CO OTC Archery Elk

jmcd22

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Dec 4, 2017
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131
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Idaho
I'm sure the title of this ruffled a few feathers but hopefully not too many! :D

I have hunted Colorado a few times but it has always been a Ranching for Wildlife tag on private property and in December. My dad and I were thinking about trying an OTC archery elk hunt this year to change things up and get away from Idaho's predator issues. The unit we regularly hunt in Idaho (OTC archery as well) is extremely rough country and we have only seen two other hunters in the few seasons we have been going in there. I know in comparison to that, Colorado would be a zoo but is Colorado really that overcrowded for OTC archery elk? I know that probably depends on unit and what your definition of overcrowded is but is it really as bad some on here have made it out to be?

I will add that we do have a point and will apply for a draw unit...the OTC would be a backup if we don't (probably won't) draw.
 

ahatclif

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Joined
Mar 13, 2017
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52
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Nebraska
My experience is limited but the places I've been are/were pretty crowded. If I can find a spot where I only run into 2 hunters I will take my chances there. Although I am afraid of grizzly bears.
 

Txelkhunter

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Mar 15, 2019
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Central Texas
I'm sure it depends on the unit, far as how crowded it is. I would say the few units my dad and I have tried have had anywhere from 5-10 vehicles at the specified trail heads, and lots of individual camps along the roads. Last season we were shocked that there could be so many camps in the unit we tried last year, literally every decent area we had planned to investigate had a camp there, and roughly every 100yds there was another camp, it was frustrating to say the least. But if that was my only option I would be there again this year trying it again, except not that unit, lol.
 

Ratbeetle

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Joined
Jul 20, 2018
Messages
82
Location
Colorado
For the last two years, I've yet to see another elk hunter in the unit I hunt...until muzzleloader season starts anyway.
 

bowtech3dhunter

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Dec 8, 2013
Messages
221
Location
Loveland, CO
Like others have mentioned you will see a few to several cars at any given trailhead but there is a lot of country and most people are lazy you will most likely see someone on the trail coming in or out but once you get off the path you can usually get away from other hunters.


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DEHusker

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Jul 5, 2014
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326
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Colorado, US of A
The amount of other hunters you see in OTC Colorado is inversely proportional to the roughness/steepness of the terrain. There is a bonus quotient for number of roads per square mile thrown in. If you can find some ultra rough, crazy steep, roadless OTC areas, chances are slim you'll see many others. BTW, there are LOTS of those places in Colorado....
 
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jmcd22

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Dec 4, 2017
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Idaho
The amount of other hunters you see in OTC Colorado is inversely proportional to the roughness/steepness of the terrain. There is a bonus quotient for number of roads per square mile thrown in. If you can find some ultra rough, crazy steep, roadless OTC areas, chances are slim you'll see many others. BTW, there are LOTS of those places in Colorado....
Thanks. This is what I was looking for. The area we hunt here in Idaho is steep, rough and open so not many venture to that spot. From the sounds of many threads on here, OTC in Colorado is Armageddon. I was having a hard time really believing that it was THAT bad but I also didn't want to be naive to it and spend all kinds of money to be shoulder to shoulder with everyone.
 

jmez

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Jun 12, 2012
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Piedmont, SD
The amount of other hunters you see in OTC Colorado is inversely proportional to the roughness/steepness of the terrain. There is a bonus quotient for number of roads per square mile thrown in. If you can find some ultra rough, crazy steep, roadless OTC areas, chances are slim you'll see many others. BTW, there are LOTS of those places in Colorado....
Been my experience as well. We rarely see another hunter in the area we go and that includes muzzleloaders. We bump into far more recreational users than hunters.
 

ahlgringo

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Mar 27, 2014
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517
The amount of other hunters you see in OTC Colorado is inversely proportional to the roughness/steepness of the terrain. There is a bonus quotient for number of roads per square mile thrown in. If you can find some ultra rough, crazy steep, roadless OTC areas, chances are slim you'll see many others. BTW, there are LOTS of those places in Colorado....
While I would have agreed with this 10 yrs ago- I would argue that this is becoming less the norm. I have seen a steady uptick of run-ins with other bow hunters “in deep”. Prob just a function of increased popularity and just about everyone believing they are “hard core”.
All good though- has not changed my experience much.


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techmanil

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Nov 18, 2018
Messages
2
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IL
We have found that spike camping just 2 or 3 miles deep will eliminate 99% of the people that are parked @ the trailhead. In fact, last year the only time we met other hunters was when we were hunting between are camp and the trailhead.
 

Jpugs

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Mar 21, 2017
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231
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Pennsylvania
Out of the past 3 years in the same unit, I have only seen one group of 3 guys and a pair of 2 older guys and that was on that same day and on Labor Day, as I was packing in on a main trail. Once I cut off that trail, Never seen another hunter while actually out hunting. Just get in and find that steep rugged terrain and you won’t see anyone most likely. And this is archery season I’m referring too. Just Don’t let the thought of many trucks at a trailhead or thinking it will be crowded stop you from getting out there hunting and having a good time. Just be in shape and be prepared to have a plan B and put some miles on if you by chance run into another camp
 

chasewild

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Mar 22, 2016
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206
I'm one of the guys that has always gone deep. Down here in southern CO, at CPW meetings for the big game season structure we had 50+ guys and gals show up. The one thing they all had in common? There is no such thing as "backcountry" during bow season.
 

rfc86

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Dec 30, 2013
Messages
77
Location
Pennsylvania
I camp right off of a forest road and I have had similar experience the last 2 years. If I do see someone on the trail or forest road, we usually talk for 5 minutes and then head our separate ways. Most host hunters i have seen are muzzleloaders but that number might be about 10. I have only seen 2 other archery guys the last 2 years.. Haven't seen anyone else while actually hunting.
 

HMDOrr

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Aug 6, 2017
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6
Location
Arizona
+1 for having to pack in deep. Otc rifle sounds like a civil war in the southern units we’ve hunted as well. It’s tough with how crowded it is and the steep out of state tag rates.
 

SoDaky

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Apr 6, 2018
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259
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sd
Way it's looking for me this year will only have 5 days in Colorado.If so will stay in a rented cabin,eat breakfast daily in a restaurant and go past 5-8 vehicles to where we park on a forest road.In 5 days will likely see a few hunters while hunting as well.Will I score?Maybe,done it 3 times before and shot 2 bulls.300 bull?Nope.
 

xziang

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Oct 8, 2014
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624
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Nebraska
In the last 4 years i have seen a big uptick in people at the trail heads. 2 years ago plan a and b already had a bunch of vehicles at the trail head. I ended up taking a 1 mile hike off a forest road and didnt run into anyone. However the next day when j returned to vehicle there was someone hunting the next major basin from where I was at.
 
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jmcd22

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Dec 4, 2017
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131
Location
Idaho
I am sure we are going to see people but we both decided to go anyways. We are going to use this year as an opportunity year and a year to relearn how to hunt around others. It has been a number of years since we have had to deal with competition.
 

timekiller13

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Dec 28, 2015
Messages
369
I was worried about "crowding" when I went on my first archery elk hunt in Colorado. I had read all the internet stuff about the unit I picked and everyone said "It gets slammed during archery." Imagine my surprise when I get out there and there wasn't a hunter behind every tree. In fact, in the 2 years that I have hunted that unit, I have only seen one other hunter in the field. I have seen guys at the trailhead and seen plenty of people camped out around trail heads, but in terms of actually in the field encounters and hunting pressure, it has been zilch. And I am not hiking miles deep. 2-3 miles from the truck is about as far as I go. No other hunters and I have been in elk. Of course, I am not afraid to hike back into some nasty, steep stuff either. So that helps. Just go. If it sucks and there are tons of people, either figure out how to get away from them or go somewhere else next time.
 

davidingle

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Mar 25, 2016
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Iowa
I was worried about "crowding" when I went on my first archery elk hunt in Colorado. I had read all the internet stuff about the unit I picked and everyone said "It gets slammed during archery." Imagine my surprise when I get out there and there wasn't a hunter behind every tree. In fact, in the 2 years that I have hunted that unit, I have only seen one other hunter in the field. I have seen guys at the trailhead and seen plenty of people camped out around trail heads, but in terms of actually in the field encounters and hunting pressure, it has been zilch. And I am not hiking miles deep. 2-3 miles from the truck is about as far as I go. No other hunters and I have been in elk. Of course, I am not afraid to hike back into some nasty, steep stuff either. So that helps. Just go. If it sucks and there are tons of people, either figure out how to get away from them or go somewhere else next time.
Same, internet had me scared the unit was going to be a zoo. Hiked in with 3 people for the first half mile or so then they stopped and said they would just setup camp there. After day 2 there was a tent next to ours and I was going to be pissed but it was just 2 guys on an early rifle muley hunt and stopped for the night to find out where we were hunting and how we can say out of each others hair
 
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