There are no sure things in elk hunting - weather conditions alone deal a different hand of cards every autumn. However, statistics compiled by the Colorado Division of Wildlife strongly suggest that hunters who are willing to settle for a cow in the first rifle season will do well in Game Management Unit 4 northwest of Steamboat Springs.
Alternate activities for those skipping the hunt
Family members of hunters can find their own adventures if they do not feel the call of the hunt.
If hunters have a day on their trip when they can't hunt or if they simply want to take a break from tracking trophy animals, there is plenty to do in Craig to pass the time.
Chronic wasting disease is a fatal neurological disease found in deer and elk. The disease attacks the brain, causing the animals to become emaciated, display abnormal behavior, lose bodily functions and die.
In its 20-plus-year history, Ranching for Wildlife has been one of the state's more controversial hunting programs.
Somewhere between archery season and rifle season, the bull elk sought by hunters throughout Colorado will go into the rutting season, and he will begin to gather his harem of cow elk with which he will mate.
Big game hunters traveling to Northwest Colorado in October don't arrive looking for trout. And for anyone who has the great fortune to hang an elk early in the hunt, that's a big mistake.
The preference points system, relatively untouched in past years, has undergone several changes.
Northwest Colorado boasts largest elk population in the state
Northwest Colorado has the largest elk herd in Colorado and probably the nation, drawing hunters to the area in droves. The state relies on hunters to keep that population at a manageable size.
Given the vast expanse of hunting land in Northwest Colorado, hunters unfamiliar with the area can face a daunting task that stacks the odds against finding a quality animal.
Hunters in Northwest Colorado who take the opportunity to buy an over-the-counter cow elk license for granted might want to pay careful attention to a process unfolding at the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife created the preference points system as a way to try to accommodate hunters.
Northwestern Colorado has earned a reputation as one of the best places in the country to hunt for elk.
In addition to the unlimited elk licenses available over-the-counter for the second and third season, the Colorado Division of Wildlife has 185,000 elk licenses available to hunters in the draw.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife offered online applications for elk licenses for the first time in 2004.