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School me on Colorado Elk Hunting #7614765 09/24/19 02:29 PM
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My brother in law and I really want to take an elk next year. After doing some research it seems like getting an over the counter tag in Colorado seems to be our best bet. His parents live in Golden so that is another huge plus.

I am planning to sort of do it car camping style where we make a base camp and keep most of the heavy supplies there with our car and then hike out to the top of a ridgeline to glass for elk. Then once one is spotted try to intercept them and take an ethical shot if the terrain and conditions are in our favor. Or if we aren't successful hike back to the camp and try again the next day.

We are both relatively young, 20's and 30's, and in good shape. We both have done a lot of backpacking and camping in the backcountry of the rockies so we aren't expecting any surprises there.

Right now I am trying to figure out which areas would be best and give me a good likelihood of being able to get an over the counter tag and have a good chance to taking an elk, and if my tactics are too idealistic for this type of hunting?


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Re: School me on Colorado Elk Hunting [Re: Gwood88] #7614776 09/24/19 02:36 PM
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Most over the counter areas in Colorado are not like a magazine or TV show hunt. More like an episode of cops where when shots are fired everyone scatters. Gonna be a lot of hunters and the elk are likely to be running like they just knocked over a 7/11. As with anything, the further away from people that you can get, the better. Also remember every step in is a heavy step out if you are successful.

Best of luck to you. An unsuccessful elk hunt when you are young is still a successful adventure.


You did what?
Re: School me on Colorado Elk Hunting [Re: Gwood88] #7614777 09/24/19 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Gwood88
My brother in law and I really want to take an elk next year. After doing some research it seems like getting an over the counter tag in Colorado seems to be our best bet. His parents live in Golden so that is another huge plus.

I am planning to sort of do it car camping style where we make a base camp and keep most of the heavy supplies there with our car and then hike out to the top of a ridgeline to glass for elk. Then once one is spotted try to intercept them and take an ethical shot if the terrain and conditions are in our favor. Or if we aren't successful hike back to the camp and try again the next day.

We are both relatively young, 20's and 30's, and in good shape. We both have done a lot of backpacking and camping in the backcountry of the rockies so we aren't expecting any surprises there.

Right now I am trying to figure out which areas would be best and give me a good likelihood of being able to get an over the counter tag and have a good chance to taking an elk, and if my tactics are too idealistic for this type of hunting?


Huge plethora of 2nd and 3rd OTC units and ton of easy to draw 1st and even 4th season

You are on right track. My only advice is spend $150 and apply in NM also and use CO as your back up plan.


Donate to TX Youth hunting program.... better to donate then to waste it in taxes

https://secure.qgiv.com/for/gtgoh/mobile
Re: School me on Colorado Elk Hunting [Re: BOBO the Clown] #7614785 09/24/19 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
Originally Posted by Gwood88
My brother in law and I really want to take an elk next year. After doing some research it seems like getting an over the counter tag in Colorado seems to be our best bet. His parents live in Golden so that is another huge plus.

I am planning to sort of do it car camping style where we make a base camp and keep most of the heavy supplies there with our car and then hike out to the top of a ridgeline to glass for elk. Then once one is spotted try to intercept them and take an ethical shot if the terrain and conditions are in our favor. Or if we aren't successful hike back to the camp and try again the next day.

We are both relatively young, 20's and 30's, and in good shape. We both have done a lot of backpacking and camping in the backcountry of the rockies so we aren't expecting any surprises there.

Right now I am trying to figure out which areas would be best and give me a good likelihood of being able to get an over the counter tag and have a good chance to taking an elk, and if my tactics are too idealistic for this type of hunting?


Huge plethora of 2nd and 3rd OTC units and ton of easy to draw 1st and even 4th season

You are on right track. My only advice is spend $150 and apply in NM also and use CO as your back up plan.


Actually I have a second piece of advice,

Disclaimer I love rifle hunting!!! But you simply won’t get to experience the true grabbing and imprisonment of you soul via the bugle. Archery or ML season is way to go


Donate to TX Youth hunting program.... better to donate then to waste it in taxes

https://secure.qgiv.com/for/gtgoh/mobile
Re: School me on Colorado Elk Hunting [Re: Gwood88] #7614798 09/24/19 03:06 PM
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BOBO, what do you know about ML in NM or Colorado?


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Re: School me on Colorado Elk Hunting [Re: BOBO the Clown] #7614810 09/24/19 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Texasteach
Most over the counter areas in Colorado are not like a magazine or TV show hunt. More like an episode of cops where when shots are fired everyone scatters. Gonna be a lot of hunters and the elk are likely to be running like they just knocked over a 7/11. As with anything, the further away from people that you can get, the better. Also remember every step in is a heavy step out if you are successful.

Best of luck to you. An unsuccessful elk hunt when you are young is still a successful adventure.


Thanks! That's good to know.

Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown


Huge plethora of 2nd and 3rd OTC units and ton of easy to draw 1st and even 4th season

You are on right track. My only advice is spend $150 and apply in NM also and use CO as your back up plan.


Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
[quote=BOBO the Clown]

Actually I have a second peace of advice,

Disclaimer I love rifle hunting!!! But you simply won’t get to experience the true grabbing and imprisonment of you soul via the bugle. Archery or ML season is way to go



I will definitely put those areas on my list and apply in NM as well. I do have a bow but I want to get more comfortable with it and maybe take a couple of deer before I pack it. I consider archery to be one of the pinnacles of true hunting so I am right there with you. I just need more practice. I haven't dabbled at all with muzzleloaders though.


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Re: School me on Colorado Elk Hunting [Re: QuitShootinYoungBucks] #7614817 09/24/19 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by QuitShootinYoungBucks
BOBO, what do you know about ML in NM or Colorado?


A lot, in CO it’s a week in sept, concurrent with archery(true primitive ML, no optics or sabots)

In NM, (1-3) ML seasons(depending on unit). Pretty much can use a rifle as there is not to many restrictions on ML. Out side of loading from muzzle. Good option for bugling elk as Most of NM is still bugling in oct, and CO they will be full swing.


Donate to TX Youth hunting program.... better to donate then to waste it in taxes

https://secure.qgiv.com/for/gtgoh/mobile
Re: School me on Colorado Elk Hunting [Re: Gwood88] #7614855 09/24/19 03:55 PM
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The easier it is to get a tag, the more people that will be there. The easier an area is to get to, the more people that will be there. The easier it is to get around in an area, the more people that will be there. The vast majority of hunters are lazy, out to have a great time and rarely get anything. Colorado and parts of Idaho are overrun with ATV's that race around the trails from daylight to dark.

If you where an elk and you did not want to die, where would you be?

Colorado and Idaho have some great hunting, but you have to go where there are very few people, and the cheapest way to do that is to get way back into the Wilderness Areas. I've found that ten miles is usually plenty as more hunters will rarely hike more then a few miles into the Wilderness. The other way to find elk is to draw a tag in an area with limited tags. The fewer the tags, the fewer the hunters. But that also means not hunting in that state until you get tag.

If you really want an elk, and you realize that it can easily take several years or even a decade to get one, you might figure out what it will cost every year to go camping and not come home with an animal and then think about what it costs to hire an outfitter, or pay to hunt on private land with limited other hunters.

I've hunted most of the Western States and Colorado is by far the craziest one out there. I shot a fair 5 point in the Mt Zerkel Wilderness Area quite awhile ago and when people saw it, they all freaked out on how big it was. Seems that nobody had seen an elk that big in a lot of years. I only shot it because it almost walked over me and after watching it for an hour walking towards me, figured it was too easy to pass up, but it wasn't what I was wanting for the wall.

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Re: School me on Colorado Elk Hunting [Re: EddieWalker] #7615285 09/24/19 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by EddieWalker
The easier it is to get a tag, the more people that will be there. The easier an area is to get to, the more people that will be there. The easier it is to get around in an area, the more people that will be there. The vast majority of hunters are lazy, out to have a great time and rarely get anything. Colorado and parts of Idaho are overrun with ATV's that race around the trails from daylight to dark.

If you where an elk and you did not want to die, where would you be?

Colorado and Idaho have some great hunting, but you have to go where there are very few people, and the cheapest way to do that is to get way back into the Wilderness Areas. I've found that ten miles is usually plenty as more hunters will rarely hike more then a few miles into the Wilderness. The other way to find elk is to draw a tag in an area with limited tags. The fewer the tags, the fewer the hunters. But that also means not hunting in that state until you get tag.

If you really want an elk, and you realize that it can easily take several years or even a decade to get one, you might figure out what it will cost every year to go camping and not come home with an animal and then think about what it costs to hire an outfitter, or pay to hunt on private land with limited other hunters.

I've hunted most of the Western States and Colorado is by far the craziest one out there. I shot a fair 5 point in the Mt Zerkel Wilderness Area quite awhile ago and when people saw it, they all freaked out on how big it was. Seems that nobody had seen an elk that big in a lot of years. I only shot it because it almost walked over me and after watching it for an hour walking towards me, figured it was too easy to pass up, but it wasn't what I was wanting for the wall.



Thanks for the info. That's a beautiful elk.

As someone with family land North of 59 in Goliad county, I am very use to taking many trips out year after year and not taking any bucks. I go for the experience, taking game is just a bonus. I've already told my brother in law I want him to fill his tag first.


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Re: School me on Colorado Elk Hunting [Re: Gwood88] #7615346 09/24/19 11:55 PM
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The mentality you need to have is that you are going to go on a camping trip that you get to bring your rifle on.

This is my take on elk hunting on public land:

Elk are gonna be where you find them. I’ve hiked way back into wilderness areas and seen game. I’ve also seen game in easy to access areas and a lot of elk get killed by guys just off the road. I killed a nice mature bull in a meadow that looked like something out of a Hemingway novel but was only 1/3rd of a mile or so off the road.

I’ve never personally seen a lot of elk during the 2nd rifle season. Most guys only get 1 or 2 sightings of elk, if that.

Also, most of the guys out there running around the forest don’t have much of a clue how to hunt either, so the bushwhacking theory of getting real far back isn’t necessary all the time as most guys I’ve seen don’t get but a 100 or so yards off the road.

Go and learn the country and enjoy your time.


Temps during 2nd rifle can either be mild or freezing. One year we hunted in a blizzard the next it was short sleeve shirt weather after the sun came up. One year it rained the whole time, almost like in Forrest Gump during his Vietnam stint.

Re: School me on Colorado Elk Hunting [Re: BOBO the Clown] #7615683 09/25/19 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
Originally Posted by Gwood88
My brother in law and I really want to take an elk next year. After doing some research it seems like getting an over the counter tag in Colorado seems to be our best bet. His parents live in Golden so that is another huge plus.

I am planning to sort of do it car camping style where we make a base camp and keep most of the heavy supplies there with our car and then hike out to the top of a ridgeline to glass for elk. Then once one is spotted try to intercept them and take an ethical shot if the terrain and conditions are in our favor. Or if we aren't successful hike back to the camp and try again the next day.

We are both relatively young, 20's and 30's, and in good shape. We both have done a lot of backpacking and camping in the backcountry of the rockies so we aren't expecting any surprises there.

Right now I am trying to figure out which areas would be best and give me a good likelihood of being able to get an over the counter tag and have a good chance to taking an elk, and if my tactics are too idealistic for this type of hunting?


Huge plethora of 2nd and 3rd OTC units and ton of easy to draw 1st and even 4th season

You are on right track. My only advice is spend $150 and apply in NM also and use CO as your back up plan.


Actually I have a second piece of advice,

Disclaimer I love rifle hunting!!! But you simply won’t get to experience the true grabbing and imprisonment of you soul via the bugle. Archery or ML season is way to go



Don't do it. Elk are the spawn of Satan

Re: School me on Colorado Elk Hunting [Re: ducknbass] #7615690 09/25/19 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by ducknbass
Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
Originally Posted by Gwood88
My brother in law and I really want to take an elk next year. After doing some research it seems like getting an over the counter tag in Colorado seems to be our best bet. His parents live in Golden so that is another huge plus.

I am planning to sort of do it car camping style where we make a base camp and keep most of the heavy supplies there with our car and then hike out to the top of a ridgeline to glass for elk. Then once one is spotted try to intercept them and take an ethical shot if the terrain and conditions are in our favor. Or if we aren't successful hike back to the camp and try again the next day.

We are both relatively young, 20's and 30's, and in good shape. We both have done a lot of backpacking and camping in the backcountry of the rockies so we aren't expecting any surprises there.

Right now I am trying to figure out which areas would be best and give me a good likelihood of being able to get an over the counter tag and have a good chance to taking an elk, and if my tactics are too idealistic for this type of hunting?


Huge plethora of 2nd and 3rd OTC units and ton of easy to draw 1st and even 4th season

You are on right track. My only advice is spend $150 and apply in NM also and use CO as your back up plan.


Actually I have a second piece of advice,

Disclaimer I love rifle hunting!!! But you simply won’t get to experience the true grabbing and imprisonment of you soul via the bugle. Archery or ML season is way to go



Don't do it. Elk are the spawn of Satan


Could of been worse....... you could of been me with no tag, but calling in 6 bulls to bow range just messing around. With the biggest a 300” 5x5 just standing there perfectly broadside, nothing like glassing up over 20 bulls in 7 days


Donate to TX Youth hunting program.... better to donate then to waste it in taxes

https://secure.qgiv.com/for/gtgoh/mobile
Re: School me on Colorado Elk Hunting [Re: Gwood88] #7615696 09/25/19 12:35 PM
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My advice is buy a Wyoming PP now and again next year and come do a general area hunt up here. You might draw with 1 or no PP but 2 gets you better odds. Colorado has more elk and more people.
You can do Colorado OTC any year.
You could also archery hunt Wyoming in Sept then come back for rifle season if no success in archery.

Re: School me on Colorado Elk Hunting [Re: Gwood88] #7615861 09/25/19 03:10 PM
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These are both Colorado 2nd season 6x6 bulls that I've harvested. Top one is from last year and the bottom one is from 2016. Both are from GMU 67 and both were on my own. I'm hunting 3rd season there this year.

A lot of people don't want to wake up early or venture too far into rough terrain. I only get to elk hunt once a year for 5 days, so I make every hunt count.
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Re: School me on Colorado Elk Hunting [Re: BOBO the Clown] #7615903 09/25/19 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
Originally Posted by QuitShootinYoungBucks
BOBO, what do you know about ML in NM or Colorado?


A lot, in CO it’s a week in sept, concurrent with archery(true primitive ML, no optics or sabots)

In NM, (1-3) ML seasons(depending on unit). Pretty much can use a rifle as there is not to many restrictions on ML. Out side of loading from muzzle. Good option for bugling elk as Most of NM is still bugling in oct, and CO they will be full swing.


Ah, you conveniently forgot about vehicles and the importance of having good insurance peep grin Love that guy, wish he'd come around more.


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Re: School me on Colorado Elk Hunting [Re: Gringo Bling] #7616412 09/25/19 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Gringo Bling
These are both Colorado 2nd season 6x6 bulls that I've harvested. Top one is from last year and the bottom one is from 2016. Both are from GMU 67 and both were on my own. I'm hunting 3rd season there this year.

A lot of people don't want to wake up early or venture too far into rough terrain. I only get to elk hunt once a year for 5 days, so I make every hunt count.
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Those are public land elk?

Re: School me on Colorado Elk Hunting [Re: Gringo Bling] #7616502 09/26/19 12:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Gringo Bling
These are both Colorado 2nd season 6x6 bulls that I've harvested. Top one is from last year and the bottom one is from 2016. Both are from GMU 67 and both were on my own. I'm hunting 3rd season there this year.

A lot of people don't want to wake up early or venture too far into rough terrain. I only get to elk hunt once a year for 5 days, so I make every hunt count.



Wow. Those are some massive elk. I am planning on using my fitness and youth to my advantage and getting pretty deep into the backcountry.

Thank you everyone for the info. I really learned a lot.


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Re: School me on Colorado Elk Hunting [Re: Gwood88] #7616751 09/26/19 11:56 AM
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The top one was private land, the bottom one was public. As mentioned, both were in limited draw GMU 67.

Re: School me on Colorado Elk Hunting [Re: Gwood88] #7616877 09/26/19 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Gwood88
Originally Posted by Gringo Bling
These are both Colorado 2nd season 6x6 bulls that I've harvested. Top one is from last year and the bottom one is from 2016. Both are from GMU 67 and both were on my own. I'm hunting 3rd season there this year.

A lot of people don't want to wake up early or venture too far into rough terrain. I only get to elk hunt once a year for 5 days, so I make every hunt count.



Wow. Those are some massive elk. I am planning on using my fitness and youth to my advantage and getting pretty deep into the backcountry.

Thank you everyone for the info. I really learned a lot.


One thing to consider is prearranging somebody to pack it out for you if you're going that deep. All the meat has to come out, and the head/antlers come out last. Horses would be a huge help.


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