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Colorado OTC - How bad is it

Flatlander3

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Colorado OTC, How bad is it? All i see is doom and gloom comments about the amount of people and lack of elk. How many of you routinely participate in the OTC rifle hunts? Is it reall that difficult to get away from people?
 
All i see is doom and gloom comments about the amount of people and lack of elk.
That sentence sums it up. Not impossible to fill a tag, but when you look at the success rate and then factor guided and private land hunting into that its really low odds for diy public land hunting success.
 
I’ve only ever had 1 year when I felt like I was bumping into other hunters in every ditch I went into. Even then I was able to find elk.
I think it’s more your mindset than anything. If you are easily discouraged and overwhelmed it’s probably going to seem horrible to you.
 
I’ve only ever had 1 year when I felt like I was bumping into other hunters in every ditch I went into. Even then I was able to find elk.
I think it’s more your mindset than anything. If you are easily discouraged and overwhelmed it’s probably going to seem horrible to you.
This! It’s gonna be what you make it. If you are going to stay on the roads and trail heads it will be aggravating. If you hunt smart and your not afraid to dive in where others won’t you will have a good hunt.
 
My first year of OTC elk was last year, me and my brothers hunted 2 different units in 14 days. We ran into a guy and his wife from North Carolina in one unit the whole time we hunted it. The other unit we didn't see anyone at all. Maybe we were just lucky maybe they weren't good units, and everyone knew that hard to say for sure.
 
IT can be pretty bad. Some places look like 4th of July. A dozen cars and 3 wall tents in one campground isn't unheard of. But, people kill bulls every year and some folks kill pretty big ones in heavily hunted OTC units. Figure out where hunters are not likely to go because of terrain, etc. Getting off the road eliminates a good portion of people too.
 
Compared to like a WY private land hunt, BAD. but like the previous posts have mentioned it depends on the person and the mindset. Do you want to see elk with the possibility of killing an elk or can you mentally and physically hunt the hardest for days on end with no sightings of elk. Your odds are the worse on a CO OTC public land DIY hunt and to me its not worth the time, money, effort, etc. If I want to go hiking/camping in the woods I can do that within an hour of where I live but yet if Im driving a 1000 miles, spending $1000 - $1500 on tags, food, gas, etc I want to see elk and have all the odds in my favor of killing an elk. BUT to another man, he see's it as a challenge and an opportunity.
 
It all depends on where you go. I've been at trailheads that were loaded with trucks and camps everywhere, but most only ventured about a mile in. Three to four miles in didn't even find boot tracks in the snow. Other units one or two trucks at the trailhead and found guys five to six miles in. It's a crapshoot. Go with at least two or three backup plans, have the mental fortitude, and ability to hunt harder and farther than most if necessary and you can find success. It's hard work, long days behind glass, and willing to work hard after the shot that sets the consistently successful hunters apart from the crowd. Be ok with eating tag soup until you get it figured out. It's not always easy, embrace the sucky days and always have fun and learn something new everyday while in elk school.
Be safe and good luck if you go.
 
Medicine Bow in Wyoming is worse than anything I’ve seen in Colorado.
Hunt the grizzly units in Wyoming if you want the place to yourself.
 
I’ve only ever had 1 year when I felt like I was bumping into other hunters in every ditch I went into. Even then I was able to find elk.
I think it’s more your mindset than anything. If you are easily discouraged and overwhelmed it’s probably going to seem horrible to you.

I don't believe you, what unit were you in?
 
Went OTC archery in Colorado for the first time a couple of years ago, last week of Sept. On the 2nd day, had a 6x6 bull bugling at my cow calls and he came as close as 80 yds, but then took off with his cows. Saw lots of sign in the timber and parks, but I think the full moon and pressure kept them mostly in the timber during the day. We didn't really know what we were doing and still felt like we could have an opportunity. Had one pair of hunters come down the trail near our camp mid-week, and then saw a father/son team on our way out. Other than that, we felt like we had it all to ourselves, other than people's initials carved in aspens no matter where you went. We found an evening spot where they were feeding towards the end of our trip and just ran out of time. If we had 2 or 3 more days I think one of us would have connected....I'm sure many people believe that, but the numbers (10%) don't lie. It's hard.

I went on a private land ranch hunt up in MT the year before and killed a 6x6 with my rifle. The private land hunt was better for my freezer, but I learned more on the OTC CO hunt.
 
Depends on where and WHEN you go. Opening day is always a zoo. Units closest to big cities(Denver) are usually the busiest. Trailheads right off of a highway will have lots of trucks.
There are places to go and be by yourself. They’re just tough to find
 
Ive done OTC archery in CO. several times and could always get away from other hunters just had to keep moving sometimes deep in sometimes not so much many NR seem to not get to far from their truck IMO some do but not as many as you may think
Just my opinion from few times Ive been in Co.
 
If your goal is to fill freezer with meat it is not a way to do it.
Hunting elk in September OTC is much harder then bow hunting whitetail in Midwest.
In my experience if you're willing to hike 4 miles + you will see elk.
You fill your soul with peace get closer to God and see beautiful scenery.
You don't know how many Septembers are left in your life.
 
If your goal is to fill freezer with meat it is not a way to do it.
Hunting elk in September OTC is much harder then bow hunting whitetail in Midwest.
In my experience if you're willing to hike 4 miles + you will see elk.
You fill your soul with peace get closer to God and see beautiful scenery.
You don't know how many Septembers are left in your life.
Pretty hard to beat the beauty of an aspen forest on a mountainside in late september
 
I will say this. In 10 years all public land hunting has gotten more crowded. Colorado is probably the worst in my opinion. That being said if YOU put in the time and effort that it takes it will be rewarding.
 
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