Colorado 61, where are the elk?

Peakbagger46

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Mar 5, 2021
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I drew a Colorado 61 cow tag that started today. As a local I’m pretty familiar with the Uncompahgre (beautiful country!) 8048C186-313A-440C-A5E5-7D1D66972742.jpeg and took a cow up there last year (September tag though). I hit the spots I’m familiar with that hold elk and hoofed it over seven miles today and only saw one elk at last light and a couple sets of fresh tracks.

There is almost zero snow up there and the mule deer were plentiful (bucks and does). I guess my question is, do elk migrate down before deer? I always thought it was the other way around.

Any advice much appreciated, looking to put some meat away and have limited time in this short season.

Picture of my ‘06 is from this morning off Mesa Creek.
 

Vandy321

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Feb 5, 2019
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Cow or bull tag? Cows can be down early, bulls will tend to hang high until food is gone or water is frozen. Good luck! Beautiful country.

Stick with it, we went 3 days last week and saw about 2 animals...by the end of the week, we were in a herd of about 200, but that's helped by hunter pressure up higher in the unit (wasn't hunting 61)
 

dble07

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Jul 19, 2014
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NW North Dakota
I just spent a week in 62 deer hunting 3rd season. I saw 3 elk in a week and all the elk hunters I talked to were struggling. There was very little snow when we arrived and virtually none when we left last Friday. Between lack of snow, a bright full moon, and warm sunny days hunting was tough.
The elk I did see(cows) were near small Aspen patches in the oak brush at around 8900 ft

Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk
 
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Peakbagger46

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Thank all. It was around ten degrees this morning and I saw more deer up high (including a decent buck). Didn’t see elk but I did see fresh as in last night tracks in the sand. Back at it tomorrow!
 

Kwa_bena

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Aug 14, 2021
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Given what I've read about that area, take this with a grain of salt as I've never been there, I would assume there wasn't as much pressure from 62 this year as there was previously. Given what I've read from other people the animals have been acting pretty strange this year.
 

Loco4dux

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Saw some cows on divide mid unit day before 3rd season opener
 

Jwknutson17

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Not in unit 61 but we had to go to 11,400 to find elk today. 70 or so head. Was -5 this morning and got to 32 for a high, and elk were bedding and feeding at that altitude. Crazy for this time of year when usually this place is under 3+ feet of snow by now.
 

Phaseolus

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Feb 25, 2018
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EOM Western Colorado
Saw lots of elk during third season. We were just south of Mesa Creek but up as high as you could get. PM sent. 0E1C525F-5545-4B6F-9417-9B2162929DCF.jpeg
 
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pop-r

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May 7, 2019
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If you have no snow those animals are either going to be really high or down on the ranch. There's tons of feed up there that they'll take advantage of on years like this that normally they get ran off of by snow before it's used up. I'm sure there are a few bands making dashes for the ranches and if you know of some travel routes coming out of the high country you could do well.
 

ganngus

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Oct 1, 2018
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Texas
Just got back from 4th season hunt here. Was in a ton of elk, just didn't see age class of bull I was looking for. All elk were between 10-10.5k in elevation. A lot of people who treated this season like a traditional late season hunt ended up not seeing a ton of game.

Side note - saw biggest mule deer of my life at 10.8k in belly deep snow. God I wish I had a damn deer tag...
 

Ucsdryder

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I haven’t been smart enough to get the tenderloins out through the ribs or just behind them Gutless yet. Tried twice but have been stymied.
I might be able to help with that. Nothing worse than trying to take out the dang tenders, especially once they start to bloat.

Here’s what I do…when everything else is done and all the meat removed, zipper open the belly and let some of the guts fall out. Usually about 12-18” is enough for some of the guts to fall out. This will relieve the pressure on the tenders and they come right out. Make your cut at the short ribs and then push everything out of the way while cutting them out. Easy and clean.
 

gbflyer

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Feb 20, 2017
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My cousin struggled with 61 3-4 years ago trying to find a cow for his grandson. Same kind of weather. They had a youth tag they could keep trading in for the next season. They finally just ended up covering a lot of country in the pickup to find one and glassing everything they could. No one likes to do that but a hot dry late fall can really scatter them.
 

Phaseolus

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I might be able to help with that. Nothing worse than trying to take out the dang tenders, especially once they start to bloat.

Here’s what I do…when everything else is done and all the meat removed, zipper open the belly and let some of the guts fall out. Usually about 12-18” is enough for some of the guts to fall out. This will relieve the pressure on the tenders and they come right out. Make your cut at the short ribs and then push everything out of the way while cutting them out. Easy and clean.
Thanks, I’m going to try that!
 

MrBHSir

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Jul 10, 2022
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My plans of hunting archery season in unit 33 are in jeopardy because of a knee injury. My wife did draw third season cow for unit 61. We are new to the area and are now living in Hotchkiss.
We haven't spent enough time in the backcountry here and may not be able to do much scouting in person because of the knee injury. In hunting for 5 years and always during archery season so I don't have first hand experience with hunting elk in November.
If anyone has any tips of where to start my e-scouting and where animals might be in a third season rifle especially in unit 61 I'll be very grateful. Thanks everyone
 
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