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  1. #1
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    Hunt Each Year as Nonres? Rethinking draws

    The topic says it all.

    There are threads that deal with this topic spanning multiple years; but I wanted the current, active members to weigh-in with their perspectives.

    As most are aware, I love WY. I love WY's reasonably priced type 6 cow tags; as I am on a tight budget. However, those tags need to be drawn, and not all the areas are as easy to draw as in times past; especially in some areas with ample accessible public lands. I did draw one of these tags in 2017 for a unit in the Sierra Madres and had a great time; even though my tag went unfilled. However, the odds were long that I drew that tag, and it was even worse this yr; so I wasn't able to go back and hunt it again; neither gaining more experience hunting elk, nor learning the unit better. Just how the cookies crumble.

    So, here I am getting ready to apply for a type 6 tag for 2019, and it really hit me that I might not draw again this yr; yet I don't want to miss out on another year hunting elk. It just seems I am spending time doing good research that might not yield a hunt when it's all said and done.

    I have hunted elk only twice and really feel I need to be out there doing it;pay my dues, to evolve as an elk hunter.

    Enter the OTC (or very nearly so) options:

    1. Colorado
    2. Idaho
    3. Utah (spike only)

    (any others??)

    Colorado is most expensive of these 3 I think; and about the max my budget can soak up for a tag. Idaho and Utah would be a cheaper tag, but a further drive. Either way, I am not after any sort of trophy bull at this point in the game; a spike or cow would be a huge thrill for me; and really I just want the opportunity of an elk hunt to learn.

    What do you guys think? Are these 3 states a nonresident's best option to hunt elk every year at a reasonable tag cost? Is hunting elk every year a reasonable goal to further personal development as a hunter?

    Regards,

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  2. #2
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    If you enjoy cow hunting and aren't concerned about building a lot of points, some of the very best elk units in Colorado can be drawn for a cow with 2, 1, or even zero points depending on the unit and season.

    I've never been to Utah, but I've always avoided the spike only hunts because it just seems like a spike would be hard to come by.

    I don't hunt elk every year, but I think an application strategy of a Wyoming Type 6 and Colorado antlerless would get you hunting good areas most years, with a fallback on OTC tags somewhere like Idaho filling in the gaps.

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  4. #3
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    Could possibly apply both wyoming and Colorado. If you draw wyoming you could turn the colorado tag back in.
    Just a thought anyway.
    I live in colorado and have taken about a dozen elk, but they're just not my passion. I carry a tag just in case while I'm deer hunting.

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  6. #4
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    Did you buy a point for wyoming?

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  7. #5
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    For an overall experience and opportunity Colorado sure is hard to beat for opportunity to get a tag and go hunting (Done it three times killed 1 Should have killed 2 with my bow) I dont feel that you learn a lot about TRUE hunting Elk in Colorado OTC units. I feel that you learn a lot about dealing with hunting pressure. Which is kinda the same but not really in my eyes. To learn how to actually hunt them you have to get into areas where elk are actually acting like elk. This takes days sometimes an entire season to achieve. I hunted for 6 days before finding the elk on my last 14 day hunt a couple years ago. I hunted hard and far.

    During archery season OTC elk is so crowded in today's world that you are actually just trying to jockey for position half of the day. At least that has been my experience. Most of the elk dont respond well to calling on OTC areas either. Some do some dont. Its hit or miss. I do know that my friend in utah kills all of his bulls out of tree-stands on waterholes on the mountainsides on public land. It works for him.

    Having said that I have NOT hunted Utah or Wyoming for Elk. I know several people who hunt both states and one of them who has killed several bulls on public land in Utah. Keep leafing through the Colorado OTC units until you find one that holds a good amount of animals. Some definitely hold more than others.

    Another thing to think about is you are on a budget is this..and it may or may not apply to you. Some people will drive right past good hunting to save $200 or more on an elk tag only to burn that much in fuel going to another spot...So take that into account if you are on a tight budget.

    My personal plan is to hunt a unit that takes a few points to get into every three years for the rest of my life or as long as my legs will let me do it. At least I have a constant. And that is I know what the hunting pressure will be like from season to season. I have learned in the last couple of years that is certainly a nice thing to know. This is why I am a big advocate of the entire state of Colorado going to a draw system and NO MORE COLORADO OTC tags. (Burn me at the cross later guys...lol)

    The only way to further your development as an elk hunter, hunt in a state that has the most elk and the easiest tags to draw, find someone who is good at it and hunt/listen to them or just go and learn things the hard way. I have done both. And both have their advantages.

    I hunted with a guy 2 times that has a 50% success rate on public land killing bulls (He has killed 8 all in the same unit and all within 1 mile of each other). The things I learned from him in 24 days of hunting would make people raise their eyebrows (All legal methods but unorthodox nonetheless)...but we got into elk every day in heavily hunted land and had ample opportunity to animals.
    Last edited by mallardsx2; 01-03-2019 at 12:33 PM.

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  9. #6
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    If you turn a Colorado tag back do you not loose your money but retain your preference points? Wouldn't be good on a tight budget....

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  11. #7
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    If you return a Colorado tag you drew as a first choice, you don't get to keep your points if you want a refund. You can either have money or points returned.

    You get your money back for hunts drawn as second or later choices if you return it.

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  13. #8
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    Colorado cow tags are getting harder to get every year. If you plan on going this route you need to study the draws and make sure that you can draw the tag with 0 points if you want to hunt every year and even then you can not depend on drawing that tag next year. Also with Colorado there is just one point system for elk, so if you have 10 elk points and draw a cow tag those points are gone and you start all over again. They figure that a elk is a elk. Utah on the other hand consider cows a separate draw and points but most unit in Utah require at least 1 or 2 points to draw. Also spike hunting in Utah gets interesting every year. Utah shut down the Monroe unit to rifle spike hunting after the rifle hunters slaughtered them but it is my understanding that they plan on opening it back up this year in that unit. Also you can hunt most of the limited entry units for spikes during the general elk hunt. Then there are the any bull tags that Utah offers. These tags are unit specific and can not be used in a spike only or LE unit, just the any bull units.

    Now that you are totally confused have fun..
    If you don't care where you are, you are not lost....

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  15. #9
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    I have pts in WY, zippo in CO.

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  16. #10
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    Have you considered spending your time hunting the same area you want to draw a bull tag in some day with a deer or antelope tag?

    For your situation you could find the unit you want to hunt a bull in someday, then put in for cow tags in that unit every year as you build points. If you don't draw a cow tag then look at deer or antelope options in that unit. At the very least you should be able to get a doe tags for the unit you want to hunt.

    I am a big believer in hunting the same unit every year vs jumping around and starting over. When you really get to know an area after spending a few weeks worth of time it's a whole lot more fun to hunt. Then when you draw your bull tag you will know the unit really well.

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