CO elk - Which week should I bow hunt?

Discussion in 'Elk Hunting' started by Andy Backus, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. Andy Backus

    Andy Backus Field Editor

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    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?

    Thanks!
     
  2. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    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.
     

  3. doug san antonio

    doug san antonio Member

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    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!!!
     
  4. Andy Backus

    Andy Backus Field Editor

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    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?
     
  5. sp6x6

    sp6x6 Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  6. zuba

    zuba Well-Known Member

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    Sounds fun! Going out there by your self?
     
  7. grit

    grit Well-Known Member

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    Andy,
    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.
     
  8. Andy Backus

    Andy Backus Field Editor

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    Thanks for the continued input guys. I love hearing about your personal experiences!

    I'll be going with a few buddies.
     
  9. dogdinger

    dogdinger Writers Guild

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    Do rutting, vocal bulls trump less-pressured bulls?

    Absolutely! #1 reason is they are easier to find. Nothing quite compares to the thrill of calling in a nasty, stinking, SCREAMING, 700lb animal with huge red eyes and slobber dripping from his snout! Close encounters like this are not uncommon. Later in the season is always better. September can be so hot and dry early in the month. Cooler weather and precip always gets the bulls fired up.
    I have never really had any problems bowhunting during the muzzle season, there are not that many tags given out. Just remember that the further into the backcountry you go , the less pressured the elk are. get a diaphram call and start practicing now..AJ
     
  10. grit

    grit Well-Known Member

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    Grin! That's putting it better! I haven't noticed the red eyes :D. But, I've felt bugles resonate through my innards from a matter of feet. I killed my first archery elk in Colorado, screamin' his head off at at ten tiny feet! Slobberin', screamin', blowin' steam, rakin' trees, flinging mud and fighting off other bulls to get to come to my partners cow calls. Gotta love elk hunting!!

    Go late! The peak of the rut is something you don't want to miss!
     
  11. dogdinger

    dogdinger Writers Guild

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    you are right grit..everyone knows the musical, lilting , 3 note whistles.....but what really gets the blood pumping is when you FEEL that almost lion-like roar from just a few feet away. i have seen grown men go white as a sheet when that happens, (and felt my own cojones shrivel up into my gut!):D your shots are normally measured in arrow lengths at that point....
     
  12. dogdinger

    dogdinger Writers Guild

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  13. grit

    grit Well-Known Member

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    I hadn't read it. Thoroughly enjoyed the story. Thanks! I've put a few stories on here. Goodgrouper started a thread titled, "First last and only post" when the archery section was first started. I put a good story and a couple photos in that thread to give him a hard time.

    It is impossible to convey the intensity an elk can put into a bugle. They roar, growl, scream, and whistle. Up close, the sounds are saturated with with energy and emotion. Wonderfully exciting hunting!
     
  14. curtis

    curtis Well-Known Member

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    I can't wait to do my first DIY elk bowhunt!!! Good luck this year.