I drew my elk tag for muzzleloader in 2018, this was the first time using a muzzleloader for elk. Got this guy on the second day of the season, after not hearing or seeing an elk on the first day. The day started out great. When we got to our hunting area there were elk bugling all around us. I harvested my elk around 12 noon, after stalking him into the timber and finding him feeding with some cows. An 85 yd shot. First time hunting unit 14.
My daughter Natalie’s attention had drifted occasionally during the early morning hours of the Hunter Education class, but she perked up noticeably as the instructor spoke of how to mask your scent with elk urine.
Every year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s (CPW) big-game biologists compile data on the state’s deer, elk and pronghorn herds by Data Analysis Units (DAU). These DAUs encompass several of the Game Management Units (GMU) that hunters are more familiar with.
A primary tool used in the management of Colorado’s big-game animals is a limit, or quota, on the number of licenses issued in most game management units (GMUs). When applying for a limited license, a preference point is awarded when an individual is unsuccessful in drawing their first-choice hunt code. Preference points provide a mathematical advantage when applied to future drawings.
Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation (R3) Programs Spreading Nationwide
Today, roughly 11.5 million Americans hunt in a country of 320 million people, according to American Hunter magazine. This means that less than 5% of people in the U.S. hunt. From 2006 to 2016, 1 million Americans stopped hunting. The Aspen Times stated in a 2007 article that the number of people hunting in Colorado decreased 24 percent from 1991 to 2006. In a Colorado Hunter article titled “Hunting is for Girls,” the author pointed out that the average hunter in Colorado is a 55-year-old white male. In other words, the clock is ticking.
The release of Colorado’s Sheep & Goat and Big Game brochures brings the promise and excitement of new hunting seasons. With over-the-counter maps, hunt codes, season dates and fees, the brochures confirm that what we’ve done in the past is still available, aid us in finding new opportunities and help support a strategy to secure a license for the upcoming seasons. Most years, we dive in with purpose, flipping to the sections that we know will help us get the job done (or scrolling if you’re looking at the brochures online). I caution you – do not take that approach this year!
Whether you’re exploring the field for the first time or the 20-something-ith, arguably the most important part of your next Colorado elk hunt will happen during the planning stages. For more tips about getting started on your next elk adventure, read “4 Steps to the Field: Planning Your Colorado Elk Hunt”.
If you’re a Colorado big-game hunter, now’s the time to prepare for the 2019 hunting seasons.
Colorado Outdoors, Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s conservation magazine, is a valuable planning resource for hunters. The Jan/Feb issue features big-game preference points for deer, elk, pronghorn, bear, bighorn sheep, mountain goat and moose.
For more than 120 years, your contributions have supported wildlife conservation, ensuring that Colorado remains home to abundant wildlife and world-class hunting. Now is your chance to look toward the future!
September in Colorado brings cooler mornings, the color change of Aspen leaves in the mountains, the fascination with pumpkin spice everything and most importantly, archery season. This year I got my first elk tag for a draw unit. In years prior, I hunted with an over the counter tag. The excitement of this hunt dwindled some as the summer passed due to the dozens of wildfires and severe drought. Hunting, in general, would be more difficult; I was going to have to work for it if I wanted a chance at harvesting a bull.