3rd Season Strategy with little to no snow

snvts82

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So I’m a newer elk hunter. Only be at it 6yrs but have enjoyed pretty darn good success so far. Always hunted 2nd and 3rd rifle seasons in northern Co but will be heading down to the sw part of the state this year. The area we’re hunting has had little snow this year when usually there would all ready be some big snows pushing the animals down. Curious if anyone has any tips for late season hunting with little to no snow. Obviously putting miles on the boots, go high, find snow and hunt below that is my strategy. I’ve been in there area a decent amount so I know what the terrain has to offer. Didn’t know if anyone had insight about the animals still herding up if there’s no snow to start their migration? I’ve studied and know the migration routes, wintering grounds, old burn etc. With little to no precip in the forecast it should be an interesting hunt and one I’m not accustomed to this late in the year.
I’ve spent a ton in the backcountry but not a ton of time hunting elk. Curious if some of you veteran elk hunters with decades of watching elk behavior have anything to teach a new guy. Thanks.

And of course looking at the forecast northern co is gonna get dumped on mid week,so it should be prime up there for this weekend
 

SteveCNJ

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Good luck. Me and a buddy will be in GMU 12 for 3rd rifle

Sent from my SM-G996U using Tapatalk
 

ganngus

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A lot of it is depending on area and pressure. Stay flexible, stay mobile, and find rough country that makes you seriously question whether you want to pack an elk out of it...
 

GringoBling

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I just got back from GMU 67 on Sunday. Very mild weather, but the elk were both up high and down low. My buddy and I both shot nice bulls at 10k, but I saw 5 different bulls at 8k. Another buddy whiffed on a bull at 7500 feet. Saw/talked to multiple other hunters that shot bulls around 9k. Bottom line is that they are still at all elevations. I think 2nd season this year was great - had 9 days off between seasons to ease up the pressure and the dates were later than normal this year. 3rd season is now more like prior 4th seasons.
 

Tock-O

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A lot of it is depending on area and pressure. Stay flexible, stay mobile, and find rough country that makes you seriously question whether you want to pack an elk out of it...

Exactly what I did with my brother last weekend. I didn't have a tag but was out to help him find them.

We were in SW CO. 18-24" crusty snow up high around 11000-11500. They had been up that high sitting open fields and not seeing anything. When I got there I convinced them to go lower because I figured the elk weren't that high.

We found a S facing slope about 10-10500' with good looking feed on the map. Headed up there and the climb to get there was heinous. It would have been a 24hr packout had he gotten one. Sure enough, not long after we sat down, a small herd of 6-10 starts coming down to feed and there's 2 good sized spikes. My brother missed, and they took off. That was his first shot at an elk he's taken. He rushed it a bit. Was disappointed he missed but he said he still had a great time that evening
 

sndmn11

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Exactly what I did with my brother last weekend. I didn't have a tag but was out to help him find them.

We were in SW CO. 18-24" crusty snow up high around 11000-11500. They had been up that high sitting open fields and not seeing anything. When I got there I convinced them to go lower because I figured the elk weren't that high.

We found a S facing slope about 10-10500' with good looking feed on the map. Headed up there and the climb to get there was heinous. It would have been a 24hr packout had he gotten one. Sure enough, not long after we sat down, a small herd of 6-10 starts coming down to feed and there's 2 good sized spikes. My brother missed, and they took off. That was his first shot at an elk he's taken. He rushed it a bit. Was disappointed he missed but he said he still had a great time that evening
What SW Colorado unit has no antler point restriction?
 

GringoBling

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What SW Colorado unit has no antler point restriction?
Yeah, I don't think you can shoot spikes in CO. Good thing he missed! Below info is straight from CPW.

ANTLER-POINT RESTRICTIONS: In most units, bull elk taken must have 4 points* or more on 1 antler OR must have a brow tine** at least 5 inches long. The intent of the antler-point restriction is to increase the number of branch-antlered bulls reaching two or more years of age.
*Antler point is a projection of antler at least 1 inch long and which is longer than the width of its base.
**Brow tine means a projection of the antler at least 5 inches long located on the lower half of the antler
 

Tock-O

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What SW Colorado unit has no antler point restriction?

Uh oh. I've never looked into CO regs at all and I trusted he did his own homework. I'm 99% sure we were in unit 65. Is there a point restriction there for 2nd season? It wasn't a straight spike. It did have 5ish countable points.

Regardless, it was a clean miss and I'll have to educate him if he was wrong on what was a legal bull
 

Tock-O

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Yeah, I don't think you can shoot spikes in CO. Good thing he missed! Below info is straight from CPW.

ANTLER-POINT RESTRICTIONS: In most units, bull elk taken must have 4 points* or more on 1 antler OR must have a brow tine** at least 5 inches long. The intent of the antler-point restriction is to increase the number of branch-antlered bulls reaching two or more years of age.
*Antler point is a projection of antler at least 1 inch long and which is longer than the width of its base.
**Brow tine means a projection of the antler at least 5 inches long located on the lower half of the antler
Agh! It definitely wasn't legal.

This is his 2nd year hunting in the west but that's no excuse for not know the regs. Dang. I feel like an idiot, but why should it be my responsibility to know his regs?

Thanks for bringing that up, guys. I'll let him know.
 

sndmn11

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Yeah, I don't think you can shoot spikes in CO. Good thing he missed! Below info is straight from CPW.

ANTLER-POINT RESTRICTIONS: In most units, bull elk taken must have 4 points* or more on 1 antler OR must have a brow tine** at least 5 inches long. The intent of the antler-point restriction is to increase the number of branch-antlered bulls reaching two or more years of age.
*Antler point is a projection of antler at least 1 inch long and which is longer than the width of its base.
**Brow tine means a projection of the antler at least 5 inches long located on the lower half of the antler
Some units you can, the list is on page 36.

Agh! It definitely wasn't legal.

This is his 2nd year hunting in the west but that's no excuse for not know the regs. Dang. I feel like an idiot, but why should it be my responsibility to know his regs?

Thanks for bringing that up, guys. I'll let him know.
Probably wasn't your responsibility, but it might have become your problem if you were packing meat and caught.
 

GringoBling

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If it was between Ouray and Montrose, it was 65 and that unit follows the antler restrictions that I posted.

Wow, that is good that he missed. It is definitely the hunter's responsibility to know what species he is shooting at, the land he is hunting on (public/private), and whether the species is legal. He avoided a potentially hefty fine.
 

Tock-O

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Yes I am HUGELY thankful he missed. I'm sure it would have been a problem for me too if we'd have been packing it.
 

LoneStar

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I'm headed over between Montrose and Gunnison this Thursday. I've spoken to a couple of guys that tagged out in 2nd season! Hope the elk are still around!
 
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