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What Is The Best Colorado Elk Season To Hunt?

Choosing the best Colorado elk season to hunt in is a hard decision because there are so many variables to be considered. Some of the things you'll need to consider are weather, concentration of elk in a location, available land to hunt, special permits and if you want to combine the hunting trip with sightseeing.


Colorado weather can be extreme and hard to predict but one thing you can count on is that the later you go into the seasons, the better chance you will have of being snowed in. Most outfitters don’t like hunting the last season in the Colorado High Country which can go into November because it is too unpredictable and you can ruin your equipment.


I can remember many a trip in the late season coming out on horseback in near white out conditions. Snow can hit at anytime but the later you wait, the better the chance for snow. I have seen it even snow on the 4th of July in Steamboat Springs Colorado. Choose an earlier season for a better chance of not fighting snow. I personally like a little snow on the ground. It makes for better tracking and locating elk. It also contrasts their bodies making them easier to spot.


When choosing the best Colorado elk season take into consideration how concentrated the elk are in a location. Pre season scouting is so important when determining the number of elk in an area. Things that affect the concentration can be food source, water source hunting pressure and the weather.


As snow builds in the higher elevations, the elk move down to lower altitudes. Public lands are my favorite places to hunt but private land hunts are good too. Private land hunts are much more expensive. When choosing the best Colorado elk season be sure to check and see if permits are allowed for the area you want to hunt and if they match the season you will be hunting.


Some people like to combine their elk hunting trip with sightseeing. Many hunters bring their wives and they love to go into the many quaint mountain towns that are known for their good food and great shopping. There is so much history in Colorado with its old mining towns and western flavor that you really should enjoy both while you are here.


The best Colorado elk season is really a matter of opinion and preference. I personally like first or second rifle season. If you want to hear the elk bugle and hunt when few are in the mountains, choose archery or black powder in the early fall. But no matter what season you choose, you'll be in for a memorable time.


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Elk Hunting Season………….A Much Overlooked Priority In Planning Your Hunt

30477761.thm It’s hard to believe a new elk season is arriving and another is behind us. On a personal note, I welcomed in one of the newest generation of elk hunters right before Christmas……… My first grandson! What an exciting time.  My son in law even went to Bass Pro and bought him a camouflage outfit (baby size of course). So he’s definitely ready for elk season to start!


Elk season will be here before you know it. If you’re planning a trip to the Rocky Mountain high country, it’s never too early to get ready. Getting the right gear for hunting elk, scheduling the hunt location, and contacting the elk guide are definitely priorities. But don’t overlook what I believe is the MOST important priority……………getting in shape and being prepared for the demands of hunting elk at high altitude.



When considering how to get in shape for elk hunting in the Rocky Mountains, don’t forget the challenges of high altitude. Altitude sickness is a very serious condition that has been known to lead to deaths in some cases. Believe me, it’s not something you  want to experience. So it makes sense to plan ahead and be prepared.



If you need to get rid of a few unwanted pounds, begin now. Consistent exercise each day and a diet of healthy, whole foods is always a good starting place. This needs to be started months prior to the hunt itself. Being in good physical condition and keeping properly hydrated with plenty of water is part of the prevention once you arrive for the hunt .



Drink eight glasses a day of water and stay away from alcohol because it dries you out. Get plenty of rest each day and give your body a chance to acclimate to the higher altitude before your hunt. Remember the air at altitude is thinner so pace yourself. Oxygen saturation will be depleted by about 15% at 7500 feet.



So as you can see knowing how to get in shape for elk hunting is something that should be taken seriously by all hunters heading to the high country. I’ve included many other helpful tips and suggestions in my book, “The Rocky Mountain Elk Guide” that can make your trip run much more smoothly and efficiently.



Enjoy the upcoming season……………it will definitely be here before you know it!

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Elk Hunting Tactics…….9 Elk Hunting Tips For Success

30478190.thmLooking for some elk hunting tactics? Here are 9 elk hunting tips that hopefully will help you bag that elk!


1. If you can find out where elk bed down, feed, and during the rut reproduce, you increase your chances of getting your elk.


2. Elk like to bed down on the top of ridges. This gives them the advantage because they can see all around them and can move away from danger quickly.


3. Always approach ridges from the highest possible point. This gives the hunter the advantage because you can look down on them. We all know that even in whitetail hunting, height is an advantage.


4. In bad weather, you can find elk in the thicker evergreens to ward off snow, rain and wind.


5. Elk like to feed along the edge of meadows and will feed in the early morning sun on eastern facing slopes. They feed in the evening on western facing slopes as a rule.


6. Look for fresh scars on aspen trees because elk like to chew on them quite often.


7. Many ranchers leave their cattle in the mountains through the summer. They often leave salt and mineral blocks out that elk also love. If you spot these you will usually see fresh signs.


8. Elk reproduce much like whitetail. They will create rubs and scrapes just like whitetail but much larger. Look for these signs and set up close enough for a shot.


9. Use scents and calls to lure elk in just like whitetail. Best of luck and enjoy your hunt!

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Can WhiteTail Deer Hunting Improve Your Chances Of Getting An Elk?

34638509.thmSo the big question is, "Can whitetail deer hunting improve your chances of getting an elk? Well, my answer to that question is yes, it can definitely improve your chances of bagging an elk and here's why I think so.
I base my answer on the fact that I started out hunting whitetail deer many years ago in Alabama. I spent so much time in the woods going after that trophy whitetail.
Years later, after moving to Colorado and becoming a guide and outfitter, I used some of the same skills from whitetail deer hunting to help bag my elk. And I have gotten my share of elk over the years.
If you really think about it, Elk are in the family of deer so they share many of the same characteristics and habits of elk. Deer and elk have the same basic needs. Both of these animals need to eat, rest and reproduce.
When hunting whitetail, you are always looking for areas where they might tend to eat, or where they might be bedding down or maybe where they would be reproducing, especially during the rut.
Because of these three needs, scouting becomes simplified. Using these whitetail skills will definitely pay off. Now Elk hunting does have its own set of techniques but hunting whitetail deer definitely gives you an advantage.
So by combining your present skills with the new skills you learn about elk hunting, your odds become much more favorable on getting an elk. So, will whitetail deer hunting improve your chances of bagging an elk? You betcha it will!

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Preparing For Your First Elk Hunting Trip

34701243.thm I've been asked many times ,"What is the best way to prepare for my first elk hunting trip?" Well, here are a few tips that might help you as you prepare for your hunt


1. First, be sure and plan your trip well in advance. You will need to choose where you plan to hunt and what season you will hunt. You will also need to find out about licensing in the state, make lodging arrangements and plan many other details for the hunt. Outfitters book up fast so a trip needs to be planned well ahead of time.


2. Next, decide on what type of elk hunt. Outfitters offer guided and self guided hunts. If this is your first hunt, you might want to opt for a guided hunt with a professional outfitter who knows the terrain and where the best elk habitat is in their local area. If a guided hunt is not possible, there are other more economical alternatives that you could discuss with your outfitter.


3. Last but not least, get in shape. I can't stress that enough. Most good elk hunting areas have some rugged terrain and high altitude so you better be in shape. Most people are use to being at sea level or a little above. Remember, you could be at altitudes up to 10,000 ft and the air will be much thinner. So don't come ill prepared.


As an outfitter, I've seen too many hunters come ill prepared and wind up having a not so memorable trip. Don't let that be you. Are You Ready To Experience A Properly Planned And Executed, Almost Totally Stress Free Elk Hunt Of A Lifetime? Find out how at

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Preparing For An Elk Hunt

34799155.thm So, how do you get ready for an elk hunt? Well, there are definitely a lot of things to consider and plan for well before the hunt takes place. Here are a few things to think about as you prepare for your elk hunt.


It's always best to start planning at least a year in advance. That gives you plenty of time to set the date and location of your hunt. If you decide to go on a self guided hunt, (without an outfitter) you will have a lot more to begin to do including a decision on what state you want to hunt,where in that state to hunt, what licensing that you will need and much more.



Other things you will need to consider are what season you will hunt (archery or rifle), where you will stay and what equipment and gear you will need for your hunt. If you choose to go on an elk hunt with an outfitter, you will need to secure a date well enough ahead of time as outfitters can book up very quickly.



You can also go on what is known as a "drop camp". A drop camp is a combination of a guided and a self guided hunt. You are "dropped in to camp" and picked up after the hunt by an outfitter. They will usually provide the basic equipment for camp (tent, cooking equipment etc) but you will be responsible for everything else. A drop camp can be a much more economical way to go on a hunt.



How do you get ready for an elk hunt? The bottom line is, preparation well in advance. That way once you finally get there, you'll be ready to experience an incredibly wonderful hunt.

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What Is The Best Day Pack For Elk Hunting?

daypackWhat is the best day pack for elk hunting? There are quite a few things that a hunter needs to consider when choosing a day pack.

A day pack has to carry everything a hunter needs each day for the hunt. It has to carry water, food, game calls, first aid kit, extra clothing, rain gear, flashlight, rope and survival gear to name a few items.

The shoulder straps should be wide and comfortable but not restrict a hunter from shouldering his or her rifle. It needs to be made of a weatherproof material that is silent when you walk through brush. Some manufactures include a built in blaze orange rain cover. The best day pack for elk hunting is one that can hold all of your gear and still not wear you out at the end of the day.

All packs are not created equal. Some have rigid frames on the outside, others have softer internal frames and the smaller ones have no frame at all. If you are hunting by horseback, a larger pack is not needed because you are usually not far from your horse and saddle bags. If you plan to hunt multiple seasons like archery and gun, go with a camouflaged pack.

Multiple compartments are needed so that you can organize your gear and balance the load you will be carrying. Pack it with your heaviest items toward the bottom and the lighter gear up top. This will make the pack easier to carry and keep you more balanced as you hike. Remember to pack your rain jacket close to the top for speedy access.

When choosing the best day pack for elk hunting keep in mind the size because you will tend to fill up whatever size pack you purchase.


The larger the pack, the heavier your load will be all day. Get more insider tips on planning and preparing for an Elk hunt in the Rocky Mountains in my new book  The Rocky Mountain Elk Guide.

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How To Plan Your First Elk Hunt

34799155.thmPlanning your first elk hunt can be a little intimidating. The big question always is, "So, where do I start"? Well, the first thing you will want to do is start your research at least a year in advance, especially if you are going on a guided hunt with a professional outfitter. They begin booking hunts at least a year ahead of time.


If you choose to go on a self guided hunt, (one without an outfitter) you will have to make several decisions including what state you want to hunt, which area of that state to hunt, licensing and much more. You'll also need to decide which season to hunt, where you will stay and what supplies you will need.


Two of the easiest ways to go on your first hunt for elk would be to go with a professional outfitter or opt for what is known in the industry as a "drop camp". A drop camp is in between a fully guided hunt and a self guided hunt. You are "dropped in to camp" by an Outfitter.


They sometimes supply the basic equipment for your camp (tent, cooking equipment etc) but you are responsible for most everything else. What's nice about a drop camp is it can be a much more economical way to go on an elk hunt but yet you're not doing it totally alone (self guided).


As you can see, planning your first elk hunt is not an easy task. But the good news is, when you finally get there, you discover it was so worth all the time and effort you invested in planning for it. Are you ready to experience a properly planned and executed, almost totally stress free elk hunt of a lifetime? Find out how here.

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Lever Action Rifle Fans…..Good News!

34638569.thmThere is great news out for lever action rifle fans who want to hunt elk. Marlin has teamed up with the Hornady ammunition company to produce a cartridge that is the power and distance to hunt any North American game out to 400 yards.    


It comes in a potent 200 grain bullet weight with ballistics to match the 30-06 out to 400 yards. The new rifle comes with your choice of stainless steel 24 inch barrel or the traditional blued barrel in 22 inches. They weigh in at 7 ½ pounds and 7 ¼ pounds respectfully. This is exciting news for hunters that grew up hunting with a 30-30 lever action rifle.


Some of my fondest memories are of hunts carrying my old Marlin lever action afield. One of my memories was not as fond, the day I missed the largest whitetail buck I have ever seen. The buck stepped out into the field at about 250 to 300 yards, I held over what I thought would be the right amount and fired. The bullet struck the ground about half way to the buck and he trotted off leaving me with only the memory of not having enough gun to make the shot.


Lever actions have always been known for their handling and reliability, but not for long range shots. These new rifles will be no different other than the much improved caliber choice and long range distance. I always liked the Marlin “Guide Guns” but they were chambered in the 45-70. It had lots of bullet weight and knockdown power but at short distances.


This new rifle and ammo more than takes care of that issue. Using the new bullet was made possible by new technology that allows a sharp pointed bullet to rest end on end in the tubular magazine without the danger of touching off the primers. This was accomplished with a sharp but soft flexible point on each round.


The new caliber is the 338 Marlin Express. Get a ballistic chart and check out the statistics on the new long range lever gun and ammunition. This is going to be a great big game rifle ammo combination.

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What Are The Best Binoculars For Glassing Elk?

leupold binoculars


Proper optics are essential for a successful elk hunt. Binoculars are so important because they help you locate your game.


So many hunters walk right by animals that they could have taken. If they had stopped and glassed the surrounding hill sides and valleys with a good pair of binoculars they would have seen more animals.


So with that said, the question remains, what are the best binoculars for glassing elk? As in anything you find in life, you generally get what you pay for. There are few binoculars in the lower price range that are good.


Nikon Monarch are really good binoculars with a very clear lens. A new binocular made by Bushnell called the Ultra-HD has been tested to have greater light transmission and a 12% wider field of view. Nikons sell for around $275.00 and the Bushnells are under $200.00. These would be the minimum you should spend on optics.


Swarovski, Zeiss and Leupold make fine binoculars and retail into the thousands of dollars depending on the model. They are well worth the money, believe me.


So what are the best binoculars for glassing elk? Choose a pair that are a 10 to 12 power with a 40 or larger objective lens. This is one of those times that I would say try not to skimp. Buy the very best binocular that you can afford.


Go to a sporting goods store that specializes in hunting equipment, listen to the salesperson and then try out the different models before you make your decision.


To me the hardest part of making the decision is deciding on your budget. I also suggest that you spend the extra money on a harness strap that holds the binoculars secure, keeps them close at hand and is comfortable to carry all day long.


The size and weight of binoculars need to be considered. You would hate to buy a great pair of binoculars but not carry them because they are too big and heavy. So bottom line, decide on your budget and get the best pair of binoculars that you can. has some great ones to choose from.


Get more insider tips on planning and preparing for an Elk hunt in the Rocky Mountains here  The Rocky Mountain Elk Guide.

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How To Get In Shape For Elk Hunting

7686232.thbMany people have asked me how to get in shape for elk hunting in Colorado. Hunting elk in Colorado presents many challenges as does hunting in any high altitude location.


An outfitter friend of mine said that he believes hunting elk is more physically demanding than hunting for big horn sheep. Great elk habitat is found in the Colorado high country and you are hiking either uphill or downhill. The only way to get in shape is to follow an exercise and conditioning program.


As with any new exercise program, you should consult with your physician before beginning it. One of the biggest mistakes hunters make is trying to get in shape right before their trip. You should start your program a year in advance. Aerobic training three to four times a week with resistance training twice a week is a good goal.


Don’t forget to concentrate on flexibility as this will help with hiking and if you are using horses for your hunt. As your endurance improves, add a pack that you plan to hunt with.


Believe me, you'll definitely thank yourself for taking the time and effort to get in shape for what could be an elk hunt of a lifetime! Get more insider tips on planning and preparing for an Elk hunt in the Rocky Mountains here The Rocky Mountain Elk Guide.

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Colorado Elk Drop Camps…..Popular Choice For Many Hunters

Colorado elk drop camps are a very popular choice for many elk hunters. Colorado is known for having some of the best elk hunting in the Rocky Mountains.
Most all Colorado guides and outfitters offer drop camps for their hunters. These can be much less expensive than a fully guided elk hunt where you would have a guide with you at all times.
So, what is a drop camp and how does it work?  Well, a drop camp is basically where you're "dropped off" at the beginning of the elk hunt and packed out at the end of the hunt. It is usually located in prime elk habitat, with a good source of water and firewood nearby and where you have the freedom to hunt self guided.
Outfitters vary by what they supply for a drop camp but usually most all of your basic needs are provided including such things as tents, lanterns, stove, pots and pans, coffee pot, and a covered latrine. Sometimes they will even supply a map with hot hunting spots clearly marked to increase the odds of seeing elk.
The hunter needs to provide food, sleeping bag and pillow, clothing, personal effects, rifle, ammunition, and drinks other than water. As you can see, hunting in Colorado elk drop camps takes much of the work out of the trip.
Transportation to the camp is usually provided by horse and all of your gear is packed in on horse or mules. For safety, a cell phone is sent for emergencies or if you get an elk and need it packed out. (Packing the elk out is an extra charge)
Colorado elk drop camps are definitely a more affordable alternative to a fully guided elk hunt and can increase the odds of success in your favor. Plus, you'll get the added benefit of hunting in some of the most beautiful country in the Rocky Mountains.



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Self Guided Elk Hunts In Colorado…..When, Where and How?

30477761.thmSelf guided elk hunts in Colorado are something many hunters would love to experience. I grew up hunting whitetail deer in Alabama but dreaming of the day that I could go to the Colorado Rocky Mountains and hunt for elk.


Many of the hunting magazines I read had articles about guided hunts with outfitters but I could not find information on pulling off a self guided elk hunt.I was fortunate enough to move to Colorado and work with several outfitters, but before that, I planned and conducted my own self guided hunts.


There are so many things to consider and plan for but I will try to boil it down to the basics.


When, Where and How are your three basic questions for planning self guided elk hunts in Colorado.


When has to do with what season you will choose to hunt. Bow season starts in late August and moves into September. Then black powder season starts in late September, followed by three rifle seasons in October. The last rifle season ends around the first week of November. Weather is a major factor because of snow possibilities in the later seasons.



Where will be your next decision that has to be made. There are so many great areas to hunt on public lands that it will be hard to decide. Start out by getting a state map showing all of the public lands. This will include National Forests and BLM lands. Then it will be up to you to contact local sporting goods stores for info and pre-scouting.



How is the last question you will have to answer. You will need to decide on what type of shelter, food supplies and gear you will need to make your hunt a reality. Self guided elk hunts in Colorado are a great and affordable way to experience the dream hunt of a lifetime.

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What is the Best GPS for Elk Hunting?



Determining what is the best GPS for elk hunting can be confusing. There are so many fine brands and models of GPS on the market today so I will try to narrow it down to my favorite and the one I carry on all of my elk hunts.



I tend to want to go simple with my electronics so I prefer to combine my needs into as few instruments as possible. The GPS that I carry has many features. It has a weather band, 2 way radio, electronic compass, altimeter, map and navigation page.



From the menu page, you can mark way points, check sun and moon phases, set your alarm clock, check the best times for hunting and fishing and if you get bored at night, it even has games!



A great feature of this GPS is its capability of tracking another user of the same type unit. This means you and your hunting partners can keep up with each other as you hunt. You can send silent messages to each other if you want to remain silent.


If you want to know the answer to “what is the best GPS for elk hunting? ” I believe that it is the Garmin Rino 530.



In addition to all of the features I mentioned above, it has a very long battery life, its waterproof and shock resistant and user friendly. It can be used in low or no light conditions because it is backlit. You can get topography maps and even marine maps.



Get more insider tips on planning and preparing for an Elk hunt in the Rocky Mountains at The Rocky Mountain Elk Guide.

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What is the best .270 Elk bullet?




What is the best 270 elk bullet? With many bullet weight choices in the .270 caliber rifle, knowing which one to choose can be confusing. I personally hunted whitetail deer in Alabama with my .270 and felt like it was the perfect caliber.


Whitetail deer are a much thinner skinned animal than the elk. I have seen elk tear down a barbed wire fence and not even show a scratch. Because of the toughness of their hide, and the larger size of elk, they require a heavier bullet weight.


Of course, there is a compromise or trade off in deciding the best .270 elk bullet. The heavier bullet will penetrate the elk better but you will lose distance. The heavier the bullet, the more bullet drop. That is known as the bullet’s trajectory.


Bullets are weighed in grains. A .270 starts at 100 grain and goes up to 150 grains. When I hunted for whitetails, I used 130 grain bullets and when I hunted elk, I used the maximum 150 gain bullet. This bullet gave me all of the knockdown power I needed and a moderate range of shooting distance.


 I zeroed my rifle at 2 inches high at 100 yards. This meant that at 200 yards I would be in the bull’s eye, 3.6 inches low at 250 yards and approximately 9.5 inches low at three hundred yards.I really don’t recommend making a shot from that distance because the bullet looses so much of its energy and knock down power at that range.


The bottom line is to use the heavier bullet weight, know your own shooting capabilities and don’t take a careless shot that could only wound the elk. The .270 is a good rifle for elk and I have harvested many with it.So what is the best 270 elk bullet? In my opinion, it’s the 150 grain. 

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