Contributors to this thread:
Just got home from an elk hunt in Montana, had a good time, worked hard, used "Elknut's playbook" and a bunch of other info I've gleaned here over the years and managed to get oh-so-close to 3 different bulls but didn't seal the deal.
Of all of the stuff I've seen over the years, I don't think I've ever heard or read about one thing we found. It took me a few days to figure out, but it appeared to me that there was either one group with several, or several groups with one decoy camp set up at or near different trailheads, logging roads, primitive trails and other access points. Once I figured it out, I hiked in past this camp to a couple wet meadows. One meadow had a ton of fresh sign, then I found a treestand set up in there, then a trail camera. The elk were quiet so I started planning to set up on the meadow for the evening when a guy in a safety harness walked in to the meadow. I assume this guy was trying to "protect" his spot and save it for himself.
So, is this a thing? Is it common, or was this guy/group just a bunch of innovators? I try to avoid other camps and crowded trailheads but, knowing that there is a chance that its just a decoy makes me less likely to bother moving on and coming up with plan B.
Decoy camps/ trucks are fairly common.
This is the first year that I saw this in Colorado! Saw several such "camps", and even verified one when we spoke to a local, and he stated that he set up the camp/tent as a placeholder to reserve the spot for muzzleloading season. This was 3rd day of archery season.
Sometimes a person wants to hunt two areas that are far from each other, so he may have two camps setup so that he spends some days in one camp and doesn't have to completely move everything during the hunt if he wishes to change areas for a few days.
That being said, I did set-up a decoy camp earlier this year to keep people from camping in a well used camping spot. The turkeys I was hunting began roosting there, and I was afraid some unknowing hunter or camper would come and camp there just before the upcoming weekend and ruin my setup before opening day. As it turned out, a huge jeep group really wanted to camp there and drove around my camp and camped in the meadow behind mine, even closer to being directly under the roosting trees. Ruined that area for me, but a friend killed one in a later hunt when they moved back to those trees a week and a half later.
Is this the new way? Finding ever more and cleverer ways to trick fellow hunters so that we can have more, more, more?
Damn, I must be getting old and curmudgeonny. :-)
More, more, more...reminds me of Dot's...
Its a joke and has been for years in the area I hunt. Folks "reserve" their camping spot for gun season and us bowhunters have little for camping spots while empty trailers fill most places. Forest service turns a blind eye and its crap. They do it in 1 particular area that has minimal camping spots along a good stretch of road and it keeps allot of folks from making the drive in there to hunt. Complete BS setting up camps for any reason other than using them for a camp at THAT TIME.
Me too. I saw this last year in Colorado. Guys pulled in and set up camp at a creek crossing I normally use. When I came out that night the tent and camper was there. So, I naturally hinted else where for a couple days until I noticed there had never been a vehicle there. Regardless of the time of day I drove by.
Do, while talking to a fellow the next camp up, I asked him about it. Said they was locals from “Denver”, that set up camp to ensure they had the spot durning muzzleloader season.
I u detest and the need to protect your secret area. But, I also understand my need to kill stuff when I drive a total of 4000 miles round trip. I give each their own but public land when you aren’t there is off limits to such treatment.
No respect for anyone who would do this. Total BS.....
Oldest trick there is.....big camp..nobody home. in theory you can only get away with it for two weeks in the NF.....never seen anyone get a ticket though.
I agree with those disliking the practice, screwed up a few areas that we had planned to hunt. This was in Montana, I GPS'd the trail cam coordinates to pass on to the FWP when I came out of the hills as it was the only part of the situation that was technically illegal, but I was feeling petty at the moment.
We were visited by the forest service while there and they left a note that we needed to vacate our campsite by Oct 3rd (16 days after the 1st day they found our campsite) not sure when those decoy camps went up, but didn't see the FS slips stuck up anyplace around the decoy camps.
To clarify, these were not big camps either, they were just small 2-3 man dome tents that looked like they came from wal-mart. I THINK that the guys that placed them were in a camper just a few miles away with ND plates that were there when we arrived and still there when we left. The night I got pushed out of the meadow, I moved about 1/2 mile to another spot but I could hear the guy walking out on the trail behind me in the dark and there was a ND truck waiting for him to come out when I hit the road.
Folks can be as bold as dishonorable.
Once came down from the top of a mountain to sit a waterhole. Had a guy drive his ATV up to about 50 yards away and proceed to climb into a treestand that appeared to have been there on at least a semi-permanent basis. I called out to him just to let him know there was another hunter in the area. He cussed me for 20 minutes while slamming crap around and whining.
Sorry, but you can't just set up a treestand a month before season and then call the spot yours.
I have seen several and also fake Road Closed signs with a big outfitter camp down that road and trucks parked at camp.
I'm sure plenty do it. I have set two camps up at times. Usually a base camp from which I might spike for up to a week or so. I at times will return to the base at some point either to resupply or might stay there a couple of days before spiking in to a different area. Lots of legitimate reasons to have more than one camp but if it's just to stake claims on multiple spots that stinks.
There’s a certain Outfitter in SW Montana that is notorious for the decoy camp/vehicle.....they’ll park vehicles at the head of several drainages to give appearance of hunters hunting it, and all the while hunting several drainages over.
They will ALWAYS have several wall tents set up in several key locations to give this appearance as well....I’ve just started parking next to his vehicles or “camps” and hunting anyways!
It’s OUR public lands, can’t we just share!