Camp placement while elk hunting

Justdecent

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Aug 21, 2017
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13
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Washington
Just a little public service announcement I’ve felt compelled to make here. This last September I was hunting elk in a very remote part of Idaho (FCW). As we were riding to pack a bull out, we encountered a camp of backpack hunters. Now this was about maybe 10/11 am as we rode up to their “camp”. The door of their tent was mere feet away from the trail we were riding down. There were blow up mattresses, sleeping bags, jackets etc hung up on all of the smaller trees on both sides of the trail. I could have reached out and grabbed any one of these items. On top of the yard sale of gear scattered about, the camp was in the middle of an older burn with zero cover/shade. The nearest water had to have been a mile away. We figured that they must have hiked in when it was dark and was too tired to continue. Trust me, I’ve been there too. So we didn’t say anything, just wished them luck and rode ahead. When we rode back through hours later, no one was at their camp and there was twice as much gear scattered about. I wish I would have taken a picture, it was a sight to behold. Not trying to sound like an a-hole here, I’m just trying to paint you a picture of exactly what not to do when picking a location to camp in. So guys, let’s use a little common sense and use our heads when picking a site to camp at! We’re all on the same team here but no one person or group has the right to completely take over a main trail like that. Especially one that has stock riding up and down it. Something to think about I guess.

Good luck to anyone with a tag still!
 

trophyhill

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Feb 27, 2012
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771
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Tijeras NM
"Has the right"? If you think that's bad, a group drove right past the "no motorized vehicles beyond this point" sign and pitched a big camp right next to the trail with stuff scattered about everywhere. To there credit they did clean it up.

In your situation, as long as they cleaned it up I don't see an issue. If someone wants to pack in their kitchen sink, that is their right. You have no right to tell them where or how to camp or hunt.

That's like trying to tell an outfitter he doesn't have the right to bottle up 10 sq miles of prime hunting land with his 5 camps scattered out, or the guy on horseback who rode the ridge I packed into and camped on that is clearly off the beaten path with only a game trail that he had no right being there.........
 

Wmmichael20

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May 9, 2019
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Maybe they were not as experienced as others are and were worried about returning to camp in the dark.....or in the case of an emergency being able to find camp less difficult......not that I would personally place my camp so close to the trail but can see why someone would.
 
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Justdecent

Justdecent

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Aug 21, 2017
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Location
Washington
I guess some people just have to learn the hard way. If I was inexperienced and worried I couldn’t find my camp, I would not have picked the Frank Church of all places to backpack in. I absolutely don’t have the right to tell someone how or where to camp, but if my mule kicks your rifle that’s leaned up a foot off the trail it is what it is. The main point though was not camping on water and with no shade or cover. A little research goes a long way and could be the difference in a hunt being cut short compared to a successful hunt. Hell if we’re worried about someone finding their tent, might be the difference in life or death. Especially in that country.
 
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Justdecent

Justdecent

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Aug 21, 2017
Messages
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Location
Washington
"Has the right"? If you think that's bad, a group drove right past the "no motorized vehicles beyond this point" sign and pitched a big camp right next to the trail with stuff scattered about everywhere. To there credit they did clean it up.

In your situation, as long as they cleaned it up I don't see an issue. If someone wants to pack in their kitchen sink, that is their right. You have no right to tell them where or how to camp or hunt.

That's like trying to tell an outfitter he doesn't have the right to bottle up 10 sq miles of prime hunting land with his 5 camps scattered out, or the guy on horseback who rode the ridge I packed into and camped on that is clearly off the beaten path with only a game trail that he had no right being there.........
outfitters don’t have the right to bottle up 10 sq miles. I’m private so I can hunt anywhere I please. Not saying I would camp right on top of them but I’m gonna hunt where the elk are bottom line. I don’t hunt off of a mule either, I pack with them but can definitely see how that would be frustrating to have someone ride off trail into your camp.
 

Elk97

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Feb 14, 2019
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129
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NW WA & SW MT
Doesn't make any sense at all to me to set up camp right on the trail and that far from water. Hopefully they'll get it figured out, but don't count on it.
 

trophyhill

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
771
Location
Tijeras NM
"Has the right"? If you think that's bad, a group drove right past the "no motorized vehicles beyond this point" sign and pitched a big camp right next to the trail with stuff scattered about everywhere. To there credit they did clean it up.

In your situation, as long as they cleaned it up I don't see an issue. If someone wants to pack in their kitchen sink, that is their right. You have no right to tell them where or how to camp or hunt.

That's like trying to tell an outfitter he doesn't have the right to bottle up 10 sq miles of prime hunting land with his 5 camps scattered out, or the guy on horseback who rode the ridge I packed into and camped on that is clearly off the beaten path with only a game trail that he had no right being there.........
outfitters don’t have the right to bottle up 10 sq miles. I’m private so I can hunt anywhere I please. Not saying I would camp right on top of them but I’m gonna hunt where the elk are bottom line. I don’t hunt off of a mule either, I pack with them but can definitely see how that would be frustrating to have someone ride off trail into your camp.
I hear ya, and I definitely wouldn't set camp next to a trail, however "right" has nothing to do with it unfortunately. But I do see your point and hopefully it helps prevent someone else from camping on the road/trail. You know what they say........ya can't fix stupid ;)
 

ChrisAU

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Jan 12, 2018
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SE Alabama
Camping near a trail heading into a hard to reach area is a great way to let others know you are in there and can turn around some hunters...I've seen it.
 

ScreamingPotato

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Jun 15, 2017
Messages
128
Location
San Antonio / Cheyenne
Camping near a trail heading into a hard to reach area is a great way to let others know you are in there and can turn around some hunters...I've seen it.
I'd turn around or go elsewhere if I came across a camp where I'm headed. I have no interest in hunting close to others, or fishing for that matter. I'd rather work harder to hunt in a secluded area and have less chance to score than deal with crowds even with a better chance.
 
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Justdecent

Justdecent

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Washington
I have no problem with camping near a trail, even 10 feet off the trail is fine! Just don’t plant your tent 3 feet to the side of the trail and completely take it over where other people have to cross through.
 

Wmmichael20

Senior Member
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May 9, 2019
Messages
264
I have no problem with camping near a trail, even 10 feet off the trail is fine! Just don’t plant your tent 3 feet to the side of the trail and completely take it over where other people have to cross through.
Yeah I'd figure a guy would want to be a good 20 yards off the trail
 
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Justdecent

Justdecent

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Washington
20 yards is more than enough, not what I would do but irrelevant. Definitely questioned the no shade and no water in the middle of September, but that’s their rodeo not mine.
 

Indian Summer

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Feb 17, 2013
Messages
283
Sometimes you don’t get very far from a trail before it’s not flat enough to pitch a tent. For that reason people might be closer than even they would prefer. But if they took a few minutes to look at a topo map surely there’s a better spot further up or down the trail where they don’t interfere with people using the trail. Keep in mind some flat landers just don’t realize that popping your head out of a tent door 5 feet away from a trail horse can cause a rodeo. Unfortunately some people just don’t make it a habit to consider how their actions might affect other people. That’s probably the problem with this world in general.

As far as competing with other hunters goes I don’t let that bother me much. I hunt most of the time from a base camp at a trailhead so there are usually other camps. A couple seasons there and I saw where they went. And no matter where you go a huge number of hunters never get far from a ridge top or trail anyway. If I want to be alone I hunt from my spike camp. The elk are undisturbed and hunting is great. But it’s still good hunting down lower too as long as I commit to give up elevation and hunt the benches where others don’t go.
 
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