Co 1st Rifle Elk

davsco

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2018
Messages
469
Location
VA
Did my first rifle hunt in Colorado last year, 1st rifle on an easy draw tag. Saw other hunters, but not many. Most road ATVs and then walked about 200 yds off the ATV trail to hunt. Dad and I just made sure we were to first people at the trail head every morning. We would walk in and get set up 1-1.5 hours before everyone started showing up. Saw elk 4 out of 5 days. Saw 3 bulls opening morning, including a 6x6 that I just couldn't quite pull a shot off on, just out of my comfortable range. If I would have had a cow tag I could have killed a cow every evening.

Second day of the hunt, Dad and I set up on a ridge top where we could glass for a couple miles in each direction. I sat there and watched two hunters walk in and set up about 1500 yds from us, one on the edge of a patch of timber and the other on a gas pipeline. I watched 3 nice bulls walk right in between the two guys!! The bulls were no more than 200 yds from each hunter, they just slipped down a little canyon right in between them.
damn, someone really did their homework or just got really lucky! that's a fair amount of elk y'all saw! it is HARD from 2k miles away to figure out where to hunt, even with escouting, maps and everything else. in '18 & '19 i hunted two different tags/gmu's and even with 4-5 days of on-site scouting (lotsa hiking and driving) i still had no idea where elk where. in '18 colo first rifle i saw two cow elk at first light on the first hunt day and then nothing else after that. in '19 first rifle i didn't see jack the whole time.

i really want to go back this year again. it would be a lot easier decision if i at least had some close calls.
 

timekiller13

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2015
Messages
562
damn, someone really did their homework or just got really lucky! that's a fair amount of elk y'all saw! it is HARD from 2k miles away to figure out where to hunt, even with escouting, maps and everything else. in '18 & '19 i hunted two different tags/gmu's and even with 4-5 days of on-site scouting (lotsa hiking and driving) i still had no idea where elk where. in '18 colo first rifle i saw two cow elk at first light on the first hunt day and then nothing else after that. in '19 first rifle i didn't see jack the whole time.

i really want to go back this year again. it would be a lot easier decision if i at least had some close calls.
It was a completely new unit to me. I picked it based on leftover first rifle tags, and the fact that it had the type of terrain I was looking for. I have done two previous archery hunts in a different GMU, all dark timber type stuff. Found an area that was more open to glassing and got some tags for it. I escouted hard, but we arrived to our hunt area 2 days before the season started. We burned gas and boot leather checking out spots. Marked off 90% of the spots I had picked e-scouting, ended up spending most of my time in an area I hadn't even considered on the map. But, you don't leave elk to find elk. I put eyes on elk before opening day in a particular spot, and decided that despite there clearly being hunting pressure around me, that was where I was hunting.
 

Elktaco

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2016
Messages
182
Did my first rifle hunt in Colorado last year, 1st rifle on an easy draw tag. Saw other hunters, but not many. Most road ATVs and then walked about 200 yds off the ATV trail to hunt. Dad and I just made sure we were to first people at the trail head every morning. We would walk in and get set up 1-1.5 hours before everyone started showing up. Saw elk 4 out of 5 days. Saw 3 bulls opening morning, including a 6x6 that I just couldn't quite pull a shot off on, just out of my comfortable range. If I would have had a cow tag I could have killed a cow every evening.

Second day of the hunt, Dad and I set up on a ridge top where we could glass for a couple miles in each direction. I sat there and watched two hunters walk in and set up about 1500 yds from us, one on the edge of a patch of timber and the other on a gas pipeline. I watched 3 nice bulls walk right in between the two guys!! The bulls were no more than 200 yds from each hunter, they just slipped down a little canyon right in between them.

I also noticed that 90% of hunters would hunt until about 830 every morning then leave. Also, most wouldn't even hunt until dark. One evening, I hunted a spot just behind our camp. From the ridge I could see the campground we were staying at. There were 5 other groups of hunters staying in the campground. One hour before dark, they started showing back up at camp!! By dark, every hunter was back at camp except me!! And no, they weren't coming back because they tagged out, none of them had any horns or meat on their ATVs. I guess they were scared of the dark.

Point is get out there and hunt. Get out way before first light and stay until dark. Most people don't do that.
Excellent post! This sums up most OTC hunting.
 

TERMINATOR

Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2021
Messages
50
Location
Grand Rapids, MI
You will bump into hunters in every unit. 521 is as good as any, hunt hard and have fun.
Best thing a person can do is just go hunt a unit and keep hunting that unit. The more you hunt it you will figure out where the elk go and hunters don't go. Find the places that are both and you will have lots of success.
 

Tobe_B

Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2018
Messages
78
Go somewhere you want to hunt. I mean really have an interest in hunting. You’ll work that much harder at it. There’s elk all over Colorado. But it doesn’t mean squat if you don’t wanna be there. There’s parts of my own unit I don’t like hunting and parts I do. I put in more effort in the places I want to be than the places I don’t. Forget about all the statistics and over thinking about where you’re highest odds will be. Go somewhere that when you are sitting on a mountain and the sun goes down, you can say to yourself that it is all worth it.


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ArcherAdam

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2019
Messages
141
I would research 18/28 a little more. I believe those units were scorched pretty bad last year. I do not know how long it usually takes for areas like this to bounce back. So it could be worth building points or sitting out of those areas until they regenerate a bit. Those units previously had a lot of dead fall from beetles.

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