Colorado Public Land Elk Bow Hunt

Discussion in 'Bowhunting Talk' started by Lester, Feb 12, 2021.

  1. Lester

    Lester Grizzled Veteran

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    I am going on my first DIY public land elk bow hunt in Colorado this September. For the guys that have done this do you have a list of items that you need?
     
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  2. grommel

    grommel Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Im jealous! Never been but one of these days! Best of luck to you brother.
     
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  3. wl704

    wl704 Legendary Woodsman

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    Well, a bow...arrows... I've got a whole gear list of you need... I think there are a few decent ones out there, but I'll hit hilights below :

    If you're planning on utv/atv will need to be encased when in transit.

    Good boots - broken in, preferably waterproof, comfortable hikers that you can put miles on (uphill, side or downhill).

    Good sleep system - shelter, sleeping pad, sleeping bag... (Could be tent, cot, pad, bag or rv and whatever). I have a really minimalist tarp style tent, pad, 20 degree treated down bag.

    Good backpack - lots of options out there, but something that you can carry an elk quarter or more (think maybe 60-100# if successful, and the #trips v pain you desire). Boneless, your likely going to end up with like 200-250ish pounds of meat (+\-50 for a cow or big bull). I like something that collapses down for day use. Kifaru, Exo, Stone glacier are the cats ass...there are plenty of cheaper options.

    Layered clothing. Morning temps may be as low as 20-30s, highs feel higher at elevation and when your moving... Maybe 80s. I like merino, helps with stink management. Base and mid layers aside, I have a packable rain jacket (not really needed if you go all merino, but it's a comfort thing), a puffy, cap/hat, thin gloves (symthetic or leather... I have both).

    Means to carry water. I use a bladder and have a filter, backed up with tablets. Others go with bottles...kinda depends on how deep and long you intend to go... Water is heavy. But if you do half day, bottles work.

    Food drives other gear and imho depends on how you intend to hunt. A base camp and coolers, bring the camp stove. If you camp backcountry a jetboil, msr or other packable fits well with dehydrated/freeze dried food. I like a warm meal in the evening and coffee in the morning... So jetboil is my thing.

    Good knife, game bags.

    Chapstick and means to make fire. OnX/gps.

    Imho binos or glass really isn't necessary in CO. Ymmv.

    Public and pressured areas, animals may be call shy... Get a few miles in and calls & bugle tube are clutch.
     
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  4. Lester

    Lester Grizzled Veteran

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    Thanks for the info. Type of pack and boots are my biggest concern. We are hiking into camp. Everything will be by foot.
     
  5. wl704

    wl704 Legendary Woodsman

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    Packs - exo, kifaru, sg you can carry 80# very comfortably for miles... You give out before them... mystery ranch, alps, horn hunter, Eberlestock, badlands...all other capable options but likely less comfortable. I've got an old horn hunter full curl. My hunting buddy (nearly 15 yrs younger) a kifaru. If $ was no object one of the first 3 I mentioned are solid picks...sit down before looking at those prices though.

    Boots are tough. Fit varies so much. I've used Solomons light, but they don't last long ~3 yrs my max. First year I used Danner, but they didn't fit my feet well enough... Foot slip = blisters. The perfect boots are a never ending quest...

    I now also pretape my heels and go toes with Leukotape...otoh, I also typically put in 10-20miles in a day. The day I shot my elk last fall I logged the fewest miles, but we had located them the evening before...

    I will say, everything I ever heard from Aron Snyder on gear has been solid advice (Rokslide, old gritty bowman podcasts, kifarucast or his IG). I think on boots he's big on Hanwag or Scarpa, but he always adds the disclaimer he likes a stiff boot.
     
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  6. cantexian

    cantexian Grizzled Veteran

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    I would echo @wl704 emphasis on quality boots and pack, especially if you will be backpacking in overnight. You can get by with a cheap tent and sleeping bag. But, a cheap pack and cheap boots will end your trip before your allotted tine runs out. Carry a compass and waterproof map if you go into roadless areas.

    Do not be committed to one location. Have a minimum of five preselected areas in your unit to bounce around to. If it looks easy to get to and find on a map, it will be pressured. When looking at an area, go to the areas that are hard to get to. The elk will be where other people are not willing to go.

    Be in shape. If you cannot hike 8-12 miles per day, you are not physically ready. I have only been on one elk kill that was less than a mile from the truck. With multiple trips packing out, it was a five mile day. That was the only one I would call easy. I have done 12 mile days when packing out a bull and I have 14 mile days without hearing bugle. I probably average 8 miles on days without a kill just trying to find elk.

    Learn to use mouth diaphragm calls. You can’t draw a bow and work a hand held call at the same time.
     
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  7. Sota

    Sota Legendary Woodsman

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    Make certain that you drink more water than you think you need before you leave home. They call it altitude sickness but it is critical that you are well hydrated before you get there. Drink more water than you think you need.
     
  8. SticknString14

    SticknString14 Newb

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    All great gear and advice given above. For something less essential for killing elk but for a good time bring a fishing pole of some kind. Elk season I leave a few rods and fishing gear in my truck all September and keep a hand line and a couple flies in my pack. Fresh brook trout and elk tenderloins pair perfectly. Good luck and enjoy the great adventure!
     
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  9. Lester

    Lester Grizzled Veteran

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    I have been told Peak refuel and Mountain House are good choices for MRE. Anything else worth trying?

    Also looking at Crispi boots.
     
  10. wl704

    wl704 Legendary Woodsman

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    Peak is better than MH, imho. More flavorful.

    Some MH are decent, others not so much. High in sodium. Their breakfast skillets on tortillas are decent breakfast food.

    You will want variety though. And if I recall right, you may be a hot sauce fan... Which is a good add to freezer dried meals.

    Stay away from Alpenairé, Mary Jane's. Backpackers pantry & Good to go never tried. Heather's choice has a very polarized clientele, me, not a fan. There are a few other brands out there in wanting to try, but can't get a hold of : gastronome (only available in MT) and a couple of of the PNW.

    Crispis have been popular, past couple years, but I can't provide a first hand recommendation on them. I'm sure somebody on here has them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2021
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  11. SticknString14

    SticknString14 Newb

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    Peak imo has the best meals followed by MH and backpackers pantry. Being creative can help with variety, Ill mix in instant potatoes or ramen soups to meals for something a little different or larger portions if I’m hunting with a buddy. Having hot sauce as mentioned or salt & pepper packets can be a game changer. I carry a spice premix in a small ziplock and put it on almost everything. Quick cook pastas, Mac and cheese cups and tuna packets are good alternatives as well
     
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  12. takemrarely

    takemrarely Weekend Warrior

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    My boy , (33), and I are going also.

    We bought crispi boots and I am liking them a lot.

    We are pulling my camper out and spiking out from there. Any thoughts about leaving the camper with nobody around for a few days?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  13. wl704

    wl704 Legendary Woodsman

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    On the boots break them in, if you haven't already, before you go.

    On the camper, kinda depends on where you are/are going. If you set up in high traffic areas you may have problems... I hear of a few cases every year...deeper in NF you could have some bears if you don't keep a clean camp. With covid last year, there seemed to be many more people around trail heads and popular sights (e.g. 14ers, fishing spots, etc).

    We've been fortunate to find decent spots avoiding these problems or have setup base camp with several friends (7 or 8 small groups of 1-3 last year... Some spikeout, but enough traffic of our own little community to keep an eye open). Most campgrounds close after labor day, so we may setup a bit of the main roads, on BLM, away from trailheads/parking. Though weekends were very busy.
     
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  14. cantexian

    cantexian Grizzled Veteran

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    I don’t have any experience with Crispi boots. I have used the Cabelas brand white tail series, about a $180 boot when i bought them 10 years ago. I have also used $80 Columbia hiking boots.
     
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  15. Captn Kirk

    Captn Kirk Weekend Warrior

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    Hi Monster Raxx
    All great advise. I would add that I used the Elk nut for hunting information and calling tips and tricks. Their are several others that looked good as well. It is not just bugling. I have done this the last two seasons I day hunt ie return to camper off grid 4 to 6 miles a day. My son had Crispi boots and they worked great for him I have wide feet and had a pair of White Hunters made. Walked 50 miles in them getting ready with the pack on. I use a EXO. As said do not go cheap on boots or pack. We do not use a spotting scope and very little bino use but I carry them. Try a bunch of mouth calls until you find a line that you are comfortable with. Bad sound at the wrong time not good. We have had close encounters (bulls and cows) but no shot opportunity yet. I head to south west Co. what area are you headed to ?
    Good hunting
    Kirk
     
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  16. Retired2Hunt

    Retired2Hunt Newb

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    All great information from the others. The Colorado Parks & Wildlife web site has a great deal of information - go to the Elk Hunting University portion found within the Big Game area. My best advise is that you don't try hunting elk like deer.
     
  17. Retired2Hunt

    Retired2Hunt Newb

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  18. Bowhuntr64

    Bowhuntr64 Weekend Warrior

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    I've done it quite a bit...and love it! A list largely depends on how you're doing it--from a base camp or spike camp. And also where. In the Sangre de Cristos you can get A LOT of rain that time of year, so rain gear is not something to skimp on. I also prefer iodine tablets over a pump, just to save weight and bulk...but I live out of my pack for 5-7 days. A great place to find gear is on the Rokslide Classifieds. Really helpful site for Western hunting. Happy to help in any other way I can if you PM me.
     
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