Best public land in Co for elk?


Well-Known Member
Jun 25, 2003
Aussie in Italy
I am planning a hunt in Co next fall as I have learned that as a non resident alien I can hunt there without a guide providing I can demonstrate that I have the equivalent to the Colorado hunter safety training.

So where should I head?
I am going with a local friend, who is suggesting the San Juan and Flat Tops areas for the moment, what other areas are there to look at?
We are fit hunters and either going to backpack and bivvy or go with horses and light camps so we can be mobile.

Working hard is not a problem, but for the trip to be worthwhile it needs to be in an area where there are big elk and where I can realistically expect to find one.

I am also thinking about going in for a week of scouting in the week prior to the opening, then spending about 2 weeks or 10 days actually hunting.

Anyone care to provide clues to good area where there is no vehicle access and that is known for big elk?
Thanks in advance.
This is kind of a broad question, colorado has many different seasons which the weather plays an important role in each. Do you want to hunt the rut? Archery? Muzzleloader? Do you want to hunt high alpine meadows with thick dark spruce pockets or dwn low in the pinion and cedar trees? Do you want to try to hit them when the snows come in and they start moving dwn? I have hunted my entire life here and every season holds their own plus and minus. I dont know very much about the flat tops as I live in southwest colorado and have only hunted the San Juan mtns, this year was very hard for elk in general but on the upside alot of big bulls have been taken with each year getting better on the size of the bulls. 2007 I shot a 380 plus bull and this year I harvested a 300 plus bull, 10 years ago my chances of even seeing a bull like that was almost nill. If you want to hear the bugling but hunt with a rifle then the first season is a must but it is draw only, they are still bugling then but after a couple of days of shooting they go quiet and its hard to get them talking any more, on the up side it it a either sex hunt. 2nd season isnt bad but weather can be very warm or very cold, thats when our first storms usually hit. 3rd season this year started out very cold and wet then went dry and warm but it was enough to get the elk bunched up and moving dwn out of the high country. 4th season is also a draw only hunt but by now the big muleys are starting to think about rutting and we do have sum awesum bucks around here if you can draw the tag. It boils dwn to what kind of hunting you want to do and how you want to deal with the weather
on the 4th season tags its all about area and the deer population, Usually takes 3 -4 pref points to draw them, the colo game a fish website has the areas listed and how many pref points it takes to draw in a certain area. Pref points are awarded 1 per year and when you do draw you start back at zero again
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