Elk Hunting in Colorado: Pursuing Majesty

December 7, 2023

iSportsman Staff

iSportsman Staff

Elk hunting in Colorado is not just a sport; it’s a thrilling adventure in the rugged beauty of the Rocky Mountains. The Centennial State is famous for its abundant elk population, providing hunters with an amazing experience in the heart of nature. While the current season may have just ended, it’s never too early to begin planning for next year to make sure you get your shot at one of these inspiring creatures. To help you out, we will explore why elk hunting in Colorado is worth your time, the essential steps to embark on this exciting journey, and specific insights into two prime locations — Fort Carson and the Air Force Academy — that stand out for elk hunting enthusiasts.

Why Go Elk Hunting in Colorado?

Spectacular Scenery

elk hunting in Colorado

Colorado’s landscapes are breathtaking, with expansive forests, towering peaks, and vast meadows abound. Elk hunting here means immersing yourself in some of the most stunning scenery in the entire country. As you traverse the wilderness, you’ll witness a mesmerizing blend of colors during fall, creating a canvas of gold and amber that adds an extra layer of magic to the hunt.

Abundant Elk Population

Colorado boasts one of the largest elk populations in the United States. With an estimated 290,000 elk, the state offers hunters a significant opportunity to bag a trophy. The diversity of terrain also provides a range of hunting experiences from high alpine meadows to dense forests.

Challenging and Rewarding

Elk hunting is not for the faint of heart; in much of Colorado you’ll be hunting in the backcountry. Pursuing these majestic creatures requires physical stamina, patience, and a keen understanding of the environment. Preparation is vital, but if you’re up for it, the challenge of tracking and engaging with an elusive elk adds an element of thrill to the hunt. Successfully navigating the rugged terrain and outsmarting these intelligent creatures is immensely rewarding for any hunter.

How to Go Elk Hunting in Colorado

Research and Planning

elk hunting in Colorado

Start by researching Colorado’s hunting regulations and obtaining the necessary licenses. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) website is a valuable resource for up-to-date information on elk seasons, quotas, and license applications. While next year’s dates won’t be finalized until January, you can bookmark that pages to make sure you’re the first to know about season and draw dates, updated regulations, fees and more. You can also check out the 2023 edition of their Big Game Handbook to get an idea of what to expect. Make sure to plan your hunt well in advance to secure the best dates and locations.

Physical Conditioning

Elk hunting demands physical fitness. The terrain can be challenging, with high elevations and steep slopes, and it is important for you to be in good physical condition when you go out their. Prepare your body for the rigors of the hunt by engaging in cardiovascular and strength training exercises. Acclimating to the altitude is also crucial, especially if you’re not a Colorado native.

Selecting the Right Gear

Equip yourself with the appropriate gear, including a reliable rifle or bow, quality optics, durable clothing, and comfortable boots. Given the unpredictable mountain weather, dressing in layers is essential. Additionally, make sure you have a means to transport your harvested elk, as the process can be physically demanding. You can find many great items in the iSportsmanUSA gear section to help get you started.

General Tips for Elk Hunting in Colorado

Understanding Elk Behavior

elk hunting in Colorado

Elk are highly adaptable and can move across different elevations based on weather and hunting pressure. You can significantly increase your chances of a successful hunt by learning their behavior patterns, such as feeding and migration routes. If possible, you should scout the area beforehand and to understand the local elk population’s habits — it can be a game-changer.

Patience is Key

Elk hunting requires patience and persistence. Elk are famous for their wariness and ability to sense danger. Set up in strategic locations, stay quiet, and be prepared to wait for the right moment. The elk’s keen senses demand a stealthy approach, so avoid unnecessary noise and movements.

Great Locations for Elk Hunting in Colorado

  • Fort Carson: Located near Colorado Springs, this location renowned for its diverse elk habitat. The vast hunting areas provide ample opportunities for both novice and experienced hunters. Plan your trip here.
  • Air Force Academy: This location offers a unique hunting experience that’s sure to leave you satisfied. Hunters can explore designated areas for elk hunting to their heart’s content, with the mix of ponderosa pine forests and open meadows creating an ideal elk habitat. Plan your hunt here.

Elk hunting in Colorado is a thrilling pursuit that combines a rewarding challenge with the awe-inspiring beauty of the Rocky Mountains. From the vast landscapes to the abundance of elk, the Centennial State offers an unparalleled experience for elk hunters. Whether you choose Fort Carson, the Air Force Academy or someplace else, responsible hunting practices and a deep appreciation for nature are essential. So, gear up, embrace the challenge, and embark on an unforgettable elk hunting expedition in the heart of Colorado’s wilderness.

Read an incredible elk hunting story on iSportsmanUSA.


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