Sorry to hear about your hunt! It must have sucked having that happen, I am kinda lucky because that hasn't happened to me yet. I am the only one who has messed up on my own hunt by getting the fever and missing oppertunitys that would be sure kills for you guys. I am still learning and getting better each year, I guess being young mistakes can happen. I do have an atv but I can say I am not like alot of the hunters that have them, I use my atv to get me around on tough rugged roads where a truck would have a hard time getting into. And once I found a good area that would look promising I would park it and hike in from there. Thats the only thing I see a atv good for is getting you to point a to point b. Instead of driving up and down the roads where you will keep pushing the elk deeper and deeper.
I feel your pain. I hunt on foot and access my area on a narrow foot/horse trail that due to recent snow was very muddy. Got in opening morning and got into elk but couldnt get a good shot due to heavy cover so pulled out to avoid undue pressure with the idea that I would hit the area again the next morning. I showed up the next morning to find someone had driven an ATV straight up the trail and chewed up the entire area, obviously road hunting. The trail comes off a perfectly good, LEGAL, ATV trail. It always amazes me how lazy and unethical people can be. There are so few areas on the Grand Mesa anymore where foot hunters can have an chance at a good hunt so it really irks me to see this kind of @#$!@#$. I am sorry your hunt got ruined and hope the rest ended up going well.
Sorry to hear it messed up your hunt but that is the reason I get off the roads. I use ATVs but we stay on main roads, park them and walk into the areas we want to hunt. Since they did not break any laws and there is not a law for being a moron it is hard to say anything to them. What sucks as they where told not to drive in the area as it would spoke the elk. There was a post a month or more ago about ATVs spoking elk. Here is another post proving the point and this was off an established road. Just think how bad it spokes them when some fool drives down into a meadow or some other area off the main road system.
ATV's don't always spook elk. Durring Bow Season I busted a 6 by 6 elk bedded down right next to a ATV trail. Two four wheelers passed by him and he never even got up. Maybe it's because he was use to four wheelers being there and in your case the elk were not use to the sound. I feel for you in the fact that you did the leg work and set up properly to only have a couple of lazy guys ruin it for you. However as everyone has said they didn't break the law or do anything illegal. So its hard to fault them. In the future I would suggest you hunt into the woods away from the road and not just off of it. I know most guys like to get their animal out whole and not have to pack it out. You'll have better success if areas that have less pressure. Off the roads and packing out an animal is less pressure usually. Good luck in the future.
Thats a bummer the ATV riders busted your hunt. But they didn't break any laws the only thing their guilty of is being dumd and inconsiderate. I have had the same thing happen to me with someone else who walked in. In my situation it was on an old burmed off logging road that runs back about 3 miles. I parked my truck at the burm and hiked in and got all set up. Some deer were coming down the trail 90 yards from me and closing. All of a sudden they stopped turned and ran off. About a minute later some jackass came walking down the trail from the direction of the burm. I chewed his ass out for being an idiot. To me there is a certain amount of edicate a hunter must fallow and regardless of public or private land when you see a rig parked at certain road or area you DO NOT go into the same area. It's not illegal but just rude and unethical. I have on several times gotting to the area I wanted to hunt and found another vehicle and left and found another place to hunt Because I don't want to be the a$$ who ruins a hunt for someone else.
Unfortunately that is the same I ran into as well within my unit. Maybe you were in the same area! ATV novice or experienced hunters - AND a fool on his smaller 4X4 truck driving full throttle up and down the trails looking to catch a heard of cows and be able to pull off and get a shot. FOOLS! Definitely made me work harder to get farther away... when it wasn't really necessary.
I would not have maintained my composure. I would have vehemently explainded that their assininess scared away the herd you were about to harvest a cow from within the first 30 to 45 minutes of legal hunt time. Maybe a good toungue whipping may have corrected the issue for future hunters.
Sorry to hear of your misfortune. All ATV users are not like that. Once I do own one I will not do the same - guaranteed!
When hunting whitetails there are many different languages being spoken afield that I key on when outdoors. All these little creatures living around whitetails have something to tell us if we are willing to listen.
My favorite tattletales of the outdoors are a handful of little birds that live in my state of Ohio. Maybe yours too. A tip for the upcoming season.
There are Blue Jays, Cardinals, Chickadees, Killdeer, and Sparrows that all have language...