Hunting > Big Game

Penny-Pincher Hunts: Elk

If today’s economy has you and your family second-guessing every expenditure, we’ve got your back with 10 quality, yet affordable, hunts.

Elk are to Colorado like pronghorn to Wyoming. That doesn’t mean you can fall off a turnip truck and traipse into a bull without effort. But you may be surprised to learn that Colorado has a muzzleloader season running concurrent with the elk rut in mid-September. Most units require two preference points to draw and others can require 10 or more. If you are capable and want to hunt, look at unit 7 in north-central Colorado, east of Fort Collins. This unit actually comprises units 7, 8, 9, 19 and 191. Forget about a cow tag and instead apply for a bull license. In 2008 muzzleloader bull hunters achieved a 15-percent success rate, while cow hunters only reveled in a 5-percent success rate.
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Public land abounds in Colorado and this region boasts the Roosevelt National Forest with nearly 814,000 acres and a portion of the 1.1 million-acre Routt National Forest. In 2007, the post-hunt estimate of the elk herd was nearly 4,000 animals.

Here’s a tip: Unit 19 borders Rocky Mountain National Park, which currently boasts an overpopulation of elk. Scout the border for wandering bulls.

A nonresident license will set you back $551, while residents can pick one up for $51. Colorado has recently waffled on the use of electronic or battery-powered devices incorporated into muzzleloaders. Initially electronic-ignition muzzleloaders were considered legal, but no longer.

Contact Information
: Colorado Division of Wildlife, www.wildlife.state.co.us
Season Dates: Nine-day season in the middle of September.

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