CO OTC tag vs WY no tag (and just tag along....)

go_deep

DWKR
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If the allows, go to Wyoming and hunt with your friend for 2-4 days, learn a few things and help your buddy out. Then I'd pack up and head to Colorado, but I'd only buy one OTC tag and the other person call.
 
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If the allows, go to Wyoming and hunt with your friend for 2-4 days, learn a few things and help your buddy out. Then I'd pack up and head to Colorado, but I'd only buy one OTC tag and the other person call.
If you do go to CO, I would take the advice here and only buy one tag.

If it were me, I would go WY though. I’m a born and raised CO resident and I wont hunt CO OTC anymore. To me, elk hunting is more about the experience in the mountains with family and friends. Killing an elk is great, but as I have gotten older, the overall experience far outweighs “the kill”. I think you would get just as much “elk” experience in WY while enjoying your overall experience SIGNIFICANTLY more.
 

ahlgringo

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Agree with the above post. Save your 1500 and go have a great time and learn something with your buddy. I hunt CO OTC almost every year- no way I would pay 700 for it though. Its your first time and don't know the unit or have someone with you that does, gonna be a real challenge or your gonna have to get real lucky to have significant encounters.

Just my opinion though
 

Gutshot007

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I would compare stats of areas you are hunting/ tagging along and decide where you might see the most "action" . If your buddy is hunting in a stellar place in Wyoming I would go there vs otc Colorado . I have not hunted Colorado, but I agree above and buy one tag . Not sure how old your son is ?some states have cheaper " youth"tags. Maybe someone can chime in or research it. Either choice will be better than work. Good luck and have fun
 

LongWayAround

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You'll probably learn more hunting on your own and will probably have more fun hunting with your buddy.
 

Hnthrdr

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I believe CO’s non res youth tag is cheaper if he is 17 or under, that said as a Co hunter, just about any unit in Wyoming archery will be a better unit than OTC colorado, but if you have to have a tag, come on down and mix it up, there were well over 100k I think closer to 200k hunters in the woods in sept so one more won’t hurt ;)
 
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gostovp

gostovp

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I believe CO’s non res youth tag is cheaper if he is 17 or under, that said as a Co hunter, just about any unit in Wyoming archery will be a better unit than OTC colorado, but if you have to have a tag, come on down and mix it up, there were well over 100k I think closer to 200k hunters in the woods in sept so one more won’t hurt ;)
My son is 25 so he’s well past the youth cutoff unfortunately. He’s a hell of a public land whitetail and turkey hunter here in WI. Last year he got a 147” whitetail on public land with his bow
 

Poser

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I’ll throw in for going to WY. 3 guys and 1 tag is just a great and practical way to hunt elk. You and your son will be be calling and packing the same miles. With 3 guys and 1 tag, you can basically go as deep and as technical terrain as you desire, plus you have a more experienced hunter to show you some things. This is a great way to cut your teeth and, realistically, more people should be hunting this way. I’ll wager your chances of success are noticeably higher with 1 hunter + 2 support staff vs. 2 newbies OTC.
 

Hnthrdr

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My son is 25 so he’s well past the youth cutoff unfortunately. He’s a hell of a public land whitetail and turkey hunter here in WI. Last year he got a 147” whitetail on public land with his bow
Sounds like he is quite the hunter, elk is a tad different but if he can call Turks, elk diaphragms are similar, just practice, practice, practice, good luck whatever you choose
 
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gostovp

gostovp

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Sounds like he is quite the hunter, elk is a tad different but if he can call Turks, elk diaphragms are similar, just practice, practice, practice, good luck whatever you choose
Yeah we are both turkey hunters so learning to use an elk diaphragm has been not so bad
 

Maverick1

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As mentioned above, go with your buddy for a few days, learn the ropes, and then take the remainder of the time calling for your son in Colorado. (You mentioned two weeks off? Plenty of time.) Checks both boxes. Have fun!
 

Indian Summer

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Go to Wyoming.

I go and tag along with my Wyo resident buddy on his elk hunts frequently.
It’s a lot of fun - and the elk hunting experience is better than Colorado OTC.

And I hunt Colorado OTC every year.
This! Go to Wyoming. I’ll make it simple. You can have fun in either state. But you can’t learn a single thing if you’re not into elk. Into elk doesn’t mean 1 or 2 encounters. It means on them every day. You might not see an elk in a Colorado otc unit. A blind man can find bulls in Wyoming. They’ll be bugling too. So go learn how to find and hunt elk. Then go for a test drive in Montana. Then you will have the education and experience to put your long awaited Wyoming licenses to good use.
 

FlyGuy

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That is an interesting question.

I think some guys chiming in on here are forgetting something important…. In your entire life - you only get to have ONE FIRST ELK HUNT. You are popping your , creating a lifetime memory (for you and your son).

You absolutely want it to be a positive experience, and as far as hunting quality goes I’d say WY Gen gets a slight nod over CO OTC. But that wouldn’t be my primary deciding factor…

I think my answer would depend heavily on how good of a friend this was. If he’s someone that you would really enjoy spending time with and enjoy being around then that may be the answer. Is he dependable? Is he the type a person to stick things out? If you have any concerns at all about his commitment levels I’d politely decline. The last thing you want is someone telling you 2 days beforehand that “something really big came up at work”. Or 3 days into a tough hunt he decides that this just isn’t worth it and he’d prefer to save his vacation days to use during rifle season.

BTW, I think it’s worth mentioning here that vice-Vera applies here as well. If you do make a plan to hunt with him, you and your son can’t back out last minute either. I’m sure you wouldn’t, but that could be very tempting when life throws shit at you (like it always tends to do in late august/early September). It’s easier to fight through it when you have a tag, and easier to call it off until next year if you don’t. Your buddy will have foregone weeks of opportunities to make a plan to hunt with a new friend or coworker; and built a hunt plan that was based on having multiple people available to pack out an elk; so you’d be leaving him stranded.

IMO, you will learn a ton either way, so that’s a tie. You probably won’t kill an elk either way, so that’s a tie. I don’t think there’s a bad decision to be made here, so I’d just choose the one that would create the most meaningful experience; and to me that hinges heavily on the strength of the relationship with your buddy and his personality traits.

There is a tremendous amount of satisfaction that comes from calling in a bull (especially a first bull) for a good friend. That would be an amazing experience so I wouldn’t let not having a tag deter you.

I also like the idea of doing both WY and CO, and nothing says that you can’t, but that is a lot to take on. If you do decide to go to WY, I would still build out a hunt plan in CO OTC. Even if you don’t use it this year it will be good practice and you can always bank it for use down the road.

And, if your buddy is new to this as you say, I would also do a bunch of hunt planning in the Gen unit(s) in WY as well. It would be tempting to lean on others in that situation to do all the planning since they are local. But you don’t just want to show up with no idea of where to go. If you make that mistake you will miss out on a huge amount of learning curve. (You just kind’a have to come up with bad plans and learn from the mistakes). Maybe you can give him a few areas to go and scout out ahead of time after work or on weekends?


Good luck either way. I’d love to hear the story of your hunt on the other side.


“What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit.“

Chief Seattle
 

5MilesBack

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If you're talking archery season, I'd take my son hunting.....with tags in our pockets, especially if you have the time to make it all worth it. I'd recommend minimum 10 days. You guys will have a blast.
 

jkilburg

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My buddy proposed a similar idea when we didn’t draw MT as he had an Idaho tag already. I respectfully declined. He’s in a different stage of his life, he’s also inexperienced at elk hunting. I also need to learn, but I am hunting in between years that my wife and I are planning on having kids. So it’s not an every year thing that I can go out west, and simply hiking around with no tag has zero appeal to me. Maybe it’s selfish, but when I get to a point in life where it’s a bit more forgiving on my schedule, then perhaps I can revisit the hiking idea.

CO OTC for me.


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Indian Summer

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Lots of good points on both sides. Most have said you probably won’t kill elk. I still say Wyoming. It’s still an elk hunt. Help your friend! Also it doesn’t sound like you’d be back to Colorado for several years. So while you’re having fun and maybe going home with some meat from your friend where you have a WAY BETTER chance of seeing a dead elk up close and personal you are also investing in your future. Make your friend a steady partner. Since he lives in Wyoming now he’s a good guy to be partners with. He could even take you into wilderness areas. But just as important get some serious hands on/boots on the ground experience in areas you will return to when you do have a Wyoming license in your pack. There’s a huge value to that.

I’m probably biased because I’ve killed so many bulls in Wyoming general units. But I bet some would agree… I’d rather be in Wyoming with no tag than bumbling around in Colorado with an otc license. Cnelk lives there and has his shit together and he agrees. Nobody ever left Wyoming disappointed. Tons of people hunt Colorado and never go back.

Ask yourself would you rather get skunked in Colorado and leave with nothing of value by hunting somewhere you’ll never see again competing with an army… or go have a positive experience seeing elk probably every day with a good chance of at least someone killing one, and armed with knowledge and confidence to return and have a way better hunt with your son down the road. An elkless elk hunt can ruin a young hunter.

When it comes to elk hunting I’m a long term thinker. Any time spent in an area should be an investment not a one time cost.
 
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wasatchcomm

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ya tag or no tag,, you will learn more about hunting elk if you are in them,, ive never hunted Colorado, but I have Wyoming if you have the money id maybe do both
practice with your buddy in Wyoming the first half of trip, second half you can go try to fill the tag in Co,,,
its only money.... either way you will have a good time
 

BuckeyeRifleman

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I’ll throw in for going to WY. 3 guys and 1 tag is just a great and practical way to hunt elk. You and your son will be be calling and packing the same miles. With 3 guys and 1 tag, you can basically go as deep and as technical terrain as you desire, plus you have a more experienced hunter to show you some things. This is a great way to cut your teeth and, realistically, more people should be hunting this way. I’ll wager your chances of success are noticeably higher with 1 hunter + 2 support staff vs. 2 newbies OTC.
This guy gets it.

It’s not about pulling the trigger.

Just so happens I’ve got a good friend and his son joining me this year in WY to hunt my General Elk tag. I think it’s going to be a great experience. I’ve already told him in 2023 his tag will get priority even if we both draw.

With tags getting harder and harder to draw, people need to get used to the fact that “hunting” without a tag in your pocket or actually pulling the trigger is going to become the norm not the exception.

Elk hunting really is best done as a team sport anyway. Your probability of success is much higher, and the chore of getting the meat back to the truck is much easier.

I’d go to WY and enjoy the experience, then plan for 2023.
 
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gostovp

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thanks for all the great responses, I talked to my son and his response was short and straight to the point "I want to hunt."...lol ... I kind of figured this would be his response. He is an intense hunter and he will be the one motivating me to keep pushing.
 
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