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  1. Default CO Unit 20 Muleys

    Hey folks, just drew a CO Unit 20 mule deer tag for the 3rd season. Never have spent any time in Unit 20 but it seems pretty fragmented with a lot of private land; anybody got any pointers as to a place to start? Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

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    All 4 of your posts are asking for info and this is a duplicate asking the same question on the same unit as you did in April.

    Time for a new approach as this is not working.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AdirondackHunter18 View Post
    Never have spent any time in Unit 20
    I'd change that if you want to be successful. Not many people hand out the spots they like to hunt for free.

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    Are you planning on scouting at all, and are you backpacking/hotel/car camping? You picked two high elevation units, October/Nov is a rough time to camp at 12k feet if you don't know what you are doing. Generally speaking use resources like hunt atlas to find areas you want to check out. Look for areas that are; 1. Are on public land and accessible 2. You are physically capable of hunting/ getting to 3. there are elk and deer throughout 28 and 20, but the move a lot depending on pressure and weather look at summer concentration areas and winter concentration areas and assume that animals will be in between the two during that time and will be hiding, either on private or in the deep thick crap.

    Also assume that since you are within an hours drive of 3 million people you won't be alone, and that no matter how tough you think you are there are going to be 20 guys that are twice as far in as you, especially true if you aren't backpacking. Also said tough guys, may not be other hunter but just recreationalists. Last year during deer season I had a guy walk up and ask me directions 2 hours from the nearest trail, it was September and he was wearing chacos, and during 1st elk had a herd of elk get spooked by a dude on a bike super early and on a trail that was so bony and step I would never have suspected someone would try and ride it on a bike.

    Also decide if you want to try and spot and stalk or still hunt, there are opportunities for both, but picking one over the other will influence where you hunt.

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    Thanks for the replies guys. I recognize that people aren’t generally jumping up and down to share information with a new guy who hasn’t shared any information himself, being new to this forum and forums in general, but I do appreciate any pointers and will be very glad to do whatever I can to direct someone who wants to do some hunting in Northern NY, Western KY, or VT!

    For background, I’m a contractor and am moving the Fort Collins area in August. With the building season in full swing I’ll be pretty busy during the late summer but will be able to scout the two weekends before the season starts at the very least and will then be backpacking for the season.
    Given that my background is almost entirely in still hunting and tracking whitetails in densely wooded areas of the Adirondack Mountains and Green Mountains I’m planning to use those tactics in CO as well; whether or not it’s the best way to hunt out there it’s at least a style that I’ve been using for years instead of starting from scratch spotting and stalking.

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    VT, what part? I was out there for college.

    Have you listened to Randy's podcast with Todd Orr? He is all about the slow timber creep. I would definitely try and do a hike each week in grand/ summit county for your elk tag and then do some hikes after work in for your deer.

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    Lived in Brandon VT for a couple years, between Middlebury and Rutland right at the foot of the Brandon Gap. Had a blast hunting up in the National Forest around there; it’s a county with a lot of hunters but they stuck close to the farm land and largely left the mountains alone. Fantastic turkey hunting there too, more birds around than in the Adirondacks. Do any hunting while you were around there?

    Funny thing you mention Todd Orr, I just listened to that one the other day. Found it very intersting, a lot of what he says about tracking elk (signs that they’re bedded in front of you, etc) are things that are very true of tracking whitetails in the mountains as well. Pretty doggone neat that he’s getting it done with a handgun as well.

    One thing that I’ve been seeing in my research about 28, particularly around the Fraser Experimental Forest, is a lot of talk of deadfall from beetle kill. On one hand, might make it pretty tough to cover ground and do so quietly but on the other hand I’ve seen areas of heavy blowdown around here become pretty primo bedding areas. Will be interesting to find out!

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    No kidding, I went to Middlebury, didn't get into hunting until after college though, most of my east coast woods time was spent on a mountain bike, in hindsight probably a good thing I didn't hunt in terms of grades, but would have been a blast to chase turkey's and whitetails out there.

    The pine beetle kill has been a huge issue in grand county, definitely wouldn't want to be camping in dead lodge poles during a storm and that kind of timber can be near impossible to get through so just be aware, definitely would be worth scouting thought, might try and locate elk right now, (they will be up high on the tundra) and then try to guess where they will head once the snow and hunting pressure starts then spend some time in those areas and see if you can find sign. I would guess elk will be on the fringes of the high country during 1st rifle in the timber.

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    No way! Right up the road. Great bass fishing around here too, pretty good outdoor opportunity all around.

    Really appreciate the information; it’s pretty fortunate that I’ll be around to get up in the before the season a few times. Got an either-sex tag and would be absolutely thrilled to get a crack at any legal elk, frankly.

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    I'd definitely get on the Colorado Hunting Atlas and start e-scouting some spots. You should be able to fins some deer in that unit, heck most of CO units hold some nice deer. You'll just need to put your time in, I'd start high and head low. Deer will be pushed down to lower elevations by snow, not the time of year. More snow, lower they will go.
    To what avail are forty freedoms without a blank spot on the map?

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    Heck of a resource, that CO Hunt Atlas. I’ve always been an On-x guy for desk scouting but the overlays the atlas has sure do seem to be a wealth of information.

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    I can tell you unit 20 is not hunter friendly landowners are nasty at best and there’s lots of private that is not posted. The deer hunting is a shadow of what it used to be I was born and raised in unit 20 and am also a landowner trust me there’s much better units to hunt. 3rd season tag that you have I’d start in the southern part of the unit there is some huntable public there with decent deer if you work at it.
    "You gonna sit there shaking like a dog shittin peach seeds or shoot?"
    -my dad

  13. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Cogreeny View Post
    I can tell you unit 20 is not hunter friendly landowners are nasty at best and there’s lots of private that is not posted. The deer hunting is a shadow of what it used to be I was born and raised in unit 20 and am also a landowner trust me there’s much better units to hunt. 3rd season tag that you have I’d start in the southern part of the unit there is some huntable public there with decent deer if you work at it.
    Good to know. I was a little worried about the amount of private land in there when I applied for the tag but I’m going to be working construction nearby during the month before the season so I figure at least I’ll have a decent amount of time to scout the unit.

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    There’s actually a ton of public land in unit 20... unfortunately a lot of it is accessed via only two or three roads. Unfortunatelyer.... those roads are all open to ORVs... so there’s a lot of 4-wheeler hunters up there. I too grew up in unit 20, and still live there. I killed my first buck just east of Estes Park..... and it’s a shadow of what it used to be for deer.

    Tags are easy to draw for a reason... though there are deer in there. OnX maps is your friend, get it, and learn it, it’s the only chance you have to find those pockets of public land that can hold deer and offer sanctuary from the motorized “hunters”.

    Shoot me a PM, I’ll share a little more in private.

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    I was in unit 20 the other day driving back from doing some fishing. The area I drove through were on the border of 19 and 20 (lower elevation) and HEAVILY timbered. Given your background this may work well for you. I went to school in Northern NY and used to ski in Vermont all the time before moving out west. That time of year can be interesting in CO. Could be 70 and sunny one day and 25 and snowing the next. Try to figure out what elevation the animals are hanging out in. Be mobile and have a few spots picked out that look interesting.

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    Really good information guys, thanks a bunch. I like the sound of the heavy timber, frankly I’m way more used to poking my way through that kind of country and looking to cut a track than I am glassing, so that might work out alright, particularly if it doesn’t focus hunting pressure in those areas.

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    If your interested in a CO onx chip I have one for sale, will help out a lot with those land owners in 20!!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2014


    Trade some construction work for private access.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3855WIN View Post
    Trade some construction work for private access.
    That’s a heck of an idea! It always feels a little odd asking for access with nothing in return, and it doesn’t work too well!

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