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Flat Tops Wilderness

 
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DHunter
Spike


Joined: 06 Jan 2009
Posts: 14
Location: Michigan

PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 5:22 pm    Post subject: Flat Tops Wilderness Reply with quote

Hello. I am going to be hunting the Flat Tops Wilderness area in Colorado this fall for elk in archery season. We're looking at going 9/3 to 9/13. Planning to go to DMU 25. Has anyone hunted in this area? Any advice on where the elk might be? We're trying to figure out where to go in? Also, what should we expect the weather to be like? I'm guessing pretty warm during the day and cool at night. From looking at the maps, it looks like there is plenty of water. I have a filter for drinking water. Is the water up there pretty safe to drink with a filter? Thank you for any advice!
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GregE
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It will look similar to this.



And could look like this ( mid Sept)





I've not hunted the Flat top Wilderness but each water source is suspect until proven reliable.

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Magic
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Location: Brookhaven, Ms

PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Use this link to identify elk ranges. I normaly find Fall elk in Summer ranges. There are several good threads on here concerning filtering water. Be very sure that your water is safe. Your hunt will depend upon it. Good luck....

http://ndis.nrel.colostate.edu/maps/

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saddlesore
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Joined: 06 Mar 2008
Posts: 634
Location: Colorado Springs, CO

PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Plenty of water, A must to filter most of it.There is plenty of grass this year, 3ft+ tall in most places. I have hunted 25 on and of since 76.
I go in from Sweetwater Lake ( SE corner), but that is mostly horse country.You need to get in 3+ miles just to get past private land and the 1st 6 miles is up hill. You might look at going up Coffee Pot Road. That is just a few miles up the Colorado River Road and then turn left.The road is 30+ miles to the end ,then go back into the north 3 miles or more.

That road is not for pullingtrailer sin,except maybe asmallutiliyy and then it is a rough go.Last year the elk were hanging more over in that direction than east. But over all, the elk herd is down., I"d sure go else where if I was hunting from out of state.

Also I would hut week later if possible.

Expect rain and wet weather.

Do not get caught up above tree line or close to it with those nasty thunder storms that roll through there at that time.Not healthy for sure.

I'd be hunting in the 9000-10500 ft range in the heavy timber pockets

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82nd Airborne
2 point


Joined: 03 Apr 2008
Posts: 85
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always see lots of ads for outfitters hunting the Flat Tops so prepare yourself to see them out and about too. With them having paying clients they'll cover lots of ground to find elk. Give some of the outfitters or the bioligist in the area a call and get some info from them. See if the elk numbers are good or lower than other years. And as always with the weather out west be prepared for the worst, I've heard of the Flat Tops getting so much snow mid september that guys had to leave their camps there till the next spring.
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saddlesore
6 point


Joined: 06 Mar 2008
Posts: 634
Location: Colorado Springs, CO

PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are indeeed al ot ,and I mean a lot of outfittters in the Flat Tops. The Flat Tops has always had traditionally the biggest elk herd in CO. Hence the large number number of outfitters .

I would not worry about snow in Sept in the Flat Tops. It can happen ,but I have never seen much in Sept.Maybe 3-4 inches.Raini s more of aproblem

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DHunter
Spike


Joined: 06 Jan 2009
Posts: 14
Location: Michigan

PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the info and advice guys!

I’ve been trying to contact the biologist in Glenwood Springs all summer with no luck. But I have talked to a lady there that mentioned Sweetwater Lake and Coffee Pot Road. She also mentioned Island Lake on the north end and Sheperd, Indian, Johnny Meyers? So who knows...I really wish I could get in contact with the Biologist there. Maybe I will try calling an outfitter in that area.

We had planned on going up Sweetwater. We are planning on taking a small utility trailer (5x8) but not sure yet. We were going to take a 4 wheeler just in case. Do you see any need if we plan to backpack in?

As for the outfitters…I have heard there are a lot in the Flat Tops. Are they all over unit 25? When I go from Colorado DOW's website it only shows 3 that cover unit 25. But I suppose that is all that are on the website...I seem to remember a previous post that someone replied to try going in the northeast? Up by Crescent Lake/Sheep Mt maybe? Anyone ever been over here?

Thanks again!
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saddlesore
6 point


Joined: 06 Mar 2008
Posts: 634
Location: Colorado Springs, CO

PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have not hunted Sheep Mtn for a long time. You can go in from the Derby Junction Loop road towards W Moiuntain,but all reports from a lot of hunters say it has rellay degraded in terms of elk numbers. Lotsa archery hunters in that area. 7 miles of really bad road to get in. I think even Winterhawk Outfitters pulled out. They could have lost thier permit though, ast hey were not very reputable

AJ Brink operates out of Sweetwater,and thier camps are from Johnny Meyer Lake east over towards Hack Lake and then up Sweetwater Creek almost to Rim Lake on top. High Guide Service operates out of thier location two miles up the Road from Sweetwater. They operate up Turret Creek and out acros that area 10 camps plus drop camps.
Pack String Outfiitters operate in the country south of Sweetwater lake and west. Andthe over towards the old Budgies Resort. Don't know much about them.
If you go up Sweetwater, there is no place to use a 4 wheeler. All trails are closed to them and most are too narrow.The trail up Sweetwater creek is though about a mile of private land.
There is a public parking lot right next to AJ Brink that you will need to leave your utility trailer at .The road continues for about 2 miles to the trail head.There is as amall parking lot further on,but you may not be able to turn around if a few vehicles are there. If possible I'd leave the trailer home if that is where you are going.
Right at the end of the road ,there is very steep hill with a switch back that goes up about 1/8 mile to the trail head. DO NOT TRY TO PULL YOUR TRAILER UP THERE

Wildernest boundary is about two-three miles in from the trailhead.Up hill all the way.Sweetwater is about 7600 ft, you need to gett o at least 9000 ft.
I'd seriously look at Coffee Pot,It puts you higher up at the end .

There is a road that turns off off to the right a few miles before Sweetwater that takes you up to the Dotsero Wildlife aea. Gets you pretty high and you are only a mile or so from W Mountain. About 3 miles east of Hack lake

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saddlesore
6 point


Joined: 06 Mar 2008
Posts: 634
Location: Colorado Springs, CO

PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You neeed to be hunting at this elevation or higher.The furthest elvation you can seei s the top, ,about 11300,this meadwo is about 9500. I saw 3 bulls and a cow in ths area in late June. This is about 6 miles+ NWN of Sweetwater


.

Here is it in late Oct.


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DHunter
Spike


Joined: 06 Jan 2009
Posts: 14
Location: Michigan

PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Saddlesore! This is all good info we can use when we get out there. I was trying to get out this summer to do some scouting but didn't make it. This will be our first time out there so it'll be an experience all in itself! I'll be happy just to get into the Wilderness, see some elk and not too many people!
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2rocky
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Joined: 09 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saddle Sore,

That's good stuff. Really what being part of Sage Creek is about. I tip my hat to ya!

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saddlesore
6 point


Joined: 06 Mar 2008
Posts: 634
Location: Colorado Springs, CO

PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Rocky. If one clicks on the photobucket URL at the end of my post,all the elk packing pictures,elk, etc, are in Area 25 Flat Tops.

Gun stocks are ones I do myself. Deer ( long legged rats) are ones that infest my home place

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virginiadeer
Spike


Joined: 06 Aug 2009
Posts: 1
Location: Lynchburg, VA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey guys, I am brand new to Sage Creek; what a great forum.

Anyway, with regards to the Flat Tops, is there much difference in hunting pressure (archery and muzzleloader) between unit 25 (OTC) and the 033 tag (most of 24 and all of 33)? The Sweetwater area is in 25 but Coffee Pot Road gives better accress to the draw unit not 25. Any thoughts would be great.

Also, do hunters (and their guides) pay close attention to not venturing into a unit they do not have a tag for?
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saddlesore
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Joined: 06 Mar 2008
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Location: Colorado Springs, CO

PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a difference in hunting pressure between the two. Area 25 is a dumping ground for all who did not draw elsewhere in other states or draw areas in CO. Look at the Draw statistics DOW web page and you will see the total license allocated to 24 vs unlimited in 25. That is why there are so many outfitters in 25 also.

In addition ,there is a Draw rifle cow season in 25 in mid Sept that adds even more hunters

There probably are those who cross over some into other areas, but there is a hefty point against hunting license and fine,but the odds of getting caught are minimal Probably worse repercussions for outfitters if they are caught.

Coffee Pot gives good access to area 25 if you are on foot, Sweetwater or Burns is better if you have horses. I guess it depends on how much you like to climb.

A lot of guys truck into the end of Coffee Pot ,but pony animals in from Sweetwater as it is only 7 miles up the Dry Sweetwater

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Magic
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Joined: 30 Sep 2008
Posts: 4565
Location: Brookhaven, Ms

PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

virginiadeer, I've never hunted "25", so I can't help you, but welcome to SC Forums. You are at the right place to ask questions.
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Hobbes
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Joined: 26 Apr 2006
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Location: Colorado

PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've hunted Coffee Pot Rd a few times. In 2007 it was really dry up there and I saw one cow in two days of hunting and could not find much in the way of fresh sign. I really had not planned to hunt it but my dad came out and we bought him a left over early rifle cow, so I did not put anything other than those two days into hunting there.

We hunted it in 04 and 06 and ran across several elk, but they were scattered and there were quite a few hunters. We camped on 10 mile park rd past Deep Lake. A lot of guys camp at Deep Lake and drive atv's up through 10 mile park. It isn't a bad area, and is relatively flat up high until you drop off the sides, but it is a fairly popular area for early season bowhunters. There are also a lot of grouse hunters up there the first week of grouse season, but they stay along the edges.

I 06 we had a hunt planned in that area again, but I moved here to CO. My buddies still came out and I met them and hunted there the first two weekends. I choked on a shot at a really nice bull about 10 minutes into the first day of season. I was still trying to get to the area I planned to hunt and was paralleling the FS Road when I looked up and here comes a bull through the fog. It was just luck that I ended up in the right place. I think he had been bumped by an ATV that was driving down the road. Unfortunately I did not make the shot and that was my only opportunity that season.

I'm not against hunting the area, but I'm closer to other elk now. If I still hunted it I would find pockets that were a little more out of the way than 10 mile park/Deep Lake.

We had snow up there in 04 and 06 during the first week of Sept. It was gone within a day or so, but you still have to be ready for anything when your out here in Sept.

Good Luck!
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saddlesore
6 point


Joined: 06 Mar 2008
Posts: 634
Location: Colorado Springs, CO

PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hobbes.

08 was a particular bad year. The elk were still scattered the1st rifle season.

About 10 yrs ago the White River elk herd wase stimated at 80,000 elk,Now it is 30,000

For some reason, they seem to be migrating down over the White River sid vs east as they use to when hunted hard.\My buddy got into aher dof about a100, North of the end of the Coffee Pot raod last year.They got 3 bulls Those are the only elk I knew that were killed.The only thing Coffee Pot buys you is getting higher initailly.

AJ Brink and High Guide Service, out of Sweetwater, took no elk in the1st and 2nd rifle season.I saw about 20 but they were over a mile away and traveling west. I saw only 3 deer and shot one of them.

All of 25 is heavily hunted. If I knew of a better place, I would go. I'm going 3rd rifle, but I also have a tag in Area 201 for Oct 1.

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Hobbes
2 point


Joined: 26 Apr 2006
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Location: Colorado

PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 7:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That sounds about right from what we saw. The area we camped a couple times during archery was a rifle season camp. Behind the camp in the woods there were quite a few elk bones and skulls from years past, so someone had been killing quite a few elk in their at one time. We saw elk everytime we hunted it, but it was obvious in 07 that the elk had not been in there much. I attributed it to how dry it was there. My buddies liked it because they would see a few elk and it was relatively flat compared to other areas we had hunted. I prefer a few less hunters than what we had around us.

Good Luck this year.
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