2019 Colorado Elk Hunt

Discussion in 'Big Game Hunting' started by bowhunter448, Feb 20, 2018.

  1. bowhunter448

    bowhunter448 Grizzled Veteran

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    Guys,

    I'm looking at going to Colorado (Fairplay area) for an elk hunt in 2019. Do you guys have any thoughts, tips and suggestions for me so I have a decent chance at a Colorado elk?

    Thanks
     
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  2. jstephens61

    jstephens61 Weekend Warrior

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    Get in shape, don’t skimp on boots or a pack. Get the Elknut app and University of Elk Hunting. Lots of great information in those 2. Study Google Earth. Have a plan A,B,C & D. Get in shape.
     
  3. Hogs need lovin too

    Hogs need lovin too Weekend Warrior

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    I'm going this year in 2018. My 2 cents: start buying gear now! All that expense in 1 year really adds up.




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  4. bowhunter448

    bowhunter448 Grizzled Veteran

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    What gear are you recommending?


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  5. Hogs need lovin too

    Hogs need lovin too Weekend Warrior

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    I'm not the most qualified to answer this since this is my first Elk trip but I'll make a short list below to give an idea. This will be a backcountry 5 or 6 day hunt. I hate it because I have so much CAMPING equipment, but I really don't own any BACKPACKING equipment.

    -Backpack: I've found that $500 is the min. buy in for my preferences but you can find cheaper. I'm going for the ultra-expensive option which is Kifaru. This will be at least a $650 pack but with add-ons can go up to $800 or more. I'll be ordering next month.
    -Tent: I'm saving here with a $130 tent (probably Kelty Salida). Ultra-lightweight options get expensive fast.
    -Mess Kit + Burner + fuel: probably like $60 all together
    -Sleeping System: Mat+sleeping bag will probably be $100-$200 range, but I haven't really researched this yet.
    -Binoculars: went with Vortex Crossfire 10x42 for $150
    -Hiking Boots: haven't researched, but I will probably spend ~$200 because wearing bad boots sucks
    -Elk Calls: haven't looked into this yet.
    -1/2 Elk Tag - I don't remember right off so I'll say $325ish

    Those are the bigger ticket items, but other stuff I personally have to buy: get my bow restrung, 1 or 2 sets of new camo clothing (I really don't have much camo and what I do have is ultra low-end), new broadheads, and maybe new arrows... not sure how many I still have. Expenses are really adding up to compress in 8 months. I knew about this trip since early 2017 but procrastinated until now so I have to live the rest of the year cheap in all other aspects of my life. Worth it.
     
  6. wl704

    wl704 Legendary Woodsman

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    Priorities:
    •Get in shape - Cardio, endurance and some functional strength.
    •Be proficient with your weapon.
    •For CO, get your CID set up/if needed take safety class; determine if you will apply for draw or OTC
    •Research hunt areas / Logistical planning - you can spend a lot of time here if you're a planner.
    •Gear:

    For gear the biggest needs are weapon, sleep system (including shelter), boots and pack. I assume you have a weapon.

    Sleep system - depending on dates, location and altitude you may have a variety of weather (sun, rain, hail, snow, wind) and temps. Plan/prep accordingly. A 20 degree down bag, inflatable pad and tarp are my minimums. I have been blessed to share camp with others that include some great wall tent setups (heat, kitchens, generator).

    You can get by with a cheaper pack than somebody mentioned before (used even) but the premium packs are more comfortable especially for heavy loads. Try on a pack with a load for comfort and train with your pack and a load. Kifaru, Exo, Stone Glacier are awesome if $ is not a constraint.

    Good comfortable and broken in boots. Many opinions and great boots out there...find what works for you. Be thinking you will be hiking 10+/- miles/day with a lot of elevation change and sidehilling. YMMV.

    There may be other gear you want to bring or think you need...ask. Take a shakedown trip to validate before the hunt.
     
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  7. FearNoEvil

    FearNoEvil Weekend Warrior

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    My family hunted the medicine bow range around Craig for years. Not to be rhetorical but being in shape is a must you will be constantly moving and being at higher altitudes affects you more than you think. Also try to practice on life size targets i know this isn't easy but if local 3d courses have an elk target its good to practice. They always to me looked closer due to there size so having the practice makes the yardages easier.
     
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  8. Scott/IL

    Scott/IL Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Don't obsess over the unit you end up going to. It's your first time, just pick one, buy a tag, and go.

    There's also a huge romance with backpack hunting right now, but unless you have experience and the gear to do this, it'll probably be best to use a base camp.

    Don't over estimate your ability to get an elk out of the mountains and back to the truck. The excitement turns to soar knees and a screaming back before too long. I was lucky enough to have 4 friends help me butcher and pack my bull out this year in 1 trip....300 pounds of boned out meat plus the rack and cape (plus day gear for me and another). Started cutting around 9 PM, and back to the truck around 3 AM, and it was mostly all downhill.



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  9. bz_711

    bz_711 Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Are you going on a landowner tag? Fairplay area requires many years worth of preference points otherwise...

    Best advice: can't be in too good of shape

    Top 3 items after weapon: boots, pack, GPS(or good phone app these days)

    Good Luck!
     
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  10. dnoodles

    dnoodles Legendary Woodsman

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    just a thought; and I'm not trying to be a doooosh. But if you are worried about how many arrows you currently have you might not be prepared to hunt elk.

    Also, packs are important but you don't need to spend close to a grand on one. I have an ALPz that cost me under $200 and it was more than enough to be my frame pack with another model ALPz as a spike camp pack that further converted to a day fanny pack.

    Boots? I loved (and still use) my Irish Setter Vaprtreks; and I have jacked up feet. They're like tennis shoes w/ ankle support and armor.

    I over did it with tents and such; I could have easily gotten away with much less. But I also never had night temps lower than 50 and day temps in the 65-75 range.

    I'll go thru my comprehensive item list tomorrow and post what worked.
     
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  11. Hogs need lovin too

    Hogs need lovin too Weekend Warrior

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    Ha! I guess what I meant was how many usable arrows I have: I would plan to take only arrows in either new or "like new" condition and if I'm gonna go buy any arrows, I might as well by 6 or 12. I like to keep my practice and my hunting arrows separate, but I think I used up all my hunting arrows...
     
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  12. dnoodles

    dnoodles Legendary Woodsman

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    that makes sense especially if you are hog hunting a lot. I imagine pigs are real tough on arrows.
    I only buy 12 at a time- that way you get from the same batch (more consistent) typically cheaper, and it's easy to divide 6 for target/6 for hunting.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
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  13. wl704

    wl704 Legendary Woodsman

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    Fwiw-I'll buy/build arrows in batches (6, 12, 24- the numbers have varied over the years depending on how much $ I've had). Use half or 2/3 for practice, the remainder for hunting. Set them all up the same. When I go out west I'll take about a dozen arrows to my camp plus some extra points, Broadheads. I only carry ~5 in the field (1 blunt just in case I see a grouse).

    When practicing don't shoot the same spot and your arrows will generally last longer.
     
  14. dnoodles

    dnoodles Legendary Woodsman

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    yes, a GPS is almost a must. Although where I was in Idaho I pretty much had verizon cell coverage everywhere; I wouldn't count on it. I've never hunted Colorado but last time I skied there (maybe 2013?) coverage was spotty.
     
  15. wl704

    wl704 Legendary Woodsman

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    Cached maps (google/GE or onX will work in airplane mode) with GPS is an approach I've used.
     
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  16. soccerdan90

    soccerdan90 Grizzled Veteran

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    This year will be my 3rd trip out west for elk. My gear list has come along ways the last 6 years.

    Good Boots are a must. I'm running merrels and they work great for me. Probably better options but they are comfy and broken in. I've had them almost 4 years now.

    Last trip I carried an alps commander x pack and frame. It was a good pack for the money but I just couldn't get it to fit just right. And it was 9 pounds empty. I just picked up a used kifaru bikini frame and a 7000 ci bag for $260. It's right around 5 pounds. This pack fits me so good. Shop around and you can find good deals on rokslide or kifaru buy sell trade.

    I used a big Agnes Flycreek ul1 last trip but this year I'm taking a floorless tipi. It's a jimmy tarp Hudson and weighs right around 2 pounds with stakes. This tent gives you the option of running a wood stove which is great. Tent cost me $310 I believe.

    You don't have to have top of the line stuff. Buy good boots, a 20 degree bag or even warmer, a tent, and a good pad. GPS is also important. You don't need fancy camo and gadgets but they are nice to have.

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  17. Bails-UK

    Bails-UK Die Hard Bowhunter

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    If your going backcountry, you want a total pack weight minus water of around 35lbs(mine 32lbs loaded for 4 days, KUIU Icon 5200) or less..... if you are base camping , ignore what I said previous and concentrate on other things.

    As said by others, get some good boots, nothing heavy. Make sure your boots are walked in and not fresh from the box.

    Get fit, no need to be a body builder, just work on your cardio and strength.

    Play the wind, you don't need expensive camo to hunt Elk, unless you are spending days backcountry packing and in that case you might want to invest in some lightweight gear...... layers.

    I use a one man tent, I've also used a tarp, its all person al preference, personally I prefer a tent, that way I don't get covered in bugs and creepy crawlies :)

    GPS AND MAP are very important, I also take a compass, got lost once.... never again.

    Best Bino's you can afford

    First Aid kit, always have it with you.

    Once you know the area you are hunting, get on Google Earth and look for good habitat, bedding area's, water sources, pinch points and feeding area's.

    Learn to use a mouth reed, learn to cow call and location bugle, start now and don't leave it till last minute. A good mouth reed to start is The Remedy by Rocky Mountain Hunting Calls, by far the easiest and best sounding reed I have ever used. An external call like Primos "I maka da bull crazy" is a great sounding call too, but stay away from the Hoochie Mama!

    Cooking wise, go for something like a Jetboil, easy to use and boils a cup of water in seconds.

    Water filter, by far the best I've used is the Sawyer Squeeze filters, light and easy to carry, I'd drink my own piss through that filter, they're brilliant and you'll never have to carry 5ltrs of water up a mountain again, as they work in the dirtiest of water.

    carry a spare release, just in case you drop your main release.

    Take a camera for the memories of the adventure ;)

    Good Luck
     
  18. Bird Man

    Bird Man Newb

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    Being a seasoned CO Archery Elk Hunter there are many factors that would determine what you need - are you going to tent camp, will you have a base camp (trailer, camper, wall tent, ...etc). As mentioned already the weather varies greatly in the mountains. Also important is which weeks you plan to hunt. The archery season starts the end of Aug. and goes for four weeks. The first week can be very warm while the last week could be warm, but normally is much cooler. Most every year the first week you will have temps at 10K feet in the mid to low 40's at night and +70 deg during the day. The last week can be nice also but the night temps will drop into the 20's & 30's. One year it was in the single digit's at night and 20's during the day and over a three day period we got 20" of snow. For weather - expect the unexpected!!!!!!!!!!

    Personally I put up a base camp in my high clearance Popup Tent Trailer and backpack into the back country with a tent & sleeping bag. Of course I have a white gas fuel camp stove for cooking.

    Besides the basics like having a quality bow, practicing and being proficient (I practice to be accurate out to at least 70 yrds), nailing down your sleeping gear/arrangements, food, having a quality water filter, pack (many options here, but I like a pack that comes apart so you have a day pack), tent - minimum 3 season (look at Mountain Smith Morrison EVO 2 person), sleeping bag & pad, first aid kit, gore-tex type light rain coat & pants, and clothing (I like a fleece coat & pants, short-sleeved camo t-shirts). Fleece is very quiet, very breathable, and warm when needed. I wear the same medium weight fleece pants all week in any/every temp.

    #1 - get in shape! Someone mentioned earlier needing to hike up to 10mi/day. For me there are many days where it is 15+ mi/day going up & down mountains in & out of tree line. If you get an elk back in 10mi you will have to get it out in less than a day in most cases to prevent it from spoiling. This year I shot a 6x6 bull, see image below, at 7pm & was 5mi from camp. By the time I de-boned all the meat and got it back to camp with several trips it was 6AM. Personally I bicycle ride thousands of miles per year to get my legs in great shape and my cardio is optimal.

    Boots - I have tried dozens of brands and styles over the years. Most anyone can handle many uncomfortable situations in the woods, but if your feet hurt you are done! My preference for the past few years are Meindl Danali Boots Fit IQ and Gore-Tex. If you always have cold feet, get the model with the 400grams of insulation. Luckily, I never get cold feet. These boots needed very little break-in, but always wise to hike fifty or so miles in any boot before getting in the mountains. Water-proof them very well before you come out. I prefer sno-seal, heat boots in oven to about 150deg, put on sno-seal heavily, put back in oven for 10 min. to absorb. Works great!!!

    Socks - Again, have used and tried most everything there is and socks are almost as important as boots. My preference for the past decade is Smartwool Men's Hike Medium Crew Socks. Just enough padding, but not too much, very warm, very breathable. You can buy them online at amazon, cabela's, ...etc. Make sure you pre-wash them and dry/shrink them enough as needed for your foot size. The sizing charts on smatewool's website is right on!

    I could go on and on, but with some good planning and being in shape you can get into some elk while you are here.

    IMG_20180830_200415 - Copy.jpg
     
  19. Bails-UK

    Bails-UK Die Hard Bowhunter

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    You still going and are you prepared and ready to go?
     

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