DIY Backpack Elk hunt in CO

Discussion in 'Backpack Hunting' started by 7.62RUM, Dec 18, 2011.

  1. 7.62RUM

    7.62RUM Member

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    Alright, I wasn't to sure where to put this if it's in the wrong place I apologize.

    My brother and I are looking to do a DIY Backpack Elk hunt in Colorado, I'll list out the questions we have so far to get this going.

    Besides the tags and lisences what other paperwork/liscenes do we need?

    What areas of CO are good for this type of hunt(were looking at the 2012 oct or nov rifle seasons)

    How many days do y'all typically stay out for?

    Can one man pack out a typical elk kill?

    Thanks,
     
  2. kcebcj

    kcebcj Well-Known Member

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    If you can pack anywhere from 75 to 125 lbs per load one man can get a elk out in 5 trips. Rough at best but doable. Bone the bull out hang the meat so it will cool and start packing. Cape and horns the first day as your pack is full of your stuff then in with a empty pack and out full of meat.

    That's when you say to yourself" what the hell am I doin here!!"
     

  3. 1100 Remington Man

    1100 Remington Man Well-Known Member

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    Haveing just 2 backpacking hunts for elk we packed one out. One we hired a outfitter with horses to pack out the other cost $300.00 just over 4 miles from the trail head best money ever spent. Most outfitter will do it for 250 to 300 bucks depending where you are. Colorado has a list of aproved outfitters for packing just find out who is in your area and get cell phone # & talk to them before the season. Some locker plants have some people to use also just make sure you have them lined up in advanced & price.
     
  4. GJgo

    GJgo New Member

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    All you need for the law is your hunter safety card & the appropriate tag/license. All you need for yourself is a way to feed yourself & not freeze to death. Best places on the map are in the national forest & wilderness areas, generally higher the altitude the better. I highly recommend you get with an outfitter that will pack in a drop camp, then pack it & hopefully your elk out at the end of the season. Plan on staying the whole season, and if you're lucky enough to see a bull don't think that means you'll be lucky enough to see another one. Last but far from least if you have a good shot you probably won't get a better shot so take it- & keep shootin' at the vitals till it falls over dead. Trying to carry one out on your back is real, real hard work. Good luck.
     
  5. lazylabs

    lazylabs Well-Known Member

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    Where do you live? Have you done much hiking/packing at 10K feet? I don't mean any insult it's just easy to get yourself into deep trouble in the high country. I am not trying to discourage you but make sure you have plenty of gear and plan ahead to either shelter in place for a week or be prepared and have a safety plan to make an early retreat if you get a 3' snow storm.
     
  6. Elk Hunter 338

    Elk Hunter 338 Well-Known Member

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    $561.00 dollars for your tag and license, you must have your hunters Ed card period, they will not give you a license without it. GJgo said right when he said food and Don't freeze to death, you will easily eat three times what you normally would on a hunt at lower elevations in a day, and the only seasons you can hunt without drawing are the 2nd,3rd,and 4th season so expect snow I've worked and hunted in Colorado and let me tell you It will snow and snow alot in short amount of time so be prepared, Another good thing that GJgo said( not in these words but) Colorado is an opportunity state not a quality state(unless you draw a sweet tag) So when you do see a bull shoot it, because if you think that your gonna hold out for a 350 bull on public ground your sadly mistaken, oh and by the way they have antler restrictions your bull has to have 4 points or better, my favorite shot on any animal is right through both front shoulders a little higher than half way, drops them in there tracks and kills them instantly. I've shot a ton of elk and deer and believe me this shot works very well, I also shoot a 338 edge ( I wonder if that helps at all ha ha ha)Like GJgo said forest service, BLM, national ground are all you got unless you get a landowner voucher Wich can cost upwards of 3000 dollars for an expensive one, and the higher the better and by that I mean timberline or just under it and on the north facing slopes with nasty thick cover, you will run into people so be prepared but most don't lime to hike to were the elk are some do but most don't. As far as packing one out, Elk are big critters so be prepared with good sharp knives and good quality game bags (I like T.A.G. Bags) have a good saw also just in case, a quality pack such as eberlestock, bad lands, or my favorite Mystery Ranch will make your life during the pack out alot easier, with a good quality pack with Internal frame a healthy full grown corn fed man can pack a Completly boned out bull elk off he mountain in four trips, it will be heavy but you can don't it with a well constructed pack ive dont it many, many, many times and believe me when I say it will be heavy, also don't quote me on this but I'm pretty sure that the horns have to come out last but I could be wrong, an the sex organs have to be attached to the hind quarters, period they do not fudge on that in any way, sorry so long and I hope his helps a little and all I can say is be prepared and good luck and buy maps....good ones !!!!!!
     
  7. EXPRESS

    EXPRESS Well-Known Member

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    I did a DIY backpack hunt in Colorado in 2010.


    Besides the tags and licences you need need a Colorado DOW issued CID number, which of course you need to get before you can buy licences. To get this you either have to demonstrate that your states' hunter safety course is euqivalent or do theirs.

    The good areas of CO for this kind of hunt are the steepest most remote areas you can get a tag in.
    The unit I hunted in was a draw unit, and I got lucky enough to draw a tag for first rifle season.

    I spent 10 days camped in the mountains to scout then the season was 6 days.

    Basically you cannot pack out an elk by yourself, because if you kill it are 4 hours hike from the trailead, which is where my base camp was, you will spend 4 days hiking up and down to get it out.

    My advice is:

    Spend a lot of time studying maps and google earth. Spend a lot of time talking to Local wildlife officers and DOW. Find the most remote place in the unit you plan to hunt in, and then consider hiking another couple of hours further in. When I get back for my next trip I will be setting up camp in a spot which is a full days hike from the trailead. This eliminates any day trippers, even the fit ones.

    Many will tell you you don't need to go that far to get elk. Sure, you could shoot one from the trailhead, but in my experience this was the deciding factor that ruined my hunt. After 10 days of watching calm elk, in an area I had to myself with a big bull picked out, photographed and localised on a daily basis, on opening morning I had two (non hunting) hikers and two hunters come in and spoil the immediate area. The elk that were there left and did not come back for the duration of the season. When your season is only a few days long, you want to get in early and find your bull, then hope to kill him on opening morning. Imagine my frustration after so much work to see these swinging dicks turn up to check out the area and literally watch them flush the elk out of their hidey holes to see them pour over the ridges to the next unit.

    Hire a mule and walk it behind you. That way you can put your gear on it going in, then if you have to pack out an elk, you should be able to make it in one trip if you bone it out and carry a hundred pounds yourself too. One mule is not much trouble to look after. Two men with two mules and you can carry a lot more gear and food, and easily pack out an elk.

    Stay warm, take plenty of good food, climb high, look long and enjoy the mountains.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2011
  8. kcebcj

    kcebcj Well-Known Member

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    Good point about the horns and cape. I started packing out the horns and maybe a cape long before there were so many regulations because they could be on the outside of the pack and usually by the time the bull was boned out and I was ready to go I was to worn out to pack a load of meat. As a rule I would stash the horns away from the truck just so someone would not steal them while I was gone. Never had any problems with fish and game. I don't know what the rules are here in Idaho or other states now but you could well be right.

    And yep proof of sex intact on a quarter!
     
  9. Elk Hunter 338

    Elk Hunter 338 Well-Known Member

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    well said Express, i to0 did a DIY elkhunt in colorado this year on the second general season, and if i had to do it again, wich me and a few of my hunting buddies are going to do this year (2012) we are taking mules and packing into the sweet spot we found on national forest ground this year, we will camp back there this time, we hiked 8-10 miles round trip every day from the trail head where we were camped, we started our assent at 8748' and started getting into elk at timberline around 12,000' the hike was gruleing?yes. was it worth every step to get above all the other hunters and into prime elk ground? you bet your ass it was. would i do it again? in a heart beat but this time im gonna have a mule packing all my gear and elk in and out of the woods. I can say this training is essential the air at 12'000 feet is thin, get on a good cardio work out now and dont quit, trust me its worth it. The better shape your in when you arrive the more enjoyable your hunt is going to be.
     
  10. EXPRESS

    EXPRESS Well-Known Member

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    yes, my camp was just above the timberline around 11,000 feet and the rut was late, so it was perfect. I was seeing 10 or so elk on average every day on a 10 - 20 mile round trip each day. You have to be fit.

    Second rifle season things might change above the timberline and the elk may move down into the forest and farmlend, depending on how much snow falls. But you can't predict those conditions as the season dates change and so does the weather...

    The place I wanted to camp was another 4 hours hike from where our first base camp was and in the end I didn't move camp because my hunting partner wasn't comfortable with it. But ultimately it cost us the elk.

    If we had ignored the locals' advice that said "oh...you may see a few swinging dicks up there with mules, but non'll bother ya" and that where I wanted wanted to go was supposedly too far to contemplate going.
    Well, that turned out to be worng too. I went there one day to check it out on my own and found that it was even more elk infested.
    Extraction from such a remote place would be more of a problem, but with two men and mules you could do it in one day, or take your time and do it over two days.

    I can't wait to get back there, even now sometimes I go wandering through those mountains on google earth to relive the memories.
     
  11. Elk Hunter 338

    Elk Hunter 338 Well-Known Member

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    10-4 on that it was a blast and I will be back soon very soon, we hunted the second season and they were still bugling there heads off, then as colorado will do, it was clear a cool in 20's the evening of our third day and WHAM!!!!!! Woke up to 3 feet of snow, wholy crap the elk were moving and it was game on. So be prepared cuz colorado will throw curves when you expect fast balls. we were seeing anywere from 10 to 20 elk a day but from a distance on the open slopes right at timberline or above on the open ridge. it was impressive to say the least when the snow hit, when the elk down there decide its time to move, they move, and in numbers. do your research i cant stress this enough, you wouldnt beleive were there is private land in that state, even in remote places and they dont take to kindly to truspasser's. like EXPRESS said dont listen to the locals, BUT listen to them at the same time, if you get what im saying. they are not affraid to tell you were they saw elk and its usually because there's no way in hell there going there to kill an elk, and sometimes that can help you more than hinder you. always remember you have to get that elk out of there after you shoot it, ha ha ha and sometimes thats when you find out if you have good buddies or not.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2011
  12. orion2000

    orion2000 Well-Known Member

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    I did my second year of DIY Elk on Public Land in CO this year. As mentioned in other posts:
    > Good cardio - I am starting up again Jan 1st for next October. :)
    > Drop as much weight as you can. I lost 50 pounds over the past two years. I plan to loose another 20 between now and next October.
    > A big body elk will be 4 HEAVY packs of meat, PLUS a trip (last one) for the antlers and cape. Take good boots, pack, pack frame, knives, saw... And as many friends as you can muster...
    > Appropriate clothing. Each year we have started 2nd rifle with 50* to 60*F, sunny and dry. And left with 15* to 35*F and more than a foot of snow on the ground at 8,500 ft. (Upwards of 2 to 3 ft of snow at 11,000 ft). I have no idea how folks hunt the high country for 3rd and 4th rifle seasons...

    Finally, ENJOY ! It's a blast. I have yet to tag an elk. But, I look forward to doing it again in 2012 !
     
  13. curtis

    curtis Well-Known Member

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    What a great thread. I really want to do a DIY backpack elk trip!! This is my dream hunt but I know it's going to be such a difficult hunt. I have never hunted elk and I think it would be a very smart move for me to team up with an experienced elk hunter. I'm sure things could turn real bad, real fast for a couple of uneducated, first time, elk hunting flat-landers up at 10,000 - 12,000 feet during the winter in Colorado. It's kind of scary but at the same time...so exciting!!!
     
  14. Elk Hunter 338

    Elk Hunter 338 Well-Known Member

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    Do it man, and dont look back, you and your buddies will be hooked for life. Elk are like any other animal they need food, water, and need to feel no presure, and i dont care what anybody says, on public ground and in pressured areas you will not pattern them, they are not a whitetail, they may do somewhat of the same thing a morning and evening then vanish into thin air for days, and then poof there back, even without the slightest bit of pressure, so if you do find a bull or a whole herd on pressured public ground,,, get on them and kill that bull because you may never see them again. in the rut, the downfall of many a bull elk is ...... the ladies of course, find the ladies and 99.9 percent of the time you'll find a herd bull, BUT he may or may not be a giant, just depends on what the area has for genetics and bull to cow ratio, in the post rut you will 50-60% of the time find bulls stil with cows trying to pick up straggeling estrus cows but for the most part they will be small, but there is always exceptions to the rule. colorado is an opertunity state lots of elk and lots of bulls but not lots of super quality....EXCEPT in good draw units or on privite ground in my opinion, but just like any were, a monster gets shot in some of the most unlikley units in ever state ever year. A bull elk is a big critter heck a cow elk is a decent size animal so be prepared for work... alot of it. RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH... i cant stress enough to never go into a hunt under researched, you will pay for it in some way or another. PLAN PLAN PLAN and then plan some more, becase i would rather have to much food, gear, clothing, etc etc etc, than not enough, and lastly have a freakin blast, elk inhabit some of the harshest places and some of the easiest places, and they will out smart you more times than not, but when the trigger drops and the elk hits the dirt and you get to put your hands on your first bull elk, you will feel a rush of accomplishment that many of our fellow hunters on this sight, and else where have felt, let me tell you (in my opinion) there aint nothin like it. Do it.... you'll be glad you did.