CO Deer Advice

bigsky2

Member
Mar 9, 2011
102
2
I have 11 points in Colorado for deer. It doesn't look like I am gaining any ground for better tags than what I can draw now so I am set on using my points this year. 11 points kind of puts a person in no man's land so I will probably have to draw a unit that requires less than 11 points. I have been using goHunt to help me narrow down the units I can draw. Here are my options:

190+ potential:
2nd rifle - 21, 44, 55, 66, 67
3rd rifle - 54

180+ potential:
3rd rifle - 22, 25, 26, 30, 35, 36, 40, 52, 54, 65, 68, 70, 71, 74, 75, 76, 77, 351, 444, 521, 681, 711, 751
4th rifle - 25, 26, 65, 71, 74, 75, 77, 444, 711, 751

If anyone has hunted in or has any info on any of these units I would really appreciate it. Any info I can get helps, feel free to PM me.
 

JimP

Veteran member
Mar 28, 2016
4,834
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Gypsum, Co
Any unit in the state can give you a 190" buck and any of them can disappoint you when you hunt them. To get caught up in the point game and then asking questions about units to hunt in my opinion is not the way to go.

You need to spend time in the unit that you want to hunt to know if it is going to give you the buck that you expect it to give you. I have spent 30 years in some of the best trophy units in the state of Colorado and have only seen a handful of 190 inch bucks and a whole lot of 170 ones and I know a few of these units like the back of my hand. And one thing that I have found out is that internet scouting does not work except to learn what someones else has seen in the unit. I also know for sure that a lot of us won't let out just where we have seen the large bucks.

Here is a picture of one that I took this last November in unit 44 that a lot of hunters know about but have no idea of where he really lives.


Buck_1.jpg
 

hoshour

Veteran member
Drawing a line between units down to 10" is very questionable given what Jim just said. I work with the Boone and Crockett records almost every week and yes, nearly every county in Colorado has entries in Boone and Crockett, so the whole state is capable of 180" or better. Are your odds better in some units than others? Sure, but that is a different metric.

Look at the Eastmans' MRS (this is the Eastmans' forum!). It does a good job of showing you several different factors worth considering.

Also, I think you've been making a mistake building double-digit points to hunt Colorado mulies less than once a decade. You could have hunted a unit that produces book bucks several times by now and would know it well enough to have a huge advantage over hunting a unit you don't know every 12 years. Heck, that's the same time it takes kids to go all the way through school and head off to college.

Colorado is a fantastic mule deer state. Get out and hunt it as often as you can!
 

Colorado Cowboy

Veteran member
Jun 8, 2011
6,649
1,263
79
Dolores, Colorado
I hunted Colorado for 25 years (lived there since 2000) and have hunted a number of the units you list. I wouldn't want to recommend a unit to apply for to anyone who hadn't been there before (unless you are booking an outfitter). Some units I've hunted once, some 5 or 6 times, but they are always different. Weather, moisture and access are all things that change and could have a huge effect on hunting success. You need to narrow the field, pick a few units and spend as much time as you can scouting, several years in advance of your hunt. Your odds will increase a bunch.

Just sayin................
 

fackelberry

Active Member
Aug 27, 2013
276
4
Wyoming
I drew the 2nd rifle season in Colorado with 3 points in 2015. I had friend that used to live their party with me so we both drew. He told me he would show me an area he has hunted since he was a kid in the early 90s. It isnt a well known big buck hot spot of an area, but i didnt care i just wanted to hunt out of my home state of Wyoming. I seen a few deer he has killed there, nothing big but he has taken a few in the 150-160 class with little effort there. We arrived a day early to look around and for me to learn the lay of the land so to speak. Well it was warm, mid 60s and we didnt see anything all day but does and fawns in the general area he has killed bucks before in past hunts. I told him the bucks will be up higher on the mountain instead of the lower pinion brush we were trying to find them in. Later that evening right at dark i spotted one lone buck that fed out of the timber and onto a buck brush hill. It was a mile off any road to where he was. The buck didnt look overly wide but he was tall and heavy from what i could tell from my spotting scope. I made a plan that i would hike in the next day which was the opener Oct. 17th. to get a better look. To make a long story short, i shot the buck about an hour after daylight on the same hill he was feeding on the night before. He ended up being a 6x7 non-typical with only a 20 inch outside spread! After drying he scored 190 4/8ths gross from an official B&C scorer. As the other 2 fellas above mentioned, big deer are all over Colorado. My 2nd season buck from an area not known for big deer is proof. No way would i wait a decade or more to hunt it again. As soon as i get my 3 points and draw again, you know where i will be
 

bigsky2

Member
Mar 9, 2011
102
2
Drawing a line between units down to 10" is very questionable given what Jim just said. I work with the Boone and Crockett records almost every week and yes, nearly every county in Colorado has entries in Boone and Crockett, so the whole state is capable of 180" or better. Are your odds better in some units than others? Sure, but that is a different metric.

Look at the Eastmans' MRS (this is the Eastmans' forum!). It does a good job of showing you several different factors worth considering.

Also, I think you've been making a mistake building double-digit points to hunt Colorado mulies less than once a decade. You could have hunted a unit that produces book bucks several times by now and would know it well enough to have a huge advantage over hunting a unit you don't know every 12 years. Heck, that's the same time it takes kids to go all the way through school and head off to college.

Colorado is a fantastic mule deer state. Get out and hunt it as often as you can!
I realize every unit in Colorado has 180" or better bucks, I am just using the search to try to figure out which ones are more likely to produce bucks of that caliber. I don't expect that if I filter my search criteria by 190" bucks that I can expect to find 190" bucks there. I don't fully trust the website telling me which units have 190" bucks but I think if they say a unit has 190" bucks then it is more likely to have 170" bucks than units that they say only have 170" potential. We would be happy with 170's bucks but I upped the trophy quality in my search criteria hoping it would be more reliable that way.

I also realize that we shouldn't have 11 points. I didn't even realize we had that many until I checked this year. We are from MT so we can hunt mule deer every year and we had just been buying points.
 

mallardsx2

Veteran member
Jul 8, 2015
2,478
1,005
I guess I'm still trying to figure out whats wrong with killing a 150" deer?

Talking 170" 180" 190" this is out of my league hahaha

Hell I killed a 150" buck and to me it looks HUGE on the wall.

Take these guys advice and learn a unit or two and hunt it. I would think that the big bucks get easier to kill once you know an area.
 

JimP

Veteran member
Mar 28, 2016
4,834
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Gypsum, Co
Big bucks never get easier to kill no matter how long you hunt them.

If anything you keep trying to outdo what you have already shot, and you had better be ready to go home with the unfilled tag in your pocket.
 

fackelberry

Active Member
Aug 27, 2013
276
4
Wyoming
If i was in your situation, i would try to give yourself the best possible chance at a big buck. Like hunting as close to the rut as you can with the points you have. It just tips the odds a little in your favor. I admit i got really lucky on my 2nd season tag with the buck i took. One thing i noticed in my area is i seen nobody walking at all. They were either driving in trucks or side by sides or 4 wheelers. 2 days after i shot my buck i seen 3 other bucks on the same hill in a little rain storm. 2 of them looked to be good bucks. It seemed to me if a person walked a mile off any roads like i did the hunting pressure wasnt a factor as all the bucks werent even spooked. i have heard of big bucks killed in my area in later seasons closer to the rut, but those tags take 6-8 years to draw. i killed just as big of buck with a little work with only 3 years of points. Like i said, i will be back as soon as i draw again and i will head to the same hillside as before. Just might have to put in a little more work and time in the early season but they are there.
 

Umpqua Hunter

Veteran member
May 26, 2011
3,563
48
56
North Umpqua, Oregon
Find the best 4th season tag you can draw and go for it. Look the draw data up yourself and make a list of those units you can draw within a couple points of where you are and start doing your homework.
 
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hoshour

Veteran member
I realize every unit in Colorado has 180" or better bucks, I am just using the search to try to figure out which ones are more likely to produce bucks of that caliber. I don't expect that if I filter my search criteria by 190" bucks that I can expect to find 190" bucks there. I don't fully trust the website telling me which units have 190" bucks but I think if they say a unit has 190" bucks then it is more likely to have 170" bucks than units that they say only have 170" potential. We would be happy with 170's bucks but I upped the trophy quality in my search criteria hoping it would be more reliable that way.

I also realize that we shouldn't have 11 points. I didn't even realize we had that many until I checked this year. We are from MT so we can hunt mule deer every year and we had just been buying points.
Just because a unit's top end may be higher doesn't necessarily mean it has more trophy bucks. I'm writing this year's MRS for Colorado right now and it will have a map that shows you which counties have produced the most B&C entries over the last few years. That's a better measure.

Then, pick a county and call the big game supervisor for the COFWP regional office in that area and find out which units are producing most of those entries. I'll also have something to say on that score. How many points it takes to draw can be somewhat of a guide, but not always. Reputations take longer to decline than the units they get attached to.

Most trophies will come out of early, 3rd or 4th season, but not all, with 4th season being the best usually. With your points, you have a lot of good choices.

Next, take a look at the average harvest success for those units, the amount of public land and the trend for both tags and harvest success.

The CO MRS will be in the next Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal and will be out before you have to get your application in. Good luck.
 
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JimP

Veteran member
Mar 28, 2016
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Gypsum, Co
Also once you decide on a unit you need to look at it's access. Some units that have great trophy potential are also mostly private land or the deer will hang out on private land after the first couple of seasons.
 

bigsky2

Member
Mar 9, 2011
102
2
It looks like the 4th season tag that best matches the points we have would be for units 71/711. Does anyone have any knowledge about these units?
 

Slugz

Veteran member
Oct 12, 2014
3,112
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Woodland Park, Colorado
When taking into consideration, your points, genetics from past 10 years, high levels of forage on the mountains the past 5 years.....I would take a hard look at 66. Now all that being said......my son almost stuck a hard horned 175" deer during archery this year in a unit that is always getting beat up for having "too much pressure". it was a 3 point limited resident draw unit. We didn't see another soul hunting. They are where they are and it's tough to beat boots on the ground intel. All my CO friends thought we were nuts for hunting where we did and using those points.
 

lostinOregon

Member
Mar 12, 2013
86
0
Canby OR
Giving people advise on CO deer is one of the toughest things to do. There are so many variables to consider. Weather being number one followed by terrain type and moon phase. I have killed almost all of my biggest CO deer during second season. I hunt second season a lot and have learned some areas. The reason you are getting so many amswers are some like hunting wilderness, others winter range and some the mid range aspen sage ground. If you have any specific questions about some of the units send me a PM. I will not tell you where to hunt but answer your questions about about the units so you can make an informed decision. I have been in 411,52,521,70,53, 67,66,54,551,64,65,30,21. I don't have as much experience down in the southwest corner.

Rich
 
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Umpqua Hunter

Veteran member
May 26, 2011
3,563
48
56
North Umpqua, Oregon
It looks like the 4th season tag that best matches the points we have would be for units 71/711. Does anyone have any knowledge about these units?
I am thinking you may be relying on GoHunt's trophy size filter too much. I would look up ALL the 4th season hunts at or near your point level and start your own homework calling biologists.