First Elk hunt Solo in GMU 85 CO Words of wisdom?

hflier

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I have purchased a OTC either sex archery tag for CO. I am planning on hunting GMU 85 because I have been there before camping and I can drive there from Tulsa, OK in about 10 hours. It is my first Elk hunt and I am doing a solo backpack hunt. I am in decent shape, although I want to loose about 10 more pounds over then next 7 weeks or so before the hunt. I am 50 years old, but most people think I am under 40, so I am hoping physically I am going to be able to hang.

I have learned a ton of things from this site and the Kifaru site and I feel my equipment is first rate. I have been training with a pack over the last few months and feel my #55 load will not be too bad on me (I have a Kifaru T1). I am concerned about the elevation and so I plan to spend some time at 8,500 feet and move up from there.

I am a decent shot with my Hoyt Turbo Hawk, but will be keep practicing hard until I leave. I don't expect much this year except to gain experience and enjoy the outdoors. So if I get one of either sex I would consider that to be a major victory since I have never Elk hunted.

Your pointers and advice considering my scenario would be appreciated.

Ron
 

2rocky

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Nor Cal
Just some general things I wish someone had told me when I was starting out hunting elk.

First things first...
Find the Elk and Stay Found. You are basically hiking until you find elk. Remain aware of your surroundings.
Hunt 3X the amount of country you would hunting deer. Elk travel a long way.

Once you find the elk.
Stay found. Easy to forget how many ridges you went over following elk. Flat tree covered saddles can put you in a different watershed before you know it.

Once you are in range.
Take the first good shot presented.
Give 'em time to bleed out.
Learn to do a gutless quarter
Be sure to have evidence of sex on the carcass (testicle, vulva or udder)
 

sk1

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SE Wisconsin
Something I still forget from time to time as I grew up hunting whitetails in the midwest...

Elk aren't deer, sometimes you'd be surprised what you can get away with as long as they don't smell you. For example, last season I had some cows 70 yards from me on a wide open grassy slope, I wanted to close the distance to 50ish. I decided it was waaay too open to make a move and I would get busted....the night before I saw that group of cows and some spikes came in below them, I decided to hold my position and wait to see if the spikes came back. Long story short I was losing light fast so I decided now or never, go figure I crawled into 40 yards from these cows....went to take the shot and couldnt see the elk behind my pins.

I have only hunted elk for 2 seasons, but I have made similar mistakes a few times, I figure coming from OK, this might apply to you as well...elk arent deer, elk arent deer, i tell myself that everytime i go out now lol.
 

Curtis C

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Colorado Springs, CO
Keep Your Head Up! literally. Move at a pace that allows you to keep looking around and not at the ground. When you get to a point that you need to take a break, get setup or down and make a few elk/cow sounds at the beginning of your break.

C
 

Ross

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Practice with your calls and have confidence in your calls. Calls do you no good in your pocket. Aim small, miss not at all. Elk are large in comparison to deer and their size alone can make them appear much closer than they are. Check out the vital diagraphms found on line and stay away from the shoulder blade. Enjoy your hunt and good luck!
 

evan williams

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Colorado Springs
Great info already posted !!!!! +1 guys

One thing I would add to the elevation change. Get ahold of Wilderness Athlete Altitude Advantage!!! Start taking at LEAST 2 weeks out and it will help a TON. It did for me on my first hunt out here when I moved from Kansas.

Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, Plan ........ be prepared to be mobile.
 

Jeff Martin

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May 6, 2012
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Mental..Mental Mental

The first time your legs start burning and you are out of breath, you will start questioning your decision to Solo Elk Hunt. At this point, your mind will say, "Screw this" this is not worth it......Stay mentally strong. Stay at it....you could be 5 minutes from an elk but if you give up, you will never know. Be patient.

Also, look for sign, it always amzes me how hunters are hunting an area where the elk are not. They are big animals, and they are herd animals. IF they are in the area, you will know it. sign will be obvious. Don't waste your time.
 

drthornton

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Feb 29, 2012
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Prosper, TX
What Jeff said! You'll be surprised what your body can endure but once you've given up mentally your sunk.

Take care of your feet! Take lots of Advil!

Be aware of how far you are from your truck and the difficulty of terrain to get back. It's not fair to the animal or yourself to have meat spoil because you couldn't get it out.
 

IAHNTR

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Eastern Iowa
My first weekend out,ever, we hiked for roughly 26 miles before I saw an elk. And it was the rump of a cow as she ran away through the woods cause we just walked right into them and didn't know. Keep your ears open and you can usually hear the cow talk before getting too close. You can smell them too. But, most importantly, keep your mental toughness. When you are down and out remember all us on RokSlide that don't want you to quit. And most importantly of all is hunt smart and safe. Going solo leaves much less margin of error. You CAN do it.
 

ohhiitznik

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Feb 24, 2012
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Rochester Hills, MI
I'll be going solo this year as well. Just go slow and be safe. Like said before much less margin for error but youll reap bigger rewards. I'm excited to hunt solo because I wont hsve to worry tabout my partners fitness or lackluster calling and who's shooting first.
 
OP
hflier

hflier

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It's great to have a community of folks that are so supportive and understand the desire. Honestly, anyone I know thinks I am nuts for doing a solo hunt and backpacking at that. But I figure at 50 I have another decade or so to do this type of hunting and I am all in. I wish I had taken a different route earlier in my career, it has burned up too much of my focus and it's time to get it back :)

The last couple of years, all I want to do, is be in the woods and I have been taking the steps to ensure it happens. I hunted more last season than I did in the previous 10 combined. Got my first deer with a bow last year and I am hooked.
 

miller1

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It's great to have a community of folks that are so supportive and understand the desire. Honestly, anyone I know thinks I am nuts for doing a solo hunt and backpacking at that. But I figure at 50 I have another decade or so to do this type of hunting and I am all in. I wish I had taken a different route earlier in my career, it has burned up too much of my focus and it's time to get it back :)

The last couple of years, all I want to do, is be in the woods and I have been taking the steps to ensure it happens. I hunted more last season than I did in the previous 10 combined. Got my first deer with a bow last year and I am hooked.

Glad to hear you are enjoying life, make sure you report back after your hunt, good luck.
 

bounds

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Pineywoods - Cleveland, TX
I did my first backpack elk hunt in the Weminuche coming from Texas. I was 23 and in really good shape; I worked out a lot for the hunt. But it's a completely different game when you're camping at over 10,000 feet and hunting up from there.

My biggest advice would be to camp as high as possible. We camped at 10,500 but hiked up to 11,500 and higher everday to hunt. It was a tough way to start the day and very time consuming to make that ascent when you're not used to the altitude. I would camp at or near treeline. You won't have to climb as much and you'll be in a better position to glass right out of camp.

And as others have said, definitely take care of your feet. Put a lot of miles in your boots before the trip.
 
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hflier

hflier

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Has anyone hunted in this area and used a horse packer to get their Elk out? If so would you provide contact info for me in case I need help packing one out (of course that assumes tremendous luck on my part :))
 

Jeff Martin

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Call Colorado department of wildlife. They have a list of approved packers for all areas.
 

gethuntin

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It's great to have a community of folks that are so supportive and understand the desire. Honestly, anyone I know thinks I am nuts for doing a solo hunt and backpacking at that.


I went on my first elk hunt solo last year, and yes lots of peopel will doubt you and think you are crazy going solo and backpacking. Dont worry about it just be prepared and be smart. --- I thought i was prepared as best i could with gear a plan and so on just pouring over these threads trying to do everything i could and i felt confident. I found elk most days but it never wrked out. 3 things could have changed my whole trip-

1. I missed- i ranged a spot and thought the bull walked into that range. I missed either bc i was scared to get caught moving to range him again (not knowing how much moving i could get away with - mentioned earlier) And i shot in a very akward position trying to balance most of my weight on dead fall after having to shift positions. So practice in all types of angles /situation.

2. I wasnt bold enough to cover enough ground being concerned of getting lost (grizzly country), I had all the maps and gps stuff i needed but dint have full confidence in navigating with them in country that all looked the same. I covered about half the distance i should have when the elk moved i didnt feel comfortable enough tto find them or i kept telling myself tehy would be back. be comfortable with a gps and its function even if you use one all the time back at home on ground your use to hunt and landmarks your use to its alot different gettting in an area you are unfamiliar with -be comfortable so you dont second guess . Practice with a map and compass for backup.

3. Loneliness-Boredom- I thought i was mentally prepared but i got bored. This should of never happened i waited years for this moment-Simple fishing line and hook could have passed some time with a good trout stream right below my camp---But i was there to hunt elk i had tunnel vision elk or nothing but By 10Am nothing was moving bc temps were already in the 90's and evening movement was null so I got down on myself and didnt know my options. So i basically was up there for every 24 hours to have 3 hours of morning to hunt. i got that in my head and it did hamper my focus. So be prepared for this and stay positive no matter the situation. =-- Looking back should have sat more patiently at one of the wallows i found.- I also found out no matter how hard /extreme you think you hunt at home a first elk hunt will test anyone.
GETHUNTIN
 

Shrek

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Jacksonville Florida
It's great to have a community of folks that are so supportive and understand the desire. Honestly, anyone I know thinks I am nuts for doing a solo hunt and backpacking at that. But I figure at 50 I have another decade or so to do this type of hunting and I am all in. I wish I had taken a different route earlier in my career, it has burned up too much of my focus and it's time to get it back :)

The last couple of years, all I want to do, is be in the woods and I have been taking the steps to ensure it happens. I hunted more last season than I did in the previous 10 combined. Got my first deer with a bow last year and I am hooked.
I'm planning for next year when I will be 45 and all my friends think I'm crazy. My son will be off to college and it's prepaid so he can do it without me. I'm free to chase my dreams again. And it sure is easier to roll out at 5am to work out when you are chasing dreams:)
 
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