Pack Out the Trash!

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This might not be a tip as to how to bag an elk or how to use a call better but it is one that sure can help save our hunting grounds and hunting heritage.  It is a simple rule, MAKE SURE WE CLEAN UP AFTER OURSELVES!  Leave as little of an impact on the land as possible and keep the land as pristine as possible and as nature intended it to be.

I am sure many of you have pulled into your favorite spots and saw where someone left a pile of trash or tore up the area with 4 wheelers. Maybe it was not a hunter at all, but that does not matter because if we do not help solve the problem by cleaning/stopping it, we are part of the problem. It sickens me anytime I pull into hunting camp and see old plastic sheets tossed into the woods or a pile of ½ burnt can in a fire ring or just bags of trash left or tossed into the woods. I cannot tell you how many bags of someone else’s trash I have packed out, but by god when I left the area it was clean!

I know of two public shooting areas in Colorado that have been closed due in part to the disgusting amount of trash left behind. Since when is a TV, end table or a couch a target? Again I am sure many of the folks that made and left the mess where not hunters at all however, what is the first thing that comes to mind when someone talks about a range or shooting?  That’s right hunters or hunting. This past July, a small Colorado town newspaper ran an article about all the trash being dumped at the toilets and not being packed out. The sad part is these folks dumped the trash right under the sign that read "No trash service; pack your own trash out". The area is a State Wildlife Area and is pretty good for fishing, deer, antelope, duck and dove hunting. I can only hope this practice stops or the possibility exists that areas like this could be closed.

I admit I am a little anal about this topic and it is one of my pet peeves. That being said, I make sure any camping, hunting or fishing spot I go to is left in better condition and cleaner than when I arrived. I have instilled this in my kids and grand kids as well. I have no problem talking to the wardens or law dogs if I see an issue. I have even talk with the folks but I do it as a friend not as an authority figure and never in a way that threaten them. I want this to be a positive experience not a negative situation for sure. I never had a negative outcome and most of the time the folks understand why I said something.

No we are not the trash police but I feel it is our duty to do all we can to support the laws and maintain the highest standards as a member of the hunting community. I would bet my pay check that the vast majority of true hunters feel this way so if you are doing your part, Thank You Very Much!

The attached photo is not mine but you get the idea!


COMeatHunter's picture

For hunters, image is important

As hunters we need to be an example of good stewardship of the public lands.  It demonstrates respect for the wildlife as well as respect for other recreational users.  Just like SGM, I have hauled many bags of trash out of our favorite shooting, camping, and hunting areas.  I've even found crap several miles into the backcountry.  

Don't give the anit-hunting crowd something more to complain about.  Pick up all the trash when you visit the outdoors, whether yours or not.  You might be surprised who will thank you someday.

Thanks for the timely reminder SGM.  This is a subject everyone can use a good reminder for.


numbnutz's picture

I couldnt agree more, this is

I couldnt agree more, this is a great tip and message. I cant tell you how many times i have gone up to the hills and find trash all over the place, Not all is coming from hunters but in general we are the ones who look bad. We have a few shooting spots here too that have been closed down due to people leaving shells all over the place and bringing old TV's up to shoot and just leave them there. Also people hanging there targets on trees and shooting the trees to heck which is illegal. When i would go shooting i would bring a few trash bags with me and pick up what i could find. If everyone did that there wouldnt be anymore trash. or better yet if everyone just picked up after themselfs it wouldnt be an issue. I have seen everything from TV's to sofas left in the woods and even old burned up cars. In one county out here there are signs posted that there are closed circuit video cameras around taping people. I dont know if there really are as its the middle of the woods but if it makes people think twice about littering than good for them. Again great tip and reminder, Thanks for sharing.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

One of the best tips I have

One of the best tips I have ever seen on this board!!!  I always make it a point, if I see someone's trash laying around, to try and pick it up if feasible.  Nothing bugs me more than seeing soda/beer cans laying around, or food wrappers.  Ugh.

The other thing is opening day of dove season out here.  I can't tell you the times I have driven along the roads where people were sitting just a little bit prior, and found piles of expended shotgun shells.  Man, how can we talk about being stewards of nature, if we can't even pick up after ourselves.  That's what loses us access to alot of hunting land, when people can't even have the common decency to clean up!

thanks for the great tip SGM!!!!

deerhunter30's picture

I agree 100%!

I agree 100%. When I take my kids out fishing or even just walking down the street, I always let them know about how we need to help keep nature cleaned up. But my kids will always say well look at all the trash that other people leave behind, and that is when I tell them that there is no reason for trash being left where ever it is dropped. It only takes one person to start it and other will eventually follow. So if you see a pile of trash sitting somewhere, stop and pick it up and when other people see you doing that they may think twice about it the next they see a pile of trash or before they leave a pile of trash.

So lets just everyone pitch in and pick up there own trash.

Retired2hunt's picture

Totally agree!


SGM - I totally agree with you here on this subject matter.  I have had more success with private landowners showing them a large garbage bag - 45 gallon size - and asking them if they allowed me on their property I would fill the bag before I left.  Being a former Venture Crew Leader I always taught my "crew" to clean up after everyone to make the area better.  I have been able to clean up much garbage and prove myself on many occasions to private landowners which provided me access to private land that nobody else dreamed of using.  Great Tips and all must used to create change!  Thanks!




GooseHunter Jr's picture

I think that is a great tip. 

I think that is a great tip.  There is nothing worse than being miles in on a trail or even no trail and come across a spot were you can see a hunter or maybe even a backpacker took a break and left wrapper and cans lying around.  You had room in your pack to bring it in so you should have had the room to get it out.  I carry a small like Wal-Mart plastic bag and try to bring some trash out with if I happen across some..which I usually always do.  Sure does make the hillside look bad when its cover with waste.

ManOfTheFall's picture

Thanks for the great tip. We

Thanks for the great tip. We definitely need to do our part here. If we don't, it will be like you said. We could slowly lose our rights and priviliges. I know of some great private property I would love to hunt and have asked the owners on several occasions. They always say some hunter left trash on my land and they won't allow any more hunting. Who knows if it was really the hunter or not. But, if it wasn't and the hunter seen it and didn't pack it out, he is nearly just as responsible. Thanks for sharing the tip. Let's do our part.