What is “backcountry” to you?

Wyobohunter

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 23, 2021
Messages
1,585
backcountry /ˈbakkʌntri /
▸ noun (the backcountry) mainly North American sparsely inhabited rural areas:
she loves exploring the backcountry on horseback
[as modifier] backcountry skiing.

Now that that’s out of the way. What do you think of when you say or hear the term “backcountry”?

I mostly hunt what I’d consider “mid country”. To me the true backcountry is way back in where it wouldn’t be practical for me as a solo hunter to pack an elk out before it starts to spoil. The “front country” is anywhere within a mile of a road open to motorized vehicles. Mid country is in between where most road hunters will never go and most horse packers cruise right on through. By my own definition I backpack the backcountry but don’t really hunt there. 5-7 miles is about my practical limit (weather depending).
 

Billy Goat

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
May 6, 2018
Messages
6,478
Location
Shenandoah Valley
At a minimum a place I can pee freely without risk of a trail cam snapping away.

Also a place in which I will be thoroughly surprised (and disappointed) if I see another person.

Heck that's my backyard.

I'm far from an area I'd call backcountry.




But yeah, I'll encounter more people 5 miles from a road than I'll usually encounter within a half mile of the house.
 

cnelk

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Mar 1, 2012
Messages
5,308
Location
Colorado
When it comes to 'Backcountry' I dont think in miles, I think in hours/terrain to get there.

Hike around a couple mountains, cross 3-4 streams, go up to timberline, hike over a pass and drop back down again.

6-7 hr hike with no trail to get there would fit my 'backcountry'
 

Billy Goat

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
May 6, 2018
Messages
6,478
Location
Shenandoah Valley
Heck that's my backyard.

I'm far from an area I'd call backcountry.




But yeah, I'll encounter more people 5 miles from a road than I'll usually encounter within a half mile of the house.

Maybe the definition of back, or in the back, is no trail cameras, no people.

So I have the back 40, it's way different than back country.
 

BlueHeeler42

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2022
Messages
16
Location
Southeast US
I think accessibility to the area in question is a big (and very broad) factor.

The ease of finding and rescuing a lost or injured person, as well as getting them to hospital afterwards could also probably be a benchmark.
 

Poser

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 27, 2013
Messages
4,511
Location
Durango CO
It’s difficult to pin down, but in relation to hunting, I think that camping is necessary as day hiking in and out is impractical.

In skiing, “backcountry” refers to any unmitigated, off piste terrain where safety and decision making regarding terrain and conditions is 100% on the individual as opposed to terrain that is managed, maintained and mitigated by ski patrol at a resort. People have ducked ropes at ski resort boundaries and have died in slides within mere yards of the boundary. That’s not “backcountry” deep but it is “backcountry” dangerous. That application only applies in winter conditions, though. I like the use of “frontcountry” where appropriate, but the dude/bros in the various hunting FB groups won’t find that sexy enough for their questions about “going deep”, “OTC” and “packing in deep”
 

KineKilla

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Apr 8, 2020
Messages
476
Location
Utah
If I have to step off the road or dismount my ATV, I am back far enough.

Elk and Deer killed within winch cable length of a road taste just as good (if not better) than the ones shot miles from any road or trailhead.

Sent from my SM-N976U using Tapatalk
 

Michael Rankin

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
286
I backpack hunted for elk for around 20 days total through out archery season last year in an area I’ve been going to since 2013. The amount of people I run into varies greatly from year to year. Last year I think I only saw 5 other hunters in passing on trails. I ran into zero out in the woods hunting.The people I do see each year are on a trail almost always. The amount of hunters I have run into off trail in all those years can definitely be counted on two hands.

Throughout the years I have done several weeklong elk hunting trips, and only seen or ran into 1 other group/pair of hunters.

I did a 10 day backpack hunt for spring bear I 2018 and never saw another person.

These experiences are what I would consider being in the backcountry.
 
Last edited:

Michael Rankin

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
286
If I have to step off the road or dismount my ATV, I am back far enough.

Elk and Deer killed within winch cable length of a road taste just as good (if not better) than the ones shot miles from any road or trailhead.

Sent from my SM-N976U using Tapatalk
They all probably taste the same if they are eating the same stuff.

Different people enjoy different trips when they head away from home.

That is a good thing, it gives us all the room to do what we like.

Here in Oregon you would have to get into your definition of backcountry to shoot a deer or elk. It’s illegal to shoot them from your quad parked in the middle of the road!
 

EdP

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jun 18, 2020
Messages
515
Location
Southwest Va
If it's impractical to day hunt on foot.
That's it for me exactly. If I need to backpack a camp in to hunt it I call it a backcountry hunt. Why overcomplicate it with a bunch of new terms like mid-country and front-country. We already have other terms like "remote" to differentiate between locations close to civilization and those further away.

As far as "Wilderness Areas" are concerned, I walk thru one to hunt on the far side during my backcountry hunts all of 3 miles from the trailhead. Here in the east there have been way too many federally designated "Wilderness Areas" established that prevent the Forest Service from doing their intended function of managing the forest for the benefit of the general public. Game populations are suffering as a result.
 
Top