Have had happenings similar to the OP while elk hunting before too, but some times stories tend to need a lot of room to really tell the whole thing correctly. I think the OP made a great example of some types of things that can and do happen, so I won't go off again about anymore of mine. I was watching just last night where someone was turkey hunting on some private property only to have a poacher drive right through (caught on camera) and scared the gobbler away. They devoted a minute or two to talking about trespassing on private property and poaching and how it can ruin someones elses hunt and how trespassing and poaching is illegal and how it's not right to begin with. I forget the name of that hunting show.
I saw the same show last night. Guy in older truck just drove through without a care or concern. It was a father and son who were hunting turkey, but I don't remember the name of the show. Not one I normally watch....just killing time with noise in the background. They did sum up the negative impact of poaching.
One of the most important components of deciphering a new hunting area is distinguishing between the summer and winter ranges for the game that you plan to pursue. Without knowing this you cannot make reliable assumptions about where the game will be come opening day. Knowing these areas will allow you to take the current weather (as well as the past couple weeks) and apply that to the landscape and make an educated guess as to where you might find that big buck or bull.
There are a couple ways...