Bad news for SW colorado elk


Well-Known Member
Oct 27, 2015
Western CO
Southwest Colorado elk herds in jeopardy

Haven't been on in awhile so I had to start new account. No clue what my password was and I don't use that email anymore. Oh well.

The article speaks for itself. In my own experience I have seen drastic increases in hunter numbers. This last year was my wrist year ever. Hunters all over and virtually no elk. Places where I normally never or rarely run into hunters had hunters every week. For the first time ever I never even got in on a bugling bull until the last day of season. And when I was closing the distance I started seeing other hunters. One below, one above, all going for the same bull. That has never happened to me before. This was not of any trail or anything either. The archery hunter numbers have gone through the roof in my opinion. Maybe the part about the elk and their rut being disturbed is part of it. Was very disappointing season in numbers of elk and numbers of people. Not sure if it is just the area I hunt or what. Obviously this was a weird year with the drought too, but the numbers of hunters seems to keep increasing.
Same story in NW Colorado. Insane numbers of hunters no matter what season and there is no longer a far enough hike to get away. I think it’s great to get someone new into hunting but the OTC tags need to stop on public land for the elks sake.
I have seen the same in Idaho with elk AND deer hunting also. The economy must be very good out there! We have had more hunters than normal. Good for our small town economy but hard on the critters, especially when you add in the wolves. Maybe it’s time for our fish and game to start managing a little different and quit looking at revenue as 1st on the list.
There is no doubt the number of hunters and especially archery hunting has got ridiculous. I hunt archery, 1st rifle, 4th rifle, which are draw hunts, and this year saw more hunters than ever. 1st rifle we went in on horseback about 8 miles and there was still camps in every drainage. 4th season was the worst I counted over 100 hunters in a 5 square mile area. I archery hunt all over CO it's been getting worse every year and having muzzleloader in the middle of it doesn't help either.
Forum member Timber338 just completed a great elk hunt in Colorado. Worked his butt off. Shot a 6pt bull. On public land. Not a complaint out of him.

Whoops... Sorry about that...
There are still success stories out here. Don’t get me wrong. I kill elk on public land every year but it is not fun like it used to be. For instance I killed a nice 6 point last year on public land. I shot the bull 4 miles from the trailhead and me and a buddy packed it out in one trip. We got back to the trailhead and tried to sneak it out but one guy saw us and within a couple minutes 30 guys were hanging around asking where I shot it. We made up a story about shooting him on a bench in heavy timber and everyone grabbed their rifles and went that direction. That spot this year had people all over it and the farthest you can get from the road is about 8 miles and that is not far enough anymore.
Here in Wyoming, as for the draw for the 2018 season non-resident tags; the Game and Fish decided to allow the non residents a second draw on all the leftover tags. I am talking about the elk tags and don’t know about if deer and antelope are the same, but wouldn’t doubt it.
So a non resident gets to draw for an either sex tag, doesn’t draw but then gets a chance to draw for a code tag. That hunter comes out and spends a week maybe two, learning the area, talking with locals, paying ranchers a trespass fee, etc. Then goes back to wherever the heck they came from and talks and shows pictures and ...... The next thing ya know, there are more out of staters than ya can fit on a fly strip, if they were flies.
Wyoming rural private lands are in the form of huge ranches ang oil/gas or mining properties. There are some private lands that are open to public hunting but the majority of the private lands are leased by outfitters or the landowners guide on their own lands. So the out of stater comes out and pays to hunt maybe only once or twice but then returns with a small group of buddies,who in turn bring their buddies.....areas ruined.
The area my wife and I hunt has been hunted by her family for over 50 years. I have been a part of that for the last 3. This last season was very difficult during gun season. Archery was very enjoyable as far as a low populous of hunters. But the week inbetween archery and gun season- you could watch the the non residents show up like mold on bread. Bringing atvs and side by sides, all rushing for the next best spot.
The resident but out of area hunters are almost just as bad and will most likely become worse. They are searching for areas because their home areas already stink. Then the same cycle happens all over with them too.
I blame the internet and all the ways people can connect and figure things out, and the media- hunting shows seam to be at an all time high, there are more female hunters than ever before, the suburbia population of wannabes tryin to “get out ther” and spread their wings.
Throw in the exploding and WAY out of control wolf population in many of the western states along with all the two legged wolves and it’s a recipe for disaster. All of this may offend some folks as I’m sure some are decent hardworking respectful people. But the variety I have seen in the ares we hunt are far from any of that.
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