Colorado GMU 53 and hunting mulies as well?

pods8

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Aug 25, 2014
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326
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Colorado
For folks familiar with unit 53 (I haven't been down that way yet) what's your opinion on mulie and elk overlap in that country? I've got 2 deer points and was pondering out units, that one has good deer success and the elk statistics aren't bad either (considering elk typically has lower success). Yeah there is the saying that mulie country isn't elk country, typically, but we all know some ares off overlap of decent degree. I've only got a few years under my belt hunting here so I'm still needing to learn a lot about the various areas of the state.

Not looking for monsters in either species, just a good hunt and hopefully a freezer load.
 

huntnm2001

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Mar 15, 2010
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56
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Radium Springs, NM
Most of my hunting has been in unit 54, but that is still the west elks. In my experience there is significant overlap between elk and mule deer in that area. In fact, I had two hunters this year kill elk in the morning and then deer in the evening.
 

pods8

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Aug 25, 2014
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326
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Colorado
Excellent to hear, thanks. Yeah 54 is right there too, could just as easily go for deer tags on that but the stats on 53 were marginally better so I was looking at that a tad more.
 

Budman

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Dec 15, 2003
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91
Location
Wi
We have been hunting 53 for many years. There are a few deer but nothing like it was in the late 80's. Most deer are low on private land where we hunt. We have seen a few very nice bucks over the years in the high country but none of us are willing to use points with the population as low as it is. Elk can be a big hit or miss depending on bow and muzzle loader pressure. Lots of rugged country for them to hide and not many willing to go after them. The bigger issue is all the road closers in 53 making access in some areas very difficult and if the roads are open most are in very ruff shape. Weather can make life a little interesting given the road conditions if you get too far back in and set camp.
 

TOM H

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Dec 24, 2001
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1,224
Excellent to hear, thanks. Yeah 54 is right there too, could just as easily go for deer tags on that but the stats on 53 were marginally better so I was looking at that a tad more.

Unit 53 has less buck tag issue than 54. Last year unit 53 they issued 108 tags 2nd season,81 3rd season and 9 4th season for resident and non resident got 33.

Depending on amount of hunters applying with points it may take 2pts to draw 2nd season. Also don't know how many tags are going to be issue till they do the herd count.
 

pods8

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Aug 25, 2014
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Colorado
Yeah its always a crap shoot if more hunters take interest or if tag numbers are cut. But looking at 2013 and 2014 stats with 2pts it was a 100% odds on pulling a 2nd rifle tag. BTW I meant the harvest stats in my original statement.
 

pods8

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Aug 25, 2014
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326
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Colorado
Thanks, good luck as well! My #1 priority is always meet in the freezer, so anything will be great. Decent buck would be nice. Something notable and I'll be a happy hunter.

Maybe I can have a repeat of deer season last year when a bull stopped broadside in front of me ~150yds opening morning at 10am in a 2nd rifle OTC unit... but that time I didn't have a tag since I had a different elk tag which was a A as well, so no "just in case" option to add on the OTC tag. :(
 

Dusty

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May 8, 2003
Messages
27
Location
Louisiana
We have been hunting 53 for many years. There are a few deer but nothing like it was in the late 80's. Most deer are low on private land where we hunt. We have seen a few very nice bucks over the years in the high country but none of us are willing to use points with the population as low as it is. Elk can be a big hit or miss depending on bow and muzzle loader pressure. Lots of rugged country for them to hide and not many willing to go after them. The bigger issue is all the road closers in 53 making access in some areas very difficult and if the roads are open most are in very ruff shape. Weather can make life a little interesting given the road conditions if you get too far back in and set camp.

How is the coal creek trail head road? I was thinking of going in there during 2nd rifle season for an otc bull. I noticed there is private land at the end, so is the road maintained during the winter?
 

Budman

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Dec 15, 2003
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91
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Wi
If it rains or snows the road is impassable. It hasn't been maintained by the Forest Service for a long time. The Ranchers Assoc. will maintain the lower section to some extent. They have closed most of the secondary roads. The trail to Interocean Pass even stops well short. Take a look at coming in over by Beaver Reservoir, some what better trailer but again weather dictates when you get in and out. Coal Creek has access through the private land and it is clearly marked. second season our group will be there as well. Dave
 

pods8

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Aug 25, 2014
Messages
326
Location
Colorado
Me & one other will be in 53 for deer for however long that takes but then moving over to eastern 521 to join a couple others hunting cow & OTC bull.

Trying to schedule a trip out soon to scout (work & family conflicts...).

Any feedback on access into the western side of 53 from Crawford? Looking at aerials I am assuming that is slightly better mulie country (but I could be wrong...).
 

Budman

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Dec 15, 2003
Messages
91
Location
Wi
Have friends that come in from Crawford side but the trailer head is short, then it's all wilderness. Pull up Google earth and look for the trailer from Crawford up to Interocean Pass. That's the best trail to access the top of Lamborne and Coal. That is the best country for deer along with the back side of The Chains. it's fairly open on that side but still more than enough black timber. pressure is very light as well. Dave
 

Dusty

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May 8, 2003
Messages
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Location
Louisiana
If it rains or snows the road is impassable. It hasn't been maintained by the Forest Service for a long time. The Ranchers Assoc. will maintain the lower section to some extent. They have closed most of the secondary roads. The trail to Interocean Pass even stops well short. Take a look at coming in over by Beaver Reservoir, some what better trailer but again weather dictates when you get in and out. Coal Creek has access through the private land and it is clearly marked. second season our group will be there as well. Dave

When you say coal creek road is impassable after rain or snow, how long before it gets passable? Will a 4 wheel drive and chains be able to get out if we get snow or rain?
 

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