Successful in the draw!! I started applying in my mid twenties and turn 50 this year. I drew a 201 archery tag a few years back and turned it back in due to other commitments. This year, after considering the following I decided it was time for a fun rut elk hunt:
1) There were over 400 applicants in my point pool and above vying for a handful of Unit 2 and 201 tags. I would likely not catch the firearm hunts for a very long time.
2) The next five year season structure would be set this year, and that includes reevaluating the preference point system and how to treat points in the future. Colorado has been one of the most vocal states about not liking the point creep that is occurring for top units. I'd rather draw on a year I know what the rules will be.
3) Although still a fantastic hunt, I have had consistent reports of a decline in both numbers and quality in the NW corner.
4) The past two seasons I've seen better and better bulls coming from Unit 61, and the nine day muzzleloader hunt has consistently been the best hunt on the unit.
5) This year had some of the best muzzleloader dates there has been in several years along with a good looking moon phase. Last year the dates were even better, but it was a full moon. I've heard a lot of opinions on the effect of the moon on a hunt, but I have yet to hear "we had a tough time, because it was a dark moon".
6) Moisture has looked good in the unit.