September 27, 2021, 03:59:36 PM

Author Topic: Flat Tops Elk  (Read 3794 times)

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Offline Okieelk

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Flat Tops Elk
« on: June 18, 2020, 09:23:18 PM »
Hello All,

Looks like Im headed to the flat tops mid September this fall and I have never hunted this area or this low in elevation this early. It looks like the actual top of the flats is anywhere between 10,500-11,600 roughly speaking and theres not a lot of cover(trees) at the top of the flats. My question is about hunting that type of structure with a limited elevation like that. You can drop down another 500-1000ft and get into lots of nice cover and parks. But Im curious if the elk are up in the flats grazing or down lower in elevation or hanging out around tree line at the transitions. Im assuming there are going to be in cover most of the time. Places I normally hunt in SW CO they are often at 11,600-13,00. Any the elk are always spooky.

Anyhow, if you are experienced hunting this type of terrain and would like to share what you know, Id appreciate the feedback. Please feel free to PM me if you wish. Thanks and happy hunting!


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Offline nyhunter

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Re: Flat Tops Elk
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2020, 11:36:54 AM »
I am also interested to hear what some of the more experienced individuals have to say about this, since I will also be in this area early October. 

I personally haven't hunted this area specifically, but would like to check it out because it appears all of the trails are Hike and Horse.  I will also say that I liked the Flat Tops because it looks like if you can get on top, you should be able to access numerous draws from the top, with the idea of "more easily" covering a lot of ground.  I have hunted up in unit 12 (just west of sleepy cat mtn), but there are a TON of ATV trails up there and I saw a ton of road hunters...
With regards to elevation my experience is that its related to weather (more snow cover), food availability, hunting pressure, rut activity and numerous other factors that Corey might know :P
In the case of the elk on the Flat Tops...because this area is so large and it essentially the highest point for the area (ie they cant go higher, for cooler temps) and if the weather is "warm" (for mid September), without a ton of pressure; they should be up there grazing.  Probably floating between the tops and north facing slopes. 

But again that is just my simple rationale based on what I know of the area and elk behavior.  But elk are elk and once you think you "understand them" they throw you for a loop.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2020, 11:05:46 AM by nyhunter »

Offline Rdub

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Re: Flat Tops Elk
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2020, 07:49:03 PM »
Ive hunted it. Used to go in at the access point at Stillwater reservoir. Yes there are elk there. It is packed with hikers, campers, hunters, etc. Going in from Trappers lake is the same. Did not seem to make any difference if I was a mile in or six miles in. The quietist point was always closing weekend of archery season. Elevation was not the factor, pressure was. Good luck and have fun.
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Offline wapiti_will

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Re: Flat Tops Elk
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2020, 07:33:12 PM »
Hunted archery (a few times) and first rifle (13 times) up on the flat tops.  Like you said, not much elevation change once you're up on top.  Nothing really high that gets you up above tree line.  I would say, unless snow pushes the elk down, the high meadows typically produce better elk hunting than the lower (at least in the areas I've hunted).  Pressure usually sends elk onto a steep face with dark thick timber and blow down, because it's extremely hard to get in there and get a shot without blowing the elk out.  The lower elevations to the east and south sides of the flat tops produce a lot of huge open parks that elk quickly vacate once hunting pressure arrives.  There are a ton of elk, and opportunity is always there, so being persistent is usually the key when it comes to hunting up there where you'll always have lots of elk and hunters.
I've taken about 8 elk in 13 years of hunting the flat tops just on opening weekend of first rifle, but it took time and research to find a spot with the right amount of pressure and elk.  Try to research spots that you think will see a lot of pressure (exp: good road access) that are near areas that elk might find sanctuary in (exp: steep wilderness), and let some of the other hunters work for you.  Certainly easier said than done in a area that sees so many hunters, but not impossible.  Good luck out there!  If you have a spot in mind and want to PM me with specific questions, I'll certainly let you know if I'm familiar with the area and what feedback I might have.
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Offline jacob.sherburne

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Re: Flat Tops Elk
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2021, 08:54:48 PM »
Hunted archery (a few times) and first rifle (13 times) up on the flat tops.  Like you said, not much elevation change once you're up on top.  Nothing really high that gets you up above tree line.  I would say, unless snow pushes the elk down, the high meadows typically produce better elk hunting than the lower (at least in the areas I've hunted).  Pressure usually sends elk onto a steep face with dark thick timber and blow down, because it's extremely hard to get in there and get a shot without blowing the elk out.  The lower elevations to the east and south sides of the flat tops produce a lot of huge open parks that elk quickly vacate once hunting pressure arrives.  There are a ton of elk, and opportunity is always there, so being persistent is usually the key when it comes to hunting up there where you'll always have lots of elk and hunters.
I've taken about 8 elk in 13 years of hunting the flat tops just on opening weekend of first rifle, but it took time and research to find a spot with the right amount of pressure and elk.  Try to research spots that you think will see a lot of pressure (exp: good road access) that are near areas that elk might find sanctuary in (exp: steep wilderness), and let some of the other hunters work for you.  Certainly easier said than done in a area that sees so many hunters, but not impossible.  Good luck out there!  If you have a spot in mind and want to PM me with specific questions, I'll certainly let you know if I'm familiar with the area and what feedback I might have.
Hi Will,

Thanks for sharing that information! I will be up there in unit 24 this season for first rifle, it will be my first time hunting in Colorado. How has the weather typically been for you during first rifle? I am going to be based out of trappers lake lodge, and it sounds like I wont be the only one, as crowds sound common for the area. Will you be hunting first rifle this season?

Thanks,
J


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Offline cohunter14

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Re: Flat Tops Elk
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2021, 07:35:34 AM »
Jacob, I can tell you that in that general area you can get a lot of different weather during first rifle season. There are years where it'll be 60+ degrees and you'll be hunting in a tee shirt and there have been years where over a foot of snow hits the ground. It's best to be prepared for everything and watch the weather closely leading up to your hunt.

Offline Jason Balazs

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Re: Flat Tops Elk
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2021, 07:41:41 AM »
My father-n-law used to hunt the flat tops a long time ago. He was successful, but with the close proximity of I-70 it is an absolute zoo, and Im not talking animals. I was there about 15 years ago helping a buddy hunt and I had never seen so many domesticated sheep as I had during that trip. Elk do not like them and the ranchers herded them right through our camp. Saw about 1000 hunters too driving the roads like they were going to see elk and be able to stalk it with there bow. Best tip is to get as far away as you can possibly think you can and then keep going.

 

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