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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-16-2011, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
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Colorado Elk Hunt

I'm going use this to try keep track of everything.

i got the phone call i have been waiting a long time for. my cousins had a couple openings in their group to go to Craig Colorado to hunt elk. this will be the 10th year of them going.

we will be driving out, hunting bulls and cows. renting horses for 2 weeks, staying in a tent 3 miles up into the mountains. we have to send in for cow draw by April 5th.
We've been talking about this for a long time, and still can't believe we are going.

I still need to decide which gun i am going to be using, a .257 wtby mag, 300 win mag, or 30-378 wtby mag. I'm thinking lightweight would win over power. so i might be taking the .257 loaded with accubonds.

Horses: i have experience in my younger days, my buddy, not so much.

any thoughts and ideas, i am open. I know the unit and area we will be hunting. i have access to a little work out space and plan to be in decent shape for this to make it worth while. everything i read says be ready for the altitude.

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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-16-2011, 01:37 PM
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Re: Colorado Elk Hunt

Go to your doc before you leave and ask for high altitude meds. Even if you're not going to be that high (10,000+) it can still effect you and it could very well ruin your hunt. My dad spent $500+ on his tag alone for archery elk 2 years ago and he hunted for an hour before we had to rush him off the mountain to the local ER. The doctor told us it was a good thing we didn't wait.

As for what gun to take, any that you listed will work fine. That is open country so you could likely take shots well beyond 300 yards if you're willing / able. So practice long distance shooting as much as possible.

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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-16-2011, 02:14 PM
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Re: Colorado Elk Hunt

Good luck man! CO hunts are awesome, amazing country. Been doing them for a long time w/ some of my best friends. I was blessed w/ a fine 6X6 last year on a do-it-yourself hunt.

I agree, any of the guns you suggested should be fine, good knock-down power, and then placement is the key. I've been taking my .270 and love it. Saw a guy drop a cow at 600 yards w/ it from ridge top to ridge top, was amazing (I wouldn't take that shot, but he was a guide w/ serious rifle skills). Weight is important given the amnt of daily hiking you'll most likely do, and the ability to shoot long range w/ accuracy (flat shooting rifle) can make a big difference. Pick your gun of choice and practice a bunch in all ranges so you know where it'll hit (suggest out to 300 yards as a minimum).

Good rifle optics are important, much of the action can be early/late in the day and can be in low light conditions. I've used the Leupold VX-3, and VX-3 long range, very nice but lots of good optics out there. Having a good rangefinder (I like w/ ARC) can be important too. Ranges, distances can play tricks with you out there.

Good set of glassing binochulars can be huge. I've got some 10X42 roof prisms that work well, but they were no match against my buddy's Swarovski's for scouting in the dark under moon-light (this happens in the early am, late evening as you often try to catch them in the meadows to locate the elk). Granted they can be extremely expensive, but take the best ones you can get your hands on....even if you have to borrow from a friend for a wk.

Training is of UTMOST importance! I don't know where you are hunting exactly in CO, what altitude, etc but the West is brutal compared to PA. STEEP mtns that seem to "go on forever" combined w/ high altitudes will take a flat-landers breath away, literally. You can't really train for that altitude in PA. We typically base camp at 11K feet and hunt up to a little over 12K feet. You need to be in incredible shape before hand to be able to cover ground day after day at high altitudes. Even then, you'll find yourself walking 50 yards and stopping for air. Normally your body will slowly adjust ("acclimating"). One way to deal w/ this is to go in a day early and rest, letting your body adjust before the serious hikes begin. Perhaps taking anti-sick meds would be a good idea but in general you have to take them before you go in, once you get sick, they won't help you.

My training starts during winter w/ regular walks, riding an excerise bike (cardio), etc. Nothing crazy, just steady excerise. Then about when spring turkey hits, I'm in the woods a lot hunting, walking, hiking w/ day packs, etc. By summer, I'm now hiking up local mtns w/ the frame pack I'll be using out West and will do 7 mile hikes a few times/wk. Once the hike is solid, I started adding weight to the pack (dumbells, rocks, etc). Gradually increase the weight up to around 75lbs or so up until the the last week or so before the trip. The last week, I rest...and head out.

The biggest thing I've learned from training is to START SLOW and start early. Putting it off 'till summer then rushing out of the gates can cost you your hunt if your strain/hurt yourself. That nearly happened to me last year. Work had kept me too busy, started preparing too late and ended up pushing myself too fast too quick. Strained a muscle in my rib that made it hurt to breathe, and nearly didn't make it. I'll never make that mistake again.

Feel free to PM me or whatever if you have anyother questions. I've done it a bunch, and it's provided me w/ some of the best experiences in my life. Your team you go with can make/break the trip. If you aren't tight w/ them beforehand, you probably will be aftewards. It's a wonderful thing. Best of luck!

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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-16-2011, 02:32 PM
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Re: Colorado Elk Hunt

I have hunted CO for many years and in that same area, some of the best times with friends. I have had altitude sickness with sever headaces numerous times, ROLAIDS have solved that problem. A few years ago I had a sever headace and a local CO buddy told me to eat half a roll of Rolaids, within two hours I was fine and for the rest of the hunt. No idea why they work but whenever I start to feel the altitude effecting me I will eat a few and I am fine. Needless to say I carry them with me all the time while hunting in CO.
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-16-2011, 02:45 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Colorado Elk Hunt

thank you.

we will be hunting from morapos trailhead between Meeker and Craig. camping at 9k feet. i think it is baldy mountain where we will be camped.

as far as optics, both my buddy and i have nikon atb 8X42 binocs, i have a leupold rx-iv rangefinder, and 2 leupold vx-III 4.5 x 14 scopes on 2 of my rifles listed and a burris fullfield on another. my buddy has a luepold vx-II 4x12 now, but may look into getting a 4.5 x 14.

we already do long range shooting to over 500 yards now, but we are planning on doing more throughout summer.

we have 1 extra day planned for around camp to rest before the first day of the season.

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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-16-2011, 03:11 PM
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Re: Colorado Elk Hunt

Yep, gotta take the drugs early (though some people I know don't get pills, they get a shot). Once you've got the high altitude sickness it's too late.

We've hunted right out of Meeker the last 2 years in the 1st rifle season and done pretty well. We've taken 9 elk in those 2 years.

Your optics are fine. 10x42s would be a little better but 8's will work. I shoot a .30-06 Tikka T3 Lite Stainless topped with a Leupold VX-II 4 x 12 and carry Nikon 10 x 42 binoculars and never felt handicapped with either.

I shot my elk last year at 325 yards, & I'd say all of the elk we've shot have been at least 250 yards.

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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-16-2011, 03:13 PM
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Re: Colorado Elk Hunt

Yzeater--sounds like you are well on your way to a great trip, gun, shooting, optics, rangefinders...excellent!

One thing I didn't mention is having a GPS, cell phone (we are usually up so high you'd be surprised where you can get a signal) and you should get topo maps w/ a compass. I've hit finger ridges out there that'll make you feel lost in a heartbeat when you are in steep country. The land can be so steep, and the trees can be so tall you look around and can't see any of your markers, etc to help orient yourself and kind find yourself lost real quick. Out there you can't just walk a mile and hit a road like in PA usually....you can be in trouble quick so make sure you practice w/ the diff equip.

Also, take a smart day pack on hikes. I like a water bladder (keeps hands free and you'll be pounding water out there). Usually one guy in our group will have a lightweight water purifier w/ them at all times. Radios to keep in contact w/ hunting buddies, a good first aid kit is a must! A whistle, emergency blanket (they make these reflective silver things that cost a few dollars at walmart and fold down to the size of pack of cards and ways near nothing, high protein/carb day snacks, fire-starter equip, etc.

Now train slow and steady in the off season like your life depends on it....it may very well when you get out there and all you'll have out there is yourself, your buddies and your own will power if "you know what" hits the fan. That bond of brothers, is a great thing and you can do it, just train/plan for the worst and hope for the best....that's the only thing you can control so give it your all before hand to help insure you to the best trip possible.

Things happen out there beyond your control, weather, altitude, sickness, pain, exhaustion, etc and your training will help you immensely if/when that happens to kick up a notch to that high gear.

As for shooting ranges, I killed my bull at 50 yards last yr, but that's not always the case. Again, be prepared for all potential instances....plan for the worst, hope for the best so if that moment shows itself you'll be able to capitalize on it!

I wish you the best of luck, I'm headed out again for 2nd rifle season w/ my bros! Anything comes up, planning questions, shipping stuff, etc let me know. Been there done that...

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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-16-2011, 04:09 PM
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Re: Colorado Elk Hunt

Ah yes! GPS, cell phone (we also occasionally can pick up a signal up high), and a water bladder are KEY! Our entire group had Camelbak bladders this year and they are excellent! If you don't have one, get one with the insulated hose cover, it does help prevent freezing somewhat.

Also, take lots of extra batteries for your GPS, camera, and flash lights.

Baby wipes (unscented) for "bathing" (I use that term loosely! haha) are also nice to have. Did 1 trip without them and 2 with. I'd rather have them then not!

1 more thing. Get a pouch or two of "Quick Clot". I made sure that when we broke into groups this year that at least 1 person in each group had a pack and that it was easily accessible. It would literally mean life or death. I had friends in Iraq & Afghanistan that said they saw it save fellow soldiers lives. It's not that expensive and packs easily. Lots of places sell it OTC, Cabelas included.

http://www.google.com/products/catalog?r...ed=0CEQQ8wIwAg#

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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-16-2011, 04:49 PM
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Re: Colorado Elk Hunt

Altitude is your enemy. Move up slowly if you go above 11,000 ft. You need to "inflate" your lungs slowly.

Oxygen is carried to your brain by red blood cells. Iron tablets like Geritol will increase your red blood cells. I usually start them a week or two before I get there. It seems to help a little.

Excedrin works the best for "headache day". I usually over do it at least once every year. When I do, the next day is filled with a thumping headache. I have found Excedrin works the best.

If you find a good hayfield where elk are feeding...fight the temptation to leave the spot before dark to get back to camp....and be there again before the sun comes up. The last and first three minutes of the day are worth more than the rest of the day put together.

It's a good idea to spend some time camping. In snow if you can, but any bad weather will be fine. The idea is to find out what in your camp works and what doesn't. You will learn alot and it will help you to be more comfortable when the time comes. There is nothing worse than learning that your camp is uncomfortable/unsleepable when you are on a hunt of a lifetime. You will need to rest at night. I added a small propane heater for the tent and a thin blanket to my sleeping bag. Two of the best things I have ever done!!

Electrical tape, nails, small razor blade, safety pin, tie wire and a small sewing kit are a must have in my mind. Each of these items has gotten me out of a bad situation at one time or another.

This is the short list. There is alot more. Good luck and have fun.

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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-16-2011, 04:54 PM
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Re: Colorado Elk Hunt

I forgot Trioxane tablets. You can often find them at army surplus. Get fire near them and they burn really hot for about three minutes. They will ignite wet wood.

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