Hate to beat a dead horse here...OTC unit questions regarding stats

Finch

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I made a post a few months back questioning if my buddy and I should return to unit 15 (Colorado). We backpacked into the Sarvis Creek Wilderness area but unfortunately could not get into the elk. The general consensus in that post was that we should return since we are somewhat familiar with that unit/area.

I know some don't put a lot of stock into the stats that CO puts out each year but it's about the only thing I have to go by in starting to find a place to hunt. Since that post, the 2016 stats were posted and unit 15 had a 5% success rate during the archery season. Do you guys normally ignore that fact when determining a place to hunt? I know this can change from year to year but 5% is a little disheartening, right? I also think I read that the Sarvis Creek wilderness is the only wilderness that is all below tree line. We were the highest we could be in that area (10,400'). Should we be looking somewhere else that has higher ground?

One other question. I was looking around on the hunting atlas and units 12 & 24 caught my eye and both are part of the Flat Tops Wilderness (24 is majority wilderness). The only kicker is that these units aren't OTC. The unit map says they are "Valid, private land only" units. I guess I'm curious as to why these are private land only when they have a lot of wilderness area land in them?

Thanks
Donnie
 

Vids

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Regarding units 12 and 24 - The OTC tags are valid on private only, there are draw tags available to hunt the public land.
 
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Finch

Finch

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Regarding units 12 and 24 - The OTC tags are valid on private only, there are draw tags available to hunt the public land.

So I guess someone that wants to hunt that area either pays a landowner to hunt their land while using an OTC tag or draws a tag? Got it, thanks!
 

5MilesBack

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Since that post, the 2016 stats were posted and unit 15 had a 5% success rate during the archery season. Do you guys normally ignore that fact when determining a place to hunt?

I do. My normal OTC area has a single digit success rate, but I've been very successful in there.....even taking a 300+ bull a few years ago. HOWEVER.......if I wasn't getting into elk, I'd choose another location, no matter the success rates.
 

Pow

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There aren't a bunch of Remi Warrens out there. Most people just like to get out a little.
 

crazyhawksfan

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I personally would look for areas that have high alpine areas or places above treeline. Can make it a lot easier to find elk as they will still be hanging out up there in the early season. Also you can get up high and glass alot of country in those areas. Personally I think stats are a bit overrated. Just because a certain Unit has a low sr doesn't mean it isn't any good. Could be more a reflection of difficult terrain and some people just aren't prepared for alot of realy crazy up and down crap.

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cnelk

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I just looked up the posted harvest stats for the 3 OTC public land units I spend the majority of my archery elk time.

All three COMBINED equal a success rate of 19%
I never fail to get into elk, and my success rates is prob way over 75%

I guess hunting the same units and same spots for over 25 years has its advantages :)
 

Bar

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You have to take the stats with a grain of salt. The hunters set the stats, not the DOW. The DOW does a survey but they don't do everybody who hunted. They're also at the mercy of the hunters telling the truth. Think about it. If you hunt the same unit all the time. Would you want everybody to know you killed an elk? That just brings in more hunters. It's the main reason high point units got that way.
 

5MilesBack

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They're also at the mercy of the hunters telling the truth. Think about it. If you hunt the same unit all the time. Would you want everybody to know you killed an elk? That just brings in more hunters. It's the main reason high point units got that way.

Yes to some extent, but that would apply to all units. Yet you'll still see wide swings in success rates from low single digits up towards 50%+. So on a statistical basis, they still come out somewhat proportioned.
 

cnelk

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Wow....those definitely beat the normal OTC success rates of CO. 1 out of 5 hunters is outstanding for archery success.......especially across three units and all hunters combined.

I think you may have misunderstood my post.

The 3 units all have single digit success rates, that total 19% [i.e. 6%+6%+7%]
 

vanish

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Wow....those definitely beat the normal OTC success rates of CO. 1 out of 5 hunters is outstanding for archery success.......especially across three units and all hunters combined.

I think you are misunderstanding. He's not saying they average 19%. He was saying if you added the percentages together, it would total 19.
 

wildcat33

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My vote would be ignore the stats and give it another shot if you liked hunting that area in general. Sarvis Creek is a neat area with tons of wildlife and its a great place to spend a week backpacking. I know from experience that the actual wilderness area is one giant hellhole of deadfall - and that will definitely make it harder to find elk. BUT that said, you will enjoy a sense of solitude and adventure that may be hard to come by in the flat tops. When you're finally successful, it will be just that much more satisfying.

15 is a very versatile unit, don't limit yourself to the wilderness would be my advice. Go explore up by rabbit ears pass or down towards the CO river and see what you think before pulling up stakes.
 

Bar

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Yes to some extent, but that would apply to all units. Yet you'll still see wide swings in success rates from low single digits up towards 50%+. So on a statistical basis, they still come out somewhat proportioned.

That's true, but sometimes they aren't even close to right. I remember one year in the unit I hunt 4 of us got an elk and they had success at 0% and i'm sure we weren't the only ones to get an elk. None of us got a survey. No complaints though. It keeps tags easy to get. ;)
 

Brendan

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I think you may have misunderstood my post.

The 3 units all have single digit success rates, that total 19% [i.e. 6%+6%+7%]

If you want to get nit-picky: Totaling the success rates wouldn't be 19% - they would be somewhere between 6% and 7%. Percentages aren't additive like that. You can't even average all 3 - you need to recalculate based on total number of hunters and total # of successes across all 3 units.
 

cnelk

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You're right.
That IS nit picky.

The jist of this thread is low success rates may or may not matter to some.
 

BroodBuster

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I'm looking forward to my elk area being back into the single digits. Before a big fire it was at 5-7% but after it went to cows otc and bull tags went way up. First year was great but last year was extremely crowded and our success went way down. Before the fire my crews success rate was ~20-25% but last year was zero.
 

Beendare

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The difference between your area and the Co OTC avg is 2 in 100 guys- insignificant.

If you care to know, i can tell you your problem; you arent covering enough ground at prime times.
 
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Finch

Finch

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Thanks for the replies. It's actually a relief for me to see many don't pay much attention to the stats.

And yes, I'm coming to realize that we didn't cover enough ground. Again, we thought we were in some elk (poop but no so fresh now that I look back), wallows which seemed fresh, and beds in the meadows. We now realize that we will need to be doing a lot more walking and earlier and later in the day. I can't complain too much for our first time hunting out west. We had a blast.
 

WV Mountaineer

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I'm very inexperienced but, her has been my experience. Elk are where you find them. Elevation has little to do with it unless everyone abides by the elk are high in the early season reasoning. Then you can bet your last dollar they won't be above treeline for long. In the unit my friends and I have hunted several times, we depend on other hunters abiding by the treeline theory. By the time muzzleloader is underway, the elk are always way lower in that area. Because most hunters go by the theory early elk are high. So stay flexible, invest in a good mapping application designed for hunting, and be mindful of where the majority of other hunters around you are hunting. If there are a lot, find their access points, then find the deepest, steepest, nastiest hole you can find that makes sense for those pressured elk to go to. And, kill an elk. It's worked well. Of the 7 we had with us on the first trip, we all shot elk and brought 5 home. Following year I didn't go but of the 5 who did, 4 killed elk. Following year, two out of 4 of us that went, killed elk and, the other two passed on cows. So, that theory seems to be working good for us in a very heavily hunted, popular unit. God Bless
 
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