Yeti

To move units or not to move units and other questions

bmontang

Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2017
Messages
61
So the short version is we have hunted the same Colorado unit for 3 years (Grand Mesa region Units 52 & 521 mainly out of Hotchkiss) and have gone 0 for several tags. This year due to circumstances we are hunting 3rd rifle OTC and it will be either 2 or 3 guys depending on if my son gets leave (come on Army it's been 3 years of no leave give the guy a little break).

I am pondering going back to the same area - the pros as I see it are we know the area, the cons are we have been 0 for, or do we just try a different OTC unit? Also since 3rd rifle is new to us (we have hunted both 1st and 2nd depending on the year) I am assuming bulls will be in full-on sanctuary mode. What I am not as certain of is will they look at private as a sanctuary over higher, rougher, country.

If it was one of the more experienced hunters here would you hunt lower, boundary area with private hoping to catch one coming back and forth or go high and rough? We are truck camping since my David tent isn't one anyone short of the Hulk can back pack in but can hike a lot.

Any advice would be appreciated.
 

Wallydeuce

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 24, 2021
Messages
641
Location
NV
You said that you were 0-for. Did you not see elk or fresh sign? If that was the case, I'd move units.
 

bmontang

Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2017
Messages
61
You said that you were 0-for. Did you not see elk or fresh sign? If that was the case, I'd move units.

We saw killed bulls in other people's camps. We saw some sign the first two years. Last year the area we hunt was a dust bowl and even around the remaining water there wasn't a lot of sign.

The first two years we saw a lot of sign in a border area between public and private.

What I am unsure of is if we aren't seeing sign because there aren't elk or aren't seeing sign because we are ignorant. If it is because of ignorance moving units won't help if we bring that ignorance with us.
 

wllm1313

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2015
Messages
11,928
Location
Boston
If it helps my in-laws in 52 had elk on their place last week, usually they stick around till 1st day of 1st season then don’t show up again until late (December)

With the dates of third season, elk might be down low, but if you aren’t having multiple elk encounters during a trip, you absolutely should move or switch something up.
 
Last edited:

Wallydeuce

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 24, 2021
Messages
641
Location
NV
Sounds like lack of knowledge to me. You're right, moving units won't help. I'm far from being an expert but I've learned a few things: Stop by the camps and talk to the successful hunters. Get off of the heavily traveled roads and trails. Get to your spot an hour before daylight and don't start back to camp until dark. Just my simple and unexpert opinion. Hopefully the folks on this site that really know what works will chime in.
 

RyanSweeney

New member
Joined
Jan 5, 2020
Messages
3
If there are bulls hanging up in other camps, I would say that there is something you guys are doing that is keeping you from punching a tag. The CPW issues elk tags in unit 52 and 521 because there are elk there... You just have to find them. Moving to another OTC unit wont drastically change your success. I think it will hinder your success even more since you will have to start at square 1 in learning a new unit and you will run into the same issues in almost every CO OTC unit.

Change up your tactics. Are you getting into the woods and into a good position well before first light? Are you guys moving through the woods too fast or too loudly? If you're moving too fast, you might miss the sound of a twig breaking or movement from an elk slipping through the woods. Try hunting along the edges of private land. If you are hunting with two or three guys, you all should be hunting in two or three different areas each day until you can pin down an area that holds elk. Come back to camp each day and share info on what you all saw. Once you figure out where the elk like to hang out in your area and guys start having success, then your whole camp can start focusing on that area. Make an early summer scouting trip to your area. This will allow you to spend days wandering the woods and looking for elk without the pressure of punching a tag.

If you see successful elk camps in your area, don't ask those guys where they hunt. Ask them how they hunt and learn what tactics they use to be successful. Just like an online forum, guys are more likely to tell you how they killed elk as opposed to where they killed elk.

Keep at it. It took me about 5 years to get my first elk in my CO OTC unit. Since then, I have never had tag soup. Summer scouting and years of persistence during hunting season are the biggest contributors to my success.
 

Todd10

New member
Joined
Oct 18, 2015
Messages
13
I’d stick to the same area. Although my crew has been skunked for 4 years , each year we hunted the same area our opportunities increased with several close calls. Had to hunt a new area this year due to fires and my group really struggled. We eventually saw elk but spent a lot of time trying to figure out the new area. After what we learned this year we’re definitely going to stick to one general area.
 

2rocky

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 23, 2010
Messages
3,301
I had one year I covered 90 miles on foot and horseback in 5 days. The elk weren't in their usual haunts, and I remembered it as being a tough hunt. When I look back at my notes, We went 3 for 4. It was just day 5 that I killed. While hunting there we hunted 2 different units since our ridge was the dividing line. One opened earlier than the other is all.



Be sure you are covering enough ground and looking over as much country as possible. My friend says FINDING elk is the hard part. Harder than KILLING elk. I'd estimate we covered a 10 x 7 mile area approximately in 5 days.
 

nrpate05

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 5, 2015
Messages
1,205
As far as I know there are good populations of elk in those units. Remember OTC elk in Colorado is really tough. I'd probably just do some really thorough planning. Have multiple spots picked out at different elevations and different areas within the unit. It's tough but don't be afraid to break camp after an unsuccessful day or two and drive to a different part of the unit. Or simply change up tactics. Glass more, still hunt more, hunt during the middle of the day, etc. Simply changing units won't necessarily increase success although if you aren't confident in your plan, you probably won't hunt as effectively.
 

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
97,597
Messages
1,489,789
Members
30,740
Latest member
DadBodHero
Top