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Last Minute Tips for a public land elk hunt in Colorado

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2 buddies and I are leaving this Thursday (10/12) for a first season rifle elk hunt in West Central Colorado on public land.  For me, it is my first elk hunt.  I have been working out for a few months and bought some necessary gear.   My rifle is sighted in and I'm mostly packed.  Hopefully, we will find some elk.  2 of us have bull tags and the other has a cow tag.   If you have any suggestions or tips that you may be able to share as far as tactics, unusual gear that a person may need, advice, etc please feel free to share!

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I have never rifle hunted for elk, only archery a bunch of times.    I would expect Colorado first rifle season to be crowded with other hunters.  Hopefully the weather is OK.   Here are some general elk tips in no particular order.   

 

* Keep a close eye on the weather and be ready to bail out if snow/rain is coming.  You could get stuck for days if you don't get out ahead of it.  Make sure you have a set of tire chains.  

* Bring a set of tools to work on your vehicle if it breaks down, and have a plan on how to get towed out if needed.   (I've been there...)

* Bring extra propane as it is later in the year now in case you need it to keep warm, cook, etc. 

* Bring 2+ pairs of boots. 

* Bring cold weather / survival gear.  Don't expect the forecast to be right, especially at elevation. 

* Expect it to take a couple days for your body to get acclimated to the elevation.  Your first day you will suck air... 

* Elk can be shot close to the road, you don't have to hike miles back to find elk.

* Use your binoculars whenever possible, don't feel like you have to walk miles and miles to locate elk.

* Locate elk, then hunt elk.  You could go days between seeing elk depending on how things pan out.  

* Have plan A/B/C for different areas to hunt, move if you aren't seeing elk or there are just too many people. 

* Bring a big map to find new areas if needed mid-hunt. 

* Don't shoot an elk in a place you can't pack it back out of.

* Make sure you have at least some sort of a paper map and compass while in the mountains and a plan to get out if lost or turned around.  Your cell phone will probably die or not even work for most of the hunt due to poor service and cold killing the battery.   Also have some survival gear in case you get stuck somewhere over night.  Fire, food, water, tarp.   

* Don't start any new forest fires, they already have too many out west this year. 

 

 

 

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