Mule deer vs Elk habitat

Hertervillian

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Oct 23, 2019
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This coming fall I’ll be hunting 2nd rifle in CO. Is it reasonable to expect both mule deer and elk sharing the same space?
This will be new territory for me, and the mule deer a new opportunity.

Carrying a ~$500 tag around “just in case” isn’t a good use of my resources. Elk are the focus, but the new camp is in a better area than I’ve previously hunted as far as deer are concerned.

Talk me into investing in a tag
 

8andcounting

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If it was me ... I’d go with the 1 tag , concentrate on a elk . If u see deer and good and u think it’s worth coming back the next year for deer then do that . It’s just my opinion but I don’t like 2 tags for different animals on same trip been there done that and I don’t like it . Feel like I spend too much time on one and not enough on the other .
 

bullbugle307

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Well, you might regret it the rest of your life if you don't buy a tag and you see a deer you really want to kill. On the other hand, if you've got money to hunt out of state you probably won't have regrets for the rest of your life about spending 500 bucks towards wildlife conservation if you don't punch your tag.

But you know how these things go. Buy a tag and you'll probably eat it. Don't and you'll see a big deer for sure!
 

SD_Prairie_Goat

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I'd save the money. Hunting elk is tough work and more than likely the extra tag will be $500 wasted...


It’s just my opinion but I don’t like 2 tags for different animals on same trip been there done that and I don’t like it . Feel like I spend too much time on one and not enough on the other .

This right here sums it up perfectly
 

406LIFE

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Some interesting studies coming out of WY on this: elk and deer selecting for the same plants, but are still staying geospatially separated.
 

SD_Prairie_Goat

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... and I'm always reluctant to pull the trigger on a deer, thinking that the elk is just ahead and will be spooked off. Just keep your camera handy, as without a tag you are sure to see a nice mulie. :D
Haha been there! Same thing with any hunting. I'll see a pheasant or ptarmigan and think "I better not shoot it, what if there is an animal right on the other side of this hill" Has that ever actually happened where there was something close, not really, but it could happen!
 

huntin24/7

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If you have the option to pick up an otc deer tag where you’re hunting, I would. I wouldn’t do that just anywhere, but in Colorado, a big Muley could show up anywhere. Focus on one and have the tag for the other in case.
 

TOGIE

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i am a resident here and wont even spend the fifty bucks on a deer and elk tag in the pocket at the same time

focus on one

i'll spend the money to do them separately, but not at the same time

edit: like lukethedog said, i will do it that way, and have done it that way... re: pick up otc elk when i go deer hunting. but i don't pick up deer tags when i go elk hunting. it's easier when it's cheaper though.
 

Hertervillian

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Oct 23, 2019
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Thanks for the opinions guys. I’m far from certain I can even draw a tag. I’m just getting at the beginning of this, tossing a hundred bucks at a preference point isn’t something I’m too keen on if it’s going to be a multi year propositio.

As a target of opportunity those Mulies are very interesting to me, but elk are why I’m there.
 

bullbugle307

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It's all depends on the circumstances, like money, where you're hunting, at what elevation etc. Where I hunted in Wyoming this year I killed a bull elk while looking for deer on day two, passed on several deer while looking for elk on day one, and saw a black bear I could've gone after and would've had a good chance at had I not been packing out my elk on day three. That was in two days of hunting and one day packing out, and all of those animals were spotted off the top of an approx 4 mile long ridge I was hunting and glassing from. All OTC resident general tags that I had in my pocket and all were in season at the time.

I do think theres a lot of validity to focusing on one thing at a time so you're not bouncing around and you can hunt an area the right way, but I purposefully try to draw tags and hunt in areas where there's a possibility of overlapping opportunities and in hunting hard and right for one species I can sometimes take advantage of opportunities for other species other than what I set out looking for on that particular day.
 

Hammsolo

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This coming fall I’ll be hunting 2nd rifle in CO. Is it reasonable to expect both mule deer and elk sharing the same space?
This will be new territory for me, and the mule deer a new opportunity.

Carrying a ~$500 tag around “just in case” isn’t a good use of my resources. Elk are the focus, but the new camp is in a better area than I’ve previously hunted as far as deer are concerned.

Talk me into investing in a tag
So many well thought out answers. It really depends on your bank account. If 5 bens are a big deal save it for next season. If not buy the tag to support conservation, but focus on one species. When I’ve tried to do both it seems to make me even more indecisive than usual. I can’t pick a spot to sit on a edge let... I always wonder... is that spot better? Than I stand up and spook something... lmfao
 

seeth07

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Oct 14, 2016
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Im going to make this comment on the assumption that you either drew a tag of one species or all species are over the counter for where you're going. Its silly to try and draw two rare tags for different species and bank on filling both in one trip.

For myself, I always look for multi species hunts but here is the question I always ask myself before I go and buy the tags: If it's not the last day of the hunt, how would I feel if I shot species x knowing that the entire day is now shot properly caring for and packing out species x. If I'm going to be excited about that happening, I'm buying the tag.

For example: if I draw a Wyoming General elk tag, I'm likely getting a lope or deer tag for even just a doe if one is available. Not gonna pass on that meat in the freezer. However, I just drew an Idaho Moose tag. It's the only Idaho tag I'll have in my pocket even though deer and elk are otc in my moose area.
 

ColoHtr

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Apr 17, 2020
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In the two Colorado units I've spent the most time in (one high-elevation in the middle of the state, one lower-elevation transition zone), I've seen deer on every rifle elk hunt I've done, and twice I could have harvested decent bucks if I had a tag. In both, we consistently find and see sign for both species in the same habitat. That said, one unit takes at least 1PP to draw a tag, and the other is a coin flip as a second choice (for 2nd rifle), so for me, I would not burn a first choice hunt and forego a deer PP if I'm focused on elk. As a non-resident not looking to play the point game, and seeing that a muley is a new opportunity for you, I'd think hard about picking up the tag, especially if you are going to be out for the full season. One suggestion - look at CPW harvest stats from past few years (I know validity of these stats are often questionable, but should be directionally useful), for your unit in 2nd rifle, and compare the success rates for elk versus deer. That might help guide your decision.
 

ColoHtr

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Apr 17, 2020
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Just realized this thread is from January . . . OP, did you apply for the deer tag?
 

Hertervillian

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Oct 23, 2019
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I didn’t apply, the consensus seems meh, at best. I’m planning on getting great pictures of world class bucks with a cellphone camera.
 
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