Hunting & Fishing Elk hunting question

jetech

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Planning a Colorado elk hunt with bow and looking for advice from experienced elk hunters. Curious about the probability of two hunters being successful. Some of what I have read indicate that it is likely that only one shooter will get a shot. Not yet sure of the amount of time we will have available to scout but I don't think it will be much, maybe two weeks total to scout and hunt.

Would it be a better plan for just one hunter with a tag and the other there to help glass and pack out if successful.

Neither of us have hunted elk before. I think the area will be northwest Colorado.

Thanks for any help
 
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shields shtr

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Bowhunting elk is my passion, have been at it since I was 13. The great thing about elk hunting is the unpredictability of the whole endeavour, especially with a bow. Statistically, the odds of both of you tagging out are probably pretty low. But hey, anything can happen!

I would get a couple of tags and hope for the best. There will be lots of advice given, probably by people who have killed elk before with a bow. I subscribe to the keep it simple method of hunting. Here are my top 10 pieces of advice:

1. Always get the wind in your favor
2-9. Be persistent
10. Practice as much as possible with your bow.
 

WeiserBucks

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    Overall success rates for Colorado OTC archery elk are dog shit low. The odds of either of you being successful are not good but you'll never kill one if you don't go hunt.

    Give it your best, enjoy your time in the mountains, try to learn from everything that happens and repeat until you're successful or run out of time.
     

    BridgerMT

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    ^^ I would agree 100% with both statements above...

    I would opted for 1 hunter with a tag and one to help find the elk call glass pack out moral support Ect.
    And if your successful early go get another tag and flip the rolls ..
    Spend your time making memories and learning together just the experience of Elk hunting in the West is something you will remember for the rest of your life.

    PS Dont forget a extra string
     

    Ronws

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    Awesome thread, awesome responses. Good luck and bring us some chili-grind elk.

    I am reminded of my friend, John, who hunted in Oklahoma with a muzzleloader and he brought me some chil-grind elk meat. And I made a wonderful stew with that.
     

    jetech

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    Thanks for the replies. Getting one tag initially seems like the best option. I wouldn't want to be under pressure to fill two tags having never hunted elk before.
    I am open to other suggestions and tips. I have until next fall to get in the best shape I can and learn as much as possible.
     
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    wyliecoyote

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    All of the advice above is spot on, especially that of @shields shtr. I will add one lesson learned with regards to the shooting aspect . . . DO NOT let your arrow fly unless everything is PERFECT for the shot (i.e. broadside, within range, etc.). Killing with archery equipment is way harder than with a rifle. I once jumped a bull from his bed and sank a broadhead into his hind quarter by taking a rushed, uphill quartering shot that I shouldn't have. The blood trail was little more than a spatter that fizzled out after a mile or so. For every elk that is tagged during archery season, at least one more is wounded/killed by poor shot decisions.
     
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    243AI

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    Might wanna look into the the elk 101 university online coarse also. Especially if you’re a brand new elk hunter. It helped me out alot last fall. But if it’s an OTC tag and u both can afford a tag, definitely get 2. If you have to burn points, I would definitely only get 1 tag.
     
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    DIBBS

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    Get in shape... really good shape. Not sure where you're from, but high elevation and steep mountainsides have the tendency to kick ones ass, young or old. I would recommend a Bullpacs pack frame Bullpacs although be warned, after I purchased one my luck went south. The work really begins when you get an elk down, and you need to be prepared to butcher, bone out, and pack out meat 100 pounds at a time, or make more trips with lesser weight. 4-6 quality game bags too. I hope to have another hunt or two in my lifetime, but am getting up in years and will have to enlist some help for the packout if successful.

    Good Luck.
     
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    Mendy300wm

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    The two Biggest pieces of advice i could give some one who is new to bow hunting elk is, maintain wind in your favor, and if they are making noise shut up and use stealth and wind to your advantage… the minute you blow a call they are on edge looking in your direction and they WILL see you before you see them… public land is way over called, everyone thinks they are Corey Jacobsen and every unsuccessful encounter when calling was a free education to that elk, you might get a rag horn to came straight in to a call in an over called area but, you will not get a big bull to forgo the wind and walk right in to you… 1. Wind 2. Noise discipline (if they are calling) if they are silent let a couple locater bugals out and see if anything answers. Keep a diaphragm cow call in your mouth, you can stop a bull for a half of second sometimes and that’s all you need if the shots right.

    Sorry trying to pack a lot of lessons and success in a response is hard

    And yes get in shape
     
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    powdahound76

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    Number 1: go to Wyoming. CO has enough dang visitors. 🤣

    Be fit.

    Have good boots and socks. (I buy quality backpacking boots, no china junk).

    CPW has good lessons online for new hunters.

    Much other good info above.

    As noted to another hunter question.
    This aint midwest whitetails.
    Clothes are way different.
    You dont have to go for broke and hunting clothes geared for mtns are key
     
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    jetech

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    Might wanna look into the the elk 101 university online coarse also. Especially if you’re a brand new elk hunter. It helped me out alot last fall. But if it’s an OTC tag and u both can afford a tag, definitely get 2. If you have to burn points, I would definitely only get 1 tag.
    Already signed up. (y)
     

    shields shtr

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    public land is way over called, everyone thinks they are Corey Jacobsen and every unsuccessful encounter when calling was a free education to that elk, you might get a rag horn to came straight in to a call in an over called area but, you will not get a big bull to forgo the wind and walk right in to you… 1. Wind 2. Noise discipline (if they are calling) if they are silent let a couple locater bugals out and see if anything answers. Keep a diaphragm cow call in your mouth, you can stop a bull for a half of second sometimes and that’s all you need if the shots right.
    Isn't Cory Jacobsen the elk 101 guy? I must be old fashioned, but I do think people way over complicate almost all types of hunting. Wind is obviously important, and so is persistence. Alot of the lessons I have learned elk hunting have been from dumb luck and just going. I will give you a for instance:

    I used to hunt only mornings and evenings, when the elk are more active. I was not a big fan of "blowing elk out of their bedding areas", so I relegated myself to those hunting hours. While there is probably some validity to that theory, it isn't always the case. Some days, the elk are active all day long, especially when there are hot cows around and bulls are going crazy trying to find and breed them. One of the wildest encounters I have ever had with an elk happened right in the middle of the day. The reason that happened is I was being persistent and putting myself in the woods where elk are. I would say this is especially true on public land.

    There is nothing about an elk's senses that are too much different than most other games animals. They are a large ungulate that depends on their senses, especially their noses. It's not like they are doing quantum physics in their off hours and becoming more wary. Just getting out there and trying to find them will cover about 90% of what you need. Then, you need a little luck sometimes, and should know how to shoot and not have a meltdown if you get the opportunity, which I have done before as well. Have Fun!
     
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    HOOFER

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    Come to evergreen.

    You can arrow one in my yard. 🤣🤣🤣

    Colorado has a massive elk population. I grew up in Montana and have been stationed here currently and several other times. And it still amazes me. Me and my buddy both killed bulls this year opening day. (rifle). But still.

    It’s tough bow hunting here. Lots of pressure. Lots of people calling with no idea what they are doing. Or why. Elk can be quiet. And rut later. Due to heat they can be high 12k feet Early September. you also are competing with Muzzle loader hunters for half the season.

    And as mentioned. Be in Shape.

    People do it. If nothing else it’s OTC. You can do it every year. it’ll make you much much better when you draw a primo tag or in a state with better bow hunting.

    Private/guide is an option but meh. Not for me.
     

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    db2000

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    Agree with most of what’s posted. Definitely 1 tag and a partner to help glass, call and especially pack out. It’s a lot of covering ground, persistence and hard work.
    If you get one, you realize why anyone has looked at you like you have 3 heads if you ever asked for tenderloin 🤣🤣🤣
     

    762 ULTRAMAGA

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    Planning a Colorado elk hunt with bow and looking for advice from experienced elk hunters. Curious about the probability of two hunters being successful. Some of what I have read indicate that it is likely that only one shooter will get a shot. Not yet sure of the amount of time we will have available to scout but I don't think it will be much, maybe two weeks total to scout and hunt.

    Would it be a better plan for just one hunter with a tag and the other there to help glass and pack out if successful.

    Neither of us have hunted elk before. I think the area will be northwest Colorado.

    Thanks for any help
    Elk hunting is tough, especially if you haven't done it before. Be happy if even 1 of you tags out, unless you're good with taking cows and spikes they're pretty easy to fool.

    I've been bowhunting elk for about 15 years and it's gotten crazy busy in the woods these past 5 years.
    There's a ton of guys not paying attention to elk behavior, and calling WAY too much.
    Where I'm at elk behavior has changed significantly, it's tough to fool a good Bull with calls when they're getting over educated.

    My advice, take the time to learn how elk behave and keep the calling to a minimum.
    I call to locate then shut the hell up and stock in for an ambush, it works every year
     
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    Ckleeves

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    I would try really hard to not hunt OTC this year. With the removal of the Grand Mesa units from the archery OTC units the amount of people dispersed and now crowding the OTC units that are still open is only going to make it worse then it already was.

    There are 0 point archery tags that you can get in the draw that you only have to compete against 1000 other hunters and not 5000.

    Good chance OTC is done in 2025 so the one advantage of doing it this year is you could look at a few different units so if things do go limited to at least figure out what units you like so you know what your after in the future.
     
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    supercorndogs

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    Colorado is full. I hear Tennessee is handing out 17 elk tags this year though.

    Good Luck! 🤣
    About 25 years ago when one of my friends moved to Arkansas. It was the same year they introduced a heard of elk there. He can take one per year on his land now. And I think 2 deer per day.

    20-30 years ago, before all these "wilderness areas" were closed to motor vehicle access, and before there were so many large land owners, land locking and stopping access to public land. Hunting here was way different. I can remember hunting one of our favorite areas for years before we ever saw anyone else hunting there. It was on public land too. Now its a 150k dollar camper town during hunting season.

    Tips 2-9. Despite all that, opportunities abound for those with the gumption to get out in the field.

    IF you can get in with the right people you chance of success go wayyyyyy up. There are people who fill tags every year, and people who never fill tags making up those statistics mostly, I bet.
     

    Mavrykk

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    If you are bringing atvs, trailers and a deep freezer. Definitely get 2 tags.
    Because you never know when you'll land on top of a big herd and you'll call in a whole string of bulls.
    If you're manually carrying the meat out, 1 tag.
    I have access to tons of crown land riddled with elk and moose. So we drag them out and take them home to process. And easily be back home within 30 - 120 minutes depending the spot that day.
    So Not an ounce of meat gets wasted or left behind.
    We got into a herd this fall that just kept coming out single file and we just kept dropping them.
    Even after multiple gun shots going off. We still had the herd coming out and some of them bugling back to us.
    1st one shot at 301 yards. 5 minutes later
    2nd guy shot at 35 yards. He was coming right to us and bullet entrance was dead centre front of chest.
    So dont let the naysayers persuade you into thinking 1 tag and done.
    And I'm still an amateur elk hunter. But we are lucky to have amazing land to hunt and get them every year.
    So Good luck. And practice your calling.
    Oh... and bring some wolf tags along if available.. They always come to elk calls.
     
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    Lapuapalooza

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    About 25 years ago when one of my friends moved to Arkansas. It was the same year they introduced a heard of elk there. He can take one per year on his land now. And I think 2 deer per day.

    20-30 years ago, before all these "wilderness areas" were closed to motor vehicle access, and before there were so many large land owners, land locking and stopping access to public land. Hunting here was way different. I can remember hunting one of our favorite areas for years before we ever saw anyone else hunting there. It was on public land too. Now its a 150k dollar camper town during hunting season.

    Tips 2-9. Despite all that, opportunities abound for those with the gumption to get out in the field.

    IF you can get in with the right people you chance of success go wayyyyyy up. There are people who fill tags every year, and people who never fill tags making up those statistics mostly, I bet.
    That’s a lot of my frustration. It’s a catch 22. You need hunters to move the herds to some degree, but there are so many people in remote areas now that you can’t hunt. Between the popcorn vendors and the valet parking attendants, I’ve just about ran out of enthusiasm to hunt elk in Colorado. ☹️
     
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    supercorndogs

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    I almost filled my plains elk tag yesterday. We do not live in an area that has lots of elk. In fact most people will look at you like you have a third head if you tell them you saw one. I took my wife to lunch in the next town and decided to stop at one of my favorite glassing spots on the way home. I did't grab my rangefinder before we left, and I wasn't sure how far he was though I suspect 400-450 yards, but I didn't want to take a shot that far on suspicion. I tried to move in on him in heavy cover since the sun was getting ready to set. He was standing down there staring at me before I ever tried to move on him. I can tell he has been in there several times over the last week. I still have 5 days left on my season, but i slept in until 5 today. I have spent several hours 1-3 days per week since September looking.

    Typed the above out this morning and forgot to post. Headed out and I get there this morning and there is a camper sitting there with a generator running. The elk was 500-520 it would have been a chip shot if I had my range finder. I am glad I didn't shoot with out it though.