Are you a res. or a NR
I have 11 Colorado Elk Pref Points and I'm considering applying to hunt with a rifle in Area 61. Does anyone have any advice on which Rifle Season would be best in Area 61?
Are you a res. or a NR
If you're a non-resident you have a 0.0% chance of drawing any tag for 61.
If you're a resident I would say that first season would be better. It is earlier so closer to the rut. The bulls would've been less pressured than later seasons and there are less tags in first rifle than the other rifle seasons. Tag demand and points to draw are a lot higher in first rifle so most everyone thinks it's the best. I have no personal experience, this is my opinion based on a quick search. Good luck.
If the draw trend continues this year, like the past five years, you will probably have a 30% to 50% chance to draw the first rifle season this year due to point creep.
Here is the historical draw odds for Unit 61 rifle, first rifle season for residents:
2009: 42% with 9 points (you would have had 6 points)
2010: 11% with 9 points (you would have had 7 points)
2011: 49% with 10 points (you would have had 8 points)
2012: 5% draw with 10 points (you would have had 9 points)
2013: 79% draw with 11 points (you would have had 10 points)
2014: I'd estimate around 30-50% draw with 11 points (you will have 11 points)
You should have no problem drawing the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th season since they typically take 5 less points to draw, which also gives you a good idea that the 1st season is the rifle hunt most in demand.
Interestingly the success rates tend to run the highest on the later rifle seasons. Here are success rates 2008-2012:
1st rifle: 60%, 73%, 55%, 68%, 57% = 63% average success
2nd rifle: 49%, 65%, 69%, 83%, 77% = 69% average success
3rd rifle: 50%, 62%, 87%, 91%, 70% = 72% average success
4th rifle: 89%, 82%, 50%, 85%, 46% = 70% average success
The advantage you have with the 2nd and 3rd rifle season is more hunt days which is likely what helps the higher success rates.
1st season: Oct 11-15 (5 days)
2nd season: Oct 18-26 (9 days)
3rd season: Nov 1-9 (9 days)
4th season Nov 12-16 (5 days)
An advantage to the 1st rifle season is there is typically 30% fewer tags than on the later seasons.
(source for statistics, Hunter's Trailhead)
Last edited by Umpqua Hunter; 03-28-2014 at 12:25 PM.
All great info. The only thing I would mention is that the 4th season is actually one of the hardest tags to get. The CDOW, in their infinite wisdom, reports the drawing stats wrong in this situation. I only know this because my Dad had points and drew unit 61 a few years ago and I did a ton of research beforehand.
CDOW lumps the 2nd,3rd, and 4th stats all together and they shouldn't. When I called them and really dug in and had them break it down they admitted there are only a handful of tags for the 4th season, less than 20 if I remember correctly. After doing all the math, myself and the gentleman on the phone determined the 4th season tag was taking more points than any other tag in the unit.
1st season would be your best bet with the points you have, however, it really depends and the timing of the rut and how much the ranchers are in there pushing cattle around. The year my Dad had his tag the rut ended early and the ranchers were pushing cows out of the upper country, all of this pushed the big bulls down. Of the multiple places that held big bulls when we were there in September, none had any big bulls left, plenty of cows and rag horns but that was it. If you do go first season be prepared to hunt down low in the thick, thick pinions and walk a long way if you want a big bull.