Looking for some tips on November Elk Hunting in Colorado? Read this to find out all the details. Make certain to check out 6 Resources for Planning Your First DIY Colorado Public Land Elk Hunt as well.
Elk roamed all over North America once. With the spread of human habitation, elks are now mostly confined to the western and northern parts of the US.
Colorado is known as the mecca for aspiring elk hunters, with a well-organized infrastructure that allows both residents and out-of-state hunters access to multiple hunting seasons. November is considered to be the late season for legally hunting elk in the state.
Elk Hunting Seasons in Colorado
Colorado will allow six elk hunting seasons in 2021, as outlined on Page 1 of the Colorado Parks; Wildlife (CPW) Big Games Brochure.
- Archery (September 2nd through 30th)
- Muzzleloader (September 11th through 19th)
- First Rifle Season (October 16th through 30th)
- Second Rifle Season (October 30th through November 7th)
- Third Rifle Season (November 13th through 19th)
- Fourth Rifle Season (November 24th through 28th)
For non-residents, OTC Tags are available for multiple elk hunting seasons, including:
- Second Rifle (October 30th through November 7th)
- Third Rifle (November 13th through 19th)
Additionally, Plains Rifle permits are also available between September 2nd, 2021, and January 7th, 2022.
Pros and Cons of November Elk Hunting in Colorado
Per the list above, the November hunting elk hunting season comprises the Second, Third, or Fourth Rifle Seasons.
The table below lists some pros and cons of hunting late season in Colorado.
|Pros & Cons|
|Pro: Elk prefer cold weather. You are more likely to find elk during daylight hours, as opposed to having to hunt during the dusk and evening during late summer and early Fall.|
|Pro: A drop in barometric pressure (as happens with a cold front or upcoming winter storm) tends to bring elk out.|
|Pro: Snow can help you track elks better due to tracks.|
|Con: November is almost a month past the peak rutting season, making it difficult to find elk.|
|Con: While elk like the cold, even unpredictable temperature drops, humans are bound to be much more miserable if they are not adequately prepared with winter gear. Even when prepared, sudden snowstorms and freezes can be dangerous.|
|Con: Wind conditions can play havoc, given that elks have a very keen sense of smell. Hunters need to be very careful to keep the wind in their faces.|
How to Buy your OTC Tag for a November Hunt
CPW has made ample provisions for buying elk hunting licenses, both before the start of the season and in-season through OTC purchases.
- Buy in person at CPW locations or hundreds of contracted retail outlets
- Purchase by phone at 1-800-244-5613
- Purchase online through CPW
The detailed options are listed here.
Non-residents must buy a license that combines elk tags with fishing licenses. For Colorado residents, a standalone elk (without a small game or fishing) license can be bought.
Gear for a Late Season Elk Hunt in Colorado
November in Colorado is sure to involve two aspects: cold and damp wintry conditions, and potentially long, patient waits for elk. That means that clothing must be chosen carefully, besides the normal hunting weaponry, decoys, bugler, and binoculars.
To remain comfortable, clothing gear must include adequate layers of clothing on the upper body, consisting of:
- Base Layer
- Active Layer
- Insulation Layer
- Outerwear/Waterproof Layer
In addition, wearing the right pants, and getting outfitted with gloves, face covering, socks, and headgear could all be vital from a safety and comfort standpoint.
Many gear stores and outfitters can help with the proper suggestions.
What to Expect on a Late-Season Elk Hunt in Colorado
There are a number of factors to consider during a late-season elk hunt. They include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Whether you are tracking resident herds, that stay close to an area.
- Has the migration started and the feeding stopped?
- How heavy is the snow? Is it over 15 inches deep?
Expect snowy conditions, even blizzards – stay safe but also check for how the elk behave during cold weather. For example, elk feed more towards the middle of the day during winter.
The following website lists some helpful hints.
5 Tips for a Successful November Elk Hunt in Colorado
CPW hunt planners can guide you to the best spots. Call them at (303)-291-7526. The next few pointers can be refined and personalized by a CPW person.
- Try to find areas of resident herds, rather than migratory ones. Regardless of the herd strength, you know they will be there.
- Track the elk where they are likely to be during winter. For example, if the snow line is over 15” deep, the elk will be found in areas lower than the snow line.
- Choose the right hunting method to both find and attract elk – if hunting in November, past the rutting season, you are not going to lure bull elk by the decoys that would be successful during the rutting season.
- Find the right time of day to hunt depending on weather conditions – if conditions are colder, the middle of the day works better, as opposed to the dusk during warmer times.
- Dress warmly and don’t take risks – if you don’t have snow chains on your vehicle, do not venture into the deep wilderness if there is any chance of bad weather. Your health and well being is more important than the thrill of the hunt.
More Hunting Tips and Ideas
- Merino Wool for Hunting
- Which Colorado Elk Hunting Season is Right for You?
- 6 Resources for Planning Your First DIY Colorado Public Land Elk Hunt
Recommended gear items for November elk hunting in Colorado
Primal Pioneer is a food blog and public land hunting resource by Mike and Jennifer Shreckengost. We’re a husband and wife team who combined their two passions – a love of the outdoors and food – into a joint effort with Primal Pioneer! You’ll find resources on planning and executing your own DIY over-the-counter public land big game hunt, along with wild game recipes featuring mostly venison and elk.