Colorado

LanceHighcountry

New Member
Mar 14, 2023
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Good morning. I have 20 preference points here in CO and am thinking about Unit 44. Anyone hunted this unit for bucks? I am trying to decide on 3rd or 4th season. Any insight would be helpful. The unit is managed for big bucks and seems to be a good option for this year. The NW units are getting pounded by snow and the deer winter kill will likely be high. Thanks.
 

mallardsx2

Veteran member
Jul 8, 2015
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I know a guy really well (NR) who had 25 points and he went with an outfitter into 44 3 years ago and ate his tag looking for a big buck.

To say he was disappointed would be an understatement. Good guy and good hunter, but the outfitter and him couldn't turn anything up. The outfitter said that most of the truly big bucks never leave the private down low. Not sure if I believe that, but nevertheless, he ate his tag. Passed on a lot of 150-170" bucks. Never did find that next level buck and they scouted for 3 days and hunted the full season from daylight to dark.

In all seriousness, I would be looking at other units.

I opted out of the high county hunt there because more than a few people who I talked to said that things had changed a lot in the unit. A part of me still wants to roll the dice and go just to prove them wrong but the dates are just too late imho for that hc tag...

If you're a NR you'll need 27 points. Even if you are a resident at 20 points you will be luck to even draw the tag...
 

JimP

Administrator
Mar 28, 2016
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Gypsum, Co
The bucks do leave the private but they are also smart. I watched one a number of years ago that wanted to chase some does but he very seldom left the security of the thick trees. Then just at dark thirty he came out and stayed out of the trees. I caught another one just before dark, and he actually surprised me. When I went past the group of does there was no buck with them, but when I came back just before dark he was with them. It was almost too dark to get a picture of him.

43302

A good friend shot a very nice buck just as it was headed to the private. This hunter walked the fences that separated the private and BLM land. He claimed that he was on more trail cameras that he could imagine.

43303
 

Winchester

Veteran member
Mar 27, 2014
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Woodland Park, Colorado
I don't know where the OP is from, but assuming NR, last year GMU 44 took 26 NR points for 4th season and 24 for 3rd so you don't currently have enough for those seasons. 2nd season "only" took 15 points so you should be able to get that. Success rates for all those seasons averages in the 60% - 70% range so nothing is guaranteed ... especially a giant buck.

Below is part of my write-up in EBJ-136 which is just hitting mailboxes now and of course, TagHub.
"Large unit south of Rifle, CO. Unit 44 doesn’t really come alive for big bucks until 3rd and 4th season when success runs 60%-70%, but it can be a tough hunt and takes a ton of points which may not be worth it. Now, with 2nd season being later, that could be a great draw with fewer points. The unit is on the downswing with low tag numbers but still a blue chip."

I will add the Area Wildlife Officer told me the big bucks are actually much harder to come by than people think and it's not uncommon for hunters to go home empty handed and very disappointed. Spending all your points here does NOT guarantee a large buck.

So big bucks are in there but they're hard to find ... 3rd & 4th season are best (but you don't have enough points yet).
 

JimP

Administrator
Mar 28, 2016
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Gypsum, Co
44 has gone downhill in the last dozen years. I used to see nice bucks every winter, now I'll see very few.

I'll hunt the muzzle loader hunt this year in it and I'll shoot the first 4pt that I see. But the last few hunts that I have hunted it I have seen more bears than I have buck deer and I haven't seen a shooter during the muzzle loader hunt.
 
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ColoradoV

Very Active Member
Oct 4, 2011
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I’m in there about every year = something to think about is if the cpw takes tags from residents like they say they are going to you likely will have a hard time drawing 4th.. IMO 4 th is worth waiting a year or 2 for.

Most of the 1% ers got killed last year w the snow and late dates. Or have realistic expectations of 170” type buck or a willingness to eat your tag.

Plan on a hard hunt and plan on competing w deep pocket gov tag holders and the “guides” or well I guess 5-6 Utah “friends” that live in eagle for weeks, find the buck, and wait for the jet to land at the eagle airport.. Go hunt boys will be in there as well and as I have said I am in there as usually I usually also have a friend that draws. Or the list goes on I am sure you get the picture.

Last there is a reason for all the hubbub.. When you draw feel free to send a pm and I can help w general info.

v
 

mallardsx2

Veteran member
Jul 8, 2015
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Colorado V.

I like you...So I have bit my tongue....until now.....BUT I have GOT to ask you, what in the world you are talking about?!

You have been posting about Resident loosing opportunities on various forums.

Please explain how residents are going to be getting less licenses in high demand units.
 

mallardsx2

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Jul 8, 2015
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Changes Being Considered
  • A preference point banking system
  • Averaging group applicant preference points
  • Updating the high-demand hunt code split from 80% to residents and 20% to nonresidents to 90% for residents and 10% for non-residents
  • An across-the-board license allocation of 75% to residents and 25% to nonresidents
 

ColoradoV

Very Active Member
Oct 4, 2011
798
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No worries man = from where I sit 75% of the tags say in 3rd and 4th in 44 is less than the 80% residents got last year.

When you have 20 points and 44 drew out last year at just under 50% at 20 points... At 75% he has 0 chance w 20 unless folks drop out. So my man above is a perfect example of a resident who will not draw due to resident lost opportunity and most likely would have drawn if resident had not lost tags.
 
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mallardsx2

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Jul 8, 2015
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Not to hi-jack but I went and read Winchesters post. (Thank you Winchester)

So, from what I understand, it seems to me that residents loosing 100 tags but gaining 3000 licenses is a pretty significant win for residents.
Especially when historically residents get to hunt a unit 2X as frequently as a NR as it is...

I can see where it would affect a resident's ability to draw those top tier units. But it seems like a pretty good tradeoff for residents if it gets passed....

So yes, 44 3rd and 4th would have "less" tags. But we are talking like 1 or 2 less tags at most per season in isolated units.

NR's, point creep, here we come, harder than ever.
 

Winchester

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Mar 27, 2014
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Woodland Park, Colorado
CPW is actually doing pretty well for NRs IMO.
On the subjects of Group Averaging and Preference Point Banking CPW pretty much recommended what public comments favored.
Same with alternatives for big game License Allocation between residents and nonresidents where overall, 75/25 (R/NR) Across-the-Board Allocation was the most popular choice among all respondents ... even though 69% of the respondents were residents and many of them suggested an 80/20 (R/NR) or 90/10 (R/NR) split.
They also did NOT discuss the growing concern for overcrowding and the need to Cap OTC licenses, either across the board or just for nonresidents.
 

mallardsx2

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Jul 8, 2015
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Well, I wouldn't consider stripping 2900 tags from the hands of NR's any kind of favor to us. But you are allowed your take on it and I mine.

They also did NOT discuss the growing concern for overcrowding and the need to Cap OTC licenses, either across the board or just for nonresidents.
That is VERY surprising as that is what most people are complaining about.
 

ColoradoV

Very Active Member
Oct 4, 2011
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Co is more friendly to non residents than any other state. Or honest question what other western state chooses to just give non residents 5% of the tags ONLY in the best units and hunts? 🤔

In this day and age 90-10% on the top units and 75-25% on all others would be pretty darn fair to all parties involved and would be my choice…. You are right tho on some of the odds for lower point units Residents will get more tags but w the pop growth co is seeing any gains here will be short lived for residents.

Yea the commission is going to do things that only they are going to do. Survey shows folks would rather share than bank points but they choose banking. Wofz will soon be eating Aspen flavored doggo.. The Gov man is forcing or using his influence to a staggering point behind the scenes to get em here tomorrow.. Gettin to be buy em from a dealer and drop em private deal as no states will play ball.. Don’t ask about NEPA. Ever. Colorado….

Honestly it’s best to have a sense of humor w such things as really there is no other option and here in Co things are getting well ~ funny..