More questions from a different noob.

ahatclif

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Mar 13, 2017
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Nebraska
Camp site: We will probably be hunting an area in Colorado where the trailhead is about 9000 ft and the peaks are about 11500 ft. We will be hunting early in September.
Does the altitude of your camp site make a difference?
If it's early season and the rut hasn't started or the bulls are still higher up should we be camping up there?
If we are camped high and the morning currents move downward does that spoil the immediate area?
When I read/hear that the bulls may still be at higher elevations early does that mean above the treeline or just at the upper
elevations that are still wooded?

Game bags: How many or how much bag capacity/volume do we need for one elk?

Any legal bull: We will be hunting an OTC area with a lot of elk and a lot of hunters. Probably normal success rate 9-10%. It is my understanding that areas like this do not have larger bulls because the biggest elk generally get hunted hard every year.
With this in mind how does that affect the herd dynamic?
Will there still be recognizable herd-bulls that are just smaller than you might see in more controlled areas?
Or, is it a free-for-all, where younger bulls can only round up smaller numbers of cows?

Thanks. This forum is great.
 

under h2o hunter

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Dec 21, 2014
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Broomfield, Colorado, United States
Colorado has no more elk... But if you are lucky enough to find one that is legal then you are best to take what you can. Elk are where you find them. If they are high then you need to be high. But don't camp exactly where you want to be hunting. The wind currents will only effect about 400 yards of your immediate area. So worry about the currents where you are hunting not where you are camping. As far as game bags go. I suggest BOMB bags from TAG Bags or Carnivore II bags from caribou gear. As you'll be deboning the meat in the field or at least you should be. If you are fortunate enough to find a herd you'll see a sizable notice to the herd bull. He will be a mature bull. Early in the season smaller more dominate bulls will gather up the cows and try and maintain them until an actual herd bull comes in and whoops his butt. Here is video that shows some mature bulls with some satellite bulls dogging the herd... This was shot in my hunting area which is an OTC unit... I see these types of bulls every year. Enjoy 2008 elk hunt on Vimeo
 

wyosteve

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Jul 1, 2014
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cheyenne
I'd suggest at least 5 game bags and maybe 6. I for each quarter and 1 or 2 for the backstraps/tenderloins.
 

jmez

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Jun 12, 2012
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Piedmont, SD
Depending where the elk are located you campsite will make a difference. If they are high, then camp high to cut down deadhead walking every am and every pm. First couple years we went to Co we had a similar situation. We camped at the trailhead, a little over 10,000 feet. The elk were above timberline. We would have to leave camp about 4:30 in the am to get up to where the elk were by sunrise. We would get back into camp about 10pm after hunting all day. It sucked. We started spike camping up high after that just to save on the distance we needed to go every day.

If the elk aren't up that high then you could just camp near the trailhead. All depends on where they are. If possible I'd take gear to set up a spike camp if they are way up.
 

5MilesBack

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Feb 27, 2012
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Colorado Springs
Don't discount what you can find in those OTC heavily hunted "quantity vs quality" units. I shot a 300+ bull in one of those exact kind of units a few years ago, and I've seen a few more in there over the years.

Sometimes I stay in base camp, and sometimes I pack camp on my back. That 300+ bull I shot was 4+ miles from my entrance point, and I was using my base camp then. I don't mind hiking so much.......it's the packouts from those distances that will get you.

The elk are where you find them. Some elk will be above timberline during archery season and even later, until the snow pushes them down. Others will be lower.
 
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ahatclif

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Mar 13, 2017
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Nebraska
Thanks for all the replies. Without having actually scouted the land, we are planning on a spike camp 2 -4 miles out. My guess is that it will be less than 3 miles from the trailhead based on geography. Within than 2 -3 miles, we could land anywhere from the peak of the tallest mountain to the lowest flat area. I assumed that we would try to camp at an elevation that was at least half way to the top just to put us in the middle of most terrain possibilities. My experience in the Rocky's so far has been limited to skiing and day hiking a couple 14ers. I will be learning as I go.

I am hoping to be on-site for 1-2 days in early June and 2-3 days in late July. I am not overly concerned about seeing elk, mostly just getting the lay of the land. If we see elk sign that early is that any sort of indicator of what will be happening in September?

I am doing some diligence. I am going through UEH and listening to lots of podcasts. Sometimes though, it seems like there is a certain amount of the rudiment that gets left out.

Thanks again.
 

elkduds

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Jun 22, 2016
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CO Springs
Without having actually scouted the land, we are planning on a spike camp 2 -4 miles out. My guess is that it will be less than 3 miles from the trailhead based on geography. Within than 2 -3 miles, we could land anywhere from the peak of the tallest mountain to the lowest flat area. I assumed that we would try to camp at an elevation that was at least half way to the top just to put us in the middle of most terrain possibilities.

I am hoping to be on-site for 1-2 days in early June and 2-3 days in late July. I am not overly concerned about seeing elk, mostly just getting the lay of the land. If we see elk sign that early is that any sort of indicator of what will be happening in September?

Thanks again.

Serious map scouting Hunting with Randy Newberg - How to; E-Scouting (Part 2) - YouTube will give you a set of specific areas to walk/glass during summer scouting trips. Your plan is good, it provides the most flexibility. Seeing elk during summer scouting is fun, but does not tell much about where they will be in Sept. Before you can hunt elk, you must find them in big country. Finding the best glassing locations in your area should be a high priority during scouting trips. Springs, wallows, water sources near north-facing bedding cover, benches, saddles between drainages, Randy covers most of that in the video noted above. What summer scouting won't tell you, besides where the elk are, is where the pressure is.
 
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cnelk

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Mar 1, 2012
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N Colorado
Hunt up - Pack down
2 game bags per hunter. That way IF you get an elk you should enough for most of the meat and not everyone packing 4-6 game bags

Early June isnt that far away. Could be still lots of snow/mud


Seeing elk in June/July may or not be helpful.
But at least you saw elk :)
 

Coveyleader

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Nov 27, 2013
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Man, I hate walking to and from the elk. I like camping pretty close. I've also noticed, if you do camp near them, you will have the drop on them first thing in the AM prior to any other hunters that may be in the area but camped a ways from the elk. I've had hunts end prior to other guys even getting to the area.

Good luck.
 
Joined
May 4, 2017
Messages
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Man oh man, so much to consider. Definitely not going to simply sit in a tree stand and seeing 20 deer like I'm used to. I have a feeling mental fortitude after not seeing or hearing anything for days at a time is going to be Paramount. Headed to Colorado this Sept for my first elk hunt ever. Have buddies letting me tag along to an area they always find the elk in. Hope to be that blessed when we go this year.
 
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