Colorado 4th Season Updates

youngbuck2

Member
Nov 4, 2016
93
35
Minnesota
Curious how the 4th season went for some of you others? I just got back from my 4th season hunt and it was the worst season I've had in 8 years of hunting Colorado. I use that term loosely because its never bad. But we bumped 1 non-legal bull in 5 days of beating the bush. Put on 10-12 miles a day trying to find sign/animals. The sign that we did find was all about 8800-9200', hunted 10k for a part of a day and never cut a track.

Couple takeaways from the trip: I think the weather was just flat out too warm, we hunted in sweatshirts most of the day as it was near 50 the whole season. Also, there was no hunting pressure at all in our area. We literally has the entire basin to ourselves. Do you think this was due to the late season date, or the fact that season fell over Thanksgiving?
 

Ikeepitcold

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 22, 2011
9,589
829
Reno Nv
My step son just got back from Montana and they didn’t find much either.
The locals were saying they got 28” of snow during that big storm and that caused the elk to move through the country much earlier then usual. Maybe that was the same reason in Colorado?
 

Bonecollector

Veteran member
Mar 9, 2014
5,767
3,503
Ohio
Curious how the 4th season went for some of you others? I just got back from my 4th season hunt and it was the worst season I've had in 8 years of hunting Colorado. I use that term loosely because its never bad. But we bumped 1 non-legal bull in 5 days of beating the bush. Put on 10-12 miles a day trying to find sign/animals. The sign that we did find was all about 8800-9200', hunted 10k for a part of a day and never cut a track.

Couple takeaways from the trip: I think the weather was just flat out too warm, we hunted in sweatshirts most of the day as it was near 50 the whole season. Also, there was no hunting pressure at all in our area. We literally has the entire basin to ourselves. Do you think this was due to the late season date, or the fact that season fell over Thanksgiving?
Bummer. I'm equally curious if no hunters in the area meant the resident hunters knew something you did not....
Good luck next time.
 

Slugz

Veteran member
Oct 12, 2014
3,455
1,723
52
Woodland Park, Colorado
We had weather on the eve of the opener, 4 inches of snow. Was plenty cold above 10,000 ft. All the elk were on south facing slopes feeding. We hunted sunrise to sunset 4 days straight and were in em each hunt. We saw no other hunters which Im assuming was due to Thanksgiving. That being said the elk were in the normal spots that they go after being pressured for archery, muzzleloader, 1st, 2nd and 3rd season.

Cows each hunt were not hard to glass up as they were in herds of 10 to 20. We only found one true bachelor herd of bulls and couldnt get to them quick enough for a shot opportunity.

The guys that hunted hard in my group filled their tag. (Cow)
I like Colorado 4th season because the elk are consistently in the same spots year after year getting away from the pressure and trying to put the feed bag on. Pic below is from a sneak Saturday night to 200 yards of a herd of cows.

IMG-20211128-WA0008.jpg
 

youngbuck2

Member
Nov 4, 2016
93
35
Minnesota
We had weather on the eve of the opener, 4 inches of snow. Was plenty cold above 10,000 ft. All the elk were on south facing slopes feeding. We hunted sunrise to sunset 4 days straight and were in em each hunt. We saw no other hunters which Im assuming was due to Thanksgiving. That being said the elk were in the normal spots that they go after being pressured for archery, muzzleloader, 1st, 2nd and 3rd season.

Cows each hunt were not hard to glass up as they were in herds of 10 to 20. We only found one true bachelor herd of bulls and couldnt get to them quick enough for a shot opportunity.

The guys that hunted hard in my group filled their tag. (Cow)
I like Colorado 4th season because the elk are consistently in the same spots year after year getting away from the pressure and trying to put the feed bag on. Pic below is from a sneak Saturday night to 200 yards of a herd of cows.

View attachment 37862

Glad you were able to find them, looks like good hunting! In all of camp, there were 3 elk killed, 2 of which came from a private land opportunity, 50 miles away and the other from a SWA down the road. Not sure what to think...our spots that we found elk in previous years did not produce. Years like this make me rethink my strategy, especially after hearing of others successes. But with that being said, how do you give up on years of knowledge?
 

JimP

Veteran member
Mar 28, 2016
6,432
7,116
68
Gypsum, Co
Sometimes you just need to rethink and instead of pounding that same spot day in and day out you need to move if you want to be successful.
This years weather has thrown a few curve balls into folks hunting plans. Yesterday on my way back from Utah I spotted a nice 4x4 buck at 9,000 feet. There was no snow so why not, but they usually migrate off of this area close to the first of November. But there is usually a foot of snow around there also this time of year.

From what I heard on the elk herds in Utah is that most are still up at 10,000' + right now.
 

youngbuck2

Member
Nov 4, 2016
93
35
Minnesota
The structure of our trip, make decisions and or the ability to move miles away tough with horses, cabin, short season, etc. All of which I know is our choice. Im hoping it was just an off year and next year will be better! Time will tell...
 
  • Like
Reactions: Slugz

JimP

Veteran member
Mar 28, 2016
6,432
7,116
68
Gypsum, Co
I can see if you are not too mobile with animals and renting a cabin.

But then that is why they call it hunting, you just never know where you might find those animals on a weird years like this one as far as weather.

I know that some relatives of mine had a hard time getting into the animals up by Granby this year during third season.
 

youngbuck2

Member
Nov 4, 2016
93
35
Minnesota
Im curious what the harvest reports will tell us....its been a weird year for a lot of places and species. Harvest reports for whitetail here in MN are way down this year as well. It was unseasonably warm for the first half of that too.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Slugz and ScottR

CODAK

Active Member
Aug 8, 2016
381
333
Johnstown, CO
Was out all week a few days before the season and all season. Did not see a single hunter all season due to terrain where I went. Weather was wierd, bucks were spread out. Seemed like a 2nd season hunt. Multiple does groups of 12-20 with forkers. Never saw a 4 year old buck to harvest. Gladly ate my tag
 

Colorado Cowboy

Veteran member
Jun 8, 2011
7,614
3,168
80
Dolores, Colorado
We hunted the same area in the same unit and same season I have hunted before for deer. I really like 4th season, but this year there were several things different. First thing that really jumped out for me was more hunters and camps. In past years there are usually 2 or 3 camps in the general area including mine. This year there were 3 within 300 yards...not counting mine! There are less than 100 tags for 4th season and I saw more hunters than I have ever seen before.

We saw lots of deer, but really not many good bucks. Quite a few small forkies and spikes. I had really thought that the season being a week later, the rut would be on in full force. Filled my tag with an average buck, but if I was really picky, I could have gone home with no venison.
 

go_deep

Veteran member
Nov 30, 2014
2,578
1,819
Wyoming
We hunted the same area in the same unit and same season I have hunted before for deer. I really like 4th season, but this year there were several things different. First thing that really jumped out for me was more hunters and camps. In past years there are usually 2 or 3 camps in the general area including mine. This year there were 3 within 300 yards...not counting mine! There are less than 100 tags for 4th season and I saw more hunters than I have ever seen before.

We saw lots of deer, but really not many good bucks. Quite a few small forkies and spikes. I had really thought that the season being a week later, the rut would be on in full force. Filled my tag with an average buck, but if I was really picky, I could have gone home with no venison.
Pics or it didn't happen...
 

mallardsx2

Veteran member
Jul 8, 2015
3,230
2,242
Seems strange to me that even with the heat some of the bigger bucks are not with the does. Especially with the season being so late into the year. Makes a guy wonder.
 

jimss

Active Member
Jun 10, 2012
225
90
The reason you may not have seen many mature bucks the 4th season is there may not be as many mature bucks as there once were with the increase in tags and later dates?
 

Colorado Cowboy

Veteran member
Jun 8, 2011
7,614
3,168
80
Dolores, Colorado
I checked the statistics for the unit I hunted and actually this year there were less 4th season tags that last year. Colorado's stats go back to 2015. I did check every year and things stayed pretty statics until 2019 when tags issued almost doubled. So you could be correct about the buck population.