Gbro, units I hunted this year not lot of archery hunters we had more muzzle loaders seems like plus we had grouse season had lot of them with dogs plus we also had bear season.
What happen lot is someone doesn't draw a tag then they wait till the leftover list comes out. the unit I drew cow elk had pretty close to 250 leftover tags
local buy one of those hoping to fill freezer.
I think what changed here is having private land tags we never had those for years the rancher sell rights to hunt his ranch. unit 34,35,44 and 45 have cow hunt on private land that runs from Aug15 til Jan 15. On regular season most of the private land tags are either sex elk.
In the high country we have elk being hunted depending on unit with a rifle starting Aug 15 week before archery open.