CO GMU 18,181 Deer and Elk

danadrums

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Aug 5, 2015
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CO
Hi All,

New to the forum, found it through Fresh Tracks.

I have a deer and elk tag for CO GMU 181, 2nd rifle. I don't hold a lot of hope for the elk at that time -- the success rate is terrible, and it seems to be mostly lower elevation. Lots of BLM land, though. I was wondering if anyone has hunted this unit, especially for deer? Any clues as to where NOT to go? I don't mind walking a few miles.

Also, I am about to pick up a leftover cow tag for GMU 18, 1st rifle. I have hunted in unit 18 before, and it's a tough row to hoe. Lots of hunters, lots of roads. The best areas to me look like north on 125 then east over toward Gravel Mtn, but I am a bit of an amateur. Most of my elk hunting has been ad hoc, without a good plan. I've been watching Fresh Tracks, and I *really* want to try out the methods Randy uses: find good glassing spots, make Plan A, B, C, then execute. Does anyone have any tips for Unit 18? Is the area I am looking at on the right track, or am I out in the weeds? Again, I don't mind putting some leather on the ground.

Thanks, and good hunting!

--Dana
 

Rooster52

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Feb 18, 2014
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I used to hunt unit 18 but the elk hunting got slower as years went on.My last trip I saw 0 elk.We used to hunt the Wheatly Creek drainage. not much for deer but used to be decent for elk.
 

danadrums

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Aug 5, 2015
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Thanks Rooster. I will look into that.
Last year was really tough -- rained like the dickens. But, that's hunting. Didn't see any elk.
According to CPW, there are plenty of elk, but I don't think the elk read those reports.

--Dana
 

Gut Shot

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Mar 19, 2015
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Banks of the Big Muddy
I've elk hunted 18 a few times. I wouldn't let the success rates on the DOW web site deter you. The guys I've hunted it with have about a 50% success rate. I've been into elk every hunt I've done there and filled 50% of my tags, I wouldn't hold out for a giant bull though. We always pack in a few miles to get away from the crowds.

There are some big mulies in there but they are few and far between up high, I've never hunted lower elevations. Beetle kill turned everything brown several years ago and it has been a few years since I've hunted there. I'm told there is some decent fishing in the area as well.
 

danadrums

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Thanks GutShot

Thanks. That is encouraging.
I intend to put a lot of ground between me and the nearest road.
Last year, I saw guys driving around in their trucks looking for elk. I really don't understand that. I mean, do you REALLY expect the elk to be 50 yds off the road, and you just stop and shoot them?
I see the same thing where we deer hunt in Nebraska. We walk *maybe* one mile from the truck and don't see anybody all day. And it's not real tough walking. Plus, we see deer all day long. Oh well. As far as I'm concerned, if people want to hunt in cruise control, then it just makes it better for us.

Thanks again for the encouragement.

--Dana
 

danadrums

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Aug 5, 2015
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CO
Gut Shot

Hey Gut Shot,
What method were you using? Were you up at a good vantage point spotting for a while, or more stalking through the woods and keeping you eyes open?
I'm trying to hone my skills, and any info helps.

Thanks.

--Dana
 

Gut Shot

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Banks of the Big Muddy
My method is pretty simple, we usually try to get in a day or two before season and check wallows and trails to see if elk are using them. If so I'll set up opening day in an area with a lot of sign. Get up early and wait, maybe call, move in on animals that are making noise. Once the sun is up and things start warming up I move, if the weather is right I might still hunt through the woods for a few hours.

If we aren't seeing animals I walk, a lot. Once on a ML hunt we couldn't find animals anywhere, other hunters we talked to said the same thing. I spent days walking higher and farther from camp. Finally with two days left I found the elk, dozens of them. I'd have killed a giant if it was rifle season, 265 yards is farther than I'll shoot with a muzzle loader. They were all at lower elevation, the deer were there too. All I can figure was that it had been a dry summer, the water at 8000+ feet was all cloudy, even in the streams, I don't think the animals liked it. We even saw moose at lower elevations in fair numbers. Snow is a big advantage and makes still hunting or setting up an ambush easier.

I don't really have one method that I use most of the time, I have more fun and success if I stay flexible. By the way this is what it looked like in 2010, not a lot of areas to glass from here.

coloradomts.jpg
 

danadrums

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Aug 5, 2015
Messages
81
Location
CO
Thanks much.
I haven't tried the "Go high and spot" method yet, but it seems to work in some situations.
Last year I was up in the Drowsy Water Creek area, you know, through the ranch property and farther north. Nice area, but about a million and six hunters. I only had a couple of days, so it wasn't very productive. I DID put it on my "where not to go" list. The trees are pretty thick in there, even after the beetle kill.
It's a big unit, so I am looking at different areas this time. I like the Gravel Mountain area, but I don't see a lot of areas that are more than a mile away from a road. However, I have seen elk in there before, and I did see a ton of sign last year when I scouted. Probably should have hunted there instead of going east of 125. Oh well, live and learn. That's why I'm doing my homework now.

Nice pic. Hopefully I will be posting something similar, with a nice fat cow in the foreground!
Oh yeah, this is a meat hunt for me.

--Dana
 

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