3rd or 4th Season This Year

TX_Diver

Active Member
Messages
245
Hey MM,

I have 5 points I'm looking to use in the next year or two on a mule deer hunt in CO (would be 6 points next year).

Mostly interested in a late rifle hunt as I'd rather hunt elk during the bow seasons.

Most years obviously the 4th season seems to be the preferred season but this years 3rd season dates are what would typically be 4th season from what I can tell.

I'm looking at some units in the NW portion of the state. I'm not holding out for a monster but am looking for something other than a forky haha. If anyone wants to PM me I'd be stoked to run the units by you or even get other suggestions on how to use the points if you want to share but mainly just looking for opinions on which season to try for this year.

Is there such a thing as 4th season being too late? It's a real chance that point creep will hurt the 3rd season odds this year as others jump into the draw (and 4th season includes Thanksgiving this year). If you were applying this year would you be looking to hunt 3rd or 4th season?

3rd Season - 11/13-11/19 - Saturday to Friday
4th Season - 11/24-11/28 - Wednesday to Sunday (including Thanksgiving)
 

AZGuy

Active Member
Messages
272
4th will incredible if any bucks are left. They took a pounding last year and 2nd and 3rd could be even worse in 2021.
 

FrontRange

Active Member
Messages
309
I hunted deer 4th season last year in the Gunnison Basin. Weather was nice but the unit had some snow during one of the earlier seasons. The bucks were starting to hang out with the does. Saw alot of bucks hanging with a handful of does typically there would be a smaller buck hanging with them. I wouldn't say the bucks were in crazy rut, just getting started.
 

AZGuy

Active Member
Messages
272
I hunted deer 4th season last year in the Gunnison Basin. Weather was nice but the unit had some snow during one of the earlier seasons. The bucks were starting to hang out with the does. Saw alot of bucks hanging with a handful of does typically there would be a smaller buck hanging with them. I wouldn't say the bucks were in crazy rut, just getting started.
They were rutting better on 3rd season than in 4th in the San Juan Region. I did manage to find a 185 buck but it was a chore, of the 24 bucks I saw prior to him none were over 145ish and lots of does without bucks.
 

elks96

Very Active Member
Messages
2,350
If your a NR there is not a 4th season hunt you can reach with 5 points in the NW corner. At least none I am aware of... I would suspect that the vast majority of 3rd season will be out of reach as well.

Lastly, the bucks in NW corner of Colorado are done. 4-5 years ago it was hot, but management decisions have all but killed all the mature bucks. Still a few around, but with the later season dates and buck tags up over 300% in most of the units, the bucks have been hammered. I would honestly would suggest sitting the NW corner out for about 10 years/ The only way I will be hunting the NW for deer is if I get lucky and pull a tag from the left over. Even then I would not expect to see a deer I would shoot.
 

AZGuy

Active Member
Messages
272
If your a NR there is not a 4th season hunt you can reach with 5 points in the NW corner. At least none I am aware of... I would suspect that the vast majority of 3rd season will be out of reach as well.

Lastly, the bucks in NW corner of Colorado are done. 4-5 years ago it was hot, but management decisions have all but killed all the mature bucks. Still a few around, but with the later season dates and buck tags up over 300% in most of the units, the bucks have been hammered. I would honestly would suggest sitting the NW corner out for about 10 years/ The only way I will be hunting the NW for deer is if I get lucky and pull a tag from the left over. Even then I would not expect to see a deer I would shoot.
Dismal report, the Southwest is very close to what you just painted.
 

elks96

Very Active Member
Messages
2,350
Dismal report, the Southwest is very close to what you just painted.
They are running the same game plan in the NW that they ran in the late 90s in Units 19, 191 etc. Kill out all the deer to kill out CWD. Then for a few years they will have lower positive rates because there are not any deer left. The CWD plan for NW Colorado clearly states they want to kill every mature buck in the NW this action combined with the horrible season structure is horrible.

Truth is a lot of guys with a lot of points are going to be sick when they cash in this fall and find out that the mature bucks are already gone. The last 3 years the bigger bucks have been hammered and I would put most units in the NW corner way below normal for trophy quality. I mean way below.

Yes there will be a few big one taken but few and far in-between.
 

AZGuy

Active Member
Messages
272
They are running the same game plan in the NW that they ran in the late 90s in Units 19, 191 etc. Kill out all the deer to kill out CWD. Then for a few years they will have lower positive rates because there are not any deer left. The CWD plan for NW Colorado clearly states they want to kill every mature buck in the NW this action combined with the horrible season structure is horrible.

Truth is a lot of guys with a lot of points are going to be sick when they cash in this fall and find out that the mature bucks are already gone. The last 3 years the bigger bucks have been hammered and I would put most units in the NW corner way below normal for trophy quality. I mean way below.

Yes there will be a few big one taken but few and far in-between.
It’s a sad situation.
 

jims

Very Active Member
Messages
2,382
It's already well known that the CWD scare in Colo is nothing more than a hoax! The number of deer in the hottest CWD spots in the state are only a tiny fraction of the population and many of the deer show no sign of being sick. Only a fraction of the fraction of total deer are mature bucks so that in itself is a total farce! The few deer that are truly sick from CWD naturally get thinned from the deer herd by predators! I'm totally shocked the CPW is using this as an excuse to issue and sell more tags! It's going to take years and years for the mule deer to recover...if they ever recover from this..... just because the CPW want to sell more tags!
 

AZGuy

Active Member
Messages
272
It's already well known that the CWD scare in Colo is nothing more than a hoax! The number of deer in the hottest CWD spots in the state are only a tiny fraction of the population and many of the deer show no sign of being sick. Only a fraction of the fraction of total deer are mature bucks so that in itself is a total farce! The few deer that are truly sick from CWD naturally get thinned from the deer herd by predators! I'm totally shocked the CPW is using this as an excuse to issue and sell more tags! It's going to take years and years for the mule deer to recover...if they ever recover from this..... just because the CPW want to sell more tags!
They are hedging their bets and it’s scary, too many tags, to late of seasons and a few bad winters and it’ll be pathetic. This past year was the last of the good Ol’ days. Sad
 

elks96

Very Active Member
Messages
2,350
They are hedging their bets and it’s scary, too many tags, to late of seasons and a few bad winters and it’ll be pathetic. This past year was the last of the good Ol’ days. Sad
Sadly it is literally their goal to kill all the bucks!
 

TX_Diver

Active Member
Messages
245
Y'all paint a pretty gloomy picture...

For some context the best deer I've taken to date is probably 120-130 so I'm not planning on eating my tag if I find a mature buck that strikes my fancy but he "only" scores 150... I'm not set on a 180" deer or any particular score.

What I am trying to avoid is not seeing any deer. I enjoy actually seeing animals when I hunt. The worst hunts I've ever been on were "successful" by the definition that I took animals (one of them being the aforementioned mule deer), but they were miserable in that on both I shot the only animal I saw all week.

The unit I was looking at has pretty high success for both 3rd and 4th seasons which indicated to me that I had good odds of at least finding and hunting deer over the course of the hunt. PM me and I'll share the unit but don't like posting specific units on forums typically.

Last year it took 5 points to draw the 4th season and there was a ~70% chance you could draw with 4 points. Nothing's guaranteed and this year I'd expect odds to decrease for both but I think I'd still have a chance at drawing the 4th season. 3rd season is typically a 1 point draw so that seems pretty safe.

Really just trying to make sure that 4th season isn't "too late" if that's even a thing?
 

ORIONTHEHUNTER

Active Member
Messages
824
If it were me I would take third season. Season is a little longer and I think you will see rut activity. Look at last fall third season was a lot better in most areas it was colder and there was snow. Fourth warmed up and the bucks weren't moving as much. I've killed a lot of good bucks third season so that is the way I lean, it come down to personal choice and sometimes a gut feeling
 

Founder

Founder Since 1999
Messages
10,241
The hunt quality of the 4th in most units is better because you’re not dealing with elk hunters everywhere. You can be hunting in the heart of the rut, but if there are people running around everywhere, those older bucks will not be standing out in the sun mid day being stupid.
Depending on the units you’re considering, maybe there’s not much, or any, elk hunting activity. I don’t know.
But the extra days of the 3rd can be nice.
It doesn’t sound like you’re overly picky and expecting all too much, so I’d probably say go with the hunt with the least number of hunters afield.
Tough decision. Lots are making the tough decision this year. Maybe some 4th season will be easier to draw than a 3rd..??
 

tailchasers

Long Time Member
Messages
3,784
I here those midwestern whitetail hunts are a blast. As a matter of fact I know they are. Grew up in Iowa and know first hand the whitetail quality vs muley quality is way better comparatively. Sucks because muleys are one of the top reasons we moved to Rangely. Friggen dumbbells at CPW and the state of Colorado...
 
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