With so many weapon choices and units to choose from, it was difficult to decide! I had already narrowed down my selection to the northwest corner of the state. I researched areas like 61 and 76, but finally decided on either Unit 1, 2, 10, or 201. There is plenty of public land, great genetics, fewer tags, and lots of the pinyon-juniper country that I like to hunt.
In those units, there are three weapon choices during the rut: rifle, archery, and muzzleloader. The rifle hunts offer the best chance at success, but the season doesn’t start until October 1 and there are typically more than 20 hunters with the same tag. The archery hunt runs from August 31-September 29, which gives a hunter plenty of time during the pre-, peak-, and post-rut. Tag numbers run from 2-13 depending on the unit.
For the muzzleloader hunt, there are 5-7 muzzleloader tags, and this year the hunt runs smack dab in the middle of the best week for chasing big bulls: September 14-22. Due to the way Colorado starts its muzzleloader hunts, the dates this year are the latest during the current five-year structure.
At the beginning of the week I expect the biggest bulls to be mostly on the outskirts of the larger cow herds. Throughout the week, they should move into the herds and start breaking off their harems. By the end of the week, there should be plenty of fighting for dominance among all the bulls. That week should be the easiest time to huntthe big bulls.
Although I have not yet killed an elk with a muzzleloader, I have shotplenty of deer. I feel supremely confident with my T/C Omega out to 150 yards, even with open sights, no sabots, and no pelletized powder as required by Colorado law. I truly feel that the muzzleloader hunt will give me the best chance at the biggest bull of my life. I strongly considered an archery hunt, but looked deeply at myself and realized I would be more successful if I could focus on one specific week to hunt, compared to trying to make time throughout an entire month.
After deciding on a muzzleloader hunt, I narrowed my choice further to either Unit 2 or 201. I knew I was guaranteed to draw the Unit 2 muzzleloader hunt, but something pulled me to 201. It has been the end-all-be-all of elk units in Colorado forever, and I got a little caught up in the allure of such a special place. Last year I also caught of glimpse of what the unit can produce and decided to roll the dice.
Trent Swanson, a Colorado native, is the Mountain Territory Sales Rep for SWAROVSKI OPTIK. You might recognize his name since he used to work with us here at Western Hunter. Heis a self-professed “optics nerd” who has been chasing big game critters for nearly 30 years. You can find the rest of the blog posts about his Colorado elk hunt here.