How much Snow is too much?

Joined
Sep 15, 2015
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Kalifornia(Colorado Raised)
Hello,

Fairly new to elk hunting and will be hunting in Colorado 4th season for elk unit 444. Obviously the elk will be far from people and smart to stay alive. My plan hike high and far away hoping the road hunters stir them up my way.

Im guessing this winter will have a lot of snow and by early November the snow could be fairly deep. I was considering hiking up north on Meredith to the high country away from the service roads or even the south east corner of the unti where theres some pockets by the high country.

I guess the real question is how much snow in your experience does it take to push elk down from the 11k mountains to the low lands? Ive heard 16 inches but the I'm not sure how accurate that is.

Thanks,
Pat
 

Big Fin

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Bozeman, MT
Not sure what it takes in CO, but 16" up high is not enough to get the biggest bulls moving down. It sure gets them thinking about it. In much of the higher county, winds will still keep a lot of slopes blown clear at with 16" of snow. If there is still good feed on those wind blown slopes, the oldest bulls will stay there until absolutely necessary to move.

A lot of that answer is impacted by the temps that accompany the snow. If it is really cold, they burn a lot more energy staying warm and have to move to find feed, with movement often being lower to higher quality feed. I've seen elk in MT tough it out in some pretty deep snow during elk season, so long as the temps are moderate. CO may be different.

Good luck on your hunt.
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2015
Messages
30
Location
Kalifornia(Colorado Raised)
Not sure what it takes in CO, but 16" up high is not enough to get the biggest bulls moving down. It sure gets them thinking about it. In much of the higher county, winds will still keep a lot of slopes blown clear at with 16" of snow. If there is still good feed on those wind blown slopes, the oldest bulls will stay there until absolutely necessary to move.

A lot of that answer is impacted by the temps that accompany the snow. If it is really cold, they burn a lot more energy staying warm and have to move to find feed, with movement often being lower to higher quality feed. I've seen elk in MT tough it out in some pretty deep snow during elk season, so long as the temps are moderate. CO may be different.

Good luck on your hunt.

Thanks for the fast informative reply Randy! Im hoping they'll hang out up higher for me and not roam down low (into the unit below me). Im just looking for a nice cow to fill the freezer and have a good time.

By the way, I love your fresh tracks show and how you hunt on public land and show the struggles and the victorys. Just came across your podcasts as well! Love it all keep up the great work!

Thanks for your time,
Pat
 

twsnow18

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Apr 4, 2013
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Boise, Idaho
What I would add to Randy's experience is the largest factor IMO, the type of snow. If you have just 4-6" of hard crust, they're moving down. If it snowed 8", 4" of it melted, then it got cold again. It's gonna be a lot harder for them to dig through that ice to get to the feed.

But when it's tits cold and in a foot or more of very light dry powder, we've chased the elk pretty high here in Idaho on my brother's December cow hunts. Those conditions don't seem to affect them too much.
 

Oak

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Dec 23, 2000
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Colorado
Another thing I would add is that it is not uncommon in CO for elk to get pushed to low private land by hunting pressure long before the snow moves them. Often the big bulls will never move, though, choosing instead to winter on those high windswept hillsides. Hunting high for bulls late can be a discouraging proposition though, and most choose to hunt where the greater number of elk are located.
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2015
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Kalifornia(Colorado Raised)
You guys have many great points I haven't quite though of yet. (The downside of being new)

I imagine there's a good chance they'll push into the private near the reservoir but all I can try to do is use the hunting gps maps chip to help me navigate the private and hike behind them high on the ridge and maybe catch a straggling cow on public.
 

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