I would suggest that if you have never killed an elk, apply for the first rifle hunt in the areas north of Hayden, Colorado for cow elk. Forget the antlers until you have a couple under your belt. You will spend less money, have just as much fun and have a much better chance of filling your freezer if you start out hunting cows. Antlers are way over-rated and you can hunt years before you find and kill a good bull. You can get a preference point on your first choice and usually get drawn for the cow hunt on a second choice and protect your preference point for the chance at a good area for bulls later on.

Be ready to work very hard anywhere you go. The area I mentioned is essentially roadless and you will not usually drive to an elk. All of the elk that my kids, friends, and I have killed there (nine in all) have come out on our backs. We filled every tag that we have had in the area and most pack-outs were over two miles.

Just my two cents.