Its been seven years since i started chasing elk with a bow. Ive yet to get one down. Im from oregon(westside), and its tough hunting for Roosevelts. Been over east and enjoyed it more, but still no luck. Im now thinking about out of state, where opportunity may be better, ie Colorado.
All of you seasoned elk hunters who have been there and done that, hunted out of state, etc... Knowing what you know now where would you go to have the best opportunity at your first branched antlered bull? Public land.
NM works if you can draw. Usually the best units have the highest number of hunters applying. I started hunting elk here when I was 13. I will see if I can post a pic. of my best bull to date with a muzzle loader. Just got my bow this year so will see if I can get drawn for bow next year.
If you go to the popular areas pull up the complete report from G&F you can see how many hunters are putting in for a unit by total and by choice of draw. Seems like everybody wants to hunt the Gila or unit 34 area. I think it kind of sucks when 2,000 + hunters are putting in for 150 tags. When you look at the number of hunters getting their second and third choice over somebodies first choice you will see where I am coming from.
I usually get better draw results with the muzzle loader, my daughter and I usually draw every other year, but it has never been my first choice. I usually got my first choice when I was the only hunter applying. That was before they changed the way the draw works.
This year for my first time applying with the bow I have three choices picked out that should have over 50% chance to draw on any of them. Usually it is in the 60-75% range. The units have small herds spread out in them but I have an idea where to look. Since there are small herds they are not very popular to apply for so I am really looking forward to getting into them during bow season.