2021 CO Elk hunt

trdhtr

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2020
Messages
12
2021 is my second year to ek hunt in Colorado. I was awarded a archery tag for a unit that was previously an OTC unit. I chose the unit knowing it only took one point to apply and I hunted a neighboring unit in 2020. The unit is known for being very rugged and another reason I chose it. After hiking in 3.5/miles to 11,500 ft I found cattle. Not knowing the affect if any, grazing cattle would have on elk I decided to stay and try the area out. This was the first week of the season so expectations of hearing elk was low. For 8 days I traveled 5-10 miles, seeing fresh elk sign every day. Fresh rubs, tracks, scat, active wallows and beds were the norm daily. I did not hear a bugle all week! I was mindful of thermals constantly, staying on the opposite side of the ridges and only going over the ridge until later in the morning. I tried cold calling, several slow play sequences with no success. The only hunting pressure I ran into were mule deer hunters that were no where near the timber I was hunting.

I am new to elk hunting and am curious on hearing other opinions of my experience. Thanks for taking the time to read my post.
 

Gerbdog

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
378
Location
CO Springs
Vague enough description that its hard to say what was going on exactly. How fresh was fresh? My lead into question after that is always... sans around the wallows... could you smell elk? Or was that a scent that you had mixed in with the cattle? How fresh were the wallows? I take note of all tracks around a wallow when i come up on them (well, within reason haha) and then when i come back in a day or two i check again to see if there are any new prints in the mud. This year? The wallows i frequent were hit in the first week of the season and then not again (will check a few again this next week). The water basically needs to be muddy and fresh wet mud tossed all over the grass for it to be fresh enough for me to sit. However, if they WERE that fresh, dont be afraid to sit a wallow to see elk. Sounds like there were elk there at some point, but you either werent there when they were or they were moving at night. Its not highly advised unless you have a good idea of what your doing but did you check in the bedding areas? If you just wanna see elk... good place to bump one... theyre tough tough tough unless your good at calling to hunt in their bed though.
 
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trdhtr

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2020
Messages
12
Vague enough description that its hard to say what was going on exactly. How fresh was fresh? My lead into question after that is always... sans around the wallows... could you smell elk? Or was that a scent that you had mixed in with the cattle? How fresh were the wallows? I take note of all tracks around a wallow when i come up on them (well, within reason haha) and then when i come back in a day or two i check again to see if there are any new prints in the mud. This year? The wallows i frequent were hit in the first week of the season and then not again (will check a few again this next week). The water basically needs to be muddy and fresh wet mud tossed all over the grass for it to be fresh enough for me to sit. However, if they WERE that fresh, dont be afraid to sit a wallow to see elk. Sounds like there were elk there at some point, but you either werent there when they were or they were moving at night. Its not highly advised unless you have a good idea of what your doing but did you check in the bedding areas? If you just wanna see elk... good place to bump one... theyre tough tough tough unless your good at calling to hunt in their bed though.
Thanks for the reply. The wallows that I encountered were hit recently with muddy water and flattened wet grass around. The one thing I didn't encounter as I did last year was the smell of elk. Unfortunately, I am an eastern hunter so I only get a 6-10 days in elk country. I had 26 hours to reflect on the way back and came to the conclusion that I just missed them coming through the area. To say I was disappointed is an understatement, but 8 days only in the wilderness is something I obsess about all season! It's motivation for next year. I am curious if my experience with cattle the last two years is common? I didn't think I would run into cattle at that elevation. In your experience, does the presence of cattle affect elk?

Thanks again for taking the time to respond.
 

Gerbdog

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
378
Location
CO Springs
Thanks for the reply. The wallows that I encountered were hit recently with muddy water and flattened wet grass around. The one thing I didn't encounter as I did last year was the smell of elk. Unfortunately, I am an eastern hunter so I only get a 6-10 days in elk country. I had 26 hours to reflect on the way back and came to the conclusion that I just missed them coming through the area. To say I was disappointed is an understatement, but 8 days only in the wilderness is something I obsess about all season! It's motivation for next year. I am curious if my experience with cattle the last two years is common? I didn't think I would run into cattle at that elevation. In your experience, does the presence of cattle affect elk?

Thanks again for taking the time to respond.
Some swear it does, other swear it doesnt. I can say in NM i hunted elk around cattle all the time, now that im living in CO i dont hunt near cattle... not that i'd be afraid to, if there is fresh sign there is fresh sign... if there isnt ... gotta move anyway. Cattle do graze on the same stuff elk do so, in theory it effects the elk in some measure, and im sure like most things its different from one area to the next.

If you find a wallow that has fresh elk tracks (not bear, cow, or otherwise) and is muddy, wreaks of elk, and has fresh mud slung around it... i usually will give up a day to sitting around it. Everyone hunts differently so take it for what its worth, but i'll often do a day or two of hard hiking and active hunting and then if i come across a promising wallow i'll sit that for a day to re-coop.
 
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trdhtr

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2020
Messages
12
Thanks for the information, as always, it was a learning experience! One that I will look forward too in planning the hunt for next year. I hope your season was a success.
 

snider6464

Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2015
Messages
54
Location
Western Colorado
In my experience elk are fine with cattle if there is no pressure from hunters in the area. I have trail camera pictures of ponds with cattle and elk all in the pond together on a regular basis. But the second hunters and cowboys start to move in the elk will split.

Seems like you need to cover more ground. Spend a few days running ridge lines and glass long distance. Often times the elk will have moved into adjacent canyons/basins. For me it's just a game of checking as many deep pockets as I can till I find them. They are big critters, they stick out, and are loud. You will know if they are in a certain pocket.
 

satchamo

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2014
Messages
371
I spent some time the last week some heavily grazed units (tons of cattle) and couldn’t find elk for shit….

Moved to a far less grazed unit - immediately found elk.

They’re grazing competition for elk not to mention the cows will go everywhere elk will which blows my mind.

I don’t see how they COULDN’T affect elk
 

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