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Location: Denver
Joined: 10/12/2007
Posts: 45
big game hunting and ATV use

Perhaps this has been discussed in one forum or another but I need to bring it up again. This past hunting season, 3rd season specifically, a group of us were hunting near the Flat Tops Wilderness in Colorado. On NUMEROUS occasions we were nearly run off trails and/or FS roads by "hunters" on ATVs. In fact, we were in some fairly remote canyons with no official FS roads and yup, here come some guys on their ATVs. To put it mildly, I was not very happy.

Some thoughts:
1) have a specific deer/elk season where ATV use is approved and banned in all the remaining seasons
2) have specific GMUs where ATVs can be utilized
3) have an additional fee assessed on ATV users to help repair/maintain forests and the trail systems
4) have a specific license fee for bringing your ATV into Colorado to hunt

I know it would be difficult to enforce some of these but at least it may deter some "hunters" from using ATVs.

One question, have the success rates for deer/elk hunting improved since the explosion of ATV use in big game hunting? I bet not! However, the pockets of the ATV manufacturers have become very fat!!

RUFFNECK's picture
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Location: PUEBLO, CO
Joined: 11/24/2007
Posts: 143
big game hunting and ATV use

I agree that something needs to be done as for what im not sure yet.
where they in the wilderness area? and how did they affect your hunt did you get anything?

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Location: Denver
Joined: 10/12/2007
Posts: 45
big game hunting and ATV use

we hunted west of the actual Flat Tops area. We had opportunities to take deer but passed. We mainly were hunting elk and only saw 3 cows feeding on a hillside one evening. Even when we received over a foot of snow we did not see additional animals.

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Location: Denver
Joined: 10/12/2007
Posts: 45
big game hunting and ATV use

I just received this from DOW. Note the discussion to be led by Steve Yamashita.

NORTHEAST REGION’S SPORTSMAN’S ADVISORY GROUP TO MEET DECEMBER 3
DENVER – Want to know more about wildlife where you live? Wondering about the latest news on elk management in Rocky Mountain National Park or the spread of zebra mussels? Then plan to come to the next meeting of the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s Sportsman’s Advisory Group (SAG) on Dec. 3.

The Sportsman's Advisory Group is a gathering of concerned outdoor recreationists and Colorado Division of Wildlife representatives. For the past four years, these meetings have offered a unique opportunity to meet with representatives from the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW), get the latest wildlife news in your region, and speak face to face with the folks who can work with you on matters involving Colorado's wildlife.

If you live in the Denver-Boulder area, you should plan to join the Northeast Region SAG at 6:00 PM, Wednesday, December 3 in the Bighorn Room at the DOW headquarters (6060 Broadway, Denver).

This month's SAG will focus on the following topics, as well as those brought by our constituents:

· NE region SWA reservation system revamp - Kathi Green, Assistant Regional Manager
· Rocky Mountain National Park elk culling update - Steve Yamashita, Northeast Regional Manager
· Big game season structure update - Janet George, Senior Terrestrial Biologist or Mary Lloyd
· Aquatic management update - Ken Kehmeier, Senior Aquatic Biologist
· DOW officer OHV enforcement update - Steve Yamashita, Northeast Regional Manager
Questions about the meeting? Please call Jennifer Churchill, Public Information Officer, at 303-291-7234.

Bull Buster's picture
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Location: Nebraska
Joined: 10/12/2007
Posts: 167
big game hunting and ATV use

dwormer, this has been discussed in the past and not to offend you or anyone else but atv users are already are subject on your list 2 through 4. Atv users can not hunt wilderness areas and they are charged fees (25 bucks) to have their atv licenced and to allow access to specified trails in the nationla forest.
If the hunters are running off of marked trails turn them in. It is your resposiblilty.

I have hunted elk for 18 yrs in Colorado the first 6 were in a wilderness area that was only accessable by horse back or walking. Although the hunting pressure was less and the hunting was fair I have spent the last 12 years hunting off an atv. With horses come chores and when you left camp you were married to the direction you left for the day.

This is my opinion that I have formed over the last 12 yrs. Elk and deer become aclimated to their sorroundings. If they're are atvs in the area they live in they get used to them. I hunt with a group of 9 guys and we all take an atv this past year I have elk , deer and bear walk right out in the trail as I was driving to and from my hunting spots. I will agree with you on guys just driving around road hunting with the way the laws are with the gun being unloaded and cased it is next to impossible to get a shot anyway.

I have a bad knee which limits me to where I can go and how I can hunt but, I still love to go to the mountains and hunt elk. Without the use of an atv I would not be able to enjoy hunting the mountains as you do.

Like I said my opinion is the animals get used to what their surroundings are and I beleive that when things are going wrong for a hunter and they are not finding game something gets the blame. It could be the weather, to many hunters, cattle, or in some cases atvs. In the last 12 years my hunting party has had about an 80% success rate on elk on public land. I lost track of how many bulls over 300 inches the group has shot the biggest came in 2005 with a 368 7/8. In 2007 we shot 3 bulls that were 300, 331, and a 345 not to menting another 5x5 two 4x4's and two cows for 9 guys. This year same 9 guys shot 4 bulls 2 cows a 180 inch mule deer and a 500 lb black bear. This year there were some local kids that for the first 2 days of season rode their motor cylcles all up and down the mountian. I counted 8 of them one time. I was like everyone else the reason I wasn't seeing any elk was because these kids were tearing up the moutain with their motor cross bikes. Sunday afternoon I was sitting at my honey whole and I could hear them coming up the mountain. Just then I look up and hear comes this 310 class bull. My firts thought was they were going to screw this up. To my supprise the bull gets right to the place where I have seen a dozen elk killed and the bull stops looks up the hill as the bikes roar (15 yrds from the elk)
by and the bull is still standing in the same spot. One shot at 200 yrds and I filled my tag.

Sorry to ramble on but, take it from me those elk hear atvs all summer long and I'll bet this year there were 30 different atv hunters in the area I hunt and I didn't seam to see any less game. If nothing else I may have seen more game. I'm sure some were the same but, I counted 27 bears from Sat. to Thur. 7 different ones in one morning. Just my .02 and another opinion. Thanks Brad

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Location: Denver
Joined: 10/12/2007
Posts: 45
big game hunting and ATV use

No offense taken. I just think that one should hunt via conventional ways, i.e. horse or walk to access an area. Granted, I do drive to my camp spots but from that point I walk. I think you do have a valid point that the animals get somewhat used to the activity of ATVs but I would still like to see WAY more regulation on ATV use in ANY national forest/wilderness area. Thanks also for the information on the rules you quote. I did not know that data.

Lastly, GO BUFFS!!!

Bull Buster's picture
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Location: Nebraska
Joined: 10/12/2007
Posts: 167
big game hunting and ATV use

oohhh you had to play that buffs card didn't you???? lol all I can say is we're in Licoln this year and we don't allow lazers neener! Just kidding

Offline
Location: Denver
Joined: 10/12/2007
Posts: 45
big game hunting and ATV use

Laser, we don't need no stinkin lasers! All we need is a 5th down! Yes

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Joined: 01/22/2007
Posts: 120
big game hunting and ATV use

I own an ATV and I used it a LOT this past weekend on a Rocky Mountain Sheep hunt. I also own horses and I use them for all my Deer and Elk hunting. I enjoy both.

What I don't enjoy is when I go to the trouble of packing into a remote spot and having an ATV come tooling through an area closed to wheeled vehicles. When confronted the driver claims he has the right to retrieve game. 1st of all, If an area is closed to ATVs, IT"S CLOSED TO ATVs. retrieving game is not a valid excuse. I don't know why ATV riders think this is a valid arguemement.

I have on several occassions called the Forest Service. Once they came out and waited for the ATV's riders to descend back to the road and ticketed them. Most of the time the Forest Service is too business to come. In our case the boundry is 1 mile in from the trail head. That means the Forest Service employee has to hike in 1 mile and wait for the ATV's. ( Which might not even come out the same way they went in). It's too low of odds that they will catch them to get much attention.

And then comes the confrontational part. I want to hunt. I don't want to stop somebody and argue with them to show me their driver license so I can turn them in. and then I have to show up in court to offer testiomny that I saw them on FS ground. Then I have to leave my truck and trailer at the trail head each year while I go hunt for a week. And hope that when I return to my truck, it's in one piece.

I have no problem with ATV's, I just wish the owners would adhere to the rules. Lucky for me the area I hunt had a bad flash flood this past August. The old loggin road that had been in the canyon since 1940, was washed out. The road has been closed to wheeled vehicles since 1983. But ATV's always snuck in. But they are done now. There is no way they can get an ATV up that canyon. I can barely get my horses up the canyon now.

So on the other side of the coin. With limited access, I find animals less spooked. More of the elk push into this area as the hunt progresses and they are pushed off the areas closer to roads. But with fewer people, there is less chance of the animals getting up and moving. Threre is nobody else to push them, but me. With such a large area, it is impossible for me to get the animals out of their beds. They see the cattle rancher pushing his cows across this area during the grazing season and become comfortable with horses and riders passing by. So unless you are right on top of them, they don't move off.

So you have to change your hunting style. There is no go sit on the saddle and wait for the herd to run by. You need to spot and stalk if you want to be successful.

I don't think you can make people happy with one season for ATV's and one for Non-ATV's. There will be areas, ( and the FS is restricting more all the time) that will be closed to ATV's no matter when. The Forest Service or BLM controls where ATV's can tread. The state department of wildlife sets the seasons. That's asking a lot to get two seperate agencies to coordinate together. They each have their own agenda. I think there has to be more of a penalty for those that get caught. Right now most ATV's riders know they probably won't get caught and if they do, It's a $100. Heck a lot of hunters pay more than that for tresspass fees. They need to loose their ATV's and they need to pay healthy fines to repair the forest. It's pretty hard for nature to reclaim an old road, when people ride atvs down it ever summer.

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Location: Denver
Joined: 10/12/2007
Posts: 45
big game hunting and ATV use

Painted Horse,

I like your comments and agree completely.

SoCoKHntr's picture
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Location: Pueblo Colorado
Joined: 12/18/2006
Posts: 1772
big game hunting and ATV use
dwomer wrote:
Painted Horse,

I like your comments and agree completely.

I agree as well. The damage to habit when some don't adhere to authorized trails and roads bums me out. We lose habitat every year due to population increases and homes being built everywhere, no need to scar the land more then already is happening.

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