado Elk Hunting??? [Re: Paralax22] #7585751 08/21/19 07:53 PM
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Tag will be ~$700, then factor in food/gas/etc. Bobo @$1200 is about right. We went to Taylor Mesa last year and had a good time but there are a lot of areas to choose from. The easier it is to get to, the more people will be there. Good luck!


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Re: DIY Colorado Elk Hunting??? [Re: Paralax22] #7586154 08/22/19 02:40 AM
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Warning, once you hunt out west, you'll be ruined for setting in a stand over a feeder. I didn't draw this year but I plan to be back next year. Good luck. If you hunt high, study up on altitude sickness. It doesn't really matter what shape you are in and it doesn't have a major effect on how fast you acclimate. There are some good otc units out there. You also might get some info out of Newberg's elk videos.

Good luck!


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Re: DIY Colorado Elk Hunting??? [Re: Paralax22] #7586160 08/22/19 02:50 AM
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Re: DIY Colorado Elk Hunting??? [Re: Paralax22] #7587978 08/24/19 02:01 AM
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Manage your expectations--- it is amazing country and lots of fun to hunt... but an OTC rifle tag in CO means you will be in the Orange pumpkin patch. Also keep in mind that average success rate for elk in CO is in the LOW double digits- like 18% total across every season and tag. Look at WY and ID as well...

That being said-- Archery is a great opportunity to get at some unpressured animals. I would also consider trying to draw a rifle Cow tag and then rely on purchasing OTC later if you don't draw. Lots of cows around, they eat great and tags cost less-- meaning you get the meat and experience for 2/3 of the cost.

Don't forget to snag a bear tag... for an extra $100 its well worth having in your pocket given the exploding population.

Re: DIY Colorado Elk Hunting??? [Re: Paralax22] #7588193 08/24/19 02:36 PM
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Wyoming cow/calf tags are cheaper and random draw. Less pressure in Wyoming but all elk tags are a draw and PP are needed for even a general license. I would encourage you to start buying some Wyoming PP. Even our general areas are good hunting.
Most Wyoming areas also allow archery and rifle hunting on the same license, just an archery stamp(license) is needed.

Re: DIY Colorado Elk Hunting??? [Re: Paralax22] #7588359 08/24/19 07:35 PM
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Are you wanting to do Archery or rifle? That makes a huge difference in licensing, timing and locations. We went for many years for DIY archery hunts. There are some good spots and some honey holes we had. We had opportunities on almost all of our hunts to shoot something. The first week or two in September is generally when the bulls start talking and answering calls. We called in some smaller bulls, but none we wanted to shoot. I took a cow elk once we called in. We saw some good bulls in the second coordinate location, but didn't get a shot off. We hiked the road that's shaped like an arrow pointing North, and called in pockets of open areas and timber.

We went to this location below for several years. It's in CO, north of Chama, NM. I took my cow elk here with a bow. Copy and paste the coordinates into Google Maps, and it will pull up. We have a honey hole up on top of the mountain that was away from the 4 wheeler trails and had lots of elk. We hiked a ton. We had a main camp site down on the road, and would make a satellite camp on the mountain. It was very physical and we were in good shape then. We hiked up the mountain several times and took enough water just to make it up the mountain. We would find our stream near camp and pump/filter gallons of water from there. We'd camp for several days on the mountain. There was one occasion we were surrounded with elk in the middle of the night around our tent. It sounded like there were hundreds of them and it freaked me out since I'm laying on the ground in a tiny tent. That location is a good spot and has lots of elk.

Camp area: 37.036678, -106.550758 (Link HERE)

We called some good bulls here, but never got a shot: 37.063321, -106.535989

The large open area just West of the Rio Chama river would have elk in it in the evening and early morning hours when it was still dark. You could hear them calling and see them move into the mountains as it got light. We tried to flank them or get up in front of them, but the terrain was rough.



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Re: DIY Colorado Elk Hunting??? [Re: ChadTRG42] #7588425 08/24/19 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by ChadTRG42
Are you wanting to do Archery or rifle? That makes a huge difference in licensing, timing and locations. We went for many years for DIY archery hunts. There are some good spots and some honey holes we had. We had opportunities on almost all of our hunts to shoot something. The first week or two in September is generally when the bulls start talking and answering calls. We called in some smaller bulls, but none we wanted to shoot. I took a cow elk once we called in. We saw some good bulls in the second coordinate location, but didn't get a shot off. We hiked the road that's shaped like an arrow pointing North, and called in pockets of open areas and timber.

We went to this location below for several years. It's in CO, north of Chama, NM. I took my cow elk here with a bow. Copy and paste the coordinates into Google Maps, and it will pull up. We have a honey hole up on top of the mountain that was away from the 4 wheeler trails and had lots of elk. We hiked a ton. We had a main camp site down on the road, and would make a satellite camp on the mountain. It was very physical and we were in good shape then. We hiked up the mountain several times and took enough water just to make it up the mountain. We would find our stream near camp and pump/filter gallons of water from there. We'd camp for several days on the mountain. There was one occasion we were surrounded with elk in the middle of the night around our tent. It sounded like there were hundreds of them and it freaked me out since I'm laying on the ground in a tiny tent. That location is a good spot and has lots of elk.

Camp area: 37.036678, -106.550758 (Link HERE)

We called some good bulls here, but never got a shot: 37.063321, -106.535989

The large open area just West of the Rio Chama river would have elk in it in the evening and early morning hours when it was still dark. You could hear them calling and see them move into the mountains as it got light. We tried to flank them or get up in front of them, but the terrain was rough.


Archery!!! Thanks for the great information and help on this. Very appreciated.


JD

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Re: DIY Colorado Elk Hunting??? [Re: Paralax22] #7588489 08/24/19 10:16 PM
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Welcome! That's a good spot to go. One year we were there at the start of the muzzle loader season, and it got pretty crowded. IIRC, it over laps a little with CO bow season. Lots of 4 wheelers and people on the mountain. The bulls start talking pretty good about then also. One year we went at the start of the season and the bulls were not talking yet. One of the times we went back a week or more after the start, and they were fired up and bugling. If I were to do it over again, I'd hire a Cowboy to take you up to the area you want to go on the mountain by horseback. It took us about 6-7 hours of HARD hiking with our gear to get up. When I shot my cow, we were able to get to the cow in about 45 minutes on horseback. For the $250 we paid him to get up there, I'd go horseback for sure now. There are several people I found to call for horses up there. We would stay in the main camp site for a night or two and get acclimated to the altitude. We planned for 3-6 days of hunting on the mountain at our satellite camp. We lived in a tent for several days on the mountain, ate dehydrated foods, pumped our own water, and hunted almost all day long. It was awesome. We were up about 10K feet, so you lose your breath a lot when moving around.



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Re: DIY Colorado Elk Hunting??? [Re: jnd59] #7588499 08/24/19 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by jnd59
If you hunt high, study up on altitude sickness. It doesn't really matter what shape you are in and it doesn't have a major effect on how fast you acclimate.


^^^ 100%!! This happened to my hunting buddy one trip. He wasn't in the best of shape that year and had gotten over being sick a few weeks before we left. He got ill up on the mountain and we decided to hike back down. We did and he got worse once we got back to camp. I hunted close to our main camp area with no luck that year. I was worried about him for a while.



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Re: DIY Colorado Elk Hunting??? [Re: Paralax22] #7589105 08/25/19 06:47 PM
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Between high altitude locations in Korea, Vermont, and Afghanistan... I have learned the “never think you are prepared” for it. Getting acclimated is needed for sure.


JD

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Re: DIY Colorado Elk Hunting??? [Re: Paralax22] #7591554 08/28/19 02:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Paralax22
Between high altitude locations in Korea, Vermont, and Afghanistan... I have learned the “never think you are prepared” for it. Getting acclimated is needed for sure.


Sounds like you've got that one dialed in. Some of those Afghan mountains are seriously up there. I'd like to climb them sometime, minus the shooting gallery effect.

The highest density for otc is south of Craig. It's also highest pressure. I've hunted there a few times on private second gun. They get pushed off public mostly but there are still some in there. I've not hunted bow season yet but I've got 4 points and may spend them next year.

Good luck!


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Re: DIY Colorado Elk Hunting??? [Re: Paralax22] #7592785 08/29/19 01:31 PM
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I did a solo hunt last year. I spent 10 days. If you're willing to hike away from the trails, you increase your odds dramatically. If you can get there on your ATV, someone else will be there, also. Talk to the local biologist at the D.O.W. office. They're very knowledgeable and usually helpful. The guy I spoke with last year told me the type of terrain I would find the elk. I did find the elk after three days of scouting and glassing. It took me another two days to find a way to get down to where they were. I spent the remainder of the hunt trying to get a shot at a decent bull. Passed up a couple of smaller bulls. However, the area I was hunting was approximately 3 miles from the nearest ATV trail.
Last year finding water was critical, as it had been a very dry year. Also, they tended to be lower in elevation than normal years, due to the lack of water.
Good luck, keep us posted!

Re: DIY Colorado Elk Hunting??? [Re: Paralax22] #7593765 08/30/19 01:11 PM
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How do you go about picking units?


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Re: DIY Colorado Elk Hunting??? [Re: Paralax22] #7594241 08/30/19 09:42 PM
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As I was not drawn, I went to a unit that offered over-the-counter (OTC) tags. I then did a lot of online research to determine where the highest success ratios were, for archery hunters (among the units that had OTC tags).
In the entire unit #62, there were campers, tents and RV's at every open spot along the main road through and along every trail that was accessible. It was a little bit intimidating when I realized HOW MANY people were in there. But, It is a HUGE area. Like I said earlier, I talked to the DOW Biologist and got away from the trails (a long way). In the area where I found elk, they were miles away from the nearest trail. And they stayed in that general area the whole time. I was very careful to take my time and not "blow 'em out of the area". Found a good 6X6 (saw him 3 days in a row) but could never get close enough for a shot. Too many cows and small bulls between us. Also they were not responding to cow calls, at that time. I heard that the rut mainly occurred right after the bow season (late September - early October).
My 1st inclination was to get up there earlier in the archery season, but after talking to several "knowledgeable" people, I was advised "later is usually better", for archery season.
All I can suggest is gather as much information as you can, ahead of time and most importantly, "have fun". The experience itself is the best part. You don't HAVE to kill something to have a great hunt. I have been very blessed to have some great hunts with a few nice mounts on the wall. But the memories of beautiful country and good friends is what it's about smile.

Re: DIY Colorado Elk Hunting??? [Re: Paralax22] #7628607 10/09/19 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Paralax22
Gents,
My brother-in-law, father-in-law, and myself are wanting to go on a DIY Colorado Elk Hunt next year. Too close in time now. They seem to think it will be easier then I say so I am trying to see if anyone has done this? We have never been but are in shape, have the tools, and the time. Just not the knowledge, location, and or general idea on cost. Anything would help as far as rough cost estimate and best time of year suggestions.

** I don’t want to have a guide until I get the first experience in myself but am not 100% against it either.


It just depends on where you want to go in Colorado, and what season. There are some units that are OTC (over the counter) whereas, some take a year or two to draw, and then others that can take 10+ years to draw. Also, I think I get that you want to do archery? The problem in Colorado is not where to go, but where to start, because there is just so much public hunting lands. I live in Colorado, and am going rifle hunting on public lands for Elk in two weeks. I got an elk my first year trying, in 2015. If you are strategic, accompanied by some luck, your chances will go high very fast. Again, I know of people that are from Colorado, that have went for 5 years, and have not got anything. I would use a lot of mapping technology, and intuition to determine whether there are Elk in your target area, or not. Point is, to avoid hunting an area, putting in miles of walking, not knowing that the elk are have not came down to your target area.
Welcome to hunting in Colorado, you are going to have fun, and if you really want to harvest an elk, you will do so. Please do not hesitate to ask for further help.
-AfghanHunter

Last edited by AfghanHunter; 10/09/19 10:07 PM.
Re: DIY Colorado Elk Hunting??? [Re: Paralax22] #7635314 10/17/19 07:53 PM
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I went for the first time this year to Unit 11(far Northwest). We did the draw for 1st rifle. 17 hours total drive(we stayed with local friends in Denver to help). They sold 5000 tags for this unit, yes 5000! As others have said before, if you hunt high it's like a pumpkin patch watching Orange blobs get into position. Being this was our first time we pretty much stayed together the entire time(4 of us) which kinda hurt our chances of being quiet through the forest. We did more walking than sitting, covering 30 miles in 4 days. We saw ZERO bulls, 2 cows. I honestly didn't expect to shoot one, but I did expect to see ALOT. I got my arse whipped the first day, and had a little bit of the sickness. I stayed away from the alcohol first night and I was fine the next 3 days. The hunting sucked...BUT they trip was fn awesome! We will most definitely go back, this time with better expectations of what we'll see/possibly shoot. The hard thing is with so many hunters you can't really hunt the way you would think works. I would consider myself in okay shape, I don't really workout, but I don't sit in an office all day either. If I had horses, that would seem like the thing to do. You can get pretty far off the path with them, then walk in further to escape the mass. Here's a couple of the 100s of pics we took.

PS, I'm toying with the idea of only ONE of us getting a tag next year...it's $700 each, and honestly when you scurry up and down those mountains, there will be times when you say even if an elk comes out here, how the f am I going to haul it out. I think the odds of getting just 1 bull is slim, so why not save $700 and just take turns every year. I dunno, just my thinking after doing it for the first time. [Linked Image]
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Re: DIY Colorado Elk Hunting??? [Re: Paralax22] #7636910 10/20/19 12:53 AM
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Its absolutely beautiful country but its hard to hunt. The elk move so much that you have to cover a lot of ground and be ready to move camp if needed. It's tough giving that much for a tag and not seeing any elk, been there done that. I have had better luck in New Mexico but its hard to get drawn.

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