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Opening Morning of Colorado 1st Rifle Elk and Idiots on ATV's

So it’s opening morning of 1st rifle elk season here in Colorado. I have a cow tag in my pocket and some good leads on a small herd of resident cows and calves that run in this particular spot all year long. It’s a relatively small area so I decided I'd walk in the last 1/2 mile rather than drive. I drive in under the cover of darkness, park well away from where I want to hunt, get my gear on, grab my gun and quietly walk into the area so I won’t spook any elk that may be in there. I still hunt for about a 1/2 mile all the way up a dirt road that is surrounded by thick pine trees, aspens and steep canyon walls. It’s still dark so I move very slowly watching, listening and smelling. Just as it begins to get light I can see a small meadow opening up ahead of me. I pause for a few minutes to make sure no elk are around. Suddenly back in the trees on the opposite side of the clearing cow elk start calling. I quickly drop my pack and begin to quietly sneak closer. I get to the edge of the tree line where the meadow opens up. I check the wind direction, back myself up against a small pine tree next to the road, flip down the bipod legs and get ready. I can see some movement and hear leaves rustling and twigs breaking back in the Aspens as the elk begin to move towards the meadow. I can't fully see the elk back in the thick aspens so I realize I'll have to let them walk out into the open. I take out the range finder and take a few readings. I anticipate the elk will be within 75-100 yards where I think they’ll come out of the trees. I can’t believe what is happening… I might actually tag out before 7:00 AM on opening morning. The elk stop calling but I can still hear them making noise back in the trees. Suddenly, from off in the distance I hear a sound. It sounds like an engine of some kind. An airplane? I listen for a moment. No, not a plane. A truck? Not a truck. It’s getting louder now. I realize that it’s coming down the same road I had just walked in on. As it gets closer I can tell what it is… it’s a GD ATV! I hear another one coming. Two idiots on ATV’s are going to blow my hunt! I turn my attention back to the elk. They haven’t stepped out into the meadow yet. As the ATV’s approach I hear the elk crashing through the trees running in the opposite direction. The first guy comes around the corner and sees me sitting there next to the road. He hits the brakes, which lets out a shrill squeaking sound that echoes off the canyon walls. He rides up to me, stops, shuts off the motor and says… “Mornin’, seen anything yet”? It was all I could do to maintain my composure… 

exbiologist's picture
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oh man.....

What a pisser Bob, so sorry to hear abou that.  

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That sucks !!!!

Colorado public land hunting at its finest ! Sorry to hear about the bad experince, but did you end up taking a cow later ?

Quinton

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I wish there was an open

I wish there was an open season on ATV hunters. I would have had me a nice double. To answer your question... no. I moved as far away from the roads as possible to where the ATV's couldn't go. Those jerk offs kept driving up and down that same road all day long. I'm sure they bumped any elk that were within a mile or so of us. I hunted a wilderness area on Sunday with no luck. Oh well, there's always next year. Funny, I keep saying that every year.

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Sorry to hear that Bob.  I

Sorry to hear that Bob.  I don't know what it is with some people.  The ATV issue is bad enough, but I was taliking with some guys the other days about how you can be sitting in your stand, and have someone walk into your set-up.  Once they become aware, the logical thing would be to slowly back out.  Inevitably though, you'll have the idiots that decide to walkright up to you, and as you said, ask nice and loud if you've seen anything yet. lol

Glad to see you kept your composure though.  Don't want to run into any altercations out there.  I hope you still have time to get out again during this first rifle season and get your elk.  Hopefully you can get back on them, and the ATV's will avoid you this time.

Good luck!

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Just for the defense of the

Just for the defense of the ATV riders, were they on a open or a closed road?  Granted it didn't work for you since you were set up just off of the road when they came by but what would of happened if it would of been a truck or a jeep and not a ATV would you be just as upset?  I would bet it would of been the same thing.  I have had set ups on deer and elk fowled up by trucks, ATV's, jeeps, horses, cattle and a lot of other animals and things.  That is called hunting on public ground.  Now if you were on a closed road or trail and they came up to you I think then you would have a problem with it but not as long as you are on a open public road. 

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Inexcusable

Critter wrote:

Just for the defense of the ATV riders, were they on a open or a closed road?  Granted it didn't work for you since you were set up just off of the road when they came by but what would of happened if it would of been a truck or a jeep and not a ATV would you be just as upset?  I would bet it would of been the same thing.  I have had set ups on deer and elk fowled up by trucks, ATV's, jeeps, horses, cattle and a lot of other animals and things.  That is called hunting on public ground.  Now if you were on a closed road or trail and they came up to you I think then you would have a problem with it but not as long as you are on a open public road. 

 

I agree with you... to a point. This was an area well off the main county dirt road. This jeep trail was about a short 2 mile loop. You started and finished the loop in the same place. I parked my truck right where the loop splits. My plan was to hunt the entire loop and possibly areas inside of it. I could have very easily driven my truck in there too. But "Common Sense" dictated that I do otherwise. After talking to the ATV hunters they knew it was a closed loop too. They had researched it with their maps.  So it wasn't like they were going from Point A to Point B. They actually didn't realize they were screwing it up for themselves and others. These were young guys... mid 20's. So it wasn't like they weren't physically able to walk the loop. I'm more than twice their age and was out hunting on foot. In this particular case it was totally unexcusable.  

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In all reality the ATV riders

In all reality the ATV riders did nothing wrong except to infringe on where you were hunting.  I doesn't matter weather it was a short loop or even a dead end road.  The road was open to vehicle traffic.  As I said, how would of you felt it it was somebody in a truck that came bouncing up the road making all kinds of noise that spooked the elk?  I doubt that we would of seen a thread here titled "Opening Morning of Colorado 1st Rifle elk and Idiots in Trucks." 

Now don't get me wrong if I am riding my ATV and know that there is somebody sitting on the side of the road watching some deer or elk hoping for a chance to shoot one I'll go the other direction but as long as the road was open they had just as much right to be where they were as you did. 

I have been in kind of the same situation.  I have hiked for what I thought was far enough that there wouldn't be another hunter or vehicle within miles of me.  Only to find out that I hiked right up to a road that I did not know was there.  I even packed a elk out on my back for a couple of miles only to find that said road only a couple hundred yards away from where I shot the elk.  I have also hiked into areas and thought that I was alone until a voice from above tells me that I am sitting right below another hunter. 

This stuff happens and to blame the ATV riders for riding down a open road is stupid weather you agree with their way of hunting or not.     

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Cripes!

That really sucks!  I had a vehicle bust some elk on my hunt last week as well.  Fortunately, they didn't spook too badly and slowed down just a few hundred yards later.  Didn't end up spoiling the hunt too much, just delayed it a bit.

The part that always seems unfair is it's the guy who gets up early, gets out and hunts that ultimately takes it in the shorts.  Just once I'd like to see an ATV stop, rider get off and get his weapon ready and have a hunter pop out of the bushes and bust his opportunity.  Probably won't ever happen, but I'd still like to see it.

Not that I want to defend ATV use for hunting, but Critter does have a point.  If the road is open then I suppose that's the way it goes for a public land hunter.  Doesn't make it suck any less IMO.

It could have been worse too.  Hunter25 had a bull moving into range when another hunter shot it right out from under them.  Not sure the composure would stay intact for myself if the ATV's had pulled up, cracked off a couple of shots and taken an elk right there with me watching.  I'm pretty sure I'd have exploded.:yes:

Get back out there if you can before the season closes.  Good luck and good hunting!

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It really sucks, but I

It really sucks, but I learned a long time ago to not hunt within a mile of a dirt road. Two miles is even better.

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Critter

All valid points. I would normally agree with you that I was asking for trouble hunting on public dirt roads where you can run into ATV's. However, there is one little caveat in all this which I failed to include. The source I got my information from also told these ATV hunters about this spot. This "Source of Information" is a long time resident (24+ years) and former guide/outfitter in the area. For the most part he can help you narrow down possible places elk will be at any given time in the area. Later that night when I got back to the cabins I asked this "source of information" if he had told the ATV hunters about this spot too. When he said he had, he asked me why I asked. When I told him they rode their ATV's around all day long in there he just shook his head, apologized to me and called them "fools". This spot is off the main drag and not too many people go in there.  The "No Trespassing" signs stop most people. Not everyone knows there is a public access easement right there.  You have to drive through about 200 yards of unfenced private land to get to this spot.  He informed us to NOT go driving in there or the elk could get spooked. . I walked in... they disregarded all recommendations and rode in. They weren't doing anything illegal when they rode in there. They were just being really stupid and inconsiderate.

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