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  1. #1
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    Southwest Colorado Scoutting Tips

    I am new to the area I will be bowhunting elk for a week starting on openning day. I am also very new to elk hunting in general, but I am trying to find an area of the unit to pinpoint my efforts and I was looking for tips on what to look for. I have heard that north facing slopes are more comfortable to elk becasue they are generally cooler. Also what type of areas do I look for in a bedding and feeding area. I dont want to just plow through the woods and scare everything away looking for elk beds if at all possible. Also, what are the typical travel pattens of elk during the day at this time of the year? For example, do they move up or down the mounting in the morning and evening. The area that I will be hunting is heavily forrested with small open parks breaking up the forrest.

    Any tips are much appreciated!

    thanks

  2. #2
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    I think maybe the first thing to discuss is the dates you've chosen. Opening day is August 30. The first week would be August 30 to September 5. That is likely too early. You will typically have minimal to no rut activity. You have probably picked the toughest dates to hunt.

    In general this is a tough year to pick dates in Colorado for archery elk season. The muzzy season falls in the prime dates (Sept 13-21). The week before that would tend to be good dates, but you have a nearly full moon all week. If it was me and I could only hunt one week, I would likely look at archery hunting Sept 22-28. The downfall there being the area has had hunting pressure for a few weeks, but at least you are hunting a dark moon during rut dates.

    Deer on the other hand, I would hunt as early as possible. Deer are far easier to pattern in the velvet before they go hard horned.
    Last edited by Umpqua Hunter; 07-22-2014 at 01:00 PM.
    Grand Slam #1005 + 2: Dall (1986 Yukon), Fannin/Stone (1987 Yukon), Bighorn (1988 Colorado Unit S-26), Stone (1995 British Columbia), Desert (2001 Nevada Unit 161), Bighorn (2009 Wyoming Unit 5)

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  4. #3
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    UH makes some very good points above. If you do choose to hunt the first week, consider hunting water holes. Get up as high as you can and try to locate areas where elk are frequently watering- set up blinds or tree stands and hunt them like archery antelope/deer. I don't know that area but I'm guessing this tactic works in all elk territory. If you have time for a scouting trip, I would put up a camera or two on some water holes. The elk pattern right now shouldn't change too much over the next month. Good luck...

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  6. #4
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    Thanks a lot for the replies. I appreciate the honesty about my choice in hunting dates. Unfortunately, this year I will have to stick with these dates, but for future hunts I will try and move the dates back a few weeks. Will cow calling and bugling work this early at all, or would that cause more harm than good?

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    Quote Originally Posted by wiemken1 View Post
    Thanks a lot for the replies. I appreciate the honesty about my choice in hunting dates. Unfortunately, this year I will have to stick with these dates, but for future hunts I will try and move the dates back a few weeks.
    Not to worry... elk fall every year in the worst units, with the lowest percent success, and the worst dates to hunt! Put yourself out there and who knows what can happen...

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    Quote Originally Posted by wiemken1 View Post
    Thanks a lot for the replies. I appreciate the honesty about my choice in hunting dates. Unfortunately, this year I will have to stick with these dates, but for future hunts I will try and move the dates back a few weeks. Will cow calling and bugling work this early at all, or would that cause more harm than good?
    I have had some success calling early- my last bull, a 5x5, was called in on the first weekend of September. They are by no means rutting hard but you can find receptive animals occasionally. IMO, spot and stalk or water hole sets need to be your main tactics but be an opportunist if a calling situation presents. I actually prefer the first week of September as I can avoid the main crowds and the largest bulls are not surrounded by a group of cows that will spoil my stalk. I am definitely part of the minority with this opinion though... Good luck and hunt hard.

  9. #7
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    I've hunted NE out of Durango several times so perhaps close to where you are looking. My experience early season was limited reaction to bull or cow calling...but agree with Hilltop to be opportunistic. It's relatively thick there - but my advise would be to remain patient glassing rather than putting the sneak on blindly and end up pushing them out. My experience was also very limited pressure early (which I loved) so it makes up for some of the other advantages of going later in the season. I've also hunted that area rifle season and there is high hunting pressure and huge variations where elk will be depending on snow. Good luck!
    Brave Rifles & Toujours Pret!

  10. #8
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    Thanks a lot for the replies. I am hoping that the low hunting pressure early on in the season will out weight the lower rutting activity. I will stick to water sources and try to catch them there.
    PointsHunter- that is actually very close to where I will be hunting.

  11. #9
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    Also, I have been looking up the weather history for the area to see what amounts of precipitation they have had there, but all I was able to find was Pagosa Springs and Durango. Do you guys know if there have been much rain up in the mountains in that area, or if there is a site to find this info?

  12. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiemken1 View Post
    Also, I have been looking up the weather history for the area to see what amounts of precipitation they have had there, but all I was able to find was Pagosa Springs and Durango. Do you guys know if there have been much rain up in the mountains in that area, or if there is a site to find this info?
    Colorado Cowboy would be a great source on local weather. If he don't chime in, send him a pm.
    "Only two people have died for You and I, The American Soldier died for Our Freedom & Jesus Christ Died for Our Souls!" I thank GOD for them! GOD BLESS AMERICA!



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