Unit 44 CO Elk 3rd Season

Michaeldd1983

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Sep 29, 2022
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Just curious of what to expect weather wise in Unit 44 Colorado / Eagle/Basalt area? We are heading there 3rd Season OTC Rifle, we plan on base camping with a wall tent and stove. Coming in from Texas and expecting to be miserable and completely off guard with weather. We went on a scouting trip 1st week of September so we are relatively familiar with the terrain at this point. But just wondering what mid-November has in store for elevations 9000-11000ft? And maybe any pointers on items to have in the truck that I wouldn't consider?? Thanks!!!
 

hobbes

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I don't live or work in Eagle County anymore, but mid November has the possibility of a good amount of snow on the ground unless it's a really mild winter, especially at 11000. I don't recall there being much country at 11000 in 44 but it's been a while. While they may be open, I wouldn't depend on all FS roads in the high country being open and I'd sure as heck carry chains.
 

zrodwyo

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Aug 18, 2017
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Wyo
I’m a 4th season hunter and I cannot even remember the last time it wasn’t mild.

If you are going to run chains do some research on what they are actually for (not to help you plow through super deep snow) and how to use them.
 

Jr4

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Jan 26, 2022
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Weather expect snow above 9500 feet for sure and windy, roads turn to snot with literally a small amount of precipitation, cold single digits in morning, plan on days with little visibility. Make sure you have plenty of dry fire wood. I also wouldn’t camp to far off a good road, snow is easy the mud is not !!
Oh and and chit ton of people
 
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Michaeldd1983

Michaeldd1983

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Thank you, I understand that most of the unit is between 7000-11000 feet and that basalt is not in 44. However we plan on moving around and have some spots down in 444 as well. Which is why Basalt was mentioned. Thank you for the heads up however...I can be pretty off with my geography at times...

We can relate to the gumbo that becomes that type of mud as we deal with that a lot in the hilly west Texas here. We plan on bringing some fire wood to have dry to start with, and working from that.

I am doing my homework and looking at tire chains as I do see that as a necessity for this trip and all other elk trips we take farther North. I can tell by the unit layout and roads that this is just like most Colorado OTC and will be crowded. We will do our best to get away from the crowds....I have yet to find an OTC unit that isn't crowded.

We have a game plan also of some obvious spots and not so obvious spots. A mix of doing what all the experts say to do, and some of the opposite. Any other feedback on some things to avoid or things that you see typical out of staters making a donkey out of themselves doing would be nice to hear!
 
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Michaeldd1983

Michaeldd1983

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I am not above saying I am always overwhelmed and shocked at the terrain every time we head NW. And are always with a plan until we get punched in the nose by the crowds and mountains......
 

Jimss

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Don't be surprised to find orange even in the most rugged and isolated locations in 44. Glad you know what gumbo is! It's pretty dangerous on some of the steep sidehills. Bring a shovel or 2 and put on the chains before you get stuck! 4 chains are better than 2 in that situation because the unchained side will slide downhill. If it's cold enough at night the gumbo may freeze for easier travel early in the morning. Be prepared for the worse conditions and you should have everything covered.

In regard to elk....they generally know the private property boundaries and get hammered starting during the OTC archery season. Much of the private boundaries have an army of hunters watching the borders. If there is super deep snow it may make it tougher access but if there is no snow you can bet there will be orange everywhere.There actually aren't many places in 44 you won't have company....it sounds like you already have that in the back of your mind. I quit hunting OTC elk in 44 around 15 years ago. I hated the experience even back then even though I brought home small bulls every year. I just didn't enjoy hunting dink bulls and packing them out in crowded conditions!
 
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Michaeldd1983

Michaeldd1983

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I fully understand where you are coming from, thank you for the information on the chains and pointers. I will error on the side of caution for sure. We are more or less looking to get experience under our belts. This unit stuck out just because it was middle of the road and a mix of roads and wilderness around the area. I have read a ton about the elk numbers declining. I also can see where the private would offer some good food and protection and can imagine its a pumpkin patch along the borders.

I have been eye balling some areas that are all over the place from high to low of course. But did you ever have any luck in the junipers and sage rather than the dark timber and aspens? Or should I primarily focus on the timber lines at higher elevations?

Down in west TX where its all sage, mesquite and juniper cedar haven....we hunt mature deer and they use the cedar for cover. I wasn't sure if this might carry over to Elk in November, or is that more of a January thing when the weather drives them there?
 

Jimss

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Obviously elk hate hunters! Deer may stick around where there is hunting pressure but elk head miles to get away from people! They move to where there is 0 pressure. There is a bunch of private in 44 where elk are happy during hunting season and they likely won't leave. Hunters surround the private waiting and hoping! Elk can be found in just about any type of terrain and country as long as there isn't hunting pressure.....which isn't very many public spots in Colo OTC elk units! Evens the steep nasty stuff gets hammered pretty hard. The more hours you spend in areas with cover, rugged, bordering private, etc the better chance you'll have success. This means lots of long hours hiking into areas in the dark in the morning and out in the dark at night. If you are driving up and down 4 wheeler roads your chance for success is similar to 99% of the road hunters that return home without an elk.
 

Recurve Man

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Jan 15, 2022
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Ive hunted 44 several times. My number 1 advice is if you dont have a winch then bring a come along with ya. Im.so glad i had one with me one year or woulda probably lost my truck over the edge.
 

COLOelkman

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Mar 2, 2013
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Lakewood, CO
I hunted deer 3rd season last year and most roads were not too bad. However all the snow came in 2nd season then everything melted and it was very warm. HOWEVER, the year before, I hunted with a friend for deer 4th season and roads were absolutely impassible in many areas unless you had an ATV or UTV. Snow came 3rd season that year and gradually melted all 4th season. I mean even a Jeep with 4 chains would not be able to travel on many (not all) of the roads. Probably the worst road conditions I've ever encountered and it took $20 at the car wash for each ATV and Razor we had.
 
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Michaeldd1983

Michaeldd1983

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Sep 29, 2022
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Haha....well I can expect about that kind of luck for us. So sorry in advance to any 3rd season hunters in this unit. I suspect I will bring the most miserable conditions with us. We have been kicking around the idea of bringing the ATV or not. I think alot of that will depend on road conditions and weather that week, and we can make it a last minute judgement call. I feel your pain in the 20 dollars at a car wash. Once that stuff dries it turns to concrete.

I have been procrastinating on the winch..but have it on the radar of something to add before the trip I think that when **it hits the fan it would be a life saver in quite a few situations. That mud is no joke.

We have full anticipation of this being a complete show, one of those what not to do youtube videos that should go viral.

Any pointers on camp? We have a wall tent and stove just in case, and have multiple spots picked out...but I guess it mostly depends on weather as to what location. So we have a few at different elevations.
 

COLOelkman

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Lakewood, CO
Haha....well I can expect about that kind of luck for us. So sorry in advance to any 3rd season hunters in this unit. I suspect I will bring the most miserable conditions with us. We have been kicking around the idea of bringing the ATV or not. I think alot of that will depend on road conditions and weather that week, and we can make it a last minute judgement call. I feel your pain in the 20 dollars at a car wash. Once that stuff dries it turns to concrete.

I have been procrastinating on the winch..but have it on the radar of something to add before the trip I think that when **it hits the fan it would be a life saver in quite a few situations. That mud is no joke.

We have full anticipation of this being a complete show, one of those what not to do youtube videos that should go viral.

Any pointers on camp? We have a wall tent and stove just in case, and have multiple spots picked out...but I guess it mostly depends on weather as to what location. So we have a few at different elevations.
I also camped with a wall tent off Spring Creek road near Gypsum. It was not a great area but I'd advise not camping too far in, in case you get weather it could be tough to get out. U can camp at Sylvan Lake State park if available and u don't mind paying for a site with an outhouse! Showers would not be available there that late as water to that is turned off earlier. Theres also free camp spots up the road to the Yeoman Park area and thats a decent road even with some snow but going up from there you'd want an ATV IF there's snow.
 
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Michaeldd1983

Michaeldd1983

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Curious on best way to access the western part of 44? Is it via gypsum creek to Daggett Ln? Or are there other non-gated county roads available to get over to cottonwood pass rd?
 
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