Whether to go back or not?


Jun 28, 2013
I went to Colorado elk hunting for the first time.
I had a tag for Unit 8 along with three other guys. Two had tags for 191.
I hunted Saturday evening through Thursday morning at about 9 when we drove home.
I saw about 100 elk over the week. Only one other guy saw a branch antlered bull the entire time.
I feel like my group could have hunted harder than it did and seen more. The two 191 guys saw nothing in their unit.
I saw about five branch antlered bulls but could not close the deal. 400 yards felt like too far for me. I like DRT's.
I could have taken cows and spikes easily.
I was admittedly greedy and tried to get the six point when other legal bulls were closer.
I paid about 2200 total for the experience. Gas, food, lodging, tags, access fees. All in was about 2200

I am seeking comparisons/thoughts/ideas on that experience and will welcome all thoughts.
I was satisfied, quite. It was fun and I had a great time.
I want to know if I should set my sights higher and differently or go back there.

Colorado Cowboy

Veteran member
Jun 8, 2011
Dolores, Colorado
I wouldn't be too disappointed. First time there.....saw plenty of elk and ,could have filled your tag with a legal bull and spent about $2200. I'd call that PRETTY GOOD. The big thing is now you know the area and where you saw the animals. Me....I'd go back in a heartbeat.


Jun 28, 2013
Thanks, that is generally what my thoughts are as well. I just wonder what the collective thinking is. I am not disappointed, at all. I had a great trip. Others in my group had different thoughts on what this experience would be and should be like. I felt like if we saw elk and got a shot or two, that would be successful. We did.

It was the first trip for all of us and so without a barometer of what it should look like, I reached out to you guys. Thanks.

More opinions are welcome but this generally tracks with my thinking.

Musket Man

Veteran member
Jul 20, 2011
colfax, wa
I am assuming the tag is fairly easy to get but I would definitely go back! You had a good time and saw some elk, besides you are getting to know the area which will help alot next time. Dont worry about what it costs. Out of state hunting is not cheap no matter how you do it and if you enjoyed your time there thats what matters!


Active Member
Aug 8, 2012
South Texas
You spent a week in the mountains, had a good time and saw some elk that you had opportunity at - you bet I'd go back! Can't ask for much more than that. I had to sit this year out but I'm already dreaming of chasing elk and sucking down that thin mountain air
next year....only 11 more months!


Jun 28, 2013
Thanks Musket, I was thinking of spending more actually but not sure what I'd get for that additional expenditure.

The question is not whether I go elk hunting again, that is a given. The question is where. I think what I found is pretty good and you guys seem to be thinking the same. I appreciate that perspective, a lot.

Umpqua Hunter

Veteran member
May 26, 2011
North Umpqua, Oregon
Since you were consistently into the elk, you are WAY up the learning curve. Go back. Your experience is NOT the typical experience for OTC or easy to draw areas.

I'd also practice shooting at 400-500 yards. For western hunting you should develop confidence at 400 yards. We now have a 400 yard target, and we sight the 400 yard crosshair (Leupold B&C reticle) at that range, then everything closer is on. You should not sight in at a closer range (100 yards) and then depend on ballistics to make that shot. Longer range shooting make the shorter shots feel like a slam dunk.

Bitterroot Bulls

Veteran member
Apr 25, 2011
I would definitely go back. The more experience you get with the unit, the better.

UH's advice on practicing the longer shot is spot on. Also, It is excellent advise to finish sighting in a drop reticle at an extended range, and ballistic reticles are at their best at ranges like 400-600 and in.


Very Active Member
Jun 9, 2011
Peoples Republik of Kalifornia
If your total expenditure was $2,200 including tags and gas, you did damned good. You were out there and ready to capitalize on that once in a lifetime opportunity of a monster elk doing something stupid and wandering into your sights. Go every chance that you get because you never know when those opportunities may no longer exist, or when you physically or financially cannot go anymore. Your odds of killing an elk in even a mediocre area are infinitely better than if you stayed home on the porch. Go for it.


Active Member
Aug 21, 2011
Don't go back, PM the coordinates to me and I'll tell you when the hunting gets good there again. Kidding, I'd say that is a good area that you should keep learning.


Jun 28, 2013
Ha...funny. Thanks men. I think I will. I have a few points still for hunts in SD and WY but had a great experience in Colorado.


Feb 22, 2014
north colorado
I live in Colorado.. Moved here 2 yrs ago. My first season here I saw 18 elk total.. I don't want to tell you what I went through to find those 18 elk either. I would chalk your hunt as a success. Throw in on an OTC unit.. You'll pay 2200 to see 100 elk!!

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Granby guy

Active Member
Nov 5, 2012
Grand Lake, Colorado
I wouldn't be the least bit disappointed. You accomplished what a lot of hunters didn't. YOU found elk. Colorado is not a trophy state and holding out for a six point in a general area is a tall order. I think you did well.


Veteran member
Apr 11, 2011
What I'm told by Colorado friends, is that you had better shoot the first legal bull you see. It will probably be the last one you see.
My experience in hunting Colorado is that most of the elk in high pressured public land tend to bolt onto private land, and stay there.


Active Member
Mar 13, 2014
I would go back for sure I've had seasons on public land where I could find a Colorado elk. You did very well, I second the shooting longer distances. When I was guiding we had shots short but many were 300-400 yards. It's part of colorado hunting. I hope you come back and as mike Eastman says in his book you gotta hunt the same area year after year and your odds of getting a trophy elk get better cause you learn the elk. Dont jump around units hunt the same area year after year

If you get meat from the store then dont criticize me for having the courage to go out and kill my own meat


Very Active Member
Feb 15, 2012
The high plains of Colorado
I hope you come back and as mike Eastman says in his book you gotta hunt the same area year after year and your odds of getting a trophy elk get better cause you learn the elk. Dont jump around units hunt the same area year after year
I agree with this a little, obviously the more you hunt an area the better you will know it and success may follow. If after a few years you may find the genetics aren't there than move to another unit. If you are chasing bigger bulls, you have to go where big bulls live.