What is Colorado's First Season like?

BrettKoenecke

Member
Jun 28, 2013
137
5
Hey guys

Thanks for all the help last fall. Our landowner (GMU 8) has First season open (we went third season in 2013) and we are thinking of giving it a try. This place has resident elk in my opinion. I don't think there were migrating elk but I suppose its possible. I say that because I didn't see any migrating. They just seemed to be herded up and moving with the wind.

Anyway, I'm wondering what you sage men think of Colorado's first season. Better, worse, just different and if so, how?
 

Umpqua Hunter

Veteran member
May 26, 2011
3,563
45
56
North Umpqua, Oregon
Hey guys

Thanks for all the help last fall. Our landowner (GMU 8) has First season open (we went third season in 2013) and we are thinking of giving it a try. This place has resident elk in my opinion. I don't think there were migrating elk but I suppose its possible. I say that because I didn't see any migrating. They just seemed to be herded up and moving with the wind.

Anyway, I'm wondering what you sage men think of Colorado's first season. Better, worse, just different and if so, how?
I don't know this area at all, so take this with a grain of salt, but when you say "herded up and moving with the wind" it sounds like the elk are not resident with defined feeding and bedding areas, but instead elk that migrated down. With the early snows last year (mid September) the migration may have occurred early. The best thing would probably be to call a biologist for that area and determine if there are resident elk where you are hunting or they are primarily migrating in there.
 

HiMtnHnter

Active Member
Sep 28, 2012
445
3
Wyoming
Hey guys

Thanks for all the help last fall. Our landowner (GMU 8) has First season open (we went third season in 2013) and we are thinking of giving it a try. This place has resident elk in my opinion. I don't think there were migrating elk but I suppose its possible. I say that because I didn't see any migrating. They just seemed to be herded up and moving with the wind.

Anyway, I'm wondering what you sage men think of Colorado's first season. Better, worse, just different and if so, how?
Area 8 does not have a classic elk migration where large numbers of elk move out of higher country from miles away simply because it fairly flat and of similar elevation. Earlier you will find more elk higher up around deadman and they seem to gravitate toward wyoming and poudre canyon as the snows come (also to the east, which is another unit). Bulls will group back up by Novemeber and winter in different places (Usually more rugged and higher) than cow herds, which start to congregate in large numbers and move toward lower elevations (often on private).

The first rifle there is still some rutting activity and the cows are still using that higher country. I would expect to find elk scattered more throughout the unit and bulls transitioning to later fall phase. The bonus is the weather is usually warmer and the elk haven't been shot at yet with the big bores. If you can find a good place ambush at an escape route due to hunter pressure, this is a good tactic for 1st season.

Third season the elk have been shot at and have become wise to the activity. They'll be holed up in their winter phase areas and will move very little. If you find them here you can generally expect them to stick around unless bumped. There is also usually some tracking snow. Tracking bulls in the later seasons is a great tactic. Much of 8 is heavily timbered, so spot and stalk is limited.

8 does not see a classic migration like the surrounding areas of 19, 7, and 6.
 
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Colorado Cowboy

Veteran member
Jun 8, 2011
6,388
842
78
Dolores, Colorado
I'm with HiMtnHntr, I would hunt first season in a heartbeat. Unless you are hunting an area that is dependant on the migration, my choice would always be 1st season, thats why its draw as there is more demand and Colorado wants to spread the hunters over a longer timeframe.
 

In God We Trust

Very Active Member
Mar 10, 2011
804
0
Colorado
I have hunted first season a couple of different times for a bull. It can be a great hunt because the tail of the rut is going on and the bulls are looking for cows. On the other hand if the rut is shut down and the bulls are licking their wounds in the dark timber during the first season it can be tough. It really depends on the unit and if you know where the mature bulls like to hang out as the fall progresses. I am in the same boat, I normally hunt the third season and kill bulls but I have a point to draw a first season tag. Good luck bro.
 
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