Caribou Gear

New to elk hunting.

steveshuntn1

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Joined
Sep 23, 2021
Messages
144
I want to start hunting elk next year. From the google machine I’m thinking Colorado is my best first choice. My hunting experience is for whitetail deer and small game. For my first introduction into elk hunting I was thinking an otc cow tag with rifle. There’s so much information on the web it can be confusing. I plan to call the game wardens in a few areas to see if they can point me in a direction to start looking. I’m as green as summer grass here and can use and will accept any advice. Please and thank you!
 

mdeerjunkie

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Joined
Dec 12, 2019
Messages
1,576
Location
Colorado
Just an FYI. There are no OTC cow elk rifle tags in CO. There are OTC rifle bull tags and OTC archery cow elk tags.
 

steveshuntn1

Active member
Joined
Sep 23, 2021
Messages
144
Just an FYI. There are no OTC cow elk rifle tags in CO. There are OTC rifle bull tags and OTC archery cow elk tags.
Good to know…..I’m assuming that you can put in for a draw for cow elk?
Looks like number one thing to do is get on the phone with the Colorado game commission folks and get more information. Thanks for the reply.
 

steveshuntn1

Active member
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Sep 23, 2021
Messages
144
I hope you get one! I’m thinking I may need to buy a trip to get a feel for the hunt. A semi guided one maybe. It’s so much info out there it’s hard to know what to expect. I would think a cow elk hunt would be cheaper than a bull! I’ll be looking into that later this afternoon. If anyone has information on a good guide service that’s reasonable let me know.
Thanks
 

DeepSouthMatt

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Joined
Sep 28, 2021
Messages
7
I hope you get one! I’m thinking I may need to buy a trip to get a feel for the hunt. A semi guided one maybe. It’s so much info out there it’s hard to know what to expect. I would think a cow elk hunt would be cheaper than a bull! I’ll be looking into that later this afternoon. If anyone has information on a good guide service that’s reasonable let me know.
Thanks
I’m in the same boat. Would love to give it a go at a DIY backpack hunt but don’t want to get in over my waders. Would love to be able to use a rifle in early October too.
 

markuswallus

New member
Joined
Apr 20, 2020
Messages
12
There are really good units in Colorado that you can draw a Cow tag with no points during 3rd rifle. I think a good strategy if you only want a cow, is to put in for a unit where there is no Bull season during 3rd rifle, only a cow season. That's what I did this year. We will see if it pays off. I recommend joining Gohunt.com and if you have questions on how to filter to see what units you can draw a cow tag in, just message me.
 

steveshuntn1

Active member
Joined
Sep 23, 2021
Messages
144
There are really good units in Colorado that you can draw a Cow tag with no points during 3rd rifle. I think a good strategy if you only want a cow, is to put in for a unit where there is no Bull season during 3rd rifle, only a cow season. That's what I did this year. We will see if it pays off. I recommend joining Gohunt.com and if you have questions on how to filter to see what units you can draw a cow tag in, just message me.
Thanks man…signed up for gohunt today. I’m thinking of buying a cow hunt this year to get the experience of a western hunt and next year get heavy into the draw hunts and tag applications.
 

kwa_bena

Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2021
Messages
37
I hope you get one! I’m thinking I may need to buy a trip to get a feel for the hunt. A semi guided one maybe. It’s so much info out there it’s hard to know what to expect. I would think a cow elk hunt would be cheaper than a bull! I’ll be looking into that later this afternoon. If anyone has information on a good guide service that’s reasonable let me know.
Thanks
Cool! Once you get an area picked out and/or have a guide you can get OTC tags in almost every unit for archery, 2nd and 3rd rifle. I'm looking toward the guided route for my first round to get a feel for.
 

windymtnman

Active member
Joined
Sep 17, 2014
Messages
445
What area of Colorado are you thinking about hunting? I'm in Southcentral Co. and might be talked into lending a hand if you need it. Not sure what I might do in 2022, as I'm thinking about archery hunting, otherwise I'll rifle hunt.
I have a nice area to myself, where I set up a wall tent 4+ miles in, and not only enjoy hunting, but enjoy the camping experience as I have 4 pack horses & mules to bring in my copious amount of gear to make camp life more like glamping.
 

steveshuntn1

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Sep 23, 2021
Messages
144
I’ve been going over the cpw regulations, watching Randy Newburg videos on YouTube trying to figure it out. Coming from a state where you buy one license and go hunt any public land anywhere in the state for any game you please….elk hunting is a bit overwhelming.
I should have mentioned my partner in this will be my daughter, she’s 19, and can out hunt me every season. Been going with me since she was big enough to sit in a stand. She’s excited to try elk hunting out too.
I’m up for any advice on where to start. Im writing down notes from what I learn from the videos and articles. Signed up for the gohunt insider and will narrow it down before the draw application season starts. I know I don’t have much chance of drawing a tag…but seems like it all starts from there.
If nothing else my daughter and I will camp out in the mountains with an otc tag in our pockets.. that right there will be worth the drive.
 

steveshuntn1

Active member
Joined
Sep 23, 2021
Messages
144
When it comes to camping. Is the norm to set up close to the truck and hike in every morning, or hike in a few miles away from the trailhead and truck and camp and then hunt in a large area from that camp? Just curious as to what the seasoned elk hunters do. I know on public land here in MS most guys can see the truck from where they hunt. If I walk half a mile in on a big chunk of public I have it to myself.
Also…pack recommendations? I’m getting my gear list and although I plan to make western hunting a yearly trip I’m not sure if I should by an entry level pack or frame( I have some good backpacks I use for hunting) or pull the trigger on a serious system like a mystery ranch.
 
Last edited:

CJnGA

Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
63
You're on the right track. This will be our third year going out west (from GA) and our first year going after elk. If you haven't been through them yet, check out Randy's video series on E-Scouting from a few years ago. He does a good job of explaining (at least at a beginner level like me) on where the elk may be at different times of the year which will help you figure out which areas you may have the best opportunity when you're looking to be out there. I haven't seen all of it, but based on the snippets I have seen, I think the Elk101 stuff is pretty good to help shorten the learning curve.

As far as pack - my personal opinion is 'buy once, cry once'. I picked up a SG Avail 2200 with a XCurve frame a few years ago and have used it out west for antelope and muley's as well as whitetail and pig hunting here in GA. Not saying that's the best pack to have, but don't assume framed packs are only useful out west.

For camp placement.... Not sure. We'll be figuring that out this year, too. My guess is that we'll find a spot for camp (truck-based wall tent) as close as we can get to where we want to hunt and hike the rest of the way in. But based on how my previous two years hunting in WY have gone, I fully expect to have to end up driving to a different area to start hiking in or maybe even relocate camp completely at least once due to hunting pressure or pure lack of game.
 

steveshuntn1

Active member
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Sep 23, 2021
Messages
144
Yeah I was thinking that driving around would be part of the game plan to.
Randy Newburg hopefully gets paid well for what he does…I don’t think I would even try it if it wasn’t for his videos and information. The Hunting Public comes in a close second.
I plan to hunt cows the first year. I’m hoping that will be a little easier…at least there’s more of them! I don’t want to overwhelm myself or my daughter with to hard a hunt starting out. She’ll probably run circles around the old man in those mountains anyway and be wanting to climb and hike more than I can handle!
So I’ll probably camp at the truck and walk in from there limiting myself to a few miles. It’s gonna be a blast to be out there no matter what!
I’m gonna buy the mystery ranch metcalf.. if Randy uses it it’ll work for me I’m sure!
Good luck to you out there!
 

CJnGA

Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
63
Yeah I was thinking that driving around would be part of the game plan to.
Randy Newburg hopefully gets paid well for what he does…I don’t think I would even try it if it wasn’t for his videos and information. The Hunting Public comes in a close second.
I plan to hunt cows the first year. I’m hoping that will be a little easier…at least there’s more of them! I don’t want to overwhelm myself or my daughter with to hard a hunt starting out. She’ll probably run circles around the old man in those mountains anyway and be wanting to climb and hike more than I can handle!
So I’ll probably camp at the truck and walk in from there limiting myself to a few miles. It’s gonna be a blast to be out there no matter what!
I’m gonna buy the mystery ranch metcalf.. if Randy uses it it’ll work for me I’m sure!
Good luck to you out there!

Yeah... If you both enjoy outdoors and especially if you haven't been out west before, you are in for a treat!! The past two years we've been out there, we'll be dog tired and half asleep in the truck heading back home and we're already talking about what we'll do on the next trip - it's not a matter of 'if', it's a matter of 'when'. And our conversation never revolves around what we want to 'kill', it's always about what area we want to see more of. ha! It's like the hunting has become an excuse or justification for being out there and forcing us to get off the trails and into the 'real' woods.
 

KB_

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 12, 2018
Messages
638
Location
Bozemen, Montana
I wouldn't set yourself short to just a cow elk anywhere, If you can get a general elk tag and try to come out for both archery and rifle, that would be the full experience. I don't think any elk is particularly easy to hunt, as they are simply big ass deer that don't want to be killed lol. It is a ton of fun though and you will see lots of cool country. Personally I wouldn't be elk hunting in Colorado unless you have a opportunity to hunt some private or a unit worth a couple points. OTC its a damn zoo. Staying comfortable is really the toughest part. That kind of seclusion for people can be a real reality check and often shake you to your core.

It helps when your not alone.

Also, good glass is important. You dont need 2000$ glass (IMO) but you want some decent stuff so you can see clearly at distance, it really helps when spotting critters and planning for an approach. All the western states have good opportunity for quality elk hunting, Except Washington. I would be really tempted to go to Idaho if I were you two. I may actually do an Idaho trip myself with some buddy's from Michigan since its more cost effective then hoping to draw in Montana.

Waiting for my idaho death threats to hit my PM's lol
 

Iowan

Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Messages
12
I want to start hunting elk next year. From the google machine I’m thinking Colorado is my best first choice. My hunting experience is for whitetail deer and small game. For my first introduction into elk hunting I was thinking an otc cow tag with rifle. There’s so much information on the web it can be confusing. I plan to call the game wardens in a few areas to see if they can point me in a direction to start looking. I’m as green as summer grass here and can use and will accept any advice. Please and thank you!
I was going to say many of the same things as KB. I would encourage you to check out the success rates on the CO OTC hunts - here is a clue - they are terrible. Frankly, I love that so many newbies hunt CO, it keeps the better spots well better. Another important thing is to build a few points in places like CO, WY, MT, and even Utah if you are looking to cow hunt (forget limited entry hunts if you are just getting started you will never catch the point creep). Take it for what it is worth but forget bull hunting in places like Oregon, Washington, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah (except general hunts - a friend of mine just shot a stud on some Utah BLM in a unit no one thinks about)- focus on finding the best hunts you can in other states once you build 2-5 points. Do not fall into the trap of thinking you will eventually have enough points to draw premium units - you won't - period. New Mexico's draw odds have just gotten awful - I do not know a lot about Idaho but I added that to my application strategy last year and dropped another. You will hear people talk about drawing the random tags (someone has to draw them) - the application services and hunting magazines are selling you bull$^&* - if you like to gamble and do not have kids to put through college then knock yourself out. Do some research and be realistic - point creep is real and getting worse - application numbers have exploded in recent years and will only get worse - you have to be smarter than 90% of the people blindly following the advice of people making money off selling 'so you're saying there's a chance'. Most of these people are chasing the premium hunts and cannot do relatively simple math which shows you will never catch the point creep on even the average hunts in most western states that have point systems if you are just getting started. My strategy after I burn the points I accumulated starting many years ago is to burn my 'round two' points every 2-5 years on the best hunts I can and enjoy the experience.

Starting with a cow hunt is smart - a great way to get your feet wet.

Hunting out west has absolutely nothing in common with whitetail deer hunting (only a slight exaggeration) - being a good golfer will serve just about as well. Being a strong hiker that is comfortable navigating through timber and steep terrain at times, in the dark would me much more important.

Leave yourself as much time as possible and try not to get discouraged - even if you do not harvest you will learn a lot each day. I would suggest you plan on seven days of hunting if your schedule allows.

This advice may only be worth what you are paying for it. I should have asked your age - if you are 10 years old you may have time to catch point creep and draw a couple premium tags in 40-50 years - those are real numbers by the way.
 

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