Hunting after a big fire

sawyer.jake

Newbie
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
2
Hey folks. Planning my archery elk hunt for CO next year and realized as an Iowan, I know nothing about wildfires and hunting after one and I'm looking at some units I won't mention to keep off of google that had a big blaze last year.

Regardless of if it's a good strategy or not to hunt after a big fire, what are some considerations, in particular safety related, that a backpack archery elk hunter should take into account if they plan on hunting a burn zone or the area around it the year after?

If it's safe and turns out to just be a bad strategy than I'm cool with that, I'm starting to get pretty good at bow hiking, I just don't want to do something stupid or get in over my head.

Thanks!

Sent from my SM-G970U1 using Tapatalk
 

Idaho4x4Bronco

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
220
Hey folks. Planning my archery elk hunt for CO next year and realized as an Iowan, I know nothing about wildfires and hunting after one and I'm looking at some units I won't mention to keep off of google that had a big blaze last year.

Regardless of if it's a good strategy or not to hunt after a big fire, what are some considerations, in particular safety related, that a backpack archery elk hunter should take into account if they plan on hunting a burn zone or the area around it the year after?

If it's safe and turns out to just be a bad strategy than I'm cool with that, I'm starting to get pretty good at bow hiking, I just don't want to do something stupid or get in over my head.

Thanks!

Sent from my SM-G970U1 using Tapatalk
Depending on how far back into the country the burns are, have a plan B as well. Everyone now a days is a backpack hunter, and they all heard on the internet to hunt burns. Could show up, full of hunters.
 

Stubborn_bowhunter

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2017
Messages
249
Location
NM
Falling trees will make you not want to be there if you've never been around it. If you miscalculate where you stand, or camp you can't act big and make them not kill you like the other dangers.
If it gets rainy and wet a big danger will actually be lone green trees in the wind. They catch wind like a sail then rip up from their roots.

Carrying elk pieces over countless dead fall will also be rough. Getting way back goes out the window if you're not going to be able to climb over all that s**t with weight on your back. Especially in steep country. Steep plus deadfall is a whole other beast.

Sure the fresh growth can mean good hunting, but just be aware of what you'll be getting into.

I agree on the camp choice as well. No big branches above you, no dead trees.. ect use common sense. People die all the time from camping under trees in burn scars.
 

Indian Summer

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2013
Messages
951
A burn from last year won’t have many trees falling this year. The ones that came down are down and the rest will take a few cycles of winter/summer and then a good wind to fall.

If a fire comes through white hot it burns everything in it’s path and afterwards it looks like the moon for several years. You need to find the edges of the burns as well as places where it moved slower and not as hot. It will leave patches of unburned timber that it went around. Those are great areas to hunt. We’ve killed a lot of bulls in areas like that from the year after the fire and for many seasons after that. I have a pile of pics with bulls in recent burn areas.
 

Attachments

  • E0E29D10-95C4-4403-B3ED-EED2E5C785D3.jpeg
    E0E29D10-95C4-4403-B3ED-EED2E5C785D3.jpeg
    98.5 KB · Views: 113
  • 3714759B-F545-4690-8D6F-54B532AF903A.jpeg
    3714759B-F545-4690-8D6F-54B532AF903A.jpeg
    167.2 KB · Views: 113
  • A61817C5-19A7-4D79-8167-FDCDB0848159.jpeg
    A61817C5-19A7-4D79-8167-FDCDB0848159.jpeg
    317.2 KB · Views: 112

Beendare

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2014
Messages
5,996
Location
In Traffic
Worth noting that some of the past fires in CO that had that beetle kill and burned super hot....sterilized the ground, its a wasteland the following year.

Its worth checking with the FS to see whether they have a plan to seed it or not

____
 
Last edited:

Indian Summer

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2013
Messages
951
Worth noting that some of the past fires in CO that had that beetle kill and burned super hot....sterilized the ground, its a wasteland the following year.

Its worth checking with the FS to see whether they have or plan to seed it or not

____
Exactly. There are different types of fires. Low and slow or fast and furious. The wastelands from really hot fires takes a long time to do anything. It'll grow bear grass which is worthless other than the tops earlier in the year.
 

cnelk

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2012
Messages
3,590
Location
N Colorado
I dont know what fire area you're interested in hunting, but I drove thru the East Troublesome Fire area last week.

This is on Hwy 125, heading north out of Granby, right in the middle of Unit 18.

This should give you an idea what to expect in most recent fire areas


 

Indian Summer

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2013
Messages
951
“There’s patches of timber here and there”

Yep. And somewhere there are elk here and there if they were there before the fire. Obviously there is a lot of big open space but those patches of timber tell me there were temperature variations and so not all of the soil is sterilized. It’s amazing how elk will still make a living in an area like that. It’s also surprising how well they can hide in those burns. Look on the bright side.... there will be a lot less hunters. I’d rather find 3 bulls with nobody around than a dozen pressured ones. You’ll have to adapt a little though. If you were a timber hunter you’ll be learning how to become a spot and stalk hunter.
 
Last edited:

Gadjet

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2018
Messages
43
It will be interesting to see if the forest service will have any closures in the burn areas this fall.
 

WTFJohn

Senior Member
Joined
May 1, 2018
Messages
218
Location
CO
I dont know what fire area you're interested in hunting, but I drove thru the East Troublesome Fire area last week.

This is on Hwy 125, heading north out of Granby, right in the middle of Unit 18.

This should give you an idea what to expect in most recent fire areas


It is definitely a different area to drive thru now, curious to see what it really looks like this spring.

Here's (Satellite Liason Blog) a cool page with a lot of satellite info broken down from the 24 hr period (Oct 20, prime hunting season) that saw the East Troublesome Fire go from 19,000 acres to 125,000 acres. An intrepid e-scouter might use info like this to figure out some relative heat differences between fires and even between areas within larger fires.
 

Wassid82

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2018
Messages
403
Hunting is a burn has many pros and cons. I've seen some elk with antlers that are almost black from the ash. I think they are unique opportunities to hunt and hike. There was one time when some high winds came through and made all the trees start to creak.... made me nervous for sure. For a camp are you planning on a tent? hammock? bevy?.....
 

squirrel

Senior Member
Joined
May 25, 2017
Messages
178
Location
colorado
Got booted out of WY a few years ago for a hot fire/high winds. Drew last year and whole mountains had not a single blade of green yet. Topsoil was all cooked to ash and only the narrow ribbons of tiny streams had re-growth started. Some of last years CO fires had 70-90 mph winds, with unbelievable fuel supply. I don't think its gonna be pretty. There is almost nothing on winter range this year, could be BBQ'd on the mountain or elsewhere. CPW is stressing lots of OPPORTUNITY...
 

DANJR

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2018
Messages
20
Location
CO
Set up in an area where you can glass burn fringes. Look for burns a few years old that burned hot enough to take care of deadfall, or recent burns that didn't burn hot enough to cause a lot of deadfall. Deadfall is not fun, for hunters or for elk. I'll only go through a deadfall zone if I know what's on the other side of it isn't deadfall. Though deadfall can serve as a natural barrier to keep hunters out of it. Amazing how a half mile of deadfall will keep hunters out that have no problem walking in 5-7 miles on a trail.
 

HODL

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2020
Messages
13
Fringes seem to be the key as long as the burn wasn't too hot and turned the ground into moon dust. We'll have a good chance to see how that affects the harvest in Oregon this year, both the coast range and cascades had pretty solid fires.
 

Latest posts

Featured Video

Stats

Threads
186,774
Messages
1,944,310
Members
47,807
Latest member
JakeMN
Top