Your Guide to the Best Times of the Year to Hunt Elk in Colorado Image

Your Guide to the Best Times of the Year to Hunt Elk in Colorado

Updated: June 30th 2017 @ 8:48am

elk hunting ideas colorado

Your Guide to the Best Times of the Year to Hunt Elk in Colorado


What to Expect in Colorado

Are you out to hunt elk? Any ideas on where you should go? If you don’t have one, let me introduce Colorado to you.

Colorado is known to have some of the greatest elk hunting territory because of its rich forests, mountains, high desert plains – places which are perfect for elk habitat and so consequently a great spot for hunters.

One of the well-known places here is Craig, dubbed as the Elk Capital of the world. Craig earned this title because there are more elk within a 200-mile radius than there are anywhere else in the world.

Understanding Elk


Elk are incredibly hardy animals and can easily survive extreme weather, only facing difficulties when there’s a snowstorm accompanied by a great rush of wind. Every year, when the mountains become covered by snow, the elk migrate. Usually, they take the same route they did the previous year and when the winter is over, they naturally separate.

Elk love staying in the wallows during summer as they offer a place to not only cool off but to also get a drink. When trying to find a mate, bull elk frequently visit wallows where they secrete a pheromone that helps to attract cows.     

Read the Manual


Unlike some places where you could buy a tag just before the opening day of the hunt, elk hunting in Colorado is much more complex. Luckily the Colorado Parks and Wildlife publish a manual where you can find answers to all your questions. The manual is given every mid-February (varies every year). It contains the state laws and also includes all the changes from the previous year. Since you’re hunting for elk, arguably the most famous section of the manual, just skip the other game species available.

Since Colorado’s set deadline to apply for the hunt is in April (also subject to change), you’re going to have to start a month before for your research and planning.


Be There When They Appear

You can hunt whenever you want. So, I’ll give you tips based on experience.

When you hunt early, the weather can be hot which means hunting around water holes and wallows can be very good. Another benefit is the elk have not yet been pressured by other hunters. Plus, hunters usually choose the ‘peak rut’ which undeniably increases the pressure on the elk. However, the bulls are not yet together which means there will be few you can watch or follow from afar. The other disadvantage is the heat can bring an issue to the kind of meat you’ll recover.

Come September, the rut begins and bulls are beginning to bugle. The weather also becomes cool. If you’re an archery hunter then your task becomes a little harder as the rate of muzzleloader hunters is going to increase during this period.

Watch these videos and be inspired:

  1. Colorado Elk Rifle Hunting: Bull harvested!

  1. DIY Colorado Elk Hunt OTC 2015

  1. Colorado Elk Hunt 2015

  1. 2016 Colorado Archery Elk Hunt

Go and get them

What are the best times of the year to hunt elk in Colorado?

There are no definite best times to hunt elk in Colorado but based from experience, the early season and transition from summer to winter have the best yields. But again, it all depends on your set or style of hunting, it’s all about your preference and when you think you can best move and plan the hunt.

There’s no one way to simplify elk hunting. However, the best tip I can give is to make sure you have scouted the area well and observed their behavior before you attack. It is recommended to avoid hunting when the elk are feeling a lot of pressure.

Do you have any questions about the article? Feel free to drop your comments below.

You can also check out Colorado Parks & Wildlife for more detailed information about elks.

Happy hunting!

Jennifer Walls


Author Bio: 

Jennifer is the founder of BuckWithBow, a great blog that focuses on helping you learn how to hunt deer with a bow. As an experienced bow hunter, she will guide you through the Do’s and Don’ts of the bowhunting world and transform you into a better hunter. Whether you are an experienced bow hunter or an absolute beginner, you will find BuckWithBow a gem! By the way, you can check out her reviews of the best single pin bow

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