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Find the Best Colorado OTC Elk Hunting Units

Find the Best Colorado OTC Elk Hunting Units

A high mountain wilderness area is a bowhunter’s best bet for getting above the timberline and away from the day hunters in Colorado. Backpacking, or bivy hunting for the more extreme elk hunters, four or five miles from the trailhead should isolate you from other hunters. It is also where you have the best chance of seeing a trophy elk in Colorado OTC units.

Some units remote enough to consider are: The western and eastern edges of unit 11, wilderness areas on national forest land, especially the south San Juan Wilderness, limited to horse and foot traffic only in unit 81, the physically demanding higher elevations of the Sangre de Cristo mountains (great early in the season before the elk head to private land) in units 82 and 83, and the rugged terrain in unit 45.

For the less qualified backpack bowhunters, try finding lower elevation areas and and spots void of roads. Look for heavily timbered acres where big bulls can hide year-round. You will be still hunting these areas with heavy cover – glassing your way to a spot-and-stalk situation is nearly impossible with lower elevations and dense timber so be sure to take your decoy. Units with less demanding terrain and a good chance of success includes: The slivers of public land that borders private land in unit 13 and the dense timber on the eastern edge of the Routt National Forest in unit 181.

These are only a few of the best Colorado elk hunting areas for DIY hunters. In the end, your research in seeking an elk hunting honey hole will determine the quality of hunt you plan. Here are some factors to consider when searching for the best OTC elk hunting units in Colorado:

Elk Herd Population

Bull-to-Cow Ratios

Amount of public land verses private land

Variety of terrain

Success rates of the season you’ll be hunting and weapon you’ll be using

Look for areas void of roads and trails (or roads and trails which are closed during hunting season)

Here are some resources to help you search for the best DIY OTC elk hunting trip in Colorado:

Colorado Big Game Unit Map

Map Identifying What Units Offer OTC Elk Hunting Licenses

Interactive Colorado Hunting Atlas

2012 Colorado Elk Hunting Season Statistics

Colorado Elk Hunting Tip Sheet for Every Unit (Info on every Colorado Game Managements Unit’s elevation, terrain, public land access, and where to buy elk hunting maps)