NM Unit 6C Muzzleloader

Pwojton

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Apr 23, 2021
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30
Hello,

I drew this year for Unit 6C muzzleloader October 9-13. Has anyone ever hunted this unit? Any tips? So far all I've heard is stick close to the valles caldera, but there will be 154 other hunters probably thinking the same thing. I've also heard the Los Alamos ski area isn't a bad spot either.

My only other elk hunt was a rifle hunt up north in 4 during late october. Hoping they might still be rutting during my hunt. Any tips on calls, etc.?

Thanks!
 

Jeronimo 56

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May 7, 2021
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47
I've found it is best on the north side of the caldera and the best way to get there is go around to Abiquiu lake and come in on that side. Get far enough away from the road to have some room to yourself and make the most out of the first and last hours of light. Between the fires and a pretty bad wind storm (70mph plus) a couple years back, there are some horrible downfall jungles... find the access corridors that steer around them. They are horrendous to navigate on foot and you can spend a couple hours going a few hundred yards to cross one.
 

RuttinRN

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Sep 16, 2021
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Following your thread, can’t start my own since I’m new. I apologize for the long read in advance. I also got drawn for a cow in 6C (rifle) in November on Thanksgiving Weekend. This is my first ever draw hunt, private land hunts right at the base of Wheeler Peek in Eagle Nest and around Johnson Mesa on the CO border is the majority of Elk hunting I know. Got skunked on the Mesa but EN/WP hunts were end of December, feet of snow on the ground (lots of glassing) but due to the temp and snow we never had to hunt much with the 100+ Elk that were down in the Alfalfa/Horse Pastures. Sometimes it even felt similar to wearing cammo to shoot fish in a barrel…until your animal ran miles and your chubby ass has to hike 25ft in 3ft of snow to start the snowmobile. Come on now, it was a little bit harder than it seems when you have chronic cold feet and your damn toes are frozen to your boot. Thanks for assuming I’m the “Ken” aka Texan hunter lol 😂. Just kidding.

*I in am not asking for freebies or secrets or to move in on your favorite spot. Just been out of this game for years and quite nervous but blessed to return*

I know this hunt will be an actual hunt. I feel quite lost as to where to start. I haven’t hunted in 10+ years (Gonna have to get all the gear again…$$I can’t believe how expensive it is now adays…recommendations please) which I always did with my pops since I was a kid (he never let me miss a hunt) but sadly his body won’t allow him to be on the hunt with me, so the wife is filling in (Dad’s gonna be babysitting my kiddo with my mom at the camp)…family outing. So my questions (my bad for rambling); best places to set up base camp (28-35ft trailer)? Areas that I should avoid and why? Recommended hunting technique/approach for this unit? Any other info I could use? Lastly, gear tips.

I appreciate anyone’s help.
 

Pwojton

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Joined
Apr 23, 2021
Messages
30
So my questions (my bad for rambling); best places to set up base camp (28-35ft trailer)? Areas that I should avoid and why?

I have scouted a bit around the caldera, bottom of the ski area, and drove 565 from Espanola to 6a and that whole drive was rough. Wouldn't bring a camper down 565 that's for sure. Come in through tea kettle or abiqui if you want to hunt that area. I would suggest spending a whole day or two out there scouting
 

David58

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Oct 13, 2020
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272
Location
Northern NM
I hike up around the ski area, have not seen elk there in six years - of course, I hike with three dogs, that might factor in. I do see trees that have been barked by the bulls, but other than that little sign. I managed to draw that hunt some years ago, but my error was a hunt that fell on my granddaughter's birthday, so I spent that week in Oregon. Advice I was given by my hunting friends was to come in from Abiquiu. Never scouted the area, but it is rugged and you may find your trailer has to stay out on the fringe.

My hunt this year is in a different unit, and we have a very nice campsite to park the trailer. Thinking, however, that we will camp a bit more civilized due to the fact that my wife is not able to climb up in the woods because of an injury and she will keep camp. Figure driving an hour in to hunt isn't bad, particularly with the short days in November. In your case, you might find a campground close enough that your drive isn't horrible.
 

Pwojton

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Joined
Apr 23, 2021
Messages
30
I hike up around the ski area, have not seen elk there in six years - of course, I hike with three dogs, that might factor in. I do see trees that have been barked by the bulls, but other than that little sign. I managed to draw that hunt some years ago, but my error was a hunt that fell on my granddaughter's birthday, so I spent that week in Oregon. Advice I was given by my hunting friends was to come in from Abiquiu. Never scouted the area, but it is rugged and you may find your trailer has to stay out on the fringe.

My hunt this year is in a different unit, and we have a very nice campsite to park the trailer. Thinking, however, that we will camp a bit more civilized due to the fact that my wife is not able to climb up in the woods because of an injury and she will keep camp. Figure driving an hour in to hunt isn't bad, particularly with the short days in November. In your case, you might find a campground close enough that your drive isn't horrible.
Yeah, ski area looked nice but we didn't see anything promising. We smelled elk all over but not in the ski area.

Dome wilderness and frijoles canyon are good areas too if you're physically able to walk and theres some decent camp areas nearby
 

Jeronimo 56

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May 7, 2021
Messages
47
I have scouted a bit around the caldera, bottom of the ski area, and drove 565 from Espanola to 6a and that whole drive was rough. Wouldn't bring a camper down 565 that's for sure. Come in through tea kettle or abiqui if you want to hunt that area. I would suggest spending a whole day or two out there scouting
Coming in from Espanola is a terror on 21 mile road, coming in from Abiqui is a far better road. You can walk that fence line along the north side of the Valle Grande and you'll see elk. You can also find some areas with old logging roads on the north side of the Valle and possibly have some territory to yourself. For the super fit hunter you'll find elk on Chicoma peak, but you won't want to pack them out. There is some really good but very limited areas on the south side of the Valle Grande, but you'll be sharing them with a lot of other hunters. I did go in at Coyote one year and hunted in the San Pedro Parks wilderness area... not easy to get to but a great wilderness area.
 

RuttinRN

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Sep 16, 2021
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Thank you for the information so far. So coming in from Espanola is pretty treacherous, would we be best off staying in Abiquiu possibly and then just driving in? We’re gonna be staying in a fifth wheel so access will have to be good. Any other recommendations?
 

Jeronimo 56

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Joined
May 7, 2021
Messages
47
Yes, a fifth wheel from the Espanola side would be a rough go. There isn't a lot of options for hotels in that area but I think there is one place in Abiquiu but it will be a really long drive each day. Really is an area where camping works out best if you can do it. I have seen several camp trailers in there so it's definitely possible.
 

RuttinRN

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Sep 16, 2021
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Hey there guys just checking one last time to see if anyone has any tips or anything for GMU 6C. I’m going on my first elk hunt in about ten years and feel quite lost on hunting this area. All tips and advice would be appreciated.
 

David658

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Oct 15, 2021
Messages
197
Location
Northern NM
Hey there guys just checking one last time to see if anyone has any tips or anything for GMU 6C. I’m going on my first elk hunt in about ten years and feel quite lost on hunting this area. All tips and advice would be appreciated.
I am sorry I am short on specifics, but you want to make use of the Valles Caldera - the elk are slowly moving there (hope for colder weather), so the fringe areas of your unit near the Caldera will hold elk. And likely a lot of hunters... But be sure to stay OUT of the Valles Caldera, and Bandelier - the result of straying across the line could be somewhat unpleasant.
 
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RuttinRN

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Sep 16, 2021
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7
Thank you for the tips! I plan on getting into the nastier areas that people don’t want to be in. I’m taking my GPS and phone with OnX to help me stay within boundaries. Don’t feel like losing my hard earned gear and tag. I’m thinking it’s gonna be a pretty warm hunt (warmer than it should be). Can’t wait to just get out in nature.
 

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