CO Elk Hunting and Loss of Freedom

Discussion in 'Elk Hunting' started by Derek01, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. Derek01

    Derek01 Active Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Just back from elk hunting in CO. Our tag comprised two units. One wilderness unit and a regular hunting area. The DOW and the Gunnison Forest Service have closed all access roads to only foot or horse traffic or for their administrative use only. Big fines if caught farther than 100 yards off the road. This effectively turns this unit into an undesignated wilderness area. I feel this is elitist and discriminatory. If you are by yourself, it is tough to pack out an animal or you must rent a horse or sign up with an outfitter. Many of our friends are older and cannot hike back that far into the country. And even if they could they could never get a big bull out by themselves before it spoiled or was eaten by animals. I was under the impression that this is our land and we have a right to use it responsibly. If I want to go to the wilderness area, fine. If I want to go to the regular hunting area because of health, age or a disability I am now screwed. Our group plus our many friends we have made over the years are very upset with this policy and many have said they are done with CO. They will not come back if this stands. We have urged them to write the Gov and make their feelings known. I hope this can be corrected or I too will be looking for a hunter friendly state and no longer spend my money or vacation or hunt in CO. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks
  2. Boss Hoss

    Boss Hoss Well-Known Member

    Nov 10, 2005
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2011

  3. Browninglover1

    Browninglover1 Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2011
    I hate that a few jerks ruin it for everyone. I've seen canyons completely destroyed in 2 years by idiots on their 4 wheelers, motorcycles, and trucks. It does suck to not have vehicle access on some roads but it's to protect the land from being torn to pieces by irresponsible people who think they have the right to tear up all our land. Sorry that it ruined your hunt :(
  4. kc

    kc Well-Known Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    They did the same thing in Michigan to the area I have hunted Deer on as long as I can remember, people were dumping Garbage at the foot of Old Baldy..On all sides there is one of the bigest cedar swamps covering over 5000 acres. I cant even park in the area.
    They tore the hell out of it the 4 weelers and trucks were distroying the area.
    so there is a gate now.
  5. BH107

    BH107 Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2009
    We were warned about this last year in our GMU. A ranger told us they were trying to shut down a large percentage of the roads to traffic. Later in the week we were reassured by a DOW ranger that it wouldn't happen in our unit, but that there were others that were being hit hard.

    I understand your frustration, but I also understand the frustration of those who are tired of seeing people road hunting and blazing their own trails on 4 wheelers.
  6. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

    Jun 12, 2001
    I am 63 years old and pack out my elk on my back and then give them away.

    The restriction of off road vehicles to prevent them from going into the woods is great for those of us who hunt on foot and do not wish to be run over by drunks on ATVs.

    Here are a few pictures I took of the damage ATVs did to a trout stream.

    Attached Files:

  7. streetglideok

    streetglideok Well-Known Member

    May 6, 2010
    What part of Gunnison natl forest did they do this? I know when we hunted in 55 near Gunnison, the forest roads were a hwy for 4wheelers all day. How they did any hunting is beyond me. They could of saved themselves the cost of the tags, and just rode, because thats all they did. Lot of public lands are seeing this, way too much OHV traffic, especially during hunting season. We are our worst enemy here. Its not the 4wheelers, trucks, or the hunters doing the damage, as they practice tread lightly. Its the rejects that buy the things, and believe they can do whatever they like. All we can do, is try to correct the behavior of our friends, and maybe down the road, people's mentality will improve.

    I wouldnt say the DOW has hurt your freedoms by not allowing vehicle traffic into the area. Its a priviledge to drive a vehicle, whether it be on roads, or public land, there is no right to do so. You are still allowed to go onto the land, via foot or likely horse. They are likely doing this, to control the hunting numbers in the area, and to let the area rehab from abuse. There are lots of other areas of the state still open, so there is still access by vehicle, especially for those with physical limitations. While I do wish to drive closer to an area I am hunting, I want to get away from the goons that are road hunting, and if that means limiting vehicle travel, then so be it. Everyone needs to pitch in and help fix the problem, even it if means to start reporting abuse.
  8. permaculture

    permaculture Well-Known Member

    Jul 10, 2011
    I have mixed feelings. I was GMU 12 (around the top near Sleepy Cat) outside of Meeker and the ATVs started screaming through at 3 AM opening day. Between the ATVs and the 4 wheel drive golf cart things I am surprised anyone got anything. That, along with the rednecks beside us banging a wrench on a propane tank and generators that ran all hours of the a day and night it was not a peaceful experience. Someone in our party came across a hunter who was out of ammo having shot 5 rounds at 3 elk, not knowing if he hit any of them. I could hear whole hunting parties unloading volleys at what I suspected were fast-moving targets.

    I understand ATVs are allowed outside of wilderness areas but I think ATVs can attract some bad element. (Full disclosure, we had two ATVs in our camp and I am not attacking all ATV-ers). Additionally, ATVs allow the older and disabled to access hunting areas. Having worked with those requiring assistive technology, I have a sensitivity to their needs which I did not have prior.

    I would like to move to wilderness area next year as I am blessed with good health and can hike. One of the members of the party I hunted with is 74 and needs an ATV to get around. I will unfortunately need to find a new party next year to hunt with should I decide to choose another GMU.

    (If anyone is interested in a wildness area hunt with me, please PM me. I am a Colorado resident, in shape, mature and serious about hunting. I also don't drink so I won't be 3 sleeping bags to the wind in camp. :D)
  9. bota

    bota Well-Known Member

    Nov 24, 2009
    I'm really happy to see that most of you feel the same way i do. This is harsh, but if you are to old or out of shape to get elk out then don't go elk hunting.

    Where i hunt elk, the roads have been closed for 3 years, and far more elk stay on the public land. In the past, the orv pressure would push all of the elk to the private land. Hunter success has increased (especially for those willing to work for it) as a result of the closed roads.
  10. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

    Nov 24, 2008
    What I've noticed is that the more roads are closed the worse the bad stuff is and the worst the damage, then guys through more fits and get more access shut down and crowd more people into less area. That's all that has happened, the hunting is going to be for the privileged few, the guys who works his butt of 6 days a week can not run up to his favorite area and get some meat and get it out without getting ran over or ran of. The whole of my area has been designated a wilderness area, in areas I used to be able to just idle my truck up there and take a walk and get game, I made no big mess and harmed no one at all and I was able to get my game out and be back to work the next day, now half of California and Utah are camped one three access roads and instead of just putting around in our trucks these guys say screw it and rail all over the place and tear everything up. Closing the roads has caused more damage and made the hunting worse than ever for the average Joe. BUT on the other hand I'm starting to build my horse herd to access those shut of areas and get game out. Most of this is just a land grab in the name of multi use or as one sign put it "to enhance my non motorized experience".
  11. strombeckj

    strombeckj Well-Known Member

    Nov 24, 2010
    I live in Colorado and hunt the wilderness areas on purpose to avoid road traffic. If you are looking for an easy in and easy out then I suggest that you find and hunt units that allow for this. I can understand your frustration since this happened after you drew your tags.
    Me and my family will spend over 60 days a year here in our hills and OHV's have destroyed tons of forests and I for one am happy that they are controlling and limiting there use.

    Last edited: Oct 21, 2011
  12. dodgefreak8

    dodgefreak8 Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    There seems to be some miss conception that those of us that use atv's don't work as hard for our game. I hunted muzzleloader for years on foot and passed on elk that I knew I couldn't pack out in a timely manner. Since I started rifle hunting I have packed elk farther to get it to my atv than I did before I bought it. I see no problem with them if used in the correct manner which is to get you close to an area you wish to hunt. I've seen trails that hunters use horses exclusively and it is much more worn and erodes faster than any atv trail. the OP was using ROADS not trails and these are roads that have been there for years.

    We as hunters need to remember that those that oppose us doing what we love have to start somewhere. First they shut down vehicle access then they shut the entire area down. Stop bickering and educate. In all actuallity the same thing could be said about long range hunting as people that ride atv's. Some people may say that only a lazy hunter shoots at an animal 1000yrds away when they know they could get closer. Now any long range hunter knows it takes a fair amount of skill to pull a shot like that off BUT there are a lot of people that give long range hunters a bad name taking shots they are not qualified to take. There are bad apple that ruin it for everyone!! don't forget that

    On a side note, I have personolly whitnessed a truck doing FAR more damage than atv's. On my atv I can get up a hill with little to no wheel slippage. The first year I brought an atv we had to help a guy in his brand new chevy pickup because after spinning his tires up a hill WITH CHAINS for a half mile he got hopelessly stuck. He threw rocks and mudd the entire distance trying to get to an area he had no buisness being in in a pickup. In the same unit I whitnessed some of you "pack hunters" decide to camp in one of the best spots in my unit scaring off every elk for 10 miles instead of an area that is more suited for camping simply because it would take you all day to get where I can get in 10mins. I would rather have a atv go by at 3:00am than have someone finaly reach a good spot walking in right as I am ready to take my shot.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2011
  13. Colorado Cowboy

    Colorado Cowboy Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2011
    I am in total agreement with dodgefreak8. His post is right on the money. We have the same problem here in SW Co, but thru a lot of public uproar, the USFS finally started to listen. A new forest Supervisor was assigned and the hearing process was restarted. Remember one thing in all this discussion, orders are coming from the Feds, not from the local or state officials. Here roads that were LEGAL roads were planned to be shut down under the guise that they don't meet current USFS "road standards". Our local elected officials (county, state & fed) got involved and suddenly the forest service woke up and started to really listen instead of giving lip service. Hunters and their $$$ are a vital part of the local buisness.

    A new plan was released yesterday that addressed a lot of concerns raised by the 1st plan eg., camping issues, parking, motorized game retrieval and road closures. The new plan does not make everyone happy, but IMHO it is a step in the right direction. There are those who want to shut down the forests to all but hikers at one extreme and those who want wide open access to everything on the other side.

    I am 70 years old and hike trails meant for hiking and horse back riding all summer. I have a problem with 2 wheeled traffic on these trails...especially the mountain bikers. They come whizzing down these trail very quietly and I have almost been hit several time. Motor cycles are also allowed! Anyone who has hiked these trails can attest to the fact that they don't tread lightly!

    Multi use is just that....our lands and use them wisely and in a spirit of cooperation. I am an ATV owner and user, but stick to the rules. If I see someone breaking these rules, I have no problem reporting the violation and would appear in court if necessary!

    Rant over!!!
  14. lazylabs

    lazylabs Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2006
    I think the real problem in CO is the short seasons. When you only have a week to hunt everyone is out for the whole time and desperate to find something to shoot at. We give so many tags out that it's just over crowded. If you over saturate an area with a bunch of folks desperate to find something(hopefully elk/deer) to shoot at everyone try's to "get away" so that is why people are trying to walk/wheel or pack as far away from the road as possible. I think that this really just drives all the game to private land and makes the following seasons a waste.