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CO elk - Which week should I bow hunt?

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Old 02-15-2012, 05:13 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 345
CO elk - Which week should I bow hunt?

I'm planning my first DIY archery Elk hunt in the high country of NW CO for next fall (2012).

It will be in an over the counter unit.

Muzzle Loader season is rather early this year 9/8-16.

I don't think I want to bow hunt during muzzle loader season - so should I go the week before or the week after - and why?

Andy Backus
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Old 02-15-2012, 06:03 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho
Posts: 8,090
Re: CO elk - Which week should I bow hunt?

I agree with either side of muzzleloader hunt. I'd want as much of the place to myself as possible.

Before or after?

The week prior the elk would be less disturbed/alert . . . but . . .

Which week would be the most intensive bugling? Can't help ya there. . .not familiar with that neck of the woods.

Rut intensity would heavily influence the decision.

Oh, BTW, assuming this hunt is for horns. If not I'd go for the potentially cooler weather.

Good luck young fella.
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!
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Old 02-15-2012, 06:33 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 14
Re: CO elk - Which week should I bow hunt?

I'd go after the 16th. For what it's worth, my experience last September 5-7th (in Hayden area) it was a bit warm and elk were staying up on the mountain longer in the evening and moving up the mountain earlier in the morning. Still got a nice bull, but my hunt this year is planned a week later.
You are talking supposedly prime rut after the 16th too...what a great experience!!!
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Old 02-16-2012, 04:39 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 345
Re: CO elk - Which week should I bow hunt?

Thanks for the input guys.

That's the conundrum. Do I go early to be there before the elk are pressured by archery and ML hunters, knowing that there's a greater likelihood that they won't be very vocal yet? Or do I go later, even though they may be more pressured (or even gone), to have a better chance of hitting a good part of the rut?

Do rutting, vocal bulls trump less-pressured bulls?

Anyone else have an opinion they'd like to share?
Andy Backus
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Old 02-18-2012, 11:02 AM
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Location: NW MT
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Re: CO elk - Which week should I bow hunt?

This relates to MT area. I have arrowed 3 before the 16th, and 12 after the 16th. I STUCK 3 on 21 st,my lucky day. I like early because less pressure, big bulls usually arent cowed up and easier to get on. But it is less rut activity and I have not had the success.Harder to find a hot bull early.
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Old 02-18-2012, 11:57 AM
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Location: Grafton, WI
Posts: 591
Re: CO elk - Which week should I bow hunt?

Sounds fun! Going out there by your self?
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:50 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Utah
Posts: 1,377
Re: CO elk - Which week should I bow hunt?

A friend and I have been hunting Colorado for ten years or so. I'm sure our experiences relate to our area and how we hunt. We pack in with horses, then hunt very hard, getting into the secluded, nasty areas where the elk fire up. The hunt is a different experience every year depending mostly on the weather and hunting pressure.

The most exciting hunts are the late hunt. We like the last ten days. This usually coincides with the peak of the rut. Hunting can be tremendously exciting. Calling in several bulls in the morning, and one or two in the evening is typical. If the area has been pressured hard it's more difficult to find the elk....we still find 'em. They still fire up. Colorado has a lot of elk, and the rut is competitive and intense.

The bulls can be a little warrier later. However, if the weather cools, they fire up and lose thier heads.

We've had great luck on the earlier hunts too. A lot depends on the weather. If it's hot, you can hardly get a response, and they don't make much noise. If you get a cool snap, the elk will fire up, and come in easily.

The big bulls are always tough to hunt. Later on, they're herded up and don't leave thier cows. They can be goaded into a fight, but getting through all the satellite bulls to do it is tough. They might be easier to hunt earlier, but the hunting is slower.

All things considered, I like the late hunt better because it is often tremendously exciting.
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