OUT OF MOST OF THE COLORADO UNITS I HAVE HUNTED SINCE 1975, 53 SEEMS TO BE ONE OF THE MOST WEATHER DEPENDENT UNITS FOR DEER. I STILL CANT FIGURE WHY THE ELK POPULATION SEEMS TO STAY DOWN EITHER, I SAW NO ELK. THE UNIT HAS A OVER ABUNDANCE OF ROCK/ ROCK SLIDES/ BOULDERS IN IT. THE ROCK WAS HARD TO GET AROUND IN/ AND AVOID. YD.
I hunted 53 second last year and saw 7 different bulls, only one was a spike. I didn't buy an elk tag, usually my luck. They were high and miles from the roads. The deer were also very high I guess because of the warm weather. If you put in the leg time you should find a good buck, saw several last year. Good luck and start climbing.
I really didn't see that many hunters. There were elk hunters on the road but out hunting (not near roads) I only ran into two locals. It is rough and steep, so there aren't many people where I go. But I have heard that on the flats there are a lot of people, I just haven't hunted there.
Lots of bucks down low in 05. I was able to find a 195" buck.(205 gross) My first BC animal. There was no snow or weather and they were low in the 3rd season. But plenty of small 4x4's. Just get off of your quad or out of your truck and into the oak brush if you don't want to hike "way up high".