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Question by Big-Buk. Uploaded on September 16, 2010
On a general tag, Colorado in 2nd or 3rd Rifle season. On a draw hunts that could take many years to get - New Mexico.
Start reading all the elk states regs online. You have to hunt the short seasons that it is open, not like the long deer seasons in some states.
Kentucky has an 80% success rate on bulls during the rifle season. 1 in 500 chance of getting a tag if your a non resident.
do u have to draw for a tag in colorado or can you buy one?
it depends on what unit. In Colorado, you can buy over the counter bull tags in some units, but others need to draw.
If it were me, I would concentrate more on which state is easiest to draw an elk tag from. Each state with elk has some concentrated populations that you can hunt with high success rates...getting a tag...well that's a different story. If you find the state with the easiest draw, then start looking for areas where elk populations are highly concentrated, and try to get an outfitter, or plan your own self-guided hunt in those areas.
With the exception of Colorado maybe, the states and areas that have over the counter bull tags generally have very low success rates (Like Washington). Way less than 10% in most units. I have been trying to draw a quality hunt in my home state of WA for 7 years without success, but I have been shooting for the realy good tags. You have about a 50-50 chance of drawing a elk license in Montana any given year. That just gets you in the game and doesn't get you a prime bull unit.
Unless you have lots of help from an experienced hunter familiar with a given area, you might have time to research a good hunt by year after next. Otherwise, hire a good outfitter for about $6-10K for a weeks hunt. I have connected with a bull 4 of the last 6 years on my own and that is about the best I can hope for and I've been at it a while! Jim Zumbo and Don Laubach have written excellent books on elk and elk hunting. I know both those gents and what they write is true. Also Keith McCafferty in F&S know of what he speaks. John Barsness has also written reams on elk hunting, also good stuff, although he is more of a rifle guy.
I have three tips for you:
1. Hunt where there are lots of elk.
2. Get in shape for the high country and learn to shoot a real elk rifle not a mouse gun.
3. See tip #1.
colorado's west slope has some great elk hunting if the weather cooperates. hunt the later seasons. i hunt that area every year and almost always see some real monsters. it's a real good herd.
Listen to WAM he knows his Shiite on Elk!!!
Thanks WAM and everyone else...but i have some questions for WAM...#1-What is your personal favorite state to hunt elk, what month, and what outfitter do you prefer...Thanks again this is very very helpful!
I like to follow Tip #1 and #3 for where to hunt. Colorado is my favorite state to hunt because of #1. We have beaten the bushes for good spots to hunt and we have been collectively been hunting the ranch we hunt on in NW Colorado for 9 years. This will be my 6th season. Some of the others have been hunting it 8 or 9 seasons. We hunt the 2nd Rifle Season October 23-31 (this year) because the landowner and his family hunt the 3rd Season Nov 4-12th or thereabouts. If I had my choice, it would be the 3rd Rifle season for sure. Better chance of snow to trigger the migration, but that is not an option for us on that spot.
I have never hunted with an outfitter. Maybe that is why I was not so successful in my earlier years elk hunting. I can only personally recommend one outfitter in Montana. Chuck and Pam Rein (say Ry-an) at Anchor Outfitting Big Timber/Melville, MT. They are on the web. Quality hunts and a super bunch of folks. Almost guaranteed to get an elk in the Crazy Mountains.
Or if you are interesting in hunting in Colorado, contact Lisa at wildskies.com. She has some cabins and hunts down in the Flat Tops between Craig and Meeker. Seems to be an ok sort, but I can give no personal recommendation.
Anchor Outfitting is the only outfitter I can personally recommend. Also you could try Broken Arrow Lodge & Outfitters in Alder, MT. Erwin and Sherry Clark are fine folks too. Some of my RMEF buddies have hunted with them many times.
There are lots of good outfitters and about as many shysters in the bunch as well. I would never ever book with an outfitter that I did not know someone personally that hunted with them. Do your research thoroughly.
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