Colorado OTC Archery Elk - Hunting in a Group vs. Alone & Number of Tags

tomengineer

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Hello all,

It looks like I'll be headed to CO this September 10-17 for the OTC archery season. There will be four of us who have never archery hunted CO before but we have been on three other hunts in Wyoming and Idaho that were all rifle. Knowing the chances of success, and the added difficulty of calling elk alone would you recommend only buying a couple of tags and basically sharing the learning experience as a couple of teams, or would you say everyone in the group should have a tag? This might seem ridiculous for an experienced hunter but all the media I'm able to find basically has a caller and a shooter, or maybe a caller and two shooters etc. Our primary goal is to get out there and try to field apply all the things we've been reading about in terms of locating elk, elk sign, elk behavior, hunting pressure etc. It just seems a bit over the top to spend $2,800 as a group on tags with mostly sub 10% success rates and I'm sure even lower success rates for first timers. Just looking for input from guys who have hunted a few years in OTC units or tried it before and had some thoughts on the group dynamic and overall experience afterward.

Thanks in advance,
Tom
 

nontyp

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You’re are already spending lots of time money to travel there. I would say everyone should have a tag. I would highly recommend hunting in pairs so that you can travel more efficiently and cover twice as much country.

We got into a spot a few years ago on otc where if there were 5 tag holders sitting there, everyone would have shot bulls. i know that isn’t normal, but I sure wouldn’t want to regret not having a tag in my pocket.
 

tomengineer

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You’re are already spending lots of time money to travel there. I would say everyone should have a tag. I would highly recommend hunting in pairs so that you can travel more efficiently and cover twice as much country.

We got into a spot a few years ago on otc where if there were 5 tag holders sitting there, everyone would have shot bulls. i know that isn’t normal, but I sure wouldn’t want to regret not having a tag in my pocket.
Yes this is what's in the back of my mind. Me calling for my buddy and having to tell the story of a shoot-able bull just staring at me because I was too cheap.
 

tomengineer

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Has anybody on here ever called a bull past the shooter and shot it?
Yeah this is kind of the scenario I'm dreading. Where we line up parallel to the wind and the primary shooter doesn't have an opportunity where I might as the caller.
 

GrantK

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when I'm with a group hunting a new area we split up and cover ground solo until we have elk located and a good game plan at least, no point in grouping up and covering less area... I'd guess 80% of our elk are killed solo even if we have a group at camp, having a designated caller can be nice but better having everyone hunting IMO...

I've seen the caller get the shot a couple of times, particularly with an inexperienced shooter who doesn't set up well.
 

tomengineer

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when I'm with a group hunting a new area we split up and cover ground solo until we have elk located and a good game plan at least, no point in grouping up and covering less area... I'd guess 80% of our elk are killed solo even if we have a group at camp, having a designated caller can be nice but better having everyone hunting IMO...

I've seen the caller get the shot a couple of times, particularly with an inexperienced shooter who doesn't set up well.
Ok thanks that is good info. We are certainly willing to all get tags, especially as what you say about the solo kills is a good counterpoint to so much YouTube content.
 

seeth07

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when I'm with a group hunting a new area we split up and cover ground solo until we have elk located and a good game plan at least, no point in grouping up and covering less area... I'd guess 80% of our elk are killed solo even if we have a group at camp, having a designated caller can be nice but better having everyone hunting IMO...

I've seen the caller get the shot a couple of times, particularly with an inexperienced shooter who doesn't set up well.
100% this. Split up as much as possible until you locate some elk in an area. The next day, come up with a plan and try to get as many shooters in that area as possible without having someone in a spot that could screw the whole thing up
 

DouglasR

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Yeah this is kind of the scenario I'm dreading. Where we line up parallel to the wind and the primary shooter doesn't have an opportunity where I might as the caller.
I sort of accidentally called one in solo and got it a few years ago.
Was it luck? Yes. But isn’t it always?
I’ve seen a few vids where guys have called them in solo.
Marcus hockey did it last season I think.
I’m planing on calling for myself this year.
However, if I was going with a group and wanted to save some money 🤷‍♂️
 

nrpate05

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I'm not an archer, but I would say everyone should have tags if it is financially feasible. It kinda puts a lot of pressure on the guys with tags to make it happen and I think it would be more mutual if you form into pairs and swap caller and shooter. Could keep everyone more engaged as well.
 

Muskeez

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If you are hunting in pairs and both have tags make some things clear before you leave home. Will all meat be shared? Who is the shooter and when. We rotated, one guy till 12:00, the other guy from 12:00 till sunset. Then the next day rotate. But, what happens when one guy gets a shot opportunity and doesn't make it happen? Does the other guy now get to be the shooter the rest of the trip until he gets a shot opportunity? or do you stay on the half day at a time schedule? Trust me, discuss this openly before you get too far into the planning stages. Also be clear about everyone learning to call proficiently. I had one guy suddenly not able to make a sound out his calls, so guess who got to be the caller the entire trip.
 

wllm

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when I'm with a group hunting a new area we split up and cover ground solo until we have elk located and a good game plan at least, no point in grouping up and covering less area... I'd guess 80% of our elk are killed solo even if we have a group at camp, having a designated caller can be nice but better having everyone hunting IMO...

I've seen the caller get the shot a couple of times, particularly with an inexperienced shooter who doesn't set up well.
Exactly.

If you all have tags I would at most hunt in pairs.

Yeah this is kind of the scenario I'm dreading. Where we line up parallel to the wind and the primary shooter doesn't have an opportunity where I might as the caller.

I usually hunt rifle, but I've hunted archery a handful of times. Most of the times we've called in bulls everyone in the group had a shot, but we had decided who would be shooting before hand.

I agree with Grant's ratio of elk taken solo, pretty similar percentage. I always crack up at the bro trains I see out in the woods of 7 dudes.

You won't fill 4 tags. My 2 cents, if I had killed an elk before I would just go as a caller/ packer and help other guys and save the money.
 

R.K.

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Has anybody on here ever called a bull past the shooter and shot it?
Happened multiple times to us last year, but only one arrow fired due to lack of preparation / bad setups. Bulls either skirting wide, additional elk coming in the back way, or one taking a roundabout path due to unseen barriers.
 

Yooper906

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The first time I hunted CO, there was two of us. I bought a tag and my buddy didn’t. We were splitting the meat if we were successful, we weren’t.

Another option you could do is have two guys buy elk tags and two buy bear tags.

Or buy two OTC tags on your way out and if someone tags out early have hunter #3 run and go buy their tag.
 
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Macchia182

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You’re are already spending lots of time money to travel there. I would say everyone should have a tag. I would highly recommend hunting in pairs so that you can travel more efficiently and cover twice as much country.

We got into a spot a few years ago on otc where if there were 5 tag holders sitting there, everyone would have shot bulls. i know that isn’t normal, but I sure wouldn’t want to regret not having a tag in my pocket.
This is exactly what I would recommend. If it's financially feasible. Good luck
 

Thegreatwapiti

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If money is not an issue...... better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
 

WhitetailTracker

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One time my buddy was the caller and I was the shooter. We could see 2-3 bulls weaving in and out of the trees in front of us bugling at times. He dropped back 50 yards or so and started calling. At some point in the mayhem, another bull came in silently from behind us right to my buddy and he got it.

We prefer the two person caller/shooter setup. And as you can see from the situation above, everyone having a tag meant we had a bull on the ground.
 

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