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Discussion in 'How To Hunt Big Game' started by ANG0918, Jan 2, 2017.
get an outfitter on CO, i know a guy that can help you no problem.
Elk are big tough animals. As always shot placement is key, but my wife killed her deer last year and it had a hole in what looked like a perfect shot from another hunter. The deer was walking around like nothing. I had an archery bull tag a couple years back. After i killed my bull i saw he actually had a broadhead wound right in the "void " the Bull was feeding with cows and didnt look injured at all. My point is after seeing what deer and elk are capable of surviving, i went and bought a 300 win mag for elk hunting
Anywhere in western Colorado has Elk. Use a well constructed bullet and use a heavy for caliber bullets. I've used a 7-08 and .308 up to a 35 Whelen and 8mm Rem Mag. just keep distances reasonable. Elk can absorb a lot and still be on their feet.
Agree with many who have had experiences where the animals seem to absorb enormous energy from well placed shots and can get clean away. I have been lucky and had more normal experiences where the well placed shots were good enough and the animals went down. PREMIUM bullets are worth their weight in gold to help you anchor elk. My elk rifles are: .300 wm, .325 wsm, 8mm mag, .338 mag, and .375 H&H. My wife has killed elk with her .30-06 using 180gr. Nos partitions. She always takes careful well placed shots at distances of 200yd. and closer. I use bullet weights 200gr. and up depending on the rifle from the list above. My friend who has harvested 28 elk over the last 32 years said to shoot and keep shooting until they are on the ground. I haven't had to use more than two shots to get one down but have not forgotten the advice.
yup keep shooting til they quit moving. make the first shot count then just keep on them til they go down. I've shot 9 elk in the last 7 years and only 2 took more than one hit from the .300WM. one was cow that took 3 180gr corelokts( first elk and the last time I used a corelokt) and one was a cow that took a 200gr accubond that went into the front shoulder and drove completely through diagonally and lodged in the hind quarter. then the second shot went through the neck on the run at 40 yards. the rest including a couple bulls have pretty well tipped over with one well placed 180gr accubond
I grew up just across the border in South Arkansas however I lived in New Mexico (5 years) and Wyoming (10 years). As has been said if I were you check out outfitters as they are the way to go unless you know people in Colorado or Wyoming you can co-ordinate with and hunt with. Getting an out of state tag varies greatly depending on the area and how in demand it is (how good the hunting or trophy quality of the animals are). Set REALIST EXPECTATIONS and get in shape for the hunt as the altitude will kick your rear!
Take the rifle YOU shoot accurately. If you have a .270 or a .30-06 you can drive tacks with don't think you have to go out and buy a big magnum. More elk have been killed with those two cartridges than all of the magnums put together. The key is the bullet you use in them which should be a premium controlled expansion one like Barnes, Nosler, A-Frame, etc. on the heavier side and not your favorite whitetail deer bullet. There is nothing wrong with the magnums if you shoot them well but they will not compensate for poor marksmanship. Part of the fun at least for me was getting the harvest records for big bucks, big bull elk, or what ever you are hunting and making listings by county, and year to see where the trophies are coming out of currently. You can even call the game biologists for those areas and talk to them for advise and suggestions. Contact outfitters from those areas and check with their clients both successful and un-successful; ask for the numbers of both.
Some of the Indian Reservations will guarantee you a shot at a 6 point bull but that will COST you high dollars and they also require you to be guided by an Indian guide. Their Indian guides as a whole are top notch as are their bull elk if you have the money!
Do you want to go kill an elk or do you want to learn to elk hunt? If you want to come out west and kill an elk get a guide and or access to a ranch or a late season migration tag and pray for snow. If you want to learn to hunt elk maybe get a guide but definitely come for the experience and to learn. It's like anything else, you learn from experience and there is no substitute for time spent in elk country. It will take time to get shed of the southern whitetail hunting mentality. First of all, you are not going to pattern them for the most part. Just because they feed in a meadow one afternoon does not automatically mean they will ever return again once hunting season starts. The west is an arid place, sign last a long time so it also means next to nothing. You are not going to out walk the competition or the hunters on horses. Getting in the backcountry will get you out of the most heavily hunted areas but you will be around other hunters even if you don't see them assume you are not alone. Elk are extremely sent sensitive, a whitetail will smell you, blow and make a hundred yard circle around you then continue on to where they were headed anyway. An elk will smell you at 300 yards and you will never see them again. Basically if your in an area with elk you will see them. Get up high spend first and last light spotting if you are not seeing them move on. Don't spend to much time in an area that looks like it should be a good spot if you're not seeing animals. Early and late seasons are the best most years, but it really depends on the weather. Use whatever rifle you shoot well and meets regulation for the states you hunt in. Bullet choice and shot placement are much more important than caliber. The newer generations of bullet's performance are based on FPS to perform as designed. Know your ballistics and effective range, you will not get this info from the side of the box. You will definitely need a rangefinder. Out to 400 yards is no big deal but being able to tell the difference between 470 and 630 can be pretty tough for us flatlanders and it makes a hell of a lot of difference on doping your scope. You can forget the 1500lbs of energy rule, today's bullets will do what they are made to do if they are traveling at the recommended FPS. I'm from Mississippi but have lived and hunted out west for the last 27 years. I started hunting in CO with a 30-06 shooting good whitetail bullets, after wounding a couple I got a 300 WBY. Killed tons of elk with it with Partitions, Accubonds. Nowadays I use either a 260 Rem with 142gr accubond long range or 280 Rem with 150 ABLR we've taken 14 or so elk in the last 5 years with them none of which had to be tracked. Always shoot prone if at all possible. Spend as much as you can afford on optics, I'm partial to NF, Ziess, Leica. A good spotting scope is a must, don't get talked into a Vortex if you want a Swaro. They are not the same. Get a good backpack, the best lightest, warmest sleeping bag you can afford. Don't drink the water out of the creek because it looks clean and tastes good.No matter how much you prepare down south you will not be in mountain shape until you've been here for a few days. If there is snow get snowshoes.
Caveman has a lot of good advice above. I would add that if an area looks like a pain in the --- to get to, there are gonna be elk in it.
This is my third year elk hunting and will be strictly rifle hunting this year. Did archery the last two years, great experiences but hard to seal the deal. I will have better broadheads and arrows before I archery hunt again.
Use Eastmans or GoHunt or some of the other resources and find units to build points in and then use second choice on your tags for OTC units/seasons if you want to come out and hunt. I would recommend getting the OTC tags and getting experience hunting elk vs waiting for years for a tag that takes a lot of points to get. Archery hunting can be humbling but it’s a long season where you can hunt multiple weeks and get to experience the rut, so it is a good way to learn a lot.
I live near Meeker, Rio Blanco county, northwest
Colorado has very easy elk hunting, if you know what
You are doing.#1 They don't like Atv sounds.....
Jensen wildlife area 10 miles north of Meeker, oak ridge, 20 miles east of meeker. Piance creek area, 25 miles west of meeker.
Talk to Stan at wyatts sporting goods in meeker, he can give you great advice.
Your zero point OTC tags on the western slope can be good if you do your part. The biggest thing is get as far back as possible. Be prepared. In shape and the right gear. The farther you get the more elk your going to see for most OTC tags.
After what I saw this year I don’t think I’ll be hunting anymore OTC type units in Colorado. Over the last several years I’ve always been able to shoot elk even some decent bulls in these units but it doesn’t seem like it matters where you go now. No matter how far in you get there are tons of people and the elk are freaked out. I’ve personally made the decision to hunt less but have higher quality hunts in draw units and paying for private land access.
Have to agree with a lot being said here....elk are here and there...quads trucks people spook them all over the place...they get off the cycle and run for safety....private properties and big canyons.....
Take your money and use it wisely....guided or semi guided drop camp....the guide should be professional enough to at least put you semi close to animals......
The thoughts invoked by this thread give me anxiety (for you).
I was a pretty successful whitetail hunter from Upstate NY. The woods of Upstate NY and Pennsylvania are amass with “the blaze orange army”. To find success in such high-density areas requires a lot stealth and patience (to get within range of deer occupying dense undergrowth areas while not spooning them onto the neighbors property). I harvested multiple deer each year when I was a teen, with bow and shotgun, I thought of myself as a pretty good hunter (laughable looking back on it).
I moved out west when I was 21 and (sheepishly) thought I was going to put the hurt on an elk with my bow. I was fit and determined. I made a pact with myself that I wouldn’t shoot an elk with a rifle until I got one with a bow first, that I’d have to earn a bull by learning about their behaviors and habitat. I didn’t have the best gear, I didn’t even own bino’s or RF the first two years, but I had young (flatlander) legs and youthful exuberance. I hiked, and hiked further, then I hiked further still, each year increasing my range and crossing off more “elk country” from my list of hunting areas. It took me three years to get more than 2 miles from my truck, I had that whitetail mentality of assuming that I “should” be able to find them in suitable habitat. It’s not that I wasn’t physically capable, it’s that it took me that long to spend entire seasons looking at old sign (from the summer) and thinking “they should be here”. I was also limiting myself with concerned thoughts about my own abilities to get a bull out of the mountains “if I killed one in that hole”. I had never done a western pack out on my back, I didn’t know what I was capable of at that time. I poked around at the edges of the elk, hearing tiger bugles in dark canyons full of blow downs with treacherous rock slides and cliffs creating visibly unpleasant descents. I kept trying to call them out of those canyons, not understanding that I wasn’t in “the red zone” (150 yds or less). I became frustrated more each year.
On my fifth year I had the good fortune of meeting my hunting buddy while in college. He wasn’t a bow hunter but agreed to accompany me on a hunt. He grew up here and knew what it took to get into elk consistently. He pushed me way beyond my previous comfort zones. I had done a full year of online research about elk calling, tactics and behavior. We got much more aggressive, pushed far into “elk country” and called a 5 point into 30 yards. After 5 years of elk hunting, I finally got to draw my bow on an elk and sealed the deal. I still had a LOT to learn. In the 6 years since, we have killed a total of 10 bulls together.
It’s only been in the last two years that I feel like I finally “got it”. What I mean is that I now understand the idea that only 10% of elk country is inhabited by 90% of the elk. Finding those areas is physically grueling and mentally tough. I no longer waste my time hunting areas with no elk. Right now you are thinking “well, no duh!”. Well where I grew up you couldn’t walk 500 yds without bumping deer. In the west you can literally hike miles and miles of grueling prime habitat and not get into elk. Even if you are in the right vicinity you might have bad timing and they might not be talking that day or they might not be out in the open. Add in the fact that you aren’t just trying to fool and get within range of one elk, you are trying to fool 5-50 of them.
As has been stated, you should pick your desired outcome.
A: do you want to get a humbling education and learn how to do it on your own (which could take a few years and multiple trips)?
B: pay to have someone who has already undertaken this hard-fought endeavor and have them plop you right in the middle of the action.
I will say, regardless of what you pick, if you have an adventurous soul and a wanderlust demeanor, you won’t elk hunt just once. If you are competitive and don’t like to lose, it will become an obsession for you. It has become a way of life for me, I think about elk almost every day, it’s a never ending pursuit and planning process. If this is you, I’d say consider option A, because you are going to want to come back every year anyways.
If you are a “check the box”, “been there, done that” kind of guy, i’d suggest hiring an outfitter, get a top-notch Western Experience and take a lot of photos.
Yeah...what he said.....