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Old 02-13-2018, 09:29 PM   #1
CrookedArrow
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Default Low down on elk on public land

So at almost 52 I have this hunt on my mind. Problem is I am 50/50 on if I can do it physically, mentally etc

2 back surgeries kinda damper your spirits when thinking of elk in Colorado. I should have done this way back before age and physical inabilities. Let me hear it from those who have been there done that.

I don't need the YouTube folks who have ZERO experience with these hunts. Tell me your thoughts on gear, accommodations, money needed, gear, tags etc.

If you have been tell me what it is really like.
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Old 02-13-2018, 09:32 PM   #2
perow
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I am in the same boat as you--42 and 1 back surgery and kinda out of shape but really want to do this. I think with enough heads up you could get in shape
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Old 02-13-2018, 09:48 PM   #3
bigchiefj
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I would think an over the counter elk hunt could be done for $1000 in Colorado.
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Old 02-13-2018, 09:52 PM   #4
Grulla
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigchiefj View Post
I would think an over the counter elk hunt could be done for $1000 in Colorado.
I plan on going in September otc for the first time , Iíve been researching for awhile and I just donít see it happening for 1000$ . The tag alone is 600$ or better I believe for both sex tag .. but hell it might be possible depending where you live in the state ..
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Old 02-13-2018, 09:53 PM   #5
CrookedArrow
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigchiefj View Post
I would think an over the counter elk hunt could be done for $1000 in Colorado.
Yeah I know several guys who budget that and do really well.
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Old 02-13-2018, 09:55 PM   #6
JakeGraves
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Longer you wait, the harder it will get. Start preparing now by getting into shape and working the stair climber since you don’t exactly have any elevation to work with in Midland. Don’t live the rest of your life second guessing why you didn’t at least try.
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Old 02-13-2018, 09:55 PM   #7
Texans42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrookedArrow View Post
So at almost 52 I have this hunt on my mind. Problem is I am 50/50 on if I can do it physically, mentally etc

2 back surgeries kinda damper your spirits when thinking of elk in Colorado. I should have done this way back before age and physical inabilities. Let me hear it from those who have been there done that.

I don't need the YouTube folks who have ZERO experience with these hunts. Tell me your thoughts on gear, accommodations, money needed, gear, tags etc.

If you have been tell me what it is really like.
Over 20 years and haven’t missed a year in last 9.

Elk are where you find them, period!! I laugh every year when someone tells me “ALL” the elk are at or above tree line.

Cost-wise for CO 1000 if you split with a friend. You can cheapen up some on food also depending if you truck hunt or pack in.

Personally I would put in for a NM tag in some of the milder units.



conditioning wise it’s not the hunting it’s the pack out if you get one. But easy remedy with a packer.

Gear wise it’s simple no cotton and Layer. Really that simple.

Last edited by Texans42; 02-13-2018 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 02-13-2018, 09:57 PM   #8
bowhuntermac
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As a former outfitter and someone who is coming up on a decade and half in Colorado chasing elk self guided, I can tell you that elk are where you find them. I have killed elk 300 yards from my truck, and also had to spend all evening and the next morning packing one out with a buddy. It's just a matter of being where they want to be. A couple years ago a buddy and I walked miles in before daylight, called, glassed, and worked our butts off all morning... then shot one while hiking back to the truck! Lol. Maps, data, and good glass will be your best friends. Hunt the overlooked areas. Elk are rarely where they are supposed to be, especially once season gets going. Elk are where they WANT to be. We always start a new unit by asking "if I was an elk and a bunch of idiots came in here traipsing around, calling their heads off, and disturbing us, where would I want to go?"
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Old 02-13-2018, 09:57 PM   #9
RutnBuk
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Your gonna most likely be disappointed if you go for an over the counter tag. With your issues its gonna be hard getting away from all the orange. In my opinion you should send in for a point this year and try for a 1st season tag next year somewhere. This lowers the number of hunters significantly.
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Old 02-13-2018, 09:58 PM   #10
Wfalls
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It depends on what elevation and steep the terrain you hunt . I have been on three hunts two mountain hunts and one high desert . The two Mountian hunts were VERY physically and mentally exhausting . We had half our group quit after day one . We tent camped and horse backed in . It was a great experience and a blast but VERY physical. The high desert hunt wasn't near as bad but was not near as steap terrain and did more glassing than hiking .
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Old 02-13-2018, 09:59 PM   #11
bigchiefj
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$1000 would be really tight. $1500 is better because you're going to need a couple motel nights for the trip.

I can pack a bull in 4 trips if the terrain is easy and it's less than a mile. I got lucky on the last bull because it was cold so I was able to leave the shoulders and head for the next morning.
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Old 02-13-2018, 09:59 PM   #12
JakeGraves
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I haven’t done the DIY trip yet but went with a pretty good outfitter in NM. I would say the faster you can cover ground, the higher your success will be. That goes for glassing and hiking. Be proficient out to about 70 yards with broad heads as well.
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:08 PM   #13
hopedale
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texans42 View Post
Over 20 years and havenít missed a year in last 9.

Elk are where you find them, period!! I laugh every year when someone tells me ďALLĒ the elk are at or above tree line.

Cost-wise for CO 1000 if you split with a friend. You can cheapen up some on food also depending if you truck hunt or pack in.

Personally I would put in for a NM tag in some of the milder units.



conditioning wise itís not the hunting itís the pack out if you get one. But easy remedy with a packer.

Gear wise itís simple no cotton and Layer. Really that simple.

At 48 and haven't gone yet. Its the packing out that has me stumped.

Reading Cmeron Hanes - Backcountry Bowhunting right now.

http://www.cameronhanes.com/shop/cam...whunting-book/

I think on the Elk thread I'm on page 22 or 25.

But interested in following this one for what folks have to say.
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:11 PM   #14
bigchiefj
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Getting the meat out and on ice can be a big issue during archery seasons.
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:18 PM   #15
Texans42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hopedale View Post
At 48 and haven't gone yet. Its the packing out that has me stumped.

Reading Cmeron Hanes - Backcountry Bowhunting right now.

http://www.cameronhanes.com/shop/cam...whunting-book/

I think on the Elk thread I'm on page 22 or 25.

But interested in following this one for what folks have to say.
Depends on weather and kill location. Once you get that hide off itís crazy how quick meat will chill out in the shade with a breeze. It would also surprise how long it will stay good. Pack out is like anything else. Further away from your truck harder itís going to be and more taxing marginal gear(boots and packs) will be. If you cant haul 60lbs or 80 lbs a few miles then donít, do 45lb loads.

With that said very few people in the Rockies will kill a bull over 700 lbs. so the big heavy pack outs arent as bad as some make it, grant it I hope you kill a 1000lb old monster but the odds say other wise.
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:41 PM   #16
glen
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I’m 47 two back surgeries, shoulder surgery, and I go
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:44 PM   #17
basschump
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Iíve hunted both Colorado OtC and New Mexico mule deer and cow elk.

If youíve never been and donít have local support- itís a daunting task. Elk country is big and unforgiving. I love google earth, watching YouTube, and listening to Randy Newberg etc. Nothing compares to physically being in the mountains.

Iím not trying to discourage you in any way. Public land westen hunting, especially OTC, is difficult. The first few times is a learning experience.

Iíve hunted around Taos with a local that has incredible knowledge of units. Every hunt has been a challenge. Itís rewarding, but hard work. Without him- I wouldnít have been successful. After three seasons- Iím not sure I wouldnít be able to find elk on my own.

Start walking now. Iím not a gym rat but love to walk and hike. It helps me immensely.

Good luck!


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Old 02-13-2018, 10:49 PM   #18
JustinJ
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Depending on gear you already own, an elk hunt can be done for close to 1k. Biggest expense is tag and gas. Food doesn't count as you're gonna spend money on food no matter if you're hunting or not, as long as you aren't buying a lot of junk you wouldn't eat at home.

If you've got camping gear, an elk hunt doesn't need to be expensive. I would spend money on a GOOD pair of boots, but other than that cheap used stuff will work for the most part.

Finding elk and getting one out if you're lucky is the hard part.

No better time to do it than now! And ain't a dang thing wrong with OTC units, I hunt one every year while saving up points. Theres plenty of room for everyone out there.
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:50 PM   #19
chuckc.
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This is just a suggestion, but when we were much younger my brother and I packed a couple of elk out of the West Elk Wilderness in Colorado. What we did was rent two horses, pack saddles and panniers to keep in camp. They’re a pain to take care of but invaluable if you get an elk on the ground. It’s much cheaper than hiring an outfitter our paying someone to pack your meat out. Anyway you do it it’s a lot of work but the experience is well worth it. Good luck to anyone who takes on the challenge!

Last edited by chuckc.; 02-13-2018 at 10:52 PM. Reason: Grammar
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:53 PM   #20
KactusKiller
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Me and a buddy are discussing this very thing. I don't need a trophy just a high chance at a respectable bull 250-300 would be perfectly fine with me for archery.

I don't plan to go many times so I don't mind spending some money on a guide but would be curious as well on a good outfitter preferably in NM. I just want to elk hunt, my buddy wants to do full on chase and do little to no sitting and waiting.

(Not trying to hijack but maybe some more questions to get answers on)
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:57 PM   #21
JTeLarkin08
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In my opinion if your 50/50 on if you can do it mentally and physically you might as well stay at the house...

Im 32 and I worked my *** off for my bull last year and I pushed myself way past what I thought possible. Also if you think your just gonna show up to public land and find elk.. It can happen, but highly unlikely..
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:58 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hopedale View Post
At 48 and haven't gone yet. Its the packing out that has me stumped.

Reading Cmeron Hanes - Backcountry Bowhunting right now.

http://www.cameronhanes.com/shop/cam...whunting-book/

I think on the Elk thread I'm on page 22 or 25.

But interested in following this one for what folks have to say.
The pack out is the best part.. It hurts but its the best pain you have ever felt.
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:01 PM   #23
Pedernal
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In for the info. I am at the ripe old age of 47 and had planned on going for the first time this past year. Harvey blew in and I volunteered to go assist with whatever our agency could do. I missed out as Harvey occurred on my scheduled leave. Planning on going this year and wanting to do a 2-3 week trip. As of now I plan on going solo as nobody I know is willing to commit to a trip. I know that the odds are stacked against me but I am determined to learn and don't want to give up any more time to Mother Nature before I get to learning.
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:09 PM   #24
NoFence
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If anyone does a backpack hunt for under $1000, please share how.

Tag: 650
Fuel: 300-400 (more if hauling trailer)
Pack: 300-600 depending on the quality you're looking for.
Boots: 150-300 (don't skimp)
Tent: 150-300+
Plus all the extras that add up.

Now if you have some of that stuff then obviously that helps. And every trip after the first one can probably be done for $1000-1100 if you don't buy anything else. Truck hunting would significantly reduce cost. But the first trip for backpack hunting isn't cheap. You don't have to buy all the fancy gear either, but I'm definitely taking some different clothes this year. It's a different animal than treestand hunting.

I agree that being in shape comes in handy most when packing meat, we spent 17 hours last year. But even just walking up a small hill at 10k had me sucking wind lol. There were a couple times we jogged up and over ridges chasing elk. It'll take some pounds off by the end of the week.

Last thing... take some good rain gear. Nothing worse than getting soaked by one of those rain storms that come thru everyday.
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:10 PM   #25
lovemylegacy
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Maybe you should go with a guide first and get an idea what it takes, then go on a DIY
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:10 PM   #26
ckamp52
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I don't have personal experience yet but plan on making a trip with a coworker in the near future. They hunt OTC with success every year and although he is younger he is not in shape by any means. He says it is tough on him and he wishes every year he woulda got his butt in shape but he makes it happen. As mentioned, it wont get any easier if you wait so make the decision to get in decent enough shape and make it happen before it is too late
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:45 PM   #27
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Do some research and go !!! You won't regret it. Tons of info out there. Check out the elk thread on here, Rokslide, Elk 101 etc. The research is a lot of the fun. Get a decent pack and some good boots and you can get by with a lot of stuff you probably already have and then just get better stuff a little at a time. Try to find a good partner. Definitely safer when your in the back country and helps if ya get an elk down. We got an old non working chest freezer we put in back of truck and fill it with frozen milk jugs and block ice. When we get an elk down we just pack some out put it in freezer and go back for another load. Slow and steady wins the race !! You want to be in the best physical shape you can be for you. If that's walking on incline tread mill for your training and that's what your back is capable of then do that. I haven't had back surgery( probably should) but I certainly got issues with it but I still go. I am soon to be 59 and we are planning a 7 day backpack hunt in Idaho then swinging down through Colorado to our usual spot to finish out the season. If I can do it, so can anyone else. Once you do it you will hate having to wait a year to do it again. Here is my ragged old self
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Old 02-14-2018, 01:00 AM   #28
WRasco
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Start waling now. Just a backpack with 10 pounds in it. Couple of miles every night adding weigh every couple of weeks.
Buy the boots first and break them in during this time.
Pack is second, by June, you can start loading it our and learning to adjust it for comfort.
By September you wont be ready but you will be in better shape and more prepared for what you will face. Plus spread the cost out over the months.
Good Luck
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Old 02-14-2018, 01:56 AM   #29
Still Hunter
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Gone the last 4 yrs DIY, public with a partner averages 1200-1600 depending upon gas cost and processing fees if you get one. Also we have aquired the gear we need. Last year was 1300. We cook and freeze all evening meals pretrip. Hunt out of a campsite and generally do 8-10 miles a day. I am 58. You have to get in shape period. If you smoke cigarettes forget about it. Was doing 4 miles a night 5 nites a week with 54 lb pack the last two months before the trip. Takes want to and comittment. If you are out of shape you let your hunting partners down. Do it!! I plan to go every year from now on as long as I can do it
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Old 02-14-2018, 06:47 AM   #30
danbow
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I’ll be heading to pagosa springs this opening season for otc.
So far going solo.
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Old 02-14-2018, 06:55 AM   #31
Dang_ol
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my first year (2016) everyone backed out last min. on me so I went alone to Colorado OTC archery. spent 5 days hiking around got with 100yds of couple cows one day and two nice bulls the next day. but could not get a shot. think I came in right at 1000 dollars (not counting gear I bought ahead of time)
second year (2017) 4 of us went spent 9 days up there, we all got with in 100yds of elk, I almost shot one the first day we was there but could not get a good shot. me and buddy split cost of gas and we spent more on food. and think I was still at 1200-1300.
I don't count price of gear that I can reuse. but GOOD BOOTS, and good back pack at least. and GPS. I averaged 10-15 miles walking a day.
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Old 02-14-2018, 08:00 PM   #32
CrookedArrow
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danbow View Post
Iíll be heading to pagosa springs this opening season for otc.
So far going solo.
You are a brave man sir
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Old 02-14-2018, 08:26 PM   #33
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I’m 62 and go every year the last week of archery season. It takes a while to figure out where the elk are but after you locate them then hunt them, don’t rush things and scare them off. I haven’t missed a year for as long as I can remember. Just remember just because they were in a certain area last year doesn’t mean they will be there next year. Good luck and enjoy the mountains, September is a great time to be there.
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Old 02-14-2018, 09:03 PM   #34
flywise
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First
You absolutely do not need to buy a bunch of high end stuff.
Second, the terrain will take your breath away but if you take your time anything is possible.
Third
It's worth the money just making the trip, killing is simply a bonus
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Old 02-14-2018, 09:17 PM   #35
TexaRican
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Good thread. At 44 Iím going for the first time this year. Already training for it and feeling great. Target is CO unit 55 archery.


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Old 02-14-2018, 09:30 PM   #36
DDOYLE
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Me and 3 friends go archery every year. My father is almost 60 and can still get after it gun hunting. Last year between 3 of us it cost each of us a total of $862.00 each. That’s tag, groceries, diesel, .. everything. You can get into the toughest terrain there is or pack in on the easiest elevated trail .. Colorado gives you those options. There are people who pack in 10 miles and get it done but sometimes you can hammer one a mile from camp. One thing is for sure start working out, it can be light stuff then slowly increase weight on your pack , increase your cardio workout .. etc. up until your trip . It is addicting for sure , and it’s very hard to just go once, I will continue until I cannot physically do it anymore. Hell I was practicing bugling today in my office and we’re 7 months away still.
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Old 02-14-2018, 10:00 PM   #37
Pernell
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I will be 55 this year and I have been bow hunting Elk for 20 years and I dont plan on stopping anytime soon. I would put in for NM draw, its a lot easier to hunt and bigger elk. I like unit 16a, 16d, and 15. Unit 12 and 10 are not as good but easier to draw. Good Luck
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Old 02-14-2018, 10:11 PM   #38
shark79
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Horses are the only way I'll do it at 42 or 62. Packing elk out 5 miles ain't for sissies.
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Old 02-14-2018, 10:24 PM   #39
Darton
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunsUpGunsUp View Post
If anyone does a backpack hunt for under $1000, please share how.

Tag: 650
Fuel: 300-400 (more if hauling trailer)
Pack: 300-600 depending on the quality you're looking for.
Boots: 150-300 (don't skimp)
Tent: 150-300+
Plus all the extras that add up.

Now if you have some of that stuff then obviously that helps. And every trip after the first one can probably be done for $1000-1100 if you don't buy anything else. Truck hunting would significantly reduce cost. But the first trip for backpack hunting isn't cheap. You don't have to buy all the fancy gear either, but I'm definitely taking some different clothes this year. It's a different animal than treestand hunting.

I agree that being in shape comes in handy most when packing meat, we spent 17 hours last year. But even just walking up a small hill at 10k had me sucking wind lol. There were a couple times we jogged up and over ridges chasing elk. It'll take some pounds off by the end of the week.

Last thing... take some good rain gear. Nothing worse than getting soaked by one of those rain storms that come thru everyday.
I agree 100% Been there and done that! For you boys that do it for less than a grand you must be on the Dave Ramsey plan on steroids
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Old 02-14-2018, 10:29 PM   #40
DDOYLE
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The $862 did not count our boots, packs, cots, etc. we have acquired those over the years.
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Old 02-14-2018, 10:38 PM   #41
TexaRican
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Default Low down on elk on public land

The initial buy-in is not fun but Iíve taken advantage of clearance sales since right after Christmas. Have a top-end pack, nice camo set, ultra lite hammock, good boots and am probably already $600 in with lots left to get. Still need binos, trecking poles, camp stove, first aid, meat bags, GPS.


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Old 02-14-2018, 10:38 PM   #42
jbw899
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I went to Wyoming a few years ago. I haven't hunted Colorado otc but it may be worth it to get a point or two and go to Wyoming general units. You should have the opportunity at a decent bull, 280-320. I've researched Colorado otc it doesn't look overly promising, especially if you can't get into really rough terrain. The terrain in our unit wasn't too rough, but you'll need horses or help to get one out.
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Old 02-14-2018, 10:40 PM   #43
Mohawkman
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Navarro County
Hunt In: TX, NM, CO
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I have been doing DIY CO bow elk since 98. My back has gradually gotten worse. I will not go without my pack mule. She is a beast packing camp in and elk out. You can run in to problems trying to rent them there so take one if you can. This pic is after she packed 2 elk out and this is camp. Good luck.
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Old 02-14-2018, 10:41 PM   #44
Stoof
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It can be done for a grand but that is if you have all the gear ready to go and thereís more than one of you in the truck. Keep your expectations low for a kill and get out there for the experience and adventure.


-------------------------------
Violence never settles anything
-Genghis Kahn
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Old 02-15-2018, 02:03 AM   #45
JTeLarkin08
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Aledo
Hunt In: Weatherford/Childress
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexaRican View Post
The initial buy-in is not fun but Iíve taken advantage of clearance sales since right after Christmas. Have a top-end pack, nice camo set, ultra lite hammock, good boots and am probably already $600 in with lots left to get. Still need binos, trecking poles, camp stove, first aid, meat bags, GPS.


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Skip the GPS. Buy a onxhunt membership and download the maps and app. Thatís all I used in New Mexico this last year. No need for service or anything gps still works.


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Old 02-15-2018, 05:49 AM   #46
Txbownut
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: East Texas
Hunt In: South Texas, East Texas, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustinJ View Post
Depending on gear you already own, an elk hunt can be done for close to 1k. Biggest expense is tag and gas. Food doesn't count as you're gonna spend money on food no matter if you're hunting or not, as long as you aren't buying a lot of junk you wouldn't eat at home.

If you've got camping gear, an elk hunt doesn't need to be expensive. I would spend money on a GOOD pair of boots, but other than that cheap used stuff will work for the most part.

Finding elk and getting one out if you're lucky is the hard part.

No better time to do it than now! And ain't a dang thing wrong with OTC units, I hunt one every year while saving up points. Theres plenty of room for everyone out there.
This .....

Good boots and a good rain suit. Dont hunt further in than you can pack one out. If you need camping gear, Im sure several of us have some you could borrow. Split the gas 2 or 3 ways. Dont pass an opportunity at a cow, especially on your first one. There is nothing better than the mountains, even if you dont see an elk.
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Old 02-15-2018, 06:30 AM   #47
WItoTX
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Katy
Hunt In: Wisconsin, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrookedArrow View Post
So at almost 52 I have this hunt on my mind. Problem is I am 50/50 on if I can do it physically, mentally etc

2 back surgeries kinda damper your spirits when thinking of elk in Colorado. I should have done this way back before age and physical inabilities. Let me hear it from those who have been there done that.

I don't need the YouTube folks who have ZERO experience with these hunts. Tell me your thoughts on gear, accommodations, money needed, gear, tags etc.

If you have been tell me what it is really like.
Go to hunttalk.com. I've noticed far better info there than tbh for elk hunting. Rokslide will get you good deals on used equipment.
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Old 02-15-2018, 10:52 AM   #48
Texans42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darton View Post
I agree 100% Been there and done that! For you boys that do it for less than a grand you must be on the Dave Ramsey plan on steroids
Location, location,

Last seasons -DIY
Buddy hunt-CO elk hunt -right at a Grand.
Solo-NM mule deer hunt way less then a grand
Solo -Antelope wayless then a grand.

Actually only DIY hunt in last 10years that cost me over a grand are my idaho hunts, gas is a big one there. Itís only a 24hr Drive one way

Iím not counting gear. You count you Rifle or bow?

I normally hunt three to four states a year. So even if I took gear into account divided by its individual trips over the years, itís cheapens up a ton.

I highly recommend tags over gear, but I canít say much I donít exactly have cheap gear but itís a comfort thing not an absolute.
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Old 02-15-2018, 11:10 AM   #49
bigchiefj
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There's some units in Colorado with easy terrain and easy to draw cow tags. Think hunting elk in pronghorn country. Those are fun hunts. Plus Colorado will let you refund a tag if you find a better deal.

Wyoming has that too, but their nonresident elk application period has passed.
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Old 02-15-2018, 10:13 PM   #50
public
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Hunt In: Fannin, Houston, Grayson
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Not counting any gear you can do the trip( tag, fuel, food, 2 night hotel(one on the way up one mid week) for $1000 - $1200 each with 2 people. This is OTC Colorado. I was lucking enough to get a bear and a bull this past September at age 52. The pack out was the challenging part. We tent camped at the truck and hiked in/out each day. The scenery along is worth the trip. Hiking-hunting was very doable-just take your time.
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