Contributors to this thread:
First time, diy out west. Not sure what I’m getting into but I have a plan!
How do I decide where to set up camp? Can I road camp anywhere?
Any thing I should watch for while setting up camp remotely? What about setting up in areas with timber or should I be setting up in more open areas?
I’ll be in Wyoming
Road camp restrictions will be based on the specific area. So you'll have to find that out on your own. They change from time to time based on weather, or crowds.
Timber watch for snags and large branches that could wake you up by breaking your legs in your sleep. Choose a spot that's flat and won't have rain flow under your tent.
If you're expecting weather which is usually semi guaranteed on an elk hunt then you can tell which spots receive less rain based on the drier spots over damp spots in the dirt.
People can suck, but there's not much you can do about that. Odds are pretty low of a shitty person messing with your stuff though. Probably a location based thing as well.
Have fun. Stay mobile if youve never scouted or hunted the area. If theres no elk or a ton of pressure truck camping won't suck as much to abandon a spot and go to another.
Awesome advice! Thanks jack
Where would I start to find camping regulations? I guess on a DNR site?
Google - 'Dispersed Camping'
Typically maps show dispersed camping areas as 'dots' along an established 2 track/FR. MVUM show dispersed camping
I think most National Forests allow camping within 100' of a road. There is some limitation to how close to a stream you can be. Best to check on that - I'm really not sure. Digging truck/camper leveling holes is also a no-no ( got warned about that, but they let us slide). There are a lot of regulations that I never heard of. Also - be aware of the beetle kill and possible big dead/falling trees. Have a fire evacuation plan.
If you're going where I think your going, any wide spot in the road will do
Not many restrictions if you're on BLM, however nat'l forests can be a different story. There can be road closures due to fires, logging, etc. These are typically pretty isolated, but they do happen. There can also be fire restrictions, if you plan on having a campfire, depending on how high the fire danger is. Every nat'l forest has a website that can be quite helpful, but I'd also highly recommend getting in touch with the district office(s) responsible for the area(s) you're considering. They'll answer any questions you may have, as well as have available detailed maps/informative pamphlets you can purchase. Be aware, overnight camping isn't allowed on state land.
I'd highly recommend finding an open area to camp, such as a clearcut or meadow, that has a creek nearby that you can use for washing, etc. I would stay away from camping near/in timber. Many areas in Wyoming were devastated by pine beetles a few years ago. Those trees are now coming down like toothpicks in a tornado. I also suggest having a chainsaw in your truck, and a good handsaw and axe if you're on your atv. You never know when you'll have to cut your way either in or out. Don't let that discourage you, but be prepared.
Have fun and good luck!
Contact BLM office or NF office if that is where you are camping. They can give you restrictions, rules, bear issues, campground facilities.
Beware if you camp to close to road you may be covered in dust by vehicle traffic. We prefer to camp on a small road/trail or set back off a main forest road with a creek nearby.
Definitely bring a chainsaw
Good advice above. Check with the Forest Service if you are camping on NF land; their websites are generally very good. I have not camped on BLM in the past, but I'm sure contacting them would be a good way to go.
I generally prefer small clearings within the forest for location, or even in a pocket on the edge of a meadow with some protection from the wind. If camping amongst trees, just be sure that you aren't within the fall zone of anything that looks dead or damaged. Sure, a healthy tree could randomly go down and take you out, but if you worry about those type of things, it would probably be best to stay home.
Be aware that camping in the bottoms near streams or rivers can bring some very cold mornings. Under the right conditions all the cold air sinks into those areas. Also, dust can be a big problem for road camping in some locations. Sometimes there are just rules on how far your vehicle can travel from the road, but not necessarily on camping. We got "a talk" from a Ranger in MT for having our vehicle too far off a road, even though there were several camps in the area we were in and it was more like designated camping than dispersed camping along the road. We also got a cooler lesson: You can't even have a new EMPTY non-bearproof cooler outside of your vehicle in the griz areas. I guess somehow an empty cooler conditions the bears more than one full of food that is bearproof, lol. He made us hang it high in a tree, since the one we had was a 150 qt. and we didn't have space in the truck cab.
Franken is spot on with picking a campsite. The last one I picked was too open and the wind was brutal, I should have known better. Cold spring can make a great refrigerator it does not break local rules.
Early archery it can get a bit warm - if possible set up camp so you have shade in the early afternoon.
If you are truck camping: ** bring one of those "black shower bags" and a couple 5 gallon buckets with lids - they work great for getting / transporting water from the creek back to camp for showering / dishes, etc.. **bring a comfortable chair - there are days that the swirling wind makes it impossible to hunt all day and being back at camp in a comfortable chair is ....... well, comfortable LOL.
As long as there are no active fires camp anywhere you want. No outhouse holes within 100 feet of water. I don’t pick a spot based on timber or open areas. Flat is more of a priority. Obviously use common sense and don’t set up near dead or burnt trees. Other than that it’s Wyoming do as you please just don’t rustle cattle!
The above pick reminded me - a good tow rope, and a winch (or at least a come along) has also come in handy from time to time.
Awesome advice above!!!
Thank you everyone, almost every post is something I haven’t thought about.. I can just picture myself driving around a bend and seeing a picture like cnelk’s ahead of me without a saw lol...
Thanks for the comments and PMs!!!
If you know where you are going just use google earth and look for spots. You can usually make out the worn out areas that have been used many times. If you get lucky and images are from the fall you can even see camps from previous years. This helps as well as you can see where everybody likes to go so you plan to try a different area.
Check your NF regulations carefully. In some areas "dispersed camping" (meaning wherever you want) isn't allowed, and camping is restricted to developed campsites only. Also monitor the open fire regulations at that time.
As far as camping by water, great idea but not too close. One night right before dark a USFS ranger chick came out of the woods seven miles into a wilderness area, measured our tent distances from a tiny runoff rivulet, determined we were only 80' away, and made us move our tents 25". Then she wandered off down the trail in the dark.
Lol that’s pretty crazy jaq... she’s just roaming the country looking for violators.. seems safe
Especially since you are hunting a new area, keep your camp simple enough that you can pack it up quick and easy. If it's a big chore to tear down and pack, you'll be less likely to move to hunt a different area when you should be.
My 2 cents, In archery season I look for shade in the mid-day to afternoon, and morning sun to dry out the tent on the last day. Figure the prevailing wind and set up with that in mind. Advice to look for decent drainage is going to save you big time in an extended rain event. Also if your are running a wood stove (colder weather) in your tent you must also consider the wind direction. Stay away from the obvious deadfall risks. Build a wind break around your outdoor kitchen. My 2017 tent location was not the most level. A freak wind direction made for one poor nights sleep.
For security: You can put up a trail camera over looking the camp. I like to have a vehicle in camp so it looks lived in. Put a padlock on your utility trailer and hide any valuables. Then hope for the best result. Be an optimist: Hang a meat pole......then do your best to overload it! LaGriz
Great tips above. Also bring a tight-sealing trashcan for anything (apple cores, coffee grounds, bacon grease, etc.) that can attract yogi.
Trail cams over look my camp when Im not there
I too use a Security System of 2 TC's
Kinda bugs me the people that just walk around--close to my camp rig when I am out hunting.
You do get some wildlife, like Brad shared with us, on them at times.