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Thread: 82/86 Colorado

  1. #1

    Default 82/86 Colorado

    Hunted this area for elk last season and plan on going back this year if i don't draw an elk tag somewhere else. Does anybody have any experience in this area that I could bounce some information off of to see if I am on the right track? The elk were high for the most part and I could not close the deal on a legal bull but I did see elk. I know it was a warm year and I would like some confirmation if the areas I hunted would normally hold elk that time of year or should I look at different areas. Any help would be appreciated and I would just like to talk to somebody with experience there to swap some info.

    Thanks

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    I hunted 82 last year during muzzleloader season. PM me if you want more details.

    82 is rough country, most all of the hunters were concentrated north of Hayden Pass because you can glass and drive. South of Hayden pass you have to work pretty hard to get back into elk country if they are still high.

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    I've hunted 82 before, OTC second season rifle and OTC archery. My experience has been they are either above the tree line or down on the private. Either way they're tough to get to.

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    Yes they are tough to get to. What kind of weather is likely to push them down? It took me awhile last year to figure them out but I eventually found some areas with elk, I plan on heading back and packing a camp into the wilderness. I know last year was unseasonably warm and wonder if they are normally out of the high country by 2nd and 3rd rifle.

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    I met an old timer there who used to pack into the sangre de cristos and he said that unless the snow is up to there bellies don't count on them moving. So with that said probably 3rd or4th season. I have also heard that when they get pressured they move down to the sand dunes reserve but you can't get to them their either
    Last edited by Bigjav; 03-12-2017 at 11:27 PM.

  6. #6

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    I didn't see but a handful of elk down lower on private or sand dunes. There were quite a few mile deer on private though. I found most elk and elk sign up high in difficult terrain and wondered if that was normal or if the warm weather had caused them to stay up longer. I did see a ton of bear sign, more than anywhere I had hunted before but never saw any while hunting.

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    I live on the other side of the San Luis Valley from 82. (I can see the Sangres and Sand Dunes park if I look out the window.) Wondering where you went in at in your past hunt. I assumed it was from the East side of the Sangre's? If it was on the West side, you'd be much closer to me. I've been in that country a little bit on my horse, and saw Elk in the Summer months. I've never hunted there though.
    Another guy commented about the Elk down around the Sand Dunes Park. In that area, when hunting season opens, the Elk run out on what they call the Baca Grande private land, that is between the village of Crestone and the San Dunes Park. It's private and like a refuge for them. Sometimes folks say there's literally thousands of Elk on the Baca. I guess if I were hunting 82, I'd look into this area a bit, as you can park at what they call the "Liberty Gate" and make your way into National Forest lands.
    What season are you planning to hunt anyway? I'll be doing my own thing 1st rifle.

  8. #8

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    Windy,

    I hunted the western side in 82 mostly; I hunted 2nd season last year and I will probably hunt 3rd season this year as I expect to draw a WY deer tag and will be there around the second season time frame.

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    Jcour4: Check out the trailhead going up to Cherry Lake. (It's about 7 miles or so North of the village of Crestone). I rode up to Cherry Lake once, and saw quite a few Elk on the slopes on each side of the draw we were riding in. That country was far different than the typical type of ground cover I'm used to seeing around here. It was sort of lush with ferns and such. Most places around here have more high desert, arid vegetation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by windymtnman View Post
    Jcour4: Check out the trailhead going up to Cherry Lake. (It's about 7 miles or so North of the village of Crestone). I rode up to Cherry Lake once, and saw quite a few Elk on the slopes on each side of the draw we were riding in. That country was far different than the typical type of ground cover I'm used to seeing around here. It was sort of lush with ferns and such. Most places around here have more high desert, arid vegetation.
    Its like anything else in life a bit of luck goes along way, I say this because I've been to cherry lake and not seen a single track but the area does look 'elky' but be prepared to hike your but off cause that is some rough country

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    I remember being told that a lot of road hunters try to catch elk coming off the irrigated fields west of Cherry Lake and the game wardens write a lot of tickets there.

    I do agree that water is an issue in 82 and that the drainages with more water will hold more elk. I also agree that you can pack in a long way into any of the drainages in the unit save for the Northern 3rd and you are still rolling the dice.

  12. #12

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    Appreciate all the info guys and I agree it is a tough place to hunt and nothing can prepare you for what its like when you get there. Those mountains are steep and rugged but that also keeps a lot of people away which is what I like most about it. Another question, do the elk normally move to the south facing slopes when it gets cold or do they head to private when the weather turns that extreme? I hunted small meadows in dark timber areas but could glass aspens and open hillsides all the way up to treeline and never saw an elk in the open areas. This could have been due to the warm weather or it might be normal for the area.

    This year i plan on backpacking in several miles instead of hiking 3 plus hours morning and night. It wore me down after a week and I feel that I would be better off camping in further depending on weather. It would also help having a rest point if I were to be successful and shoot an elk. If I could redo my last trip I would have brought my backpacking gear and stayed around treeline. I honestly didn't expect the elk to be at treeline and I wanted to be mobile since it was my first time to the area. I tried several different areas the first couple of days and found the best sign and elk numbers about day 4 of a 7 day hunt. I could also pack in a camp this year and not see an elk but I would like to have the option to camp further in.

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    "I've been to cherry lake and not seen a single track but the area does look 'elky' but be prepared to hike your but off cause that is some rough country "

    Regarding this post, when I went up to Cherry Lake, my gelding was doing the work. I was busy scanning the country and looked up to see Elk feeding both coming and going. I didn't think the trail was all that steep. I often ride stuff twice as tough as this. But, each to their own.

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