1st rifle Colorado unit 12 and surrounding units

Tc1993

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Sep 20, 2019
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9
I’m going on my second elk hunt this season, I got drawn for first rifle in Colorado. I’m going to be making a trip out around the 20th of September with a bear tag in my pocket, but my main focus will be scouting places for my elk hunt. My question is, with my elk hunt being approximately 3 weeks after my scouting trip, if I find elk in hard to reach areas, is there a good chance that they’ll still be in the vicinity come first rifle? Or will they have likely moved on with different interests in mind?


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Vids

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Jul 3, 2012
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537
Location
Littleton, CO
Lots of outfitters and hunters on horseback in unit 12, so there really aren't any spots that are "hard to reach" for those guys. The elk will be doing their thing until daybreak on opening morning, and then all hell will break loose. I'd focus on finding their escape routes and post up there.

Tough to say if they'd be in the same spot from September to October. I've seen it go both ways. Sometimes they're still there, other times I've come back in October to find that their feed froze up and the sign is all two weeks old.
 

Elktaco

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Feb 22, 2016
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156
I would say maybe but there is a good chance maybe not. Those elk get pushed around pretty good up there.
 

Str8shooter

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Jan 16, 2014
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131
So while there are good numbers of elk, unit 12 during rifle is a nightmare..., in 20 years of hunting elk, Ive never had one let alone multiple close calls with bullets flying at me like I did in unit 12... I paid to access some public through a private road and it was a legit warzone, with elk ping-ponging between groups of shooters and shooters ripping lead at other shooters. I setup on an a 60 by 100 yd opening before first light 1.4 miles from the end of the private road, off trail, and on opening morning watched 5 cows come out, and after lining up a shot I pulled the trigger, and immediately had 2 different hunters unloading at the same elk 180 degrees from me, and experienced several bullets zipping right over my head. The same lead cow I hit, had a couple bullets in it and since one of those guys let the last bullet fly and was the "killing shot" I didnt argue about it... They were as surprised as I was to hear shots from the other side of the meadow. Fast forward to evening, and Im walking to camp after shooting light, and I end up jumping a couple cows, and again...blouch blouch! again with lead zipping a meter to two over my head....IF you hunt 12, wear orange head to toe and bring a gunshot wound kit. If you setup on a opening larger than 80yds wide, assume there are hunters 180 degrees from you and consider hanging some orange flags around your area... If CPW cut hunter numbers by 3 fold in this unit, it would still be too many hunters. Stay safe out there.
 
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Tc1993

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Joined
Sep 20, 2019
Messages
9
So while there are good numbers of elk, unit 12 during rifle is a nightmare..., in 20 years of hunting elk, Ive never had one let alone multiple close calls with bullets flying at me like I did in unit 12... I paid to access some public through a private road and it was a legit warzone, with elk ping-ponging between groups of shooters and shooters ripping lead at other shooters. I setup on an a 60 by 100 yd opening before first light 1.4 miles from the end of the private road, off trail, and on opening morning watched 5 cows come out, and after lining up a shot I pulled the trigger, and immediately had 2 different hunters unloading at the same elk 180 degrees from me, and experienced several bullets zipping right over my head. The same lead cow I hit, had a couple bullets in it and since one of those guys let the last bullet fly and was the "killing shot" I didnt argue about it... They were as surprised as I was to hear shots from the other side of the meadow. Fast forward to evening, and Im walking to camp after shooting light, and I end up jumping a couple cows, and again...blouch blouch! again with lead zipping a meter to two over my head....IF you hunt 12, wear orange head to toe and bring a gunshot wound kit. If you setup on a opening larger than 80yds wide, assume there are hunters 180 degrees from you and consider hanging some orange flags around your area... If CPW cut hunter numbers by 3 fold in this unit, it would still be too many hunters. Stay safe out there.

Lots of outfitters and hunters on horseback in unit 12, so there really aren't any spots that are "hard to reach" for those guys. The elk will be doing their thing until daybreak on opening morning, and then all hell will break loose. I'd focus on finding their escape routes and post up there.

Tough to say if they'd be in the same spot from September to October. I've seen it go both ways. Sometimes they're still there, other times I've come back in October to find that their feed froze up and the sign is all two weeks old.

Is there another unit in the surrounding area that maybe has less elk but fewer hunters as well?


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Vids

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Jul 3, 2012
Messages
537
Location
Littleton, CO
Is there another unit in the surrounding area that maybe has less elk but fewer hunters as well?

The White River Herd covers a lot of the units in that area (12, 13, 23, 24, 25, 26, 231, and more) and is the largest elk herd in the U.S. so that whole area is very popular. The WR Herd is managed for higher numbers and higher harvest opportunity. So, the immediate surrounding area is all going to be pretty much the same story as unit 12.

If you want less elk and less hunters you can find that elsewhere, I'd recommend researching it on the Colorado DPW site. They have all the data you'd need for herd size, hunter numbers, success rates, all that. You might want to call a DPW Hunt Planner to get started, guiding you to a different unit with what you want is a complicated question to answer on a forum like this.
 
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