narrowing down my elk hunting week

Joined
Jan 27, 2017
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Indiana
Hey Guys,

This is my first post on here. I know this question is a matter of opinion but just looking for a little input. I'm elk hunting an otc unit in Colorado this September and am either going the 1st week of archery or last week. Would you rather hunt early unpressured bulls that aren't rutting or later rutting bulls that have been pressured? Keep in mind I will be happy with any legal bull. I came to Colorado last September from Indiana and killed my first bull but I am still and inexperienced elk hunter. Any input will be appreciated! thanks
 

Hayguide

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Nov 2, 2016
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Hayward Wisconsin
I go out every year to Colorado from Wisconsin, I always hunt the first rifle in an easy to draw area. I pick that because there is a 20 day period of no hunting from Sept 25 the Oct 15 give or take a day. I cant go in the bow season-or I would try that. I would rather hunt unpressured and relaxed elk then elk in the 2nd and third season that have been chased and have seen a lot of activity in there solitude mountains-defiantly effects what they do daily. I notice after even two days of first rifle they start to change patterns and hang in the parks only under darkness. I would take the first week if it was me since you in a OTC area.
 

ST52v

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Jul 12, 2012
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Listen to the last Randy Newberg unfiltered with Rocky Jacobson.

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5MilesBack

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Feb 27, 2012
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Colorado Springs
The age-old question. There are advantages and disadvantages to all four weeks in CO. A few years ago I drew a limited elk unit tag and literally had the entire place to myself the 2nd and 3rd weeks. I saw one other bowhunter (which I knew already), and then a couple ML hunters that week. And this wasn't a deep pack-in hunt, there weren't even any camps or vehicles on the roads except mine and this other guy. It was fantastic hunting those two weeks.

Well, the last weekend of the 3rd week I came home Saturday morning and went back up that Monday. It had snowed up high and was much cooler than when I left. It was also like grand central station. It was as if every hunter that had a tag waited for that last week to show up. I got on a huge bull that Monday evening, and the same bull again on Tuesday morning but never could get a shot.....and had him at 10 yards Tuesday.

Then the wind kicked up........strong enough to level lots of Aspens, and it lasted through the rest of the season. I don't think anyone heard or killed a single bull after that. It was horrible hunting. I finally ran into a cow while I was coming out one evening that last weekend and shot her.

Bottom line.......it's hard to plan on only one week and just hope for the best. But I understand, you gotta do what you gotta do.
 

les welch

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Last week hands down for ME. I sit in treestands for hundred's of hours every year, it gets boring. I want elk action. Get after them, have them in my face screaming.....
 

cnelk

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Mar 1, 2012
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N Colorado
All depend on what you want.
Some guys want to be stealthy and do a lot of 'cold calling' [early]
Others want bugling and 'run & gun' [late]

Ive found that different areas have different elk 'times'.

When I hunt early, I go to areas that arent good late and vice versa.

Just go hunt :)
 

mvmnts

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Feb 2, 2017
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Longmont, CO
Listen to the last Randy Newberg unfiltered with Rocky Jacobson.

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

I went and listened to the episode, very interesting. But he recommends the 8th to the 15th? But Randy also says that Colorado is his last choice for OTC Archery, specifically because they let all the muzzleloader guys into the woods during archery season, and that is pretty much exactly the same time they are in the woods. I'm guessing OP knows that, or it's just coincidence with his scheduling, but he is trying to go before or after the muzzleloader season, which falls outside of the prime time that Rocky prefers. The real question is, do you go during prime time and deal with the ML guys or do you try to go early or later?
 

ElkNut1

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Feb 25, 2012
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Idaho
When to hunt primarily depends on what you guys want out of your hunt? If into Bugling/Calling action go after the 10th. If into Spot & Stalk, hunting water holes, treestanding travel routes, etc. then early can be good. Your choice! I prefer after the 10th for higher odds of Bugling Bulls, they are funner to locate & hunt at that time if into calling & glassing but mostly calling.
Don't concern yourself with lots of hunters, hunt where they aren't! Most will start at access points, avoid busy ones & you will be alone in many cases. In time as season progresses elk will also avoid the pressured areas & seek areas most hunters are not at! Look for elk where they are during your hunt not where you want elk to be! Big difference there! Find steep rugged Timbered/Aspen or Brushy country, streams or small rivers to be crossed with seemingly no access, these are where most hunters would drive right by because of difficulty & consider starting your hunt in areas as that, plenty of elk can be found within hearing distance of dirt & paved roads! Be in Elk Shape!

Have a topo of the area so you can see if trails or old roads are on the other side of these mountains, there will be plenty of solitude areas where meadows, parks & basins can be found away from the hordes! Elk can be within calling distance for location purposes in these areas. A high note bugle from you can reach over a mile away, it's a great way to locate from vantage areas & save unneeded wear & tear on boot leather. Your optics can also save you additional wear & tear!

Don't be concerned about MZ hunters, I hunt with them in the woods every year, rarely see a one of them. It's not nearly as bad as some paint a picture about it!

As a sidenote, you do not need to bivy hunt to find & kill elk!

ElkNut1
 

wannakillabigbull

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Jul 18, 2015
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Colorado
I agree with ElkNut on muzzleload hunters. We rarely see them, and every other archery hunter is concerned about them being in the woods anyway so enough guys won't go those weekends, which kind of offsets it. There's also just not that many muzzleloading tags given. If you look at Colorado's hunting statistics for an OTC unit, like 62 for example, there were 1800 archery hunters and only 180 muzzleload hunters last year. In unit 81 there were 1400 archery hunters and 125 muzzleloaders. More than 90% of the hunters in a given year are archers. You'll barely notice a few extra guys in the woods, if at all. I wouldn't let that factor into your decision too much.
 

Coveyleader

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Nov 27, 2013
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594
You can do a search on this via google and you'll see the same song over and over.

Colorado OTC, I'd take the number of days you have planned and count backwards from the ML opener. You'll have less pressured elk, and elk that are coming to calls as well as elk making noise as long as the pressure is at a minimum.
 
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