1st Rifle Elk Colorado question

TheHeadTurkey

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Apr 27, 2021
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Hello, I drew a 1st rifle elk tag Colorado for this year. This will be my first elk hunt and my second western hunt. After my first western hunt bowhunting mule deer in New Mexico, I can see how hard this western hunting stuff can be, so I'm not going to be picky on this elk hunt. Also, I heard 1st rifle is hard because the bulls go into hiding to recover from the rut and hide from predators. For those reasons, I will go after any legal elk I see. That being said, I wanted to know if it is a viable strategy to look for herds of cow elk like I'm hunting cow elk in hopes that there is a young legal bull among the herd of cows? Is this a good idea or is it uncommon for a legal bull, even if it's young, to be among a herd of cows? My tag is for bulls only. My hunting partner has problems with their knee to the point they have trouble walking if they work the knee too hard, so I'm trying to form a hunt plan that isnt super strenuous for them. Any advice or help is appreciated. I do not have much info to give in return as I have only been hunting for a couple years now, but I promise I will make a thread about this hunt after it happens.
 

Redman

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Mar 31, 2017
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No you're on the right track. FYI there were 3 bulls in the herd bugleing last year during 1st rifle one of them was unlucky. I wouldn't try bugleing in hopes to bring one in but light cow calling doesn't hurt if you see one and need to get his attention.
Good luck!
 

FamilyMan

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Nov 16, 2016
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Missoula, MT
As Redman said, bulls can still be with cows in the first season. To answer your question, yes, young but legal bulls can also be with herds of cow elk. So in either case, if you can find cows you might be in just the right spot. Good luck.
 

Redman

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How comfortable are you and your partner hunting away from each other? The reason I am asking is if you can cover more ground to locate elk the better your odds. My wife went with me for her first time last October she had her leg amputated below the knee in January and got her prothsteic in April. Knowing she couldn't follow me I would go out alone until I found elk. Then I would find an easy route where she could follow me and watch the hunt take place. It was alot of extra work but I was lucky and she got to watch me shoot a bull. She had to wait on the mountain by herself in the dark as I packed up loads of elk in the rain and snow. She didn't particularly care for that part or getting back to camp at 5 a.m. Bottom line is have a discussion with your hunting partner, come to an agreement that you are both comfortable with and be willing to do 2x the amount of work. You are spending time in the mountains that is a reward in itself getting an elk is just icing on the cake.
 

LopeHunter

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MO-->CA-->NW-->AZ-->NV
Hello, I drew a 1st rifle elk tag Colorado for this year. This will be my first elk hunt and my second western hunt. After my first western hunt bowhunting mule deer in New Mexico, I can see how hard this western hunting stuff can be, so I'm not going to be picky on this elk hunt. Also, I heard 1st rifle is hard because the bulls go into hiding to recover from the rut and hide from predators. For those reasons, I will go after any legal elk I see. That being said, I wanted to know if it is a viable strategy to look for herds of cow elk like I'm hunting cow elk in hopes that there is a young legal bull among the herd of cows? Is this a good idea or is it uncommon for a legal bull, even if it's young, to be among a herd of cows? My tag is for bulls only. My hunting partner has problems with their knee to the point they have trouble walking if they work the knee too hard, so I'm trying to form a hunt plan that isnt super strenuous for them. Any advice or help is appreciated. I do not have much info to give in return as I have only been hunting for a couple years now, but I promise I will make a thread about this hunt after it happens.
My knees get sore on downslopes and riding horses on hunts. My patella hits my lower leg bone and that joint, once flares up, stays sore the rest of the hunt. I use a velcro knee stabilizer that locks the patella in a gel-filled hole. This set-up works wonders for my specific condition so can hunt for days and still sleep through the night and carry a backpack on uneven ground.
 

pmmully

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Oct 3, 2022
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We have two way radios to communicate in the loss of cell coverage, as well as a Garmin Spot for emergency. We have GMU 22 for 1'st rifle, any cell coverage there?
 

duckhunter10

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Aug 5, 2022
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not much bugling saw 6 hunters first day and i was camped 3 miles off road moved camp 3 times with no luck
 

riv3rbanks

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Oct 30, 2017
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Deep in the Heart of Texas
I did my first Elk hunt in Colorado last year. 1st rifle as well. We got there 2 days early and just glassed. It takes your eyes a day or so to adjust to the terrain in my experience. We saw some deer and ventured off to see if elk were in other locations and didn't spot anything. On day 3 (opening day), I was ready to pack up and move spots but decided to glass the same side of the mountain we were glassing on day one and boom, there were the elk, on a tree-covered, north-facing slope about 3/4 mile from us. Bulls were still with the cows and still bugling but not a crazy amount. Once we found them, it didn't take long to figure out their pattern. They would get up at sunrise and make their way down to the valley to bed by the creek and then move back up to the top after midday to bed down for the night.

Being the rookies that we were, we made the mistake of trying to put a stalk on them after they moved to the valley. Climbing out of that hell hole with an elk would've probably killed us. Midday stalking is not good for playing the wind. It kind of does its own thing around that time. Looking back on it, we should've made our way over to their night-time bedding area and waited for them that evening.

You're going to love it whether you are successful or not. Good luck!
 
Joined
Dec 16, 2020
Messages
45
Location
Colorado
After three weekends of archery hunting for deer I’m again resigned that most hunters are lazy. Tons of atv’ s and vehicles zipping up and down the trials and roads but no shoe leather getting burned up. In 8 days in the woods, we did not see another person on foot. Last weekend the bulls were still bugling but only after sunset. It was like an alarm was set as soon as they all drove off the bulls erupted. We had deer hanging in the trees and elk drinking from the water bucket on the other side of the truck from our tent. It's pretty cool listening to them slurp out of the bucket.
I keep thinking back to some advice an uncle gave me, “you find boys by making girl sounds”. Everyone and his brother has the same elk bugle call, they all sound the same. Glass and listen, move glass, and listen, rinse repeat just get off the roads and trails. The snow really quitted the woods down with all the leaves on the forest floor.
 

Jwill

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Nov 7, 2011
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Virginia
not much bugling saw 6 hunters first day and i was camped 3 miles off road moved camp 3 times with no luck
Pro tip, move camp less, hunt more. Kidding aside it definitely sucks to pack in and be covered up with other hunters and camps...
 

2rocky

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Joined
Jul 23, 2010
Messages
4,118
Moving camp kills the day. I've done it when I was trying to catch the later opening day in the adjacent unit after hunting 3 days in the first one. It works better if you have a non hunting person breakdown camp and move while you hunt your way to next camp.
 

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