CO 1st rifle elk vs. muzzy elk

prhunter

Active Member
Apr 18, 2016
349
140
Far West Texas
I'm sure its been talked about here before but....

Which would you all prefer? Colorado muzzleloader elk or Colorado first rifle elk? What would be pro/cons on one hunt vs the other?
 

JimP

Veteran member
Mar 28, 2016
6,142
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Gypsum, Co
Muzzle loader elk, easier to draw in most units. First rifle, you can use a high power rifle, harder to draw.

Muzzle loader you are going to be hindered by the distance that you can shoot. First rifle, bang away as far as you are capable of shooting.

I actually prefer muzzle loader hunt. It is during the rut so getting close isn't as hard as it at other times. Weather is usually a lot better but as weather is it can change. I have seen a foot of snow during the muzzle loader hunts and dry as a popcorn fart the rest of the seasons in the same year.
 
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Slugz

Veteran member
Oct 12, 2014
3,351
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Woodland Park, Colorado
GMU hunted / points spent would be a major factor in my decision to lean a direction to pick either the 5 day hunt ( 1st rifle) or 9 day hunt ( muzzleloader)

Next would be pressure in the unit versus trophy potential / past historical data and where the animals are located.

Lastly would be how many days can I scout. Summer scouting with multiple trips or only scout a few days prior to the opener,.
 

Colorado Cowboy

Veteran member
Jun 8, 2011
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Dolores, Colorado
Like Slugz, it depends on the unit. One year I drew a unit that I know has a really great population of elk. It is close to my homeplace and I scouted it all summer. I hiked many miles and saw lots of elk. I knew where I wanted to camp and left 3 days prior to the opener to get setup. When I got there, it was like an army unit had moved in. Archery hunters everywhere! I counted 10 different damps within 2 miles of where I had wanted to camp and hunt.

This is the reason I would like mz season to be stand alone and archery closed when the mz season is open.
 
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archbull

New Member
Nov 25, 2019
49
74
CO
Muzzy. First season can be crazy with cow hunters and weather is great during September with lots of bugling Bulls.
 

mallardsx2

Veteran member
Jul 8, 2015
3,014
1,907
Never hunted 1st rifle. Bu if it were me I would probably hunt the muzzleloader season given the choice.
 

taskswap

Very Active Member
Jul 9, 2018
515
372
Colorado
I hunted 1st rifle last year for the first time and can second the comment about it being crazy busy. The place where we "camped" had folks lined up in tents on the verge along the side of the road all the way out of the parking area. There must have been 50 people camped that way. I talked to one old guy who had been going there for years and he said people get there literally a week ahead of time to make sure they get a good spot.
 

LCH

Very Active Member
Jun 28, 2015
753
211
Southern Indiana
I think a lot of the crowding is going to be specific to the unit and season. Look at tag #s for elk in archery/muzzleloader and 1st rifle (deer also for muzzleloader and archery), is the area OTC in archery season, etc.
 
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Hiker

New Member
I personally would look for a unit that limits the number of archery hunters, thus not over the counter and has a decent success rate for muzzleloader season. Hunting wapiti during the rut, when they are screaming and chasing the girls around is the best.
 
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prhunter

Active Member
Apr 18, 2016
349
140
Far West Texas
I'm still on the fence on whether to do Colorado 1st rifle elk or muzzy elk.

The unit I'm looking at has similar draw odds between the two hunts but the success rate changes quite a bit with obviously 1st rifle being higher.

This unit will have OTC archery deer/elk/bear hunters during the muzzy season as well.

I like the idea of being able to call bulls in during the muzzy season nut the first rifle dates would be a lot more convenient.

Any thoughts will be appreciated. Thanks
 

Slugz

Veteran member
Oct 12, 2014
3,351
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Woodland Park, Colorado
PM me and I can help a little more. Herd size, summer concentration areas, calving areas and access points should be looked at close. I think then it may provide a clear choice. Like I said above, its a unit by unit decision.