Jerks, that is.
I took my son up the Haul Road today to set up my bear stands. Mind you, this is the road up to Prudhoe Bay, and my stands are 25 miles apart south of the Yukon River -- well beyond civilization. The drive up and back today was 250 miles round trip.
When we go to my southernmost stand, I noticed ATV tracks on the trail leading into it. I started to worry that someone had jumped my stand and put their barrrel on it -- which wouldn't make me happy given all the effort a buddy and I put into building the thing last year -- or the fact that I got a bear off that stand. As we went in, it was obvious that someone had been there, because they'd cut down 2-3 small trees along the narrowest part of the trail -- I couldn't get my machine in there before, but I could today.
Then I found what was left of my stand. No, it hadn't been jumped. It had been destroyed. Not only did the guy pull the stand out of the trees, but he completely took it apart and sawed all the lumber in half so it couldn't be used again. The ATV tracks and sawdust looked to be just a few hours old.
I have my suspicions on who did it. The guy I set the stands up with last year knows a lot of people who hunt that area, and was worried about a couple guys that seem to think they own the place. We figured this location would be OK, because it was something like two miles on the other side of a ridge from the closest one the other guys have (they have several).
So there I am, surrounded by millions of acres of public wilderness a hundred miles from civilization in the middle of Alaska, looking at a bear stand destroyed because a couple yahoos think they should have exclusive rights to interior Alaska. I suppose I could rebuild it, but I can't sit on it 24/7. Somebody that's willing to do that would surely do it again and steal a bait barrel and trail camera as well if he had the chance. About the only way I could nail them would be to haul more lumber into the bush to rebuild it, put on the camo, and sit in the woods watching the stand with a camera until they came back to tear it down again. I'd rather be hunting bears.
How disappointing. These are the kind of people that give hunters a bad name.