This will stir the pot

robby denning

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Well, hopefully this doesn't squelch the peacful, informative discussions on Rokslide so far.

As many know, Idaho's hunting quality has slipped over the last few decades. While there are a few factors, the one thing many agree (and disagree!) on is ATVs. I need no science or facts to know that there are few areas in SE Idaho that an ATV hunter can't reach and that they have hurt mule deer hunting.

Looks like Idaho is going to limit Fish and Games noble attempt to limit ATVs during hunting season. I don't like to see this. Read the just-released media below. Do you think F&G overstepped their authority in trying to limit ATVs?
Post your opinion, and please keep it civil:

BOISE, Idaho -- Backcountry trails on Idaho's federal lands would open to all-terrain vehicle-riding hunters, under a measure passed by the House over Department of Fish and Game objections.
Thursday's 48-21 vote sends it to the Senate.
Currently, Fish and Game's rules require hunter in a third of Idaho's hunting units to steer clear of off-road vehicle trails.
This bill lifts restrictions, something ATV users say will remedy confusion over where they can ride.
Rep. Judy Boyle said such closures have been unnecessary since 2005, when the U.S. Forest Service banned cross-country ATV travel.
She argues Fish and Game's rules exceed the agency's statutory authority.
Fish and Game commissioners opposed this measure, however, arguing it hurts their ability to shield game from overharvest.
Rep. Linden Bateman contends the rule provides refuge for wildlife.
 

Ross

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Robby, can you clarify exactly what this means? Example, current trail designated for only motorcycles, horse and foot traffic. Does it now open it up to ATVs? IE, ATVS can now go anywhere they choose?
 

Hoyts n Mulies

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I'm all for cutting a gas line and throwing a match!

On a serious note though, I have no problem if they ride where they are allowed as thats what the law allows but what really burns me up is when I've hiked my butt off to get somewhere by first light only to find someone on a 4 wheeler driving where they are not allowed. People that are "pro-atv use" for hunting are nearly always out of shape or lazy yet feel they deserve to hunt the same areas as those who work hard. It's pretty easy to see which side of the fence I stand on this topic.
 
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robby denning

robby denning

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Ross, what the new law does is take away F&G's authority to keep ATVs off of open (as in if Forest Service, etc allows it) ATV trails IF the rider is hunting. Years ago, F&G made it so ATV riders wanting a Sunday drive weren't affected, but if a person was hunting, they had to walk. So if this passes, then the hundreds of miles of ATV trails that are open by Forest Service, etc, will now be open to hunters.

Does that make sense?
 

Ryan Avery

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Do you know that ATV's can roll end over end all the way down a clearcut!!!
 

BuckSnort

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I don't understand clearly.. Are the ATV's legal when on a designated trail ? Is it legal for them to go cross country?

Here in CA they are limited to designated trails only basically they share the same trails as jeeps and other 4x4's do.. This in my opinion is how I prefer it.. I 'm against most new laws that come out, I feel we need better enforcement on the laws we have already..
 
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david long

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"arguing it hurts their ability to shield game from overharvest"

I thought that is what controlled hunts and limited tag quotas were for? The Idaho Fish & Game needs to do a better job of management! Plain and simple!

Although I don't ride ATV's, they should be allowed on authorized trails/roads......the problem I have is when I run into four wheeler tracks off the beaten path. Some people are just lazy!
 

Mike7

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I think a big problem in Idaho (besides a hopefully only small group of ATVers who knowingly break the rules) is that Fish and Wildlife has such a ridiculous patchwork of different regulations which are very nebulous and unenforced and thus difficult to comply with. Allowing for ATV use some times of the year and not others seems like a complete failure to me, as ATVers cut trails through areas while scouting and playing in the summer. This makes it impossible to keep them out during hunting season and gives riders a sense of entitlement that they should be able to ride back into these areas during hunting season.

Last year, my son peddled his butt off with me pulling a bicycle trailer 7 miles up a closed road on Friday night after school, followed by an early morning hike in the dark another mile from camp to set up/hunt. He was very proud of himself and we saw noone, until first light Saturday AM when we had a pack of 300 lb guys on ATV's speed by sending every living thing into cover. It makes it harder to teach your kid about doing things the right way when this stuff happens.

We were actually happy, when the only horse packer in the area, dropped trees across the road for the first 300 yds up the old road and then cut narrow walkways through trees at the lower edge of the road. No Forest Service or Fish and Wildlife person ever came out there during the entire season as far as we know.

I would like to see certain areas of the forest open to ATV's (maybe more areas even) and others completely closed. In the closed areas it would be clear that any time of the year, no ATV's are allowed off of the main roads. This is much easier to not only enforce, but also to comply with. Fish and Game could work with others property owners like USFS to ensure closed areas include critical wintering habitat, etc.

This is one case where I have seen things actually seem to work a little better in Washington. I'm not sure how much the Forest Service communicates with Fish and Wildlife in Washington, but the Forest Service in Eastern WA has entire areas open to ATV's and other areas completely closed....year round. I have seen the rules followed far better in Northeastern WA. Although the WA State Fish and Wildlife Areas do seem to have more rule breakers seemingly than the Feds do, because there is little to no enforcement, even though the rules are clear. While during hunting season on the Forest Service's and Private Timber Copanys' lands in Grizzly Bear Recovery Areas, I have run into U.S. Marshalls partrolling...and I haven't seen anybody chancing getting caught by the Marshalls after just their first year or two of making a presence 10 years ago. I'm guessing the Federal fine is steep.
 

Jim Carr

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I heard rumors of this quite a while ago,I was really hoping it wasn't true. Idaho fish and game shuts down trails that can"t be traveled by a ful size vehical in selected units to moterized use while hunting or heading into a hunting area though you can pack in a legit fulsize camp with a atv but cant travel back and forth to the trail head, it dosen't apply to non hunters.This is a great rule it thins down the pressure quite a bit in some areas.If this rule is overturned it will ruin any progress these units had there are some great areas that you can't get further than a couple miles from a atv trail.
 

sreekers

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An area that I hunt on a regular basis has turned into a GREAT spot to hunt elk because Forest Service shut down the trail, and we finally got an officer or two who was willing to enforce the law. Tickets pass pretty quickly by word of mouth, and now there are very few who try it. I took a bull and a cow out of there two seasons ago, and another raghorn this year.

You want to see more animals, get off the 4-wheelers, plain and simple.
 

evan williams

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"arguing it hurts their ability to shield game from overharvest"

I thought that is what controlled hunts and limited tag quotas were for? The Idaho Fish & Game needs to do a better job of management! Plain and simple!

Although I don't ride ATV's, they should be allowed on authorized trails/roads......the problem I have is when I run into four wheeler tracks off the beaten path. Some people are just lazy!

David is exactly right!!! Better management practices and tag quotas would stop a TON of it. As for the new regulations...I have to say...I agree. IF a weekend rider is allowed to ride them NO MATTER the timing BUT a HUNTER is restricted because of the intended use!!! Then I agree 100% that that is BS. AS LONG AS THEY ARE ON DESIGNATED TRAILS it shouldn't matter. To discriminate between a hunter and weekend rider using the SAME TRAIL because of the action isn't right.

I have issues when they leave the trail. There is a trail going through my main hunting area BUT ATVs can't get into it b/c the DESIGNATED trail for ATV use stops 4 miles back...only foot/horse/motorcycle traffic past it!
 

VANDAL

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...but Idaho's stance is to allow hunters the ability to hunt every year, using multiple weapons, any general unit, and in some cases either sex...makes sense that they'd let ATV riders travel anywhere they want with little to no regulation. How many Forest Service officers have you seen vs. F&G officers? Not many. Enforement will be terrible. Pisses me off.
 
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robby denning

robby denning

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Bucksnort said: I don't understand clearly.. Are the ATV's legal when on a designated trail ? Is it legal for them to go cross country?

Bucksnort, if the law changes, then ATV's WOULD be legal on designated trails if you are hunting. The way the F&G law is now, you can't hunt with an ATV even if the trail is open by Forest Service, etc. It has been a good law, pretty much.

It is not legal now, nor would be with the law change for ATV's go cross country. The problem is, so many trails were pioneered by ATV's in the 90's, everything will be cross country. In other words, there is a trail everywhere in a lot of units (sorry, a mile between roads is NOT backcountry) and now it will be legal to ride those trails.

David, while Idaho could use a new managment program, this is still a good law, even if we went limited quota in all units across Idaho. There is very little backcountry left in the best units for genetics in Idaho.
 

Ryan Avery

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Slob hunters will be slob hunters. Where I hunt in North Idaho ATV's are not the problem. The big bad wuff is! You have to remember that Idaho Fish and Game and the Forest Service would like nothing more than to close down all trails and roads. Makeing all hunters and Hikers/bark eaters contained in smaller area's. This seems to be there Mantra in all the meeting I have been to..... Idaho F&G has taken the right step in having cow permits. In the past there was no way to track how many cows had been harvested.

If your on a closed road and I run into your 4wheeler:)
 

Jared Bloomgren

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I have hiked my butt off into areas where there should not be ATV's only to find just that. A lazy "hunter" on one going to town. That really chaps my you know what. I don't mind ATV's as long as they are used justly and within the legal limits of the law and used only on designated trails.
 

trophyhill

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at one time i could care less 1 way or another and still pretty much feel the same way about it but, 2 years ago in unit 53 NM i was stalking a pretty big bull when a 4 wheeler came barreling across the open park and that was the last i saw of that group of elk. last year in unit 561 CO as i was making my way back towards the truck after i blew an opportunity to kill a very big bull and i heard what sounded like a dirt bike. as i focused my attention towards the sound of a motor in a basin that was devoid of any roads and trails other than game trails i saw a guy racing down the hill, thru the bottom and up the side i was coming down and out of site on a fricken dirt bike. i could not believe what i was seeing. so it's not just atv's and i'm sure its a problem in all states. i know this is not the norm and most guys are respectful and thats why i don't let it bother me too much. its just a couple "bad apples" that leave a sour taste for some
 

Darin Cooper

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I think this is probably a good decision. ID F&G shouldn't be managing ATV's - they need to set seasons and quotas based on conditions. Forest Service on the other hand needs to do a better job of protecting certain areas and creating zones that are ATV friendly, zones that are dirt bike friendly, and larger - more remote zones that are for foot and horse traffic only, then enforce the dang rules. Keep the machines on designated trails. My 70 year old dad still likes to hunt and get back in there a ways - the only way he can access a lot of places is on an ATV these days. I think there's room for all - but I would argue that ATV use has gotten out of hand in a lot of forested areas across the west. Pioneering new ATV trails needs to be stopped.
 

BMB

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i'm pretty anti-ATV use for any hunting except hog dogging. Even here at the lease I don't use an ATV to get to my stand or anything. Everything has to be easier now a days. One of the many problems of our society, nobody wants to work for anything anymore.
 
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robby denning

robby denning

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As Vandal and some have pointed out, there is more F&G patrol by far than Forest Service. That is why the law was helping. ATV hunters knew they were much more likely to encounter a F&G officer than a Forest Servcie officer. Sure, F&G can enforce Forest Service laws, but with the F&G law, they have a much more vested interest in patrolling.
 
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