Re: tactics for finding elk during colorado's 1st rifle season
If you are paying an outfitter for the drop camp, they should be able to give you a good idea on the areas to hunt. Did you do any research on the outfitter before hireing them, i.e. check resourses that have hunted with them in the past? Those resources should give you a good idea on the number of animals they saw and if the guide was able to put them in good areas. They might even be willing to tell you where they saw animals since it was a guided hunt and they probably aren't going to be there when you are.
Outside of all that, I would suggest trying to find a high point or two that you can get up to and glass the area. Glassing a huge area can be really helpful in locating any elk in the area. The only other thing you can do is cover as much ground as possible on foot. The more area you cover, the better.