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Old 05-10-2021, 07:53 AM   #1
Onski69
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Default First time OTC Colorado Elk hunt advise?

Thinking of trying an OTC Colorado elk bow hunt this fall. Very, very green to the whole thing. Didn't even know it was possible till a few weeks ago and now I'd like to give it a shot. Any suggestions? I watched a YouTube series on it that was pretty helpful but does anyone have any pro tips to help with the learning curve? Thinking about backpacking camping, doing a 4-5 day hunt. I have an ATV, can I use that to pack gear in or is it even worth taking? What should I be looking for as far as units are concerned? They used and recommended GoHunt app. I don't mind paying the $150 a year if it really is helpful. Suggestion for boots?
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Old 05-10-2021, 08:02 AM   #2
7sdad
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Get in the best shape you've ever been in and that still wont be good enough. No cotton cloths and don't worry about camo, Get your boots now and wear them every day, leave the ATV at home.
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Old 05-10-2021, 08:06 AM   #3
WItoTX
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Get on hunttalk forum and search there. It's 100% western hunting. Good luck, once you start, you will wish you had a month of vacation to stay out there!
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Old 05-10-2021, 08:13 AM   #4
Onski69
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Thanks guys. I'm in pretty descent shape. I race cross-country dirt bikes and am only 43 years young. Hopefully I won't die but I've never done it at elevation either. lol.
I'll look at that forum too and poke around. Thank you.
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Old 05-10-2021, 08:17 AM   #5
diamond10x
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Literature is your best friend. A lot of great literature out there by very successful and accomplished hunters (Eastman, Houston, Jacobsen, Meitin). Once you've read and researched til you can't take it, read and research more.

Something a lot of people overlook in their research is animal ecology. Unless you know what the animals habits and behavior are, all the research of units and gear aren't going to do you all that much good.
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Old 05-10-2021, 08:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onski69 View Post
Thanks guys. I'm in pretty descent shape. I race cross-country dirt bikes and am only 43 years young. Hopefully I won't die but I've never done it at elevation either. lol.
I'll look at that forum too and poke around. Thank you.
There's in shape and mountain shape. Trust me I learned the hard way.
I would run 3-5 miles/ day getting ready for my first elk hunt. Yes my cardio was great but I never pack trained or incline trained. After that first uphill mile from the truck I was toast, and hunting sucked because I trained incorrectly.
Get on a tread mill and put it on the steepest incline and walk till your calves burn and do that everyday.

If you don't have a pack, get a pack and start hiking with it especially if you plan on putting 4-5 days on your back. I do it twice a week, 25lbs 1 day, and 45lbs the other.

Don't wait till your hunt to put 60lb on your back for the first time, you need to know how to properly load your pack. Trust me there's right ways and wrong ways.

Listen to the Hunt Backcountry podcast, they cover pretty much every thing from gear, exercise, hunting tactics, medical advice, and other topics you should at least be aware of.

I wouldn't buy gohunt for Colorado OTC. For a beginner and novice like myself I'd recommend "ELK 101". It's a yearly subscription but it's geared just for Elk and covers calling, e scouting, and pretty much all the basics.


Colorado is pretty strict on offroad vehicles, might be better off bringing the mountain bike.

Last edited by BassMaster13; 05-10-2021 at 08:41 AM.
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Old 05-10-2021, 09:04 AM   #7
WItoTX
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As far as units go. Gohunt is an awesome tool for this. I still pay for it ever since my first hunt. The $150 or whatever it is goes a long ways in research. They just released their beta version of an onx type mapping tool for iOS, and android will be released in the coming weeks. Also good deals on gear and you get points that really add up when buying all your first year gear.

Also, I bought the elk ecology book. It was around $800, but it's awesome because it helps you understand what they are eating and when, breeding habits, weather effects, all that stuff.

They are hard to find, but if you find the latest edition (I think 2003), it really goes a long ways. I don't see any for sale at the moment.
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Old 05-10-2021, 12:41 PM   #8
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Thanks for the training tips and software/book ideas. That's stuff I never really thought about. I guess I assumed the 3-5 mile run would be ok. Never thought about training for incline or backpack.
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Old 05-10-2021, 09:38 PM   #9
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Mendle boots are a win for me. Got 3 trips out of them but I also wore them year round.
Elk Hunting University is defiantly worth the cost.
Local CPW Office is really informative. They really wanna help.
No matter how much rework you do physically you will not be prepared unless you reduce your oxygen intake while working out.
Have ALL YOUR GEAR 1 MONTH BEFORE TRIP and hike around with it to learn how it shifts around while moving. Practice falling and getting up in gear. Hiking sticks are a must.
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Old 05-10-2021, 10:24 PM   #10
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Pack training on uneven ground (not paved). Builds your core up so you have an easier time balancing. Gohunt will tell you which units are otc archery and give you a synopsis of the unit. It will be crowded and you won't likely get away from it. Accept it for what it is and have fun. Start building points next year so you can draw a better unit in the future. Pack your blaze orange as muzzleloader season is right in the middle of bow season. Make a plan on how your gonna get your elk out. I'm 62 so if I'm lucky enough to shoot another one I'll hire a pack out or use llamas. Keep going back each year, you'll get better and when you finally draw the good unit you'll be ready. Don't plan on the top units. You won't draw one before your 120th birthday. Take a few short backpacking trips to iron the kinks out of your system. Try your backpack and boots on in person. You can skimp on these but you'll wish you hadn't. I've climbed and hunted a few spots in CO so when you've narrowed it down pm me. And, consider a base camp the first year especially if your not used to backpacking. Look at this as a multi year endeavor rather than one n done.
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Old 05-11-2021, 08:09 AM   #11
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Thanks for the gear tips Zen. And I appreciate the insight jnd1959.
I'm not far from the LBJ Grasslands so I was planning to do some full gear hiking/overnight camping trips there to test gear out while bow stalking hogs. I really appreciate all the help guys. First year out I definitely just want to enjoy the experience hiking and camping in the mountains with my bow. If I even hear a bugle my trip will be complete. I'm not really even expecting to see anything first time out but here's to being hopeful.
I thought about a base camp first year but I also thought backpack camping I would be able to cover and explore more ground for following years. Then once I find some good stomping grounds, start base camping the following years.
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Old 05-11-2021, 08:21 AM   #12
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I went about 20 years ago. When I pulled into the entrance to the public land area it looked like spring break! People everywhere, it was crowded. Get in shape and hike in as far as you can. The majority of people were hunting within a mile of the entrance. We went in about 3 miles on foot and I got really lucky and shot a nice 5x5. The problem was getting it out! No fun. I hunted King Mountain SRMA west of Denver. Good luck!
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Old 05-13-2021, 12:22 AM   #13
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There's some trails on lbj. They're not well marked. Horse trails are though and thery're good exercise as they tend to be soft in a lot of places. I've trained out there as well but it is relatively flat. When I was climbing, I trained mostly at dinosaur valley sp. You can get in about 11 miles on one circuit there with some elevation change and there are enough uneven trails to help build your core. I start in the spring with 5 to 10 on my back and work up to 50. I think it is important to string successive days together with weight. It will give you an idea of your recovery. It's just my guestimate but 12 miles here translates to about 4 or 5 in the mountains. This year I'm starting with 3d, shooting 30 to 60 targets. I'll add
more weight and then start heavier hiking In the summer.

Last edited by jnd1959; 05-13-2021 at 12:27 AM.
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Old 05-13-2021, 10:20 AM   #14
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Iíd suggest planning on bringing the ATV. Lots of folks use them and without one you may well behind the curve. Just remember that you canít use it in a designated wilderness area, but you can use it to get there. You will need good boots and a pack. As others have said, break in your boots by using them frequently and train with weight on your pack.

Plan to have a light day or two when you get there to help you acclimate to the altitude. Drink lots of water and if possible sleep at lower elevations, especially early in your trip.

Can you do elk calls?


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Old 05-14-2021, 05:55 AM   #15
Zen Archery
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I’ve hunted 3 OTC units in Colorado. Only bugle I’ve heard are other elk hunters ������!
Only legit bulls I’ve heard in Colorado are premium tag units, Washington State, and I swear one of my neighbors must have a high fence or is practicing when I’m hog hunting.
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Old 05-14-2021, 09:28 AM   #16
donpablo
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Thumbs up Boots

You'll hear "good boots" drilled into your head when asking this question. I must have not walked enough miles or not had a heavy enough pack 'cause this po boy took his cheap Walmart clearance boots and didn't have any problem. I didn't go OTC but definitely traversed some mountains. Good luck.
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Old 05-14-2021, 09:36 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by donpablo View Post
You'll hear "good boots" drilled into your head when asking this question. I must have not walked enough miles or not had a heavy enough pack 'cause this po boy took his cheap Walmart clearance boots and didn't have any problem. I didn't go OTC but definitely traversed some mountains. Good luck.
I think we all did it in some Walmart boots back in the day, and no one ever came out worse for the wear.
Everybody soft nowadays so you gotta have all that high dollar crap to protect your weak ankles...(including me).
My go to is a pair of Russels.
Re-vamped, and re-soled multiple times, but weve been together for 22yrs.
Its certainly no where near what people make it out to be.
The locals that live in the mountains will be in Walmart stuff, everyone from Texas will be in the high dollar stuff.
Being in shape is all that really matters imo.
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Old 05-14-2021, 11:59 AM   #18
jnd1959
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The important think is boots that fit and are broke in. I don't eve wear boots. I wear hiking shoes unless I'm in snow.
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Old 05-14-2021, 12:27 PM   #19
billfromtx
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My son and I hunted elk in colorado last nov for the first time. The mountains kicked my butt. My son did better. We never seen an elk on public hunting ground. We had a bull tag and a cow tag. We seen neither. We did see hundreds of other hunters. Even when my son and 2 other guys humped 4 miles up the mountain they could see a sea of orange walking around. Tough hunting.
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Old 05-14-2021, 01:08 PM   #20
WItoTX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnd1959 View Post
The important think is boots that fit and are broke in. I don't eve wear boots. I wear hiking shoes unless I'm in snow.
Same here. Even in snow I usually stay in hikers.

The only issue I find in cheaper boots is the rubber absolutely sucks when temps get below about 15 degrees. The rubber doesn't flex, and stops gripping. If I throw my kenne's on, I can go to -10 with tons of grip and flex. And my feet stay warm.
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Old 05-14-2021, 02:30 PM   #21
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Thereís a thread Around the Campfire called ďThe Elk Thread.Ē It would be worth it to grab some beer and spend time going through that from the beginning.

Lots of good advice in this thread so far. Exercise way more than you think you need to. Cardio and a pack with weights up and down hill. Stairs or stadium steps if you have access to them. I built a wood box for step-ups. Itís mind-numbingly boring but it helps.

Practice hiking in your boots with pack weight and do a lot of side-hilling when you can. Great gear helps but is not absolutely essential to have a great hunt. You can have a good hunt and be successful with whatever your budget allows. Boot recommendations are hard because everyoneís foot is different and it would depend on what kind of area youíre hunting. I like a light boot, almost like a running shoe, so I wear the Salomon X Ultra Mid boots.

Your ATV question and answer will depend on the area youíre going. Some places you can use it, some you wonít be able to. Just know if you have one and are using it, so are lots of other people in that area.

Itís fun researching all the gear, but spend more time learning about elk. Youíll increase your chances way more learning the how/why/where/when of their behavior than you will learning about which tent to use. Elk 101 is a great recommendation given earlier. There are lots of podcasts available that dive into what to look for as well. Donít get too overwhelmed picking the perfect OTC unit. Figure out your criteria, find a place that meets that criteria and just go for it.

Watch some videos on cleaning one using the gutless method. Practice on a hogs or exotics here before your trip if you can. Think about meat storage in the field and figure out how to tie your game bags up if youíre successful.

The top 2 pieces of advice I would give you are to train hard and to level-set your expectations. Colorado OTC can be very difficult. Iíve had hunts where Iíve seen elk every day and Iíve had another hunt where I hiked 50 miles across 3 different units and never saw an elk. The hunt itself will most likely not be what you see on TV/YouTube.

Most states have seen an increase of 20-30% (or more) applicants for tags over the last couple years. Lots more people are trying to get tags, and with the increase in applicants, fewer people are getting them. That leads everyone else into the OTC areas. Idaho sold out pretty quick this year so that leaves people trying to figure out something in Colorado OTC. Expect company.

Very generally speaking, the further you get from roads, trails, and parking lots/camp grounds, the better youíll be. Not always the case though. You will see people, probably hear them calling, and they may even walk through your camp. If youíre close to a campground or stay close to a maintained trail system, you will probably see hikers. Know and expect to see people going in and it wonít be such a bummer when it happens to you on the mountain.

One of the areas I go is between 10 and 13 miles back, with the last few miles off old, un-maintained trails. Iíve seen multiple hunters every year Iíve hunted that area. Further in doesnít always mean it will be better or that you wonít see people. It can, but not necessarily.

Again depending on area and availability, you might be able to get a bear tag as well. Could be a cool opportunity tag and only about $100.

Above everything else enjoy it. The mountains in the fall are a fun place. Have fun. Take pictures. Enjoy the experience.

Good luck to you!
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Old 05-14-2021, 02:42 PM   #22
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Pack plenty of Skittles.

Don't walk faster than you can breath ~ Maurice Chambers

Last edited by Traildust; 05-14-2021 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 05-14-2021, 02:43 PM   #23
MadHatter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MooseontheLoose View Post
Thereís a thread Around the Campfire called ďThe Elk Thread.Ē It would be worth it to grab some beer and spend time going through that from the beginning.

Lots of good advice in this thread so far. Exercise way more than you think you need to. Cardio and a pack with weights up and down hill. Stairs or stadium steps if you have access to them. I built a wood box for step-ups. Itís mind-numbingly boring but it helps.

Practice hiking in your boots with pack weight and do a lot of side-hilling when you can. Great gear helps but is not absolutely essential to have a great hunt. You can have a good hunt and be successful with whatever your budget allows. Boot recommendations are hard because everyoneís foot is different and it would depend on what kind of area youíre hunting. I like a light boot, almost like a running shoe, so I wear the Salomon X Ultra Mid boots.

Your ATV question and answer will depend on the area youíre going. Some places you can use it, some you wonít be able to. Just know if you have one and are using it, so are lots of other people in that area.

Itís fun researching all the gear, but spend more time learning about elk. Youíll increase your chances way more learning the how/why/where/when of their behavior than you will learning about which tent to use. Elk 101 is a great recommendation given earlier. There are lots of podcasts available that dive into what to look for as well. Donít get too overwhelmed picking the perfect OTC unit. Figure out your criteria, find a place that meets that criteria and just go for it.

Watch some videos on cleaning one using the gutless method. Practice on a hogs or exotics here before your trip if you can. Think about meat storage in the field and figure out how to tie your game bags up if youíre successful.

The top 2 pieces of advice I would give you are to train hard and to level-set your expectations. Colorado OTC can be very difficult. Iíve had hunts where Iíve seen elk every day and Iíve had another hunt where I hiked 50 miles across 3 different units and never saw an elk. The hunt itself will most likely not be what you see on TV/YouTube.

Most states have seen an increase of 20-30% (or more) applicants for tags over the last couple years. Lots more people are trying to get tags, and with the increase in applicants, fewer people are getting them. That leads everyone else into the OTC areas. Idaho sold out pretty quick this year so that leaves people trying to figure out something in Colorado OTC. Expect company.

Very generally speaking, the further you get from roads, trails, and parking lots/camp grounds, the better youíll be. Not always the case though. You will see people, probably hear them calling, and they may even walk through your camp. If youíre close to a campground or stay close to a maintained trail system, you will probably see hikers. Know and expect to see people going in and it wonít be such a bummer when it happens to you on the mountain.

One of the areas I go is between 10 and 13 miles back, with the last few miles off old, un-maintained trails. Iíve seen multiple hunters every year Iíve hunted that area. Further in doesnít always mean it will be better or that you wonít see people. It can, but not necessarily.

Again depending on area and availability, you might be able to get a bear tag as well. Could be a cool opportunity tag and only about $100.

Above everything else enjoy it. The mountains in the fall are a fun place. Have fun. Take pictures. Enjoy the experience.

Good luck to you!
Last yr they dropped the bear tags to $50 after the season started.
Will do it again this yr from what I heard.
Just some fyi.
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Old 05-14-2021, 02:55 PM   #24
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Go get an old school compass. Don't rely on your phone!
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Old 05-15-2021, 06:38 AM   #25
Onski69
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That's some good advise MooseontheLoose. Thank you! I know the cardio thing is going to get me. Not that I'm not in shape but I'm sure I'll be more out of shape than I think once I get up there. Planning on just taking it slow and steady, not going to try and rush to waypoints or anything.
I plan on it CBHunter. I'm kinda old school so I'll be brining an analog compass and paper maps. I love reading maps anyway. Good down-time material. lol
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Old 05-15-2021, 07:05 AM   #26
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Buy the small game license if it won't brake the budget. I saw/encountered lots of grouse while there and it would have have been fun to arrow a few to eat at dinner.
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Old 05-18-2021, 08:10 AM   #27
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Leukotape is your friend for blisters.

MooseontheLoose hit the nail on the head.

Good luck and find some stairs to train on with your pack. get your hip flexors, abductors and adductors in shape, you won't be just stepping straight forward over deadfall.
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Old 05-18-2021, 09:37 AM   #28
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Getting in shape is very important, but no matter how good of shape your in the altitude will kick your but. If you can arrive 3 or 4 days before your hunt to acclimate it would help a lot.
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Old 05-18-2021, 11:42 AM   #29
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Getting in shape is very important, but no matter how good of shape your in the altitude will kick your but. If you can arrive 3 or 4 days before your hunt to acclimate it would help a lot.
This. I was very prepared... arrived at 10k ft. Got out hiking over two miles and all of a sudden I'm cramping. My weight wasnt too heavy, but it was just like something sucked all my endurance out the window. Hiking inclines that were just small stairways essentially beat me up, even though I knew I was more than capable of it. I managed fine and got into my spot at 11k ft. Dpent a few days and was good. Got snow and 0 degrees, suddenly it was like all the air fell out. Breathing like I ran a marathon just walking around with no weight.
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Old 05-20-2021, 08:17 AM   #30
Onski69
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I appreciate all the help guys. Going to try and just take it kinda easy and enjoy the experience and get accustomed to the elevation the first couple days and then hunt the plan after that. Never thought about the small game license thing. Good idea. Also like the idea of a bear tag but not sure if there'll be a descent bear population where I'm looking to go so not sure it'd be worth it.
Side note on the whole exercising thing. I get it. I work out and do cardio and all that and I race cross-county dirt bikes and after every race, I'm dying for the next 3 days so no matter how much I train, I know to expect an *****-whooping when it comes down to it. lol
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Old 05-21-2021, 09:53 AM   #31
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Most of these replies are on-point.

I hiked the Appalachian Trail for 6 months (2,200 miles) up & down mountains almost every day. I never hiked/backpacked before in my life before doing the trail. My dad went with me, and he was way out of shape & pushing 60 years old. He made it the whole way & lost 50-60 pounds.

A few tips:

- pack weight is critical for long hikes. Mine was 30 pounds at the heaviest point. Got it down to 25 pounds after shedding winter gear. Lightweight gear is much more expensive than normal hiking/camping gear, so I wouldn't go crazy with finding the best/lightest stuff since you'll only be out 4-7 days (I suspect). Still though, keep pack weight top of mind. I like Osprey packs, but I know they make hunting-specific packs which I've never used. Get fitted correctly so they pack sits on your hips/back/shoulders well. You want your hips to carry most of the weight, not your shoulders.

-Go synthetic on all your gear & clothing. Especially your sleeping bag. If you have a down-filled sleeping bag and it gets wet, you're screwed...it will take days to dry.

-wear layers that you can easily shed throughout the day. On mild days, I wore boots, synthetic shorts, underarmour-type synthetic base layer long sleeve top (smart wool works too). I just rolled up the sleeves if it got too hot. When you're hiking up mountains, you get warm quick. I also had a rain coat, down jacket for camp, and a moderately insulated top for super cold days while hiking.

- I like high-ankle boots. I wore Asolo's & they lasted the whole trail. High-ankle boots help reduce the chance of you twisting or spraining your ankle.

- try to estimate how far you will hike each day months ahead of your trip. Once you know, do some training with all of your gear on, and see how it feels. We averaged 15 miles per day (steep days were 8-10 miles, easy days were 20-25 miles).

- jet boils are awesome for cooking. trekking polls are very helpful for steep climbs. bring snicker candy bars & tortillas - they pack a lot of calories compared to their carry weight. I ate ramen noodles, instant mash potatoes, spam, tortillas, and honey buns the whole time. You want the most calories at the least amount of carry weight.

- in bear country, hang your food bag in a tree before bed. All you need is some rope and a rock.

I have many more tips, but will leave it at that for now. PM me for more...

Last edited by Mullet; 05-21-2021 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 05-22-2021, 07:42 AM   #32
Onski69
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Thanks for the advice Mullet. Never considered sleeping bag material. Was planning on getting a down one just for warmth but now I'm reconsidering.
Jetboil for sure. Gotta have my coffee in the morning and Mountain House at night. lol
Good idea on the food thing, recommended more than once. Going at it solo right now so I don't want any Bear surprises in the middle of the night...or coons or rodents, etc.
I just picked up an USMC ILBE pack I'm planning on using. I know they're a little on the heavy side but durable as all can be. Should be able to get my whole house in one of those things.
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Old 05-22-2021, 09:41 PM   #33
Hooverfb
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Thanks for the advice Mullet. Never considered sleeping bag material. Was planning on getting a down one just for warmth but now I'm reconsidering.
Jetboil for sure. Gotta have my coffee in the morning and Mountain House at night. lol
Good idea on the food thing, recommended more than once. Going at it solo right now so I don't want any Bear surprises in the middle of the night...or coons or rodents, etc.
I just picked up an USMC ILBE pack I'm planning on using. I know they're a little on the heavy side but durable as all can be. Should be able to get my whole house in one of those things.
I know it's different, but I use a kifaru cargo panel and a kuiu bag on a molle 2 frame. Not too hard too fit those things to it. The biggest thing will be getting the suspension to carry the weight the right way for you with it.
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Old 06-01-2021, 09:28 PM   #34
Turboe
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A buddy and I will be going for the first time this year too (2nd rifle).
I've been hiking with my weighted pack at the Sansom Park mountain bike trails on Lake Worth. About as good as you can get for our area that has climbs and off-camber trails.
REI (near Hulen) has some good mountaineering type equipment with great guarantees. That's where I picked up my boots and other base layer clothing.

Thanks for starting the thread and everyone that has responded.
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Old 06-01-2021, 10:14 PM   #35
bowfishin fool
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Lessons from the first three years we hunted elk..



Thermals thermals thermals

We got into crazy elk our first year and bombed down into them not understanding thermals, blew out multiple 5x and 6x bulls.

They will be going dow in the morning and up during the day, then switch late evening and start going down mountain again... bring a wind checker and use it like your life depends on it. If itís not a steady thermal, back off and be patient.


Like said, farther back isnít always better... a lot of GI Jimmyís have taken up bow hunting in the last few years and think they need to pound 7-10 mile snack to spike camp.... many will walk right by the elk. Habit is everything.

Learn to use your cooking gear. Food is Fuel is mucho important. You will hit a wall (period), if your not eating right, it will come sooner..


Whatever boots you buy, walk at least 200 miles in them before you make it to elk camp

Shoot to 100 yards at your house... when you e been practicing at 100, 50-60 will feel like a breeze. Bring a range finder. Bring a range finder. Bring a range finder

Run a fixed blade cut on contact broadhead. Elk are tough.

I use my phone with OnX and download maps, leave it in airplane mode and you can get 2-3 days off the battery, I bring 4 extra battery packs for a 10 days trip. I also carry a Garmin InReach mini. For emergencies and to check in with my wife daily. Worth the money


Any specific questions feel free to PM.

The only way to learn to hunt elk is to Hunt Elk.. I donít think Iíve sat in a treestand for whitetail since the western bug bit me


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Old 06-02-2021, 07:11 AM   #36
Onski69
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Originally Posted by bowfishin fool View Post
Lessons from the first three years we hunted elk..



Thermals thermals thermals

We got into crazy elk our first year and bombed down into them not understanding thermals, blew out multiple 5x and 6x bulls.

They will be going dow in the morning and up during the day, then switch late evening and start going down mountain again... bring a wind checker and use it like your life depends on it. If itís not a steady thermal, back off and be patient.


Like said, farther back isnít always better... a lot of GI Jimmyís have taken up bow hunting in the last few years and think they need to pound 7-10 mile snack to spike camp.... many will walk right by the elk. Habit is everything.

Learn to use your cooking gear. Food is Fuel is mucho important. You will hit a wall (period), if your not eating right, it will come sooner..


Whatever boots you buy, walk at least 200 miles in them before you make it to elk camp

Shoot to 100 yards at your house... when you e been practicing at 100, 50-60 will feel like a breeze. Bring a range finder. Bring a range finder. Bring a range finder

Run a fixed blade cut on contact broadhead. Elk are tough.

I use my phone with OnX and download maps, leave it in airplane mode and you can get 2-3 days off the battery, I bring 4 extra battery packs for a 10 days trip. I also carry a Garmin InReach mini. For emergencies and to check in with my wife daily. Worth the money


Any specific questions feel free to PM.

The only way to learn to hunt elk is to Hunt Elk.. I donít think Iíve sat in a treestand for whitetail since the western bug bit me


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That's a load of good info! Thank you.

I am terrified my boots will give me fits so I've basically started wearing them everywhere. lol. Well, not really but doing pack workouts, running errands in town, light jogs. They'll either be broken in nice or end up in the trash well before season starts.

I've been shooting out to 80 yards. I'm at least hitting my bag but my eyesight isn't what it use to be and just centering the pin at 80 is about the best I can do. I'm pie-plating at 60 yards but working on getting out further.

Thermals still kind get me a little. Not sure I fully understand them. I get mornings the thermals rise and evenings they drop down so wouldn't elk generally speaking drop in the mornings and go up at night, keeping the wind in their nose? But don't they feed up high during the day? So when the thermals quit rising in the morning, do they meander back up? That's what I'm fuzzy on.

This first year I'm just going to kinda stick to trails, only going a mile or 2 from them just to be safe. Maybe that'll change once boots are on the ground but since it is my first time out, better safe than sorry.

I usually use the green 100g Swhackers but am working on switching to my trad setup with 150g Magnus Stingers on my compound. I think I've got my bow tuned pretty well that it's shooting them where they need to be, even long range. Just adjusting pins to match the extra drop really. Pretty happy with them so far.

Rangefinder and wind checker...I never leave home without them.

Thanks again for the info. I really appreciate the help and advice guys.
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Old 06-02-2021, 08:03 AM   #37
bowfishin fool
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Thermals are just air temperature. An easy way to wrap your head around them is to remember that cold air is more dense, and therefore drops, warm air is lighter and therefore rises.

So when the sun is out and heating the mountain side, the air will switch, when your start to get heavy shadows in the evening it will switch again.


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Old 06-02-2021, 08:42 AM   #38
Onski69
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Thermals are just air temperature. An easy way to wrap your head around them is to remember that cold air is more dense, and therefore drops, warm air is lighter and therefore rises.

So when the sun is out and heating the mountain side, the air will switch, when your start to get heavy shadows in the evening it will switch again.


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I understand that, but how does that correlate to elk movement throughout the day? Do they move with the thermals or against them?
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Old 06-02-2021, 09:05 AM   #39
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There's in shape and mountain shape. Trust me I learned the hard way.
I would run 3-5 miles/ day getting ready for my first elk hunt. Yes my cardio was great but I never pack trained or incline trained. After that first uphill mile from the truck I was toast, and hunting sucked because I trained incorrectly.
Get on a tread mill and put it on the steepest incline and walk till your calves burn and do that everyday.

If you don't have a pack, get a pack and start hiking with it especially if you plan on putting 4-5 days on your back. I do it twice a week, 25lbs 1 day, and 45lbs the other.

Don't wait till your hunt to put 60lb on your back for the first time, you need to know how to properly load your pack. Trust me there's right ways and wrong ways.

Listen to the Hunt Backcountry podcast, they cover pretty much every thing from gear, exercise, hunting tactics, medical advice, and other topics you should at least be aware of.

I wouldn't buy gohunt for Colorado OTC. For a beginner and novice like myself I'd recommend "ELK 101". It's a yearly subscription but it's geared just for Elk and covers calling, e scouting, and pretty much all the basics.


Colorado is pretty strict on offroad vehicles, might be better off bringing the mountain bike.

My advice mirrors this. Go huntís not going to help out side the new mapping features, which OnX is cheaper. Now the UTV isnít a bad choice because a lot of the backcountry jeep trails are double in a 4x4 truck... until they are wet. With that said, I donít bring mine. I park and hoof.
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Old 06-02-2021, 09:09 AM   #40
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Boots- you have two basic schools of thought. Entry level (last a year maybe two of hard use) like salmon 4d and higher end resoleable like hanwag, Lowa etc.

Solomon will get you through year one, then if you decide, living like a homeless guy wondering around on a mountain for a week is for you, you can upgrade.
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Old 06-02-2021, 09:17 AM   #41
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I understand that, but how does that correlate to elk movement throughout the day? Do they move with the thermals or against them?
Both, elk do what that want when they want.
These are just general guidelines.
Expect to see one literally anywhere at anytime.
The premise is they move down in the morning to feed, and move up at night to bed.
If the elk are moving down before daylight, then there is no thermal moving up, and vice versa.
Or they could be feeding at night, and again, it's all backwards.
We had a guy on here kill one yr before last, in the middle of the day, right by his camp, while he was headed to get water.
Also elk are around exponentially more people before you get there to hunt, than during hunting season.
Go to your spot in late August prior to school starting back, etc...and the woods will be crawling with atvs, hikers, photographers, etc..
Elk in Colorado smell people on a hourly basis if I had to guess.
In some parts the terrain is so varied, the wind is constantly swirling so its impossible to play it anyway.
They are where you find em .
Don't get hung up on a certain area no matter how good it looks.
If you're not seeing anything, move.
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Old 06-02-2021, 10:15 AM   #42
bowfishin fool
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They are where you find em .


I always thought you find them where they are!

Great advice here as well, if youíre not seeing them, move!


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Old 06-02-2021, 10:42 AM   #43
MadHatter
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I always thought you find them where they are!

Great advice here as well, if youíre not seeing them, move!


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That just sounds crazy
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Old 06-02-2021, 01:09 PM   #44
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You find elk where you find they are. Which is where they are when you find them. Which is not where they aren't....unless they are.
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Old 06-02-2021, 01:39 PM   #45
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Just when you think you have them figured out/patterned they show you how dumb you are! They will go up the same trail 2 days then you sit on that trail day 3 and they go up a completely different trail for no apparent reason! Spend the first few days learning where they bed and feed and do not go stomping through their bedding area or you'll be walking A LOT for the remainder of your hunt!!! If you get set up on a bull to call, make sure you range trees/bushes all around you. You will not have time to range him when he comes walking up so know your yardages before you call. If he has cows you'll have to get in front if him. He probably won't come to you! If it's dry where your going, find an active water hole and sit on it every single hunt!!!! If it's a wet year, good luck! If you see bear cubs, run the other way!! Make sure you take a wind indicator and use it often! If your 3rd or 4th hunt or later in season remember the elk have been dodging hunters for a while!! Get to the top early and get in front of them. Don't waste your time trying to go around a herd of elk! You will never be able to get ahead of them! They will dang near kill you trying to keep up!! Learn, learn, learn them before you go chasing them all over the mountain side!!!
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Old 06-03-2021, 06:14 AM   #46
Onski69
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Boots- you have two basic schools of thought. Entry level (last a year maybe two of hard use) like salmon 4d and higher end resoleable like hanwag, Lowa etc.

Solomon will get you through year one, then if you decide, living like a homeless guy wondering around on a mountain for a week is for you, you can upgrade.
Lol. I ended up going with UA Speed Freeks. Found those, Danner Pronghorns and Irish Setter Elk Trackers seemed to come up a lot. (aside from the $400+ hiking boots which are out of my price range this year) I erred on the side of comfort more than durability with the UA's but if, like you said, it works out this year, I may and probably will upgrade next year. Probably Crispi GTX's...just found it hard to swallow that $300+ purchase this first year.
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Old 06-03-2021, 07:34 AM   #47
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I bought Under Armour boots last year for my hunt and they held up very well. I had a budget of around $200 for boots, and they were the most comfortable in that range.

OTC elk hunting was the most challenging yet rewarding thing I have done in a long time. And I didn't even kill one. Just knowing that we picked a unit, did our scouting, covered dozens of miles at elevations that I thought were higher than I could handle and then found elk and got with 100 yards of them was pretty darn cool. You will have a blast. I wish I could go back every year, I've got a score to settle with Unit 81.
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Old 06-03-2021, 08:08 AM   #48
bowfishin fool
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Like mentioned ^^ set your expectations on the ďexperienceĒ not the kill...

Statistically on average itís 1 in 7 that kill and elk statewide with archery... so if you kill one in 7 years or less, youíre beating the average!


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Old 06-03-2021, 08:11 AM   #49
c3products20
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Originally Posted by bowfishin fool View Post
Like mentioned ^^ set your expectations on the ďexperienceĒ not the kill...

Statistically on average itís 1 in 7 that kill and elk statewide with archery... so if you kill one in 7 years or less, youíre beating the average!


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On do it yourself hunts I bet it's even worse odds! It's extremely difficult on a 5 day DIY hunt.... You almost need to be there 5 days just to learn/pattern. Especially a new area you've never hunted.
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Old 06-09-2021, 08:16 AM   #50
Clayton_H
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BassMaster13 View Post
There's in shape and mountain shape. Trust me I learned the hard way.
I would run 3-5 miles/ day getting ready for my first elk hunt. Yes my cardio was great but I never pack trained or incline trained. After that first uphill mile from the truck I was toast, and hunting sucked because I trained incorrectly.
Get on a tread mill and put it on the steepest incline and walk till your calves burn and do that everyday.

If you don't have a pack, get a pack and start hiking with it especially if you plan on putting 4-5 days on your back. I do it twice a week, 25lbs 1 day, and 45lbs the other.

Don't wait till your hunt to put 60lb on your back for the first time, you need to know how to properly load your pack. Trust me there's right ways and wrong ways.

Listen to the Hunt Backcountry podcast, they cover pretty much every thing from gear, exercise, hunting tactics, medical advice, and other topics you should at least be aware of.

I wouldn't buy gohunt for Colorado OTC. For a beginner and novice like myself I'd recommend "ELK 101". It's a yearly subscription but it's geared just for Elk and covers calling, e scouting, and pretty much all the basics.


Colorado is pretty strict on offroad vehicles, might be better off bringing the mountain bike.
Vary helpful! My first time this year as well sounds like I need to train more!
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