Planning father and son Colorado hunt

Smarpin

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Joined
Oct 24, 2019
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3
I am working on getting a hunt planned for next year in Colorado with my old man, I’m a cop and he is retired army and I want to give him a good hunt. A service related injury caused him to have his hip replaced but he’s still pretty active for a guy his age, but I’d be doing most of the heavy lifting. I’m looking at first rifle season specifically. I am a complete novice when it comes to elk, but he and I have been whitetail hunting together since I was 13. Any tips on units to target or units to avoid would be greatly appreciated. I know honey holes are a closely guarded secret so I’m not looking necessarily for specifics, just a point in the right direction. Also willing to entertain other states, but my main concern in guaranteeing a tag for at least one of us.
 

FLS

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Joined
May 11, 2019
Messages
32
1st seasons weather is a crap shoot, but tags are limited. I don’t think there is much difference in OTC units other than terrain, they all get hammered.
Wilderness seems to be just as full of people as everywhere else. Unless you have multiple seasons in an area under your belt, I think killing an OTC elk is mostly luck. If I was taking my dad, I’d find a reputable outfitter and do a drop camp. You can be more comfortable than a backpack hunt, and let the animals do the heavy lifting. Plus the pack train wall tent western experience is just cool. Hope this helps and good luck.
 

TNKnoxville

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Oct 1, 2018
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97
Location
Knoxville, TN
Went with a friend last year who was 66 years old with both a hip and knee replacement, I am 59. Used Hellander Outfitters in Craig, CO for 1st rifle on private land. Great hunt, had both easy and more challeging areas. We all got nice bulls. We would have never been able to do this on our own being from east TN. We deer hunt the east TN mountains but they are like small hills compared to CO!!!!! We saw lots and lots of hunters on and around the public land areas. Even had them trespassing on the private land we were hunting. Glad we choose an outfitter. I liked it so much, I'm going back next year. But I'm going to change my workout routine, think I'll work out with a plastic bag over my head because that's what it felt like walking up those slopes!!!!!!! The better shape you are in the more fun it will be. And I was sure glad to have the young guides with us to help get those bulls back to camp!!!!!!!!
 

cnelk

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Joined
Mar 1, 2012
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2,072
Location
N Colorado
Look at the Draw Stats to see where you can draw a 1st Season tag without any PPs.
BTW - 4th Season is also a draw - 2nd & 3rd are OTC.

Every season is weather dependent
 

wildwilderness

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2017
Messages
126
Location
CO to AK
Elevation is a big difference from 1st to 4th season. Where I would hunt 4th season has the elk lower and more concentrated (migration) easy to see trails in the snow etc. 1st season had the elk more dispersed and higher up. Less pressured, though harder to find. I think finding elk is most important for a beginner.
 
OP
S

Smarpin

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Oct 24, 2019
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3
I wouldn’t be opposed to a semi guided hunt, or a drop camp setup to hunt from, but I also want to have the full experience of being out there working for it, if that makes sense
 

success

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Sep 7, 2018
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215
Location
Louisiana
You gotta pay to play in Colorado. If you’re not with an outfitter then good luck. 80% of the BLMs are land-locked by private land. To get access you need a landowners permission (essentially paying him).


 

gbflyer

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Feb 20, 2017
Messages
331
I think it says 80% of the 270,000 landlocked CO acres is BLM.

I think landlocked public land sucks. But I don’t have control of any. I think the same of CO landowner tags. But if I had either, I’d love it

If you can come up with some private to hunt for the 1st season, that would be a real bonus. We used to do some trading with a couple of ranchers for access. The hunting wasn’t much better but we didn’t see any Googans.
 

Termite I

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
12
Location
Lafayette, CO
There are several options. Guided hunts or drop camps are a great way to go if you have the money. They know the area and help packing the animal out. Wildwilderness has a good point about seasons and elevations the Elk will most likely be at. Another option is Black Powder. The animals are less spooked and it's a beautiful time to be in the mountains. It's been a while since I've hunted but I used to get the Trails Illustrated maps of the area I was going to hunt and study them in the off season then plan a scouting trip to look at areas that peaked my interest. Good luck with whatever you decide!
 

success

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Sep 7, 2018
Messages
215
Location
Louisiana
The BLM manages 8.3 million public acres in Colorado. 300k land-locked acres would only be 3.6%.........not anywhere near 80%.
Sorry for the fake math...but my point is I e-scouted 12, 13, 23, and 24. I had BLMs picked out only to figure out when I got there I couldn’t access any that we’re surrounded by private. I’m used to hunting Montana where they have to give you access to BLMs. You can call wildlife and ask for the rancher’s contact info to get access. Don’t have to pay for access to blm. I called co wildlife and they told me they don’t have that information. Total scam.
 

CAElkhunter

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Oct 3, 2019
Messages
23
# 1 check references for who ever you are looking at. Ask questions like the type of property you are hunting. Success rates, lodging, food and most important who and how were the guides.

I have had very good success with Sean Zele - High Desert Hunting out of Aguilar Colorado.
3 guys in late 20's who bust their ass for you. They are gaining better access to private ranches every year. I have shot 2 Elk with them and a 190 class Mule deer.
 

success

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2018
Messages
215
Location
Louisiana
# 1 check references for who ever you are looking at. Ask questions like the type of property you are hunting. Success rates, lodging, food and most important who and how were the guides.

I have had very good success with Sean Zele - High Desert Hunting out of Aguilar Colorado.
3 guys in late 20's who bust their ass for you. They are gaining better access to private ranches every year. I have shot 2 Elk with them and a 190 class Mule deer.
What’s the roundabout cost for something like that?
 

CAElkhunter

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Oct 3, 2019
Messages
23
They charged $ 5K this year but it is for 1 on 1 hunting on private ranches. These are leased not high fenced or anything like that. They range from 1K acres to 20K acres. The upside is you won't see other hunters on the land you are hunting. The downside is the property next to you may be leased by another outfitter and the Elk transition around due to pressure. They have several ranches leased so you go different places looking for the Elk.
 

neil.hansford

Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2014
Messages
65
Location
Montana
I’m used to hunting Montana where they have to give you access to BLMs. You can call wildlife and ask for the rancher’s contact info to get access. Don’t have to pay for access to blm. .
Sorry, but that's just not true. Private landowners dont have to give you access to BLM that is landlocked in Montana. Only if its accessible
by public road.

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cgasner1

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Mar 12, 2015
Messages
177
Sorry, but that's just not true. Private landowners dont have to give you access to BLM that is landlocked in Montana. Only if its accessible
by public road.

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I’m sure you’ve all seen newberg fly into land locked state he sure didn’t due it for the fun of it only way to get into it


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Jimss

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Mar 6, 2015
Messages
871
You'll likely find that the learning curve for OTC elk is EXTREME! Be prepared for lots of orange.....and frustration! A high proportion of public land hunters are super excited if they even see an elk! If you think about it, Colo elk get hunted from August through November....and even later in select units. You can imagine the elk know exactly where public/private boundaries are locationed. Your best bet is to find lightly hunted private land.....it will up your success chances and total experience 100-fold! As mentioned above, the better ranches may charge a chunk for private land hunt.

Another option would be to find lightly hunted private land in NMex. You can buy landowner tags in NM directly from outfitters.
 
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neil.hansford

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Joined
Jan 12, 2014
Messages
65
Location
Montana
Worked for me the last 4 years.
Are you sure you're not talking about Block Management (BMAs)? I'm sure there are some landowners that would give you permission to cross their land, and some might even let you hunt their land. But those that won't far outnumber those that will. And none of them have to.

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