Hiram and SDMF — I am surprised and disappointed that there are only the two of you on this thread! There is no greater “threat” (in fact, it’s no threat but a reality) to traditional bowhunting on public lands today than ATV abuse and overuse. Even the legal riders — not just a “few bad apples” but most of the whole damn orchard it seems! — are messing things up for us all, including themselves because there are way too many of them out there, riding way too much. DOW was right to send you to the FS as it’s that agency’s primary responsibility to enforce OHV laws on public lands. But they have only one officer for a huge area and he’s notoriously lazy. However, a lot of folks including me and the state OHV group leaders worked hard and a year ago got legislation passed that authorizes DOW wardens to bust illegal ORV users … so at the least the person in the DOW office should have also told you they would alert the warden responsble for Missionary Ridge, a great guy named Drayton Harrison.
This is happening to more and more real hunters all over the country, on public land and private. Many are outraged … but so few get involved in fighting it! In that way, “we” deserve the crapping-on that we’re getting from the motorheads, who are organized and determined to continue and expand their slob sport. This lack of widespread hunter oppositiion to the motorized take-over really frustrates and disheartens those relative few of us who do fight back. Check out http://www.backcountryhunters.org for the leading national group working against ATV abuse and overuse (check their ads in every issue of TBM, bless TBM), and for CO specifically go to http://www.coloradobackcountryhunters.org.
Thanks guys for bringing up this topic, and all of you other trad brothers who read but haven’t commented … please, don’t just cluck your tongues in agreement with our plight, but join us to fight back!
This year, the only two trad bowhunters I’ve talked to around here who killed elk — Thomas Downing and myself — both put out the effort to get far away from the motors. It’s hard to road camp and do that, as we always could until a decade ago when the motors took over. If we don’t fight back hard right now, we’ll lose it all to the lazy and willfully ignorant. That’s us as well as them. That’s the world we live in. “Use the ‘quads’ God gave you!” Dave