3 replies [Last post]
SFC B's picture
Joined: 09/20/2012
Posts: 93
Got a case of the ass about private land outfitters/ranches.....

Went on my first elk hunt this last week and had a great time. Was part of a great camp in a beautiful wilderness area. Between my camp mate John and I we got two bulls and a cow (see the other story I posted. I got a nice little 5x5 on my first hunt This post is about something that happened to a camp the next drainage over. We were both hunting public land designated as wilderness. The area has a single track jeep access road with campsites just off of it and we were both hiking into hunting areas and subsequently packing out animals on our backs. The ranchers in the area are allow to graze their cattle all throughout the area but thankfully they were down from the higher country down to their private land.
The issue is this, on top of the ranchers using public land to graze their herds they also run hunting operations on their private land and some venture onto the public as well. While hunting on the second day of the season the other camp was spread through a higher stand of aspens (at +- 9500 ft) when they were suddenly over-run by several elk moving at a high rate of speed follow by 6 men on horses. Realizing what was going on one of the hunters stepped in front of one of the horses bringing it to a halt. He questioned the rider about what the hell he was doing and was told it was none of his business. To that he replied that he knew they were from the ranch below us and that if they tried that crap again they would be walking home because their horses "might be mistaken for elk and shot".
How chicken shit is that? "Herding" elk off of OUR public land onto private land so that you can basically sell them to hunters paying to sit their asses on your ranch. The hunters called DOW but I don't know what will become of it. If it was me there might have been an "accident" to some sort of that ranches holdings. Sorry to vent but the fact that these jokers are not only doing this crap but making a large part of their income off of our public land REALLY pisses me off. SFC B

buffybr's picture
Location: Montana, USA
Joined: 11/15/2007
Posts: 358

Congrats on your first elk.

Years ago it was fairly easy to get permission to hunt many of the ranches in the Western States, or to cross those ranches to the public land behind them. Unfortunately with the high $$ value that has been put on our big game animals, many of those ranches have either been leased to outfitters or the ranchers have become outfitters themselves.

Don't get me wrong, there is a need for outfitters and there are many good outfitters out there, but there are also quite a few that are only after a quick buck ($$). It is not uncommon for these questionable outfitters to treat public lands as their own and for them to harass public hunters.

I believe that the Fish and Game departments of most western states license and regulate outfitters, and ANY commercial use on Federal lands (Forest Service, BLM) is permitted and regulated by those agencies. ANY and ALL hunting infractions observed by outfitters on public lands should be reported to those regulating agencies.

opssup's picture
Location: Texas
Joined: 03/14/2012
Posts: 71
Yes, I also agree its wrong.

Yes, I also agree its wrong. They are allowed to hunt the public land just like we are if needed to satisfy thier clients,but driving them down is distastfull in my book. I ran into a similar situation about ten years back...also in Colorado. This also echo's the distastefull acts US outfitters was doing on the public lands in the gila mtns of new mexico...Robbing tents and trailers,hassling hunters and such...all on public land. Just wrong.

SGM's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Canon City, Colorado
Joined: 08/13/2011
Posts: 1147
Some land owners and ranches

Some land owners and ranches (most are law abiding and honest) think they own all the land around their property. It is illegal to intentionally drive animals from the public lands down into the private land. That is why you got the answer of mind your own business as they knew they were wrong in what they were doing. The problem is that it is very hard to prove your case and most are friends or have known the officials in the area for so long that a blind eye is turned. I have reported 2 incidents where I hunt only to be given a load or red tape garbage and nothing was done. The rancher pays a small fee to the BLM or NFS to graze their cattle but it gives them no more rights to the area or animals than others have. I have had two issues in the past on BLM land where the rancher who leased the land thought they could post it as private and told me I could not hunt. My reply was call the officials and when they come I will press charges on you for posting it and hunter harassment. Funny, their tune changed and never heard a word from them again. Sorry you had to deal with the issue but unfortunately it is part of hunting out west.