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  1. #1
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    Question Elk Hunting on Budget

    I was talking to a customer last month and he was
    about to go on his annual elk hunting trip to Colo.

    They hunt on public land. Rent a mule? and do this
    all on a pretty tight budget.

    How realistic is it to score an elk by just hunting on
    public land in Colo????

    My son and I and a buddy would love to try this but
    the budget is really tight.

    Coloradans.......... what say ye. Can it be done???

  2. #2
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    Sundance. Yes, it is possible and most outfitters take their guys on public land to hunt.

    If you are really serious about it PM me and I can give more details. Too late this season, but not for planning for next season. The main cost would be an out of state tag which for an elk this year was $526.

    Here is a link for 2008 seasons, fees, and what you can hunt so you can get an idea.

    http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/...tesAndFees.htm
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  3. #3
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    Thanks Alpha........... We are very serious. I've always
    steered clear due to $$$$$$$$. Coupled with not knowing
    where to go to insure a good possibility of success.

    Have tent, will travel.

  4. #4
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    I see cows are 1/2 price.......... What does a decent
    cow dress out at??

  5. #5
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    You could get a couple of hundred lbs of meat from a cow easy...they are pretty big. Thing to remember is there are lots more cows then bulls, but as I have found out if you buy a bull tag you will see nothing but cows and if you buy a cow tag you run into nothing but bulls.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  6. #6
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    LOL, ain't that the truth.

  7. #7
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    Sundance there are 100s of thousands of public acres in Colorado. I rarely hunted in private growing up there. We fed 6 kids on elk all them years. Its very possible to do. I hunt cows and put in for the draw every year. You have to request them(and also pay upfront!) by April I believe but you can ck w/ Colo DOW @ http://wildlife.state.co.us/
    They go by a points system and if you dont get one the first season you start the next w/ a 1 point advantage. I adverage 2 tags every three yrs now that I am an out of state hunter. I hunt cow elk for a couple reasons. One is cost$$$, the another is they taste just as good if not better than an old bull. They have had a 4 point or better restriction there for decades it seems and just like an old whitetail or mulie they get a little tough and(rank in rut)w/ age and also the cows outnumber the bulls 4-1(except when hunting for them like Alpha pointed out!).
    Alpha is in prime hunting w/ other major elk herds in the north around Wolcott /Steamboat, another around Alpha in the Carbondale/Aspen area Then over in the West you have The Grand Mesa by Grand Jct/Delta, w/ Crested Butte/Gunnison and Durango are other spots. There is also a herd up northeast near the Ft Collin/Wyo border but the past has shown they have alot of Chronic Wasting Disease so I'd stay away from them no matter the cost or availability. There are elk in every corner of the state. Some areas are thicker than others. Do a little research on the past harvest(see link above) amounts and go from there. Ask locals like Alpha and even Brewcat and I have lots of contacts(and a brother that guides) too before you commit to buying a tag.
    I am heading out next month for my cow elk hunt. I am lucky to have a sister w/ elk in her yard during the winter months so its a pretty easy score. There is alot more meat on an elk and so much better tasting, even better than the corn/bean fed deer here in MO. You wont regret it after that first taste.
    Good luck

  8. #8
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    Thanks Zane, and Alpha. So if 3 of us put in for cow
    tags next year...... What is the likelihood of of scoring
    a tag or two?

  9. #9
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    Out of state tags are spendy, but the elk are around. IF you're in shape and ready to put miles on your boots and really work for it, you'll likely get into them just fine. They move a LOT and the country you'll hunt is demanding and at high elevation for most folks. The only similarity to stand whitetail hunting is that you have a gun.

    Shouldn't be a problem drawing the tags. From the DOW website you can download harvest statistics, herd sizes, all kinds of good stuff to pick a GMU you have good odds in. Most of the hunting pressure here is for trophy racks, so cow tags are comparitively easy draws from what I hear (I've gotten my first preference four tags running now, with no prefernce points accumulated). Even around here, where CWD is at "critical" levels, it's under 6% prevalence. I'd say go for it! Worst thing that'll happen is you spend a week in stunning terrain doing a different kind of hunt than you're used to.

    And elk simply rocks to eat!
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  10. #10
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    Ben brings up a good point. My house is at 8200 ft and its up hill from there to get to the elk so you need to keep that in mind. Also, weather this time of year is crazy. 60 one minute and blinding snow and temps in the 20's couple of hours later so you have to pack gear for all contingencies.

    I think between three of ya you should be able to get tags. They also have over the counter tags for sale and in this area if you get them right away its never a problem.

    One more thing...you will need hunter safety cards to get a license...not sure if they are required in your state but here it is.

    One last thing...this is God's country...you won't find more beautiful areas and getting meat to top it off...pretty good. Oh...and good honey also.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  11. #11
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    If you hike in a long ways and shoot an elk, how do you get it back to camp or to a vehicle?

  12. #12
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    Just a note when filling out for cow draw tags. If you go as a group you only accumulate 1 point "as a group" but if you go seperate then you "each" get a point, IF needed. I'd reccomend doing it seperate. We do it that way just in case one doesn't get a draw then chances are the next year someone in the group has an extra point and may draw that year if that makes sense?
    ALSO dont forget to purchase the extra costing and oh so wonderful "heritage permit" once you get that drawn tag. Its just something else to spend you money on to get to hunt or ticket you if you didnt get it. Greedy D.O.W. these days!
    Them Coloradans are trying to scare you w/ all that elevation and stuff. Hell your lungs are going to burn like you swallowed fire and washed it down w/ gasoline!!! Plus an elk outweighs a mulie and whitetail 3-5 times!!!! so grab three whitetails and practice dragging them around the yard and if you have a 2 story house carry them up the stairs a few hundred times then you have the idea but only 1/2 of it!!! Yes it can be problem but if you go prepared w/ good gear for anything, and do some exercise you'll probably be ok.
    If at all possible try and go a few days early and get acclimated to the elevation. Maybe spend a day or 2 in Denver then up the elevation a bit more for another day. I have kids that I bring out skiing and camping that get altitude sickness every year. It will spoil a trip if your not careful. Drink lots of fluid too they say. It will be worth the trip if your ready. Keep on researching and getting ready.

  13. #13
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    Neil,
    I just talked to my brother. He went hunting Sunday morning and saw an Elk in the bottom of the draw. He didnt shoot. They can be a pain in the neck. We used mules growing up. 1/4 the elk up and put 1/2 an elk per mule. Or hike out w/ 1/4 of the elk in your pack at a time. Now days I shoot where I can pick them up in a vehicle of some sort. The adventure of draggin elk has worn off years ago! The last 2 cow elks I shot, I drove over on the snowmobile, hooked a rope around its neck and drug it into the garage. Didnt drag it 5'! But thats just luck.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeilV View Post
    If you hike in a long ways and shoot an elk, how do you get it back to camp or to a vehicle?
    You quarter it and pack it out on a horse if it's in a really tough spot. Sometimes you can drag it out. I've seen 'em pulled out on the snow with an ATV. We pulled this one about 1,000 yards to the road. It took 3 of us to move her on the snow. Mmmmmm........

    http://s29.photobucket.com/albums/c2...t=DSCN4487.jpg

  15. #15
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    I guess I am not locked into Colorado...... I hear that
    Montana is great as well and a lot closer.

    Aren't there any flat land Elk??

    We have a once in a lifetime drawing here for an Elk
    tag that I apply for religiously every year along with
    the Moose and Bighorn tags.

    But I am impatient........

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sundance View Post
    .

    Aren't there any flat land Elk??
    Used to be. They're all long digested now . Wisconsin is finally able to consider some limited hunts up in Chequamnegon (I forget how to spell that!) since a modestly successful reintroduction program has taken hold.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  17. #17
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    Sundance, actually the Wapiti or Elk where a plains animal long ago(probably until we drove them off their land and into the Mtns). I've seen elk in the powder river basin near Gilette,Wyo and there isnt a mtn for 60 miles. It sure surprised me seeing them there under a grove of cottonwoods. There is a small herd in Arkansas and they are trying to introduce them here in Missouri or Kansas but not getting much possitive feedback. They can tear up a field of corn in no time. In Montana I think you need a guide to hunt non res but it may be Wyo that had that rule. Might ck on it first. You know eastern side of the Cascades in Washington has some pretty sweet territory. Big open meadows w/ patches of trees here and there. Beautiful and open. The thing about hunting in the big open plains is its like hunting antelope. They can see you for miles so you have to be real careful sneaking up on them. Thats why I hunt elk w/ a .338 Rem Ultra Mag. It really gets out there and kiss's them a long ways.
    I'm getting the "fever" talking about these darn elk and dont go hunting for them for almost a month. I still need to kill me a few Whitetails.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sundance View Post
    How realistic is it to score an elk by just hunting on
    public land in Colo????
    There are many units that undersubscribe for the cow tags. You can easily get one of those.

    I hunt public lands. I know where to find public areas that you can drive on (will be very crowded), drive to with short walk in (crowd drops off suprisingly quick) and places that one walks miles into.

    The altitude is nothing to scoff at. give yourself a day or two short of 9k doing little but resting, building the firepit, etc. and you should be good to go. This seems related to age as the older flatlanders I take (cousins, uncles, etc) need a little more time than the younger ones. I've never seen any real altitude sickeness; mostly headaches and real tired for a couple of days. Sucks when you have to start moving their stuff into your pack to help them along.

    Might be up for tagging along myself.

    By the way, renting the equine or hooking up with a packer before you need one is always cheaper then once the meat is on the ground.

    Quote Originally Posted by NeilV View Post
    If you hike in a long ways and shoot an elk, how do you get it back to camp or to a vehicle?
    I once shot a full grown (not a little one like Barry D's) cow while archery hunting 7 miles into a wilderness area. Alone. Boned and carried out in 5 trips with two more trips (one for my camp and another for my buddies camp [long story]) Took 2 days. Now I "guide" <ahem> younger folk so they can have these sorts of great experiences.

    I went to Walden for a shower and hot meal the night between those two days. I stopped in a cafe and ordered chicken fried steak. They plate up a monster chicken fried steak, too much for me now, but that night I ate TWO orders! (and I still lost weight)
    JohnF INTP

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by John F View Post
    I once shot a full grown (not a little one like Barry D's) cow while archery hunting 7 miles into a wilderness area.
    Hey! She wasn't little! She just had delicate features.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Digman View Post
    Hey! She wasn't little! She just had delicate features.

    ROFLMAO...... Priceless

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