Contributors to this thread:
Scouting During an Ongoing Season
As many of you know, last year I was blessed to finally draw an elk tag for one of the coveted NW Colorado units, after a 22 year wait. It was a great adventure, but one thing disappointed me. During the entire archery season, there was a constant wave of guys scouting the unit for future hunts. Some were rifle hunters with tags. Others were years away from drawing tags. And there were a few "elk watchers", who were just up there site seeing. I had at least 3 hunts ruined by ATV driving scouters, who seemingly didn't realize, or care, that there might be a fellow hunter trying to fill a tag in the area.
IMO, there should be an un-written hunter's "code" to avoid scouting during an ongoing season out of courtesy to the hunters on the ground, especially for these "once in a lifetime" type hunts. I know that's probably a pipe dream, but it's a code I've always followed...perhaps foolishly.
What's your opinion?
I guess I can understand the rifle hunters being out there, but it amazes me that actual bowhunters would be out there without a tag, during the bow Season, you'd think they'd be hunting OTC ?
Totally agree. I scouted 201 a couple years ago, but made sure I went in August, well before the season. I drew that tag this year & besides the fire currently burning up there, I worry mostly about the "scouting" that I have heard stories of from others happening during my hunt this year.
I agree that’s very frustrating. However it’s public land. Applying to public land assumes that risk. They have every right to be there. Nobody in today’s world would honor an unwritten code. Hell, hardly anyone is honoring actual laws and regulations these days.
The only reason I am planning to scout unit 61 this September for my 2022 hunt is I have 3 days software training in Denver scheduled then. But I hate and don't use an ATV. All with boots and glass. In 30 years I've never scouted mid-season, but need to take advantage of this rare opportunity. Will definitely be treading lightly. I thought about just trying an OTC unit and bow hunt, but I’ll only be able to invest 4-7 days. And if I’m going to burn 25 points, I need to do homework.
When I think back on my 30 years of hunts, I’ve run into many many folks. But the only ones that bothered me were the ones on ATV’s scouting or bounty hunters without a tag. And those were actually very few. The ones on foot created virtually no impact. Either way it’s public land and I accepted and enjoyed my hunts.
Pat x 2, although I can’t understand why any bowhunter would be scouting during archery season when they could be elsewhere actually hunting.
Agreed with the risk of public land hunting. But, claiming "nobody would honor an unwritten code" isn't necessary true. I know other hunters who honor this code, myself included. Granted, we are in the minority it seems.
Heck, even if this thread serves to convince a few fellow Bowsiters to honor the code, it will serve its purpose.
I don’t hunt out west unfortunately, however I experience kinda the same thing during whitetails. People driving right thru your set ups ripping 4 wheelers around. Can’t understand why another hunter knowing the value of the tags would ruin another’s chance at filling their tag. Just to fill their own. That’s unfortunately what the worlds come too. Sucks Matt. We’re you able to tag out on your hunt???
GG, believe me, I understand your frustration. I can’t speak for the area(s) you hunt, but in my area the overwhelming majority of people hunting during archery season are rifle hunters looking to extend their season. They also use archery season as time to scout for the upcoming rifle season. Do you think they, or fishermen, hikers, etc, give a hoot about honoring some bowhunter’s “unwritten” code”. Not likely.
Are you sure they were scouting? September is great weather and lots of ATV people are out riding.
We had a problem with that in New Mexico and I understand to a point especially if you live far away and can’t scout in August.
The best time to scout is during the season. There are many elk spots that don't get elk until the rut kicks in. Especially for a hard to get tag it does make sense, especially in CO where the preference system gives you a good idea when you will draw. You will hear the opposite often when people apply for hard to get tags and end up drawing with no experience in the unit at all, then they ask for help online etc.
So it is what it is. Of course people should be aware of hunters in the unit. For your part communicate with other camps in the area etc, but bowhunting is tough to let others know what going on in the moment....
Pat x3. Maybe you were in their way of having a good scouting trip. Never thought of it that way huh? Unfortunately for you their trip was more important to them than yours. We've all had to deal with it. Not much to do except when they break the law which alot of them do plenty.
What about the 'hired guns' to keep track of a big bull during the season for someone - just so that they can walk in and shoot it?
Think they will follow a 'code'?
Pat X 3. People don't honor the unwritten rules already.
Thought you were talking about Utah! Lol…I had rifle guys scouting all over my Elk hunt there! They didn’t really get in the way though…
It can be frustrating, but it's public land.
"Are you sure they were scouting? September is great weather and lots of ATV people are out riding."
Oh yeah, there were plenty of recreational ATVers too. I had more tolerance for them, since they may not have been aware of the ongoing archery season.
The guys who ruined my hunts were definitely scouting. I confronted them each time. The first party was a father and son. The son had a rifle tag. They understood my frustration and were apologetic. They continued scouting, but they put their ATVs away and just glassed from the county roads. They stopped by my camp several times for a beer and to see how my hunt was going. The son ended up killing a bull that I told them about, and showed them the best way to hunt him.
Another party was 2 hunters who didn't even have tags. One guy was 4-5 years away from drawing. His buddy was just along for the ride. Again, they were both riding their ATVs thru the exact areas I was having numerous close encounters with elk. They weren't apologetic, but they did leave and I never saw them again.
The third party was a guide and his client. The client hoped to draw his rifle tag this year. Those two were total pricks. They seemed to enjoy the fact they had blown up the herd I had been dogging all day. That conversation got pretty ugly.
Anyway, thanks for your thoughts, guys. The consensus seems to be it is what it is on public land. I get that, too, but I will always do my scouting in the off seasons when I know I won't be ruining someone's hunt.
FWIW......Michigan has an ATV reg. Other states might have something similar. I don't know if a reg of this nature will help during the hunting seasons out west??
When you say you confronted the people that ruined your hunts, is that the word that truly describes what you did? If so, I’m surprised only one group were total pricks.
A few years ago I had a friend that was tired of people driving up the road leading to the area he was hunting. He parked his truck sideways in the road so they couldn’t ruin “his” hunt. Somehow he was surprised when one day he returned to find all four tires slashed.
Whether blocking access on a public road or confronting someone that’s ruining your hunt on public land, you’re likely to create more issues than you solve.
In MA we have no hunting on Sunday law so I usually scout then or sometimes when I get out of stand late morning as usually people are done hunting by then. I guess I’m one of the few.
I totally understand your point and your frustration. But to be honest I don't understand how someone thinks they have more right to be there that another person. Sorry but I feel I'm correct..
The Covid pandemic unleashed a migration of folks to the outdoors along with people being able to "work from home" and others getting paid extra unemployment bonuses to not work at all. The gas prices now are getting prohibitive but last year it was really cheap to travel around and be outdoors.
wyo and Teeton are right on the money,,,,100%, public property and you have to just deal with it as MANY of us do every year. Evidently you were hunting to close to the ATV trails?? Maybe you should have gotten off the 'beaten path' a bit further, even if you were, confronting someone who has just as much right to be there as you could get real ugly real fast if you face off with the wrong person!!
Amen inshart! I would be a prick if I got "confronted" at the very least.
There is an unwritten rule as far as I’m concerned. Don’t scout during others hunts!
Public property. One of the reasons I much prefer to pay more and hunt private lands when possible.
From my experience I prefer scouters to other hunters; I've never had scouters run in on me.
Matt is a really big dude. Somebody would need to have a few barley pops in them to get in his face in a confrontation. In his unit, it's all BLM and basically everything is open season to ATVs, on or off trails. They go everywhere.
We only had one serious encounter with a rifle scouter when we hunted it in 2013. After we talked to him he promised to stay out of the area we were focused on until we tagged out, and honored that promise. We were lucky because he was a good guy. We did have a couple PLO rifle cow hunters hunting public land where they weren't supposed to be, but never caught them in the act, only saw their footprints tromping through the bedding areas. We knew who they were but couldn't prove anything.
Those units can be a s#!t show in September, but it is public land and nobody has more rights than anybody else, ethics and courtesy be damned.
Mn has a rule during rifle season ATVs can only be used before sunrise and after sunset and between 11am and 2pm by licensed rifle hunters. no hour restrictions on recreational user. The hunting hours not real well followed by a lot of hunters.
Hell, we have the Grouse season opener during our bow hunt dates most years.
Dogs-n-shotgun going strong!!
It's public ground so I live with it or move to another hunt spot.
Glad ya at least had a good hunt GG.
Good luck, Robb
If you're a scouter, should be able to do low impact scouting that doesn't mess with anyone hunting and still gains you knowledge. For the hunter, I would think talking with people rather than confronting them would be better for an agreement/compromise.
We scouted our NM 2nd archery hunt for 3 days proceeding the season opener. That was last 3 days of 1st archery. Stayed on open roads, hiked on trails, glassed from far, talked with guys on trails and at trailheads. Had no issues.
OK, "confronted" was probably a poor choice of words. In each case, I politely started the conversations by asking them if they were aware of the ongoing archery season. They were. Then, I asked if they had archery tags. Of course, they didn't. My final question was would it bother them if I was scouting on my ATV during their hunt. The response to that one was a mix of "umms...." and "uhhhs....".
For me, it's not about public land rights. My right to bow hunt doesn't trump their right to scout. I just think it's a common courtesy deal. You know, treat people how you like to be treated. That's really what it comes down to, IMO.
I agree Matt - common courtesy goes a long way. With that said, many people today only think of themselves and could care less about common courtesy. It’s possible for hunters and scouters to get along - communication and courtesy must both be present though and often one or both are lacking.
It seems the price of hunting public land. The Florida Trail goes through some of the management areas I hunt. Occasionally, hikers do come along. On more than one occasion, I knew where the trial went and just got ready. I've taken several deer that way. I don't get worked up over it. I've had other hunters come in too while I'm in my stand or blind-several just to talk. Go figure.
That's just a variable on Public Land that needs to be taken into consideration IMO. I would think scouters (being hunters) would have the common courtesy to try and not impact a hunters ongoing hunt, but they have just as much right to be scouting as you have to be hunting. Heck, even during your own hunt you'll spend some time scouting that may impact a different license holder who is hunting.
Wyobullshooter. I hunted with an old friend in a unit that USO guides had blocked the roads as you described. I was surprised when my buddy pulled a valve stem core removing tool out of his pack. He loosened the core on two wheels and they had 1 spare. It’s best to think before you try to block people out.
I had the same experiences and even worse. Hell I had a Muzzy guy following me around trying to kill the bull I was after. That is a different story.
But yes when I had my unit 2 tag, I had issues with ATVs even in early June. I hiked a mile into the wilderness study area in a clearly closed road. Had 39 plus bulls on the opposite hillside in the trees. I had seen most, but there were 6-7 that I had not got a good look at. Then the entire canyon got up and ran away. As I could here an ATV on the way in. Damn thing was bouncing smacking off rocks etc. in the end over 100 elk left and there were several bulls I never got a look at.
When I walked up to the ATV, I found out his wife had a cow elk tag. I said yeah, well over half my life to draw this tag and on my first day of scouting I have to deal with illegal ATV use… Got got really pissed really fast. I said if he would look at the map he was a mile to 1.5 miles inside the Wilderness study are and I know for a fact that he drove over or around the sign.
I had several crazy things happen, including a military helicopter land at a water hole and blow my trail camera over…
A poacher killed one of my target bulls.
It was crazy fun hunt but yes lots of frustrations
I had a silver pickup drive right into my setup I had a 370 class bull 20 yards in the trees, cows feeding out in front of me at 10 to 49 yards. But before the bull stepped out the truck drove on top of me.
A guy from Utah scouting it, said he had 16 points and was hoping to draw soon. Told him he needs to rethink his odds…
Also had a BLM survey crew in the middle of my hunt and a new pipeline crew, and…