Run through the pros and cons of each Colorado elk hunting season to figure out which season is right for your DIY Colorado elk hunt.
Public Land Hunting Resources

Which Colorado Elk Hunting Season is Right for You?

There are a few things to consider when deciding which Colorado elk hunting season is right for you. We’ll run through the pros and cons of each Colorado elk season to help you decide which one fits your DIY Colorado elk hunt!

Run through the pros and cons of each Colorado elk hunting season to figure out which season is right for your DIY Colorado elk hunt.

Which elk hunting season is right for you?

Colorado essentially has six elk hunting season, some of which overlap. 

  • Archery
  • Muzzleloader
  • First Rifle
  • Second Rifle
  • Third Rifle
  • Fourth Rifle

You can find the exact season dates for the 2019 hunting season in the Colorado Parks & Wildlife Big Game Brochure. Archery runs just about the entire month of September with muzzleloader falling around the middle of that season. First rifle runs early October, second rifle, mid-to-late October, third rifle early November, and fourth rifle mid-November (approximate time frames).

Pros vs Cons of the two main Colorado elk hunting seasons

Archery season

Pros – 

  • Elk will be in full rut during archery season in Colorado.
  • The weather tends to be more favorable.
  • Typically less hunting pressure.
  • Bull elk being in full rut means calling can be fairly effective.
  • Because of the rut, elk can be more predictable during this season.

Cons – 

  • Shorter shooting range with a bow vs. a rifle so elk need to be in closer range.
  • Obviously, gear requirements could be preventative if you do not have a sufficient bow.
  • Competent archery hunting skills.
man in camo in the forest

Rifle season

Pros – 

  • Longer shooting range so you won’t have to be in close range for the kill shot.
  • Rifles are an effective weapon for a successful kill shot compared to a bow.

Cons –

  • More hunting pressure which means elk may climb to their sanctuary areas, requiring heavier pursuit.
  • Weather can tend to be colder and more unpredictable.
  • Elk are less predictable and you’ll more than likely have to pursue them and know how to change your tactics based upon their behavior.
  • Obviously, gear requirements could be preventative is you do not have a sufficient rifle.

So which Colorado elk hunting season is best for you?

It’s really a personal preference. If this is your first DIY Colorado elk hunt, go with the season that you’re most comfortable with and you could do most easily. Going out and buying thousands of dollars on new hunting gear isn’t necessary – so pick the season that works best for you. If you already have a good bow on hand, start with archery. If your camping gear isn’t cold weatherready, start with an earlier season like archery. 

There’s a misconception out there that you need to have a high powered rifle and/or bow in order to drop an elk. If you hunt whitetail, you have what you need. When I first started planning my first DIY Colorado elk hunt, I thought I needed to upgrade my gear and I quickly realized that wasn’t the case. Now, I did upgrade my bow, but that’s only because my bow at the time wasn’t shooting correctly due to some mechanical issues so I felt it was time to upgrade in general regardless of hunting elk or whitetail. 

a large bull elk in a meadow in colorado

I personally love archery season because the bull elk are in full rut and listening to the chuckles and bugles all day/night is an unforgettable hunting experience. Plus, the weather is fairly nice and the scenery is beautiful with the Aspens in full color. 

Other helpful resources for planning your DIY Colorado elk hunt

My motto is done over perfect. You can overthink planning your first DIY Colorado elk hunt so don’t get frozen in overthinking it. Pick your season and run with it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

shares