October Rifle Elk in Colorado

SoCoMuley

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2022
Messages
16
I was just up in the San Juans. The snow as more like 12,000+. I was at 11,000. Not even a hint of snow. Dry dry dusty dirt.
Yeah that was over 2 weeks ago. It’s been really nice so I’m sure the snow is melting fast. I can only see the north sides. I bet the slopes with southern exposure hardly has any left.
 

DTCLARK2

Newbie
Joined
Oct 20, 2022
Messages
9
Just got back
Amazing hunt, late rut, screaming bulls and killed mine at 12,500
Very little snow and what is there at the peaks is melting fast
Congratulations, very jealous I didn’t get in on the action this year.

Now that your done what was your approach to the hunt? Did you spike camp or did you hike in and stay? How much glassing did you do? Do you need to move as much as everyone says?
 

BucksNDucks

Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2017
Messages
94
Location
Redwood City, CA
Congratulations, very jealous I didn’t get in on the action this year.

Now that your done what was your approach to the hunt? Did you spike camp or did you hike in and stay? How much glassing did you do? Do you need to move as much as everyone says?
We took horses out of a base camp to a spike camp and then again to desired locations, then hiked into, ridge lines / bowls etc, some 1 mile some 3 mile but we used our horses as much as possible.
Crazy we got into 5-6 bulls in bugling match in this very small drainage, they on one side, us the other as we were hung up with the horses in deadfall.
The elk were only 150-200 yards from us but being pitch black out we could not see them or they us. We let the horses cut our trail and with noise it pissed those bulls off and they let us know, they were screaming and was so loud it it bought shivers up spin!! Very cool!!! But yet spooky :) We did end up getting a view and they were chasing cows in the flat but nothing worth taking, rags / small 5’s but again very cool!
I have been training non stop for the last 8 years as of now I’m 56 and at 12,500 it still kicked my rear end, everything felt so much heavier, winded etc etc. Hunted last year at 8-9000 zero issues and felt like I was 20 again.
Train, train and train some more and if you think your fit, your not :) just have the right mind set and go harder is all I can say and if you have horses, USE THEM!!
The country is incredible, I would do anything to have that opportunity again!!!

Unit I hunted was 076 Colorado
 

DTCLARK2

Newbie
Joined
Oct 20, 2022
Messages
9
We took horses out of a base camp to a spike camp and then again to desired locations, then hiked into, ridge lines / bowls etc, some 1 mile some 3 mile but we used our horses as much as possible.
Crazy we got into 5-6 bulls in bugling match in this very small drainage, they one one side us the other as we were hung up with the horses in deadfall.
The elk were only 150-200 yards from us but being pitch black out we could not see them or they us. We let the horses cut our trail and with noise it pissed those bulls off and they let us know, they were screaming and was so loud it it bought shivers up spin!! Very cool!!! But yet spooky :) We did end up getting a view and they very chasing cows in the flat but nothing worth taking, rags / small 5’s but again very cool!
I have been training non stop for the last 8 years as of now I’m 56 and at 12,500 it still kicked my rear end, everything felt so much heavier, winded etc etc. Hunted last year at 8-9000 zero issues and felt like I was 20 again.
Train, train and train some more and if you think your fit, your not :) just right mind set and go harder is all I can say and if you have horses, USE THEM!!
The country is incredible, I would do anything to have that opportunity again!!!

Unit I hunted was 076 Colorado
Absolutely fantastic advice. I think we were looking into 78/81 given both our familiarity with those units for other reasons as well as the draw/OTC possibilities for us out of state hunters.

We actually may have the ability to bring horses but I personally am not counting on it. It sounds like you heard the elk before you saw them, did you pause and look to glass them up or did you just push to a position that once you could see them you could take a shot right away? I imagine at 12500 you are not going to be finding any significant vantage points. Maybe I’m wrong. Everything I’m seeing is saying stay high as possible until significant snow.
 

BucksNDucks

Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2017
Messages
94
Location
Redwood City, CA
That situation we just happen to hear as we were riding to a mesa roughly another 4 miles out we’re we glassed a huge bull the day before.
We got hung up in deadfall / thick timber, it was 5:30 and pitch dark out and you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. We pushed the horse and they cut there own trail, at one point I just put my head down and covered up, real thick but they did it for us and got us to a point were we could tie off and with that made out to a viewing point but they were so into the cows they had no idea we were there, I think the crashing we made pissed them off and they thought we were more Elk coming into the area
Crazy morning!!
Typical, by 2nd season most but not all are out of the high country and coming down, all based on weather
 

DTCLARK2

Newbie
Joined
Oct 20, 2022
Messages
9
Hugely appreciate your input! Can’t wait to get into it myself. I’m sure I’ll send you a DM or two if I think of any other questions haha
 
OP
Kylerjay05

Kylerjay05

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Apr 7, 2020
Messages
216
I was just up in the San Juans. The snow as more like 12,000+. I was at 11,000. Not even a hint of snow. Dry dry dusty dirt.
Same here...I hiked in 7 miles in the San Juans to an area I e scouted for months and didn't even get into sign until I was up around 11.5. Unfortunately, the local outfitter had that entire mountain covered. I was actually more crowded in that area than when I dropped down and day hunted from the truck. Couldn't hardly believe it.
 

DTCLARK2

Newbie
Joined
Oct 20, 2022
Messages
9
Same here...I hiked in 7 miles in the San Juans to an area I e scouted for months and didn't even get into sign until I was up around 11.5. Unfortunately, the local outfitter had that entire mountain covered. I was actually more crowded in that area than when I dropped down and day hunted from the truck. Couldn't hardly believe it.
Don’t mean to pry but we’re you successful? What was the comparison of sign/sightings up high vs low?
 
OP
Kylerjay05

Kylerjay05

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Apr 7, 2020
Messages
216
Don’t mean to pry but we’re you successful? What was the comparison of sign/sightings up high vs low?
Successful hunt, not a successful harvest. In fairness, I developed a severely sour stomach the first day and decided to drop down the next day after the morning hunt. There were definitely elk up there, but they were incredibly high. I saw no fresh sign below 11k. However, in a different unit, a buddy of mine scored a beautiful bull at around 9,500ft. Pretty unit and pressure specific.
 

DTCLARK2

Newbie
Joined
Oct 20, 2022
Messages
9
Successful hunt, not a successful harvest. In fairness, I developed a severely sour stomach the first day and decided to drop down the next day after the morning hunt. There were definitely elk up there, but they were incredibly high. I saw no fresh sign below 11k. However, in a different unit, a buddy of mine scored a beautiful bull at around 9,500ft. Pretty unit and pressure specific.
I see it as a good lesson learned. At least now you can approach with the newfound knowledge.

I’m jealous you got to go up and even look this year.
 
Top