View Full Version : Colorado Archery Hunt

01-28-2012, 06:17 AM
My name is Gary. New to Eastman's and the forums. I'm in the early stages of planning an archery hunt for Elk. After reviewing the forums, I've found the right place. I've read enough to know that asking "What's the best OTC elk hunt to take a trophy in?" won't get many replies. So, here are some details.

My hunting partner and I are 55 and 45 years of age and both from Minnesota (he's older :D). We have both hunted whitetails for over 30 years. We are both is decent shape but also understand the need to take the physical aspect very seriously. Being from Minnesota, we don't have the opportunity to scout on site.

We are planning to apply for a point this year with the plan to hunt the following year (2013). We would probably skip another year, then come out that previously year (2015) with my son who would be 15 then. So, I look at this trip as a scouting trip.

Our expectations are more to have the experience. While everyone dreams of taking a trophy, that is not my expectation. We want to hunt the mountains, see some elk, and hopefully have the opportunity to get close to one.

So, we are looking at units 20/54 for draw units, and have bounced around 13/21/211/67 for OTC units. As you can see, we are thinking the NW corner of Colorado.

For those units, looking for information such as what is the access like. We are thinking drop camp. We considered DIY but concerned about our age and overdoing it. If that was an option, any suggestions on camping areas. I guess we could have someone pack us in. Also with our age, what is the terrain like. We are hoping to pack out an elk, not each other! Also, I'd be interested in your thoughts on hunting pressure during archery season. I've heard it can get crazy, but is that the case in archery season.

Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

01-28-2012, 10:18 PM
Hey Gary! Welcome to Eastman's and the Forum. I'm not the most knowledgable guy on here, but I'll throw my two cents in. First of all, you're all over the map! Haha. I'd narrow your area down first. I don't know where you got unit 20 from, but I'd stay away from there. It's right by RMNP and I think you'll be dealing with more "outdoors" type people than you want to. Lots of bikers, hikers, campers, boulderers, climbers, flower sniffers, etc. You didn't mention unit 77, but that's where I killed my first archery bull. We did a drop camp hunt with Backcountry Outfitters. Didn't see many elk, but it was very warm and we were there after the muzzleloader season. I think some elk had moved onto private land closer to Pagosa Springs. Also, we hunted hard but my hunting partner held me back a little. I think we could have covered more ground away from trails and seen more animals. That unit is OTC. Beautiful country. I would go back to that area. If you're looking around unit 12, I've hunted with J-Bar-H Outfitters out of Meeker. Jeanne runs a quality operation. You'll need points to draw archery there. At least one, possibly more. As first time elk hunters, I think it's smart to at least do a drop camp. This can be big, unforgiving country out here, and it makes the hunt a whole lot more enjoyable when someone else has done most of the work for you. Packing out an animal is almost worth the cost in itself! Just do the research and don't neglect to call references. I still get calls from my hunt in 2008, and I don't mind at all. Here are the websites to the outfitters I mentioned.


Good luck!!

01-30-2012, 05:17 PM
Thanks Rick. We still have much to learn!! Thanks for your take on Unit 20.

You mentioned Unit 12. In one of the pages in DOW it says "Archery OTC license hunters may only hunt on private land". However, it looks like a draw. Would that be a draw for public land and OTC for private? Is that how it works?

In my research, it seems like there are MANY outfitters with drop camps in the same areas. I understand it's big country, but I'm picturing tents everywhere. When you archery hunted, what was the hunting pressure like? Just looking to set some expectations or get some perspective from those that have lived it.

I'm more of a "get away from everyone" more for the solitude. We go into Canada and camp on the islands 18 miles out when fishing for Muskies on Lake of the Woods. There is better fishing in other places, but I'll take the trade off.

01-30-2012, 09:55 PM
That's exactly how it works in unit 12 Gary. Archery hunting with Backcountry Outfitters in unit 77, I didn't see another hunter. My buddy bumped into one the day after I killed my bull (I was sleeping in :-)) They had 4 or 5 other camps in the same area, but by that I mean they were at least a couple of miles apart. Like I said, it's big country. 12 might be a little different, but I think you'd be okay during archery season since it's not OTC. Just tell whoever you're using what you're looking for. You want to look into whatever unit the Flat Tops Wilderness is in (it's near 12.) I know there are some outfitters who go in there, and I'm sure you'd have plenty of room to roam. On my hunt, I asked for the camp the furthest from the trailhead. It was 8 miles by horseback.

If Minnesota is anything like Pennsylvania (where I used to live) on opening day of deer season, then you'll never see that kind of "pressure" out here. Just get away from the roads or trails a llittle and you most likely won't have much company.

Hope this is helping....

01-31-2012, 09:48 AM
Gary I can help a little on unit 54. Archery is a draw tag. But it can be drawn with no points. And you can get it as a second choice. Eagle Mt outfitters does drop camps. I have talked to him and a lot of his refrences. Seams like a pretty good guy. Thats all he does is drop camps. I never did use him. But I might in the feture. When my wife comes with me. I have hunted in there. It is big country and pretty rough. If you do use eagle mt you will need 4wd. And tire chains if it rains or snows. Tender Foot outfitter is another. But I no nothing about them..

02-02-2012, 06:28 AM
Thanks Rick and Conrad. Yes, this information is helping us set expectations. I would guess Minnesota rifle opener is much like PA - bring your own tree to stand in because all the others are taken. In archery season, I rarely see another hunter. Conrad, we actually know someone who used Eagle Mountain Outfitters for an archery hunt and they are planning on going back. That is why we had 54 on the list. I think we are going to start focusing on the Flat tops area. Rick, you mentioned j-bar-h, we will look into them. If anyone has any other thoughts on the area, it would be appreciated. So, then my next question would be, what season. Early in the season, they will have been less pressured, but I've also heard you may get the families doing their last summer vacation. I'm thinking we wouldn't get much of that if we are in a drop camp far back. From what we have seen, it looks like the archery first and last season timeframes fill up the quickest. Any thoughts and comments on that would also be appreciated.

02-06-2012, 06:28 PM
Hey Gary. Bar H might only be on the "other side of the road." I don't think they go to the Flat Tops. There are several outfitters who do though. Check out Welder Outfitters here:


I think they do. And obviously you can just Google "Flat Tops Wilderness Outfitters."

I personally would want to hunt before the muzzleloader season starts. I'd rather hunt completely undisturbed animals. However, the bulls will probably be more vocal later in September. That explains "first and last seasons filling up quickest." It's really a personal choice. What matters is; how hard are you willing to hunt? The animals are there, but you might have to go find them. I think if you go into the hunt just looking to have a fantastic experience whether you go home with an animal or not, you're well on your way to having a successful hunt.