What elevation...


New member
Apr 23, 2013
So this year I'm looking for a new hunting spot in colorado or  Idaho. I've killed elk in my area 3 of the last 6 years but I'm just looking for some new scenery if you know what I mean. I've usually hunted up around 10000 to 12000' Early September. My question is I wanna see whatever body was typically hunting Mid September In regards to elevation? Even though I typically hunted between 10012 1000' last year I killed my 1st pool at around 7000' on September 1st . Just curious to see what everybody's average elevation Is mid September?

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Not an easy question but a general rule of thumb is 2/3 up the mountain. And I usually go off of where I park compared to the ridge where I have hunted. So those elevations will vary. Also, time of year can impact this a lot. Another indicator would be at or below tree line. Just a simple starting point for me marking out maps and all of this can change during the season.
Looking back on it :

7200' 8000' 6900' 2800' are the elevations Ive shot my elk at. Had chances at elk higher and lower than that with a mix of in between.
As Brent pointed out, there is no real general number that works because it can vary across the board. For example, some units in Colorado don't even have elevation that reaches 10,000 ft. Factor in the elk that live out on the plains at 4,000 ft and they can be anywhere. I think you have to pick your unit first, then figure out within the unit where the higher areas are and where the lower areas are. Another tool to help in Colorado is the CPW Hunt Atlas, which can show you the summer and winter areas.
The area I hunt in early season maxes out at 10.5K
I find all of the elk between 8600-8900ft :upthumb:
Just went back through my notes and the majority of elk we have seen or taken in the last 20+ years have been between 8,000 and 11,000 feet. Some of these areas top out right around the same height we were taking elk and in others, we were finding them 2,000 feet lower than a nearby peak. Again, I think it all depends on the given area. But I also agree with what others have said where the elk will typically hang out in a certain elevation range within a given area.
If i'm after elk that migrate i'll go to 11,000ft. If i'm after elk that stay in one area year round i'll go to 8000ft-9000ft.
Elevation doesn't seem to help determine where elk reside. Where I hunt, they like deep dark canyons. That could mean 1500 difference.

Elk in Colorado move differently than where I used to hunt in Wyoming. They bed low in the canyons and feed up.
We had only hunted over 10,500 until the past few years when we decided to try another unit on a tip from a friend. Plenty of elk between 8000 and 9,300 but the vegetation is much heavier and has taken some getting used to. Many more bulls respond and make noise but are never seen.
8-10 in our spots unless the weather pushes them around hard and fast. Then it really becomes a head scratcher.  Also when scouting on google earth I too look 2/3 of the way up the mountain starting at the end of the road so to speak.  But as cohunter and Brent pointed out it varies and isn?t always the same.

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