This website is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission.

Colorado Elk Hunting. Useful Tips to Help Plan Your Trip

Last Updated: 04.02.23


In our recent article, we gave you some tips about how to choose a good hunting flashlight and in this article, we have decided to write more about Colorado Elk hunting in order to help you better plan your trip.

Colorado is like a paradise for elk hunting enthusiasts because, if you gain some experience and you try to improve your skills, you can not come home empty-handed. Experienced hunters like it here because hunting sessions are really engaging and they will spend all day moving on uneven terrain in order to catch their prey while being physically engaged.

There are some things you have to consider before going on an elk hunting trip here and we are going to detail them one by one in order for you to understand why they are important and how to approach them.


Permits in Colorado

In order to go elk hunting, you will need a permit and every experienced hunter knows that. If you are a beginner, you will have to get familiarized with a few things before going on your hunting trip.

There is a general permit that you can get which gives you permission to hunt in a few regions of the state and it is usually called ‘general season’.

Most people like to go elk hunting in Colorado because it is the area that has the largest elk population. Therefore, you can easily get a permit there because there are a lot of areas that are public. However, you will spend all day hunting because the terrain is challenging and there are many targets to run after.

In Colorado, a permit costs a bit more than 600 US dollars, but you will definitely have a blast for the money if you enjoy intense hunting sessions. You will have to post your application until February and you will get your answer by the half of April. Permits are usually offered using a draw system. 


  • Limited permit

This type of permit will only allow you to hunt during certain periods of time and only in some regions. You should pay attention to the regions before applying for this permit because you will need to consider the time you spend on the road to get to those regions.


  • Ranching for Wildlife

This permit allows you to go elk hunting on certain ranches that have an agreement with the CPW but only if you are a Colorado resident. 


  • Leftover Draw permit

After the draw for the limited permits ends, if there are any permits left, you can be chosen for a Leftover Draw permit, but only if you have checked the option on your first application.


  • Private Land Only

This type of permit is given for the private properties that do not have a contract with the CPW, but you have to check with the owner before applying for this type of license because, if they don’t agree to let you hunt on their property your permit is useless.


Things you need to consider:

  1. Your finance limitations

People who have never gone elk hunting before do not realize how much they have to spend on these trips. There are many ways to do it and you can pay someone to get you to a certain place. However, you can also choose the cheaper version of backpack hunting. 

Before you plan your trip, you should consider how much you will have to spend on your gear and on transportation and only after that you should consider the other costs according to how much money you have to spend on them. Furthermore, you have to spend money on your permit which is also a really important aspect that you need to take into account. 

There are a lot of square miles of public land in Colorado where you can plan your hunting trip, but there are also a lot of private lands where you can hunt in return for a fee and they differ among owners according to the number of elk they have on their property.


  1. What gear will you need?

This is one of the most important aspects that you have to consider because the environment that you will be hunting in is not the friendliest and, if you are not capable of living with it, you will have to end your trip prematurely. We are going to tell you what the essential items are and why you should consider them.

Your backpack is the key to a successful trip, even if it might feel like there is no connection between it and the actual hunting experience. First of all, you have to carry your essentials in it, but you also have to bring back the elk. So a robust backpack is something that will always be worth your money.

In terms of protecting your body in this harsh environment, you should invest in a good pair of boots. They will help you go far without having your feet full of blisters and will also help you arrive home safely. If you can’t walk well, you will not be able to get very far and you will get tired easily, and you definitely want to avoid that.

In terms of clothes, a good practice is to invest in waterproof top layers and in base layers that have the capability of warming you up, but also of cooling you down pretty easily, like merino wool. A good way to approach this is to look for clothes specially made for mountain hikes. 


  1. Your physical strength

It might seem like something that is not very important, but your physical capabilities make a difference when it comes to a successful elk hunt experience. There are more ways to kill elk and some of them involve sitting in a camp. However, if you want to take this experience to another level you will want to go deep into the wilderness.

Therefore, it is very important to be able to handle all the downsides that come with that. You have to be strong enough to carry your backpack which might not seem heavy when you have to carry it for an hour, but when you have to carry it around for 10 miles it can get a little uncomfortable.

Also, the altitude might be a problem if you are not accustomed to low oxygenation levels while engaging in physical activity. So all these aspects have to be taken seriously if you want to come home with the fulfillment that a successful hunting session brings.

What you should consider first is that you will be carrying around a heavy backpack. This is why it is important to work out your back, but especially your core because your abs also help you in carrying heavy weights without engaging your back muscles that much. This will also help you become less tired.

Because the terrain is not even, you can get injured easily, especially if you carry around heavy equipment. So it is important to bulletproof your ankles. Great distances on uneven terrain are hard to manage without strong leg muscles, so these should be a priority as well.


  1. How much time do you have on your hands?

When you are planning such a trip, it is essential to know how much you have to travel in order to actually arrive at the hunting area and how much time is left for the actual hunting experience. 

Colorado has a total surface of 104,094 square miles, which does not make it the largest state in the United States, but it is also not too small either. Therefore, you should consider the time that you have to spend on the road and add it to your actual hunting plan. A good practice is to choose a place close to you in order to have more days available for hunting.


Final thoughts

If you are a beginner in elk hunting trips you should know that if you follow all the tips we have given you in this article, you will definitely have a great time. Hunting can be very fulfilling and coming home from a hunting trip empty-handed is not a very good feeling but you will never have to go through that if you decide to take into account our advice.



Leave a comment