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Chad Love: ATVs in Wilderness

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November 25, 2008

Chad Love: ATVs in Wilderness

By Dave Hurteau & Chad Love

Of all the innovations that have shaped modern big-game hunting in the past 20 years or so, perhaps none have had more of an impact - both literally and figuratively - on the hunting landscape than the rise of the ATV. Judging by the hunting shows on television and the countless quad-hauling trucks we encounter every fall you might think we'd become a nation of knobby-tired centaurs.

However (and there's always a however), there remains a sizeable contingent of hunters who believe hunting should remain a leg-borne activity and if ATVs are to be used then they damn sure need to stick to the roads.

So it comes as no real surprise that "Four-Wheel Driver's Ed" in the December issue of F&S provoked this letter...

"As an avid Idaho mule deer hunter I appreciate true wilderness and untrampled terrain. A pristine environment means a strong eco-system which is great for wildlife,hikers and hunters. As a true outdoorsman you love nature and adopt a leave no trace attitude. When I saw in your December issue on page 52-53 the article,Four-Wheel Driver's Ed, I was furious. ANYONE who gets out into the backcountry has seen for themselves the massive damage done by ATVs. Not all ATV owners are irresponsible, but with great accuracy you can safely lump over 90% of them as over- weight gear heads who do not care about ripping up a meadow, running through spawning beds,  leaving beer cans and cigarette butts and scarring up the terrain. They should be used on existing roads only and not taken off road. Your article instructs them on how to drive over logs, climbing and descending hazardous hills and basically how to drive off road. It is very apparent that you and your magazine are hypocrites and do not support untrampled backcountry where you don't hear or smell vehicles."

Thomas Kehrer

Mr. Kehrer raises some legitimate points. There's no question that ATVs - when mis-used - tear up the environment. The only real question there is whether you fall into the "it's a small minority" camp or the "most of them are ignorant lead-footed jackasses" school of thought.

But there are deeper underlying issues at the heart of the ATV debate as well, issues that - to me, anyway -speak to the core of why we hunt in the first place: Do ATVs cheapen the hunting experience? Do they degrade it? Enhance it? Particularly on public land, do we have a "right" to drive ATVs into the woods? Are ATVs simply a natural progression in the evolution of the modern hunter or are they one more symptom of a culture that places more value on results, ease and convenience than on hard work, sacrifice and the quality of the experience itself? Is the magazine doing its readers, the environment and the hunting tradition a disservice by publishing stories on ATVs or is it simply reflecting the interests and values of a changing demographic?

I have to admit I personally have very little real-world experience with ATVs. I'm a public-land hunter who lives in a state that has banned them on its public hunting areas. I've never hunted with one so I'm in no position to say one way or the other.   

What do you guys think?

Comments (4)

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from Justin T wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

ATVs destroy streambeds and cause erosion and siltation of streams. As an AVID fly fisherman, I have seen how ATVs can destroy a brook trout stream. Another annoyance of these machines is that my quiet wilderness experience is rudely interrupted by the noise of engines and jackasses screaming. Where I hunt, we have 600 acres leased and I walk to my stand and only use ATVs to bring a deer out. In my opinion, if you are too lazy to walk to your stand, you should not be hunting anyway.

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from mdmnm wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

John C's comment:"I once heard it said that while not everyone who plays golf is an "***hole," every "***hole" plays golf. Well, I feel exactly the same way about ATV riders."about sums it up for me. I feel the same way.

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from YooperJack wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Hey, I hope I'm looking at this realistically! We hunters, as group, are aging. ATV's are a tremendous asset for hauling game. If you're not in a wilderness area or an area posted against ATV's, I see nothing wrong with using them for that purpose. Michigan has laws that prohibits riding ATV's in hunting areas except when going in, coming out, and transporting game. I think that's a good common sense approach. While I don't agree with a lot that many of you write, I do look forward to reading your posts. I shudder to think that you might not be writing anymore because you passed away, dragging that buck.YooperJack

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from Hypocrite wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Sadly, even though there is an overwhelming amount of commentary opposed to ATVs, they will still show up as advertorial in F&S because ATVs buy the advertising, regardless of reader input.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

"if they bother you, go pay the money and hunt privite."I'd rather see them banned entirely from public land."you can fuss and fight all day and it will not do no good except fuel the fire for the antis"It's the guys riding the quads who give ammo to the antis. If you want to do something for real sportsmanship, get off your bike and walk off some of that lard.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

90% of 'em are lazy, overwight slobs. I see dozens every hunt. These guys are pretty much all obviously road hunting. Most of 'em will toss empty bottles right off the quad rather than carrying them home to a trash can.Yeah, it's a stereotype. It's also an ACCURATE stereotype.Thing I don't understand is the combination of fashion-chic camo clothing and the quad. Most of these guys are driving dark colored quads, wearing camo bush hats, camo clothing, camo packs on their cargo deck, with a camo gun case (probably carrying a camo-synthetic-stocked yahoo supershort magnum) while they cruise around on their loud, obnoxious, landscape destroying machinery. Nothing says "I'm a dumbass yahoo slob" better than a camo-bedecked guy who "hunts" the entire day from his motorized toy.

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from William wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I can't begin to count the number of hunts that have been ruined because of ATV's loud, identifiable sounding engines. I read lots of comments about other people using ATV's to retrieve fallen game. Remember that when you go to pick up your downed animal that there are other hunters that haven't bagged anything that are still hunting. More times than any the part that ruins the hunt is when an ATV rider is "just trying to pick up his downed game" and everyone else gets the shaft. Luckily on the public land that I hunt ATV's generally aren't allowed. The problem is that noise knows no geographic boundary so the hunt can still be ruined by other people in surrounding areas that are out joy riding.

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from Shane wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Just catching up on blog reading after a week in the woods. Why do people need a truck or ATV to retrieve a deer or any creature? In my hunting career there have been only two methods of getting a deer back to the truck. Method one drag the sucker, method two frame pack and quartering in the field.

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from Curt R wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

While ATV's are noisy, smelly, and tear up the ground, horses and mules also stink and muck up creeks, trails, and meadows, and are not native to the land! Why not ban them all? Then we can leave the woods to the little forest critters, and all their environmental whacko friends! If you don't hunt on "public lands", limit your opinions and comments to the bar area of your "high fence hunt clubhouse".

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from Dr. Ralph wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

Where I hunt the deer know ATV's. The area is extremely unpopulated and when they hear that ATV they disappear. It makes it tough for everyone as they gain popularity. I have one friend I hunt with that carries an ATV in the back of his truck and only uses it after a deer has been shot in a remote area. He has had two stolen from him while in the woods. The world is going to hell fast.The people I know who live on farms in these desolate areas hate ATV's as they hear them creeping around in the middle of the night doing who knows what. Just another tool for the criminal/poacher/slob/fatass hunter. Maybe they should pass a law making them legal for the elderly and disabled but other than that they cause many more problems than they solve...

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from Blue Ox wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

What about horses?A good draft horse can carry or drag most anything one can bag in N. america. Yea, they may be pricey to house and maintain, but they're quiet and don't tear up the woods like a careless atv-er might. A horse can go where most atvs can't- they can step right over blowdowns and even swim across rivers if need be.Them's my 2 cents.

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from scott wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

just remember that we do have wildlife officers that can take care of it they have something called cellphones and they have a number u can call when you are watching trouble happen dont set here and gripe about it do something about it call the wildlife people there may be alot of people tearing up the forest but theres alot of people thats not we all need to pull together and start geting ahold of the right people and turn them in for it

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from James Westbrook wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

All of you are right and young, short sighted or just ignorant. Respect for the environment and others is part of a person's makeup or not. I would much rather walk through the world at large, but after two hip replacment ,a spinal fusion ,a shoulder replacement and three other orthropedic procedures I depend upon ATVs four-wheelers and the like allow me some access to otherwise unreachable places.

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from michael/arkansas wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

i am not lazy. my son and myself work hard for what we got. an atv is one of them. i am for staying on trails, just stop reducing the number of trails. we need more trails, not fewer of them. we get mad ourselfs about riders being riding too early of a morning and late of the evening during the hunting season. i am not going to argue with the so-called sportsman about keeping atvs off the land. if you are using public land, get used to them. there is enough fussing and fighting about this and it needs to stop. this is what gets recreation use closed for us all. for or against is up to you. if they bother you that much go pay the big bucks on some ranch if that is what you want, but leave THE PUBLIC ALONE!!!!!! this is our tax-paying right to be here the same as the other guy. everyone needs to respect the other.so please, if they bother you, go pay the money and hunt privite. you can fuss and fight all day and it will not do no good except fuel the fire for the antis. if there where thay are not supposed to be use your CELL and report them and leave us all alone, please. and i hope that if anyone that does not like the atv does not need rescue/help in the woods because they will have to use them, safely of course. have a safe and wonderful camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, vacation season.

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from aps wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

The problem with atv's in the public wilderness revolves around the users, not the machines. The fools who take their atv's off of the designated areas and destroy habitat are worthless and should be prosecuted. But remember, proper atv use on designated areas is still just as legal as carrying a firearm into the woods. The answer isn't in passing more laws, but in better education of the public.Also, I enjoyed the article on basic atv use, especially on the correct ways to use your atv when maneuvering obstacles. Often, someone will encounter a fallen log laying across an atv trail and rather than go around it, creating new paths, they can go over it. Furthermore, not everyone hunts public land and those people who hunt their own private land are free to make their own paths or trails.Thank you, Field and Stream, for publishing a very informative article that will help many beginner and intermediate riders. Please continue the good work. BTW I have never hunted off of an atv, but do use public trails for family recreation. I also teach basic and intermediate atv courses and realize that most of the public are very uneducated to the proper use of ATV's.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

One of the reasons I don't hunt public land is because of atv's. Some riders have no limit to how far in the woods they'll go or who's hunt they'll ruin tearing thru. An atv is to get you close, then walk in.

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from Gary Eldreth wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

When used properly and with care atvs want damage the landscape much. I have one and I only use it for retreaving any game that I can't carry. Other than that it has no place on the hunt. If I were not getting to the age that I can't pull the little two wheel game carts I would use it.

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from John C. wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

I once heard it said that while not everyone who plays golf is an "***hole," every "***hole" plays golf. Well, I feel exactly the same way about ATV riders. And yes, I own one that I use to check fences and such.My father and I have spent at least $10,000 in the last decade repairing damage to the roads, fields and fences on our farm that the local ATV riders have caused.Then there are the countless deer carcasses we have found that these same ATV riders have spotlighted and shot for the hell of it.Oh and did I mention how pleasant it is to have these things go by your house at 3:00 in the morning. I am especially found of the guys who feel the need to alter their mufflers so as to make their bikes even more annoying.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

"It is the same breed of slob that has caused most public and private land to become gated and/or posted due to damage and litter."Yep. And now, thanks to quads, those slobs can make their messes and rip up ground where you never used to see them.

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from Ernie Talpey wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

I've hunted for over 30 years in the state of Maine as my parents grew up there but I live in Massachusetts. There are millions of acres in northern Maine that are a part of the "Land Share" program whereby outdoor sports are allowed within certain conditions - you don't hunt where men are logging; you keep snowmobiles and ATVs on marked trails, and you drive your vehicles only on the logging roads. Are there gated areas? Yes, from millionaires and conservation groups buying up "kingdoms". This is happening more and more as paper companies look to make a quick buck. Concern is mounting that we'll be shut out completely.I'm dissappointed by the bulk of the comments here as you are doing to ATV usage what the anti-gunners, environmental extremists, and all of our "opposition" are saying about those of us that go hunting and fishing. The key word here is "go" because we are a dying populace.Unless we work constructively to get as many people involved in our sport we will see our public land access being reduced to zero. Think back to the 70's when snow machines were getting popular. No trails, no clubs or any enforcement. Today, they are an economic boon to places where accepted and the 5 percent are the problem as within our society as a whole. The ATV community has the same learning curve to head down and I'm proud to say that Maine is tackling the issues head on by supporting the growth of ATV clubs and they manage and enforce the marked trial system.Lastly, I hunt, fish, shoot skeet, hike, kayak, and enjoy many methods for getting my family and friends (young and old) into the outdoors. That is our key to success for the future of our outdoor sports. How we share these resources we have is up to us. Generalization of a certain populace is an ignorant approach to protecting your idea of how to live. Remember, there are those on the other side saying that of you! Probably not what you want to hear. Constructive use of our time, working with land owners, snowmobile, ATV, 4-wheeler clubs, and environmental, AMC, and other clubs will be the only way that all of us can hand down our fields and streams to the next generation and those that follow.

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from matt lenhart wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

In Colorado where I hunt for Elk, deer and antelope, the DOW has done a good job of enforcing open/closed trails. The ATV is a good tool for getting to the general location of the hunt and hauling your trophy back to camp. They are not a good hunting tool. Nothing can replace walking the terrain. Looking for sign, stalking to the bed and quietly awaiting the moment that you worked so hard for. The other moment of satisfaction is talking about your hunt with other hunters. Where we hunt, we just about know everyone who hunts the area. I will admit, though, that there is the occassional incondsiderate ATV user in the areas where we hunt. We let them know how we hunt the area and let them know that they are being inconsiderate of the other hunters in the area. Maybe we are mellower in Colorado.

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from badger wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

Well, it seems that there is a good debate. I would also say that many people use them well. For example I use them for hauling out the animals that I shoot. This last year I shot a real nice elk, had to packframe it out 1 mile to the trailhead and then on the quad. I don't think many of you have ever had to pack out six trips of elk on your back (12 miles worth) just to get to the trailhead. The ATV's are tools the same as guns and any other gear, the benefits of them can be ruined by anyone, but it takes us as a group to help enforce the rules for others, so we can maintain the option. I have hunted back east and all over the west and I have seen plenty of careless (litering and impolite) hunters in each state I have been. Don't place the blame on ATV's but the people using them. Sure, let's have some restrictions on usage, but lets be smart about those restriction, otherwise we are just offering for more things to be taken away

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from Gary Tompkins wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

Our club in SC is 1500 acreas. We have a rule in place during hunting season that you have to walk to your stand; however,we can use our ATV's to retrieve deer. Everyone knows that you can hear an ATV 1/2 mile away and the deer know that sound and will leave an area or hide out.Off season, we use them to transport fertilzer, lime, seed and pull planting implements. There is definately room for them in the tools of a hunter.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

I agree that ATV's should not be allowed on certain lands. The slobs will always find new ways to f-up the hunter's image.

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from muddog wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

ATV's will be outlawed sooner or later and for good reason.Hunting has become equated with Lazy / Slob Hunter "Types" and the ATV is just another mechanized tool for those to lazy to get off their ass. Simply shooting something in the woods does not make one a "Hunter".I hope that those who decry the ATV keep shouting so we can get these things off of what little pristine wild lands we have left to hunt on!.....

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from muddog wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

ATV's will be outlawed sooner or later and for good reason.Hunting has become equated with Lazy / Slob Hunter "Types" and the ATV is just another mechanized tool for those to lazy to get off their ass. Simply shooting something in the woods does not make one a "Hunter".I hope that those who decry the ATV keep shouting so we can get these things off of what little pristine wild lands we have left to hunt on!.....

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

I think most of you boneheads that are cursing the ATV are self righteous jerk offs.I think that the off road rules should be enforced just like other rules. But beer can littering, fat assed, road hunting, drive-by shooting, slobs tearing up the woods were on the American landscape long before the ATV was invented.So the root cause is not the ATV. It is the same breed of slob that has caused most public and private land to become gated and/or posted due to damage and litter.

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from Mark-1 wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

I dislike ATV’s. They’re a lazy, suburban person’s “horse” that doesn’t require skill, time or knowledge to wrangle or to ride…nor paddock/pasture. Sorta reflective of our modern USA life.ATV’s are good for intruding and invading, but of doubtful hunting value.BTW you can buy a very good horse, saddle, and tack for much less.

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from ks wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

i think every one here is smoking crack the ATV is seconed only to the gun and warm clothes. because there is no way im going to get up at 2am and walk 5 miles, when i can get up an 4am and ride 5 miles

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from albertahunter wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

Alberta restricts ATV's during hunting season to before sunrise and after noon but the fools joyriding and 4x4ing have ruined a lot of our wilderness. a good dump of snow shuts down the lazy hunters but this year is not one of them. Its really tough to enforce when they are in areas most sane persons avoid.

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from Dr. Ralph wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

Obviously we are all in agreement... the damn things have ruined the woods. They are the ultimate poaching tool and they take away the true meaning of the hunt. Communing with nature and your environment as it was for many thousands of years. Now "hunters" roll off the couch, into their truck, and onto their ATV's and think they are hunting. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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from KingFisher907 wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

There's nothing more frustrating than rising early and hiking your ass off to reach a remote area only to hear the roar of some fat slob approaching on his "quad", replete with winches, coolers, handlebar-mounted GPS, gun boots and every sissified piece of gear imaginable...I laugh, 'cause I know that even on my WORST day, I can out-hunt, out-fish and piss farther than these outdoor channel wanna-be's...

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from Mitch Wilson wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

One of the huge problems here in Minnesota (and I'd venture to say its the same in Michigan and Wisconsin) is that with active forest management, you need to had a road network to get the wood out, and that invites the yahoos to get farther and farther back in. It's borderline impossible to find a place you can hike to on the Chippewa National Forest, where I live, that's more than a 1/4 mile from a passable trail.

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from Tom Sorenson wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

Sounds like I'm with the majority of the others who've commented thus far. I dislike four wheelers and their place in hunting. If they'd stick to the roads where they're supposed to be used, I'd not have a problem with them - it is easy enough for me to hike far enough away from a road where that never becomes an issue. Problems arise when idiots take these things off roads where they are not supposed to go - in fact, not sure how it is elsewhere, but in Idaho it is illegal to take them off roads where they absolutely tear the crud out of the land. Not to mention makes me want to explode when I hear a rig puttering where there ain't supposed to be any puttering goin' on! Keep the rigs on the roads if ya want, but leave them outta the pristine woods.

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from bnorth wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

Fortuntely where I live, ATV's are banned on public recreational property, and I'd like to see it stay that way. There are too few responsible ATV riders and the yahoos on wheels do nothing but tear up the environment.

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from I'm in school right now wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

You should never use an ATV unless you need it to haul something. We hunt on land where there is a very steep hill that drops about 200 feet in elevation. We take a lot of big deer down there, and we can't get to them with a pickup due to all the trees. It is very time-saving to go down with the ATV and get it. Using it for anything else should be banned though.But if you allow one thing like that, someone will try to make an exception or a loophole, so for now i guess we can have just us guys haul it up the hill.Nate

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from Mitch Wilson wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

If you were to take a survey of my 10 closest friends who hunt with both guns and archery tackle, at least 7 of them would strongly encourage banning the use of ATV's on all public land, with the exception of user-fee funded ATV recreation parks. The three that would oppose banning them are, unfortunately, precisely the types that ruin everybody else's experience. I was bowhunting elk in North Idaho in September with a buddy. We knew that the entire upper end of a drainage was closed off to vehicular access, so we hiked 3 miles in, dropped down about 1000 feet, and the elk were screaming their heads off. Third day of hunting in there, some lazy slobs forced a quad into the drainage on an old logging road, and the elk were gone. ATV restrictions are practically unenforceable, so the best way to go would be ban them completely on public lands.

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from Ajax wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

In Montana our ranch ATV was good for leveling the horse paddock, pulling the Chevy S10 out of ditches, and generally getting around where the truck couldn't. ATVs are excellent for utility, and a lot of hunters love them, especially young hunters. They're like a poor man's horse, in a way--half the point of hunting with one is to just be out on it--and it's hard to argue with anything that's bringing more hunters into the field. But I have zero interest in hunting with one myself, and when I hear them in the forest, I wish they'd be banned. It's a conflicting issue--certainly ATVs would be better if they were quieter and cleaner. For now I have to agree with Mr. Kehrer--if you're going to use an ATV, keep it on the road.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

Based on my observation, 90% of ATV riders are caruncle-brained, porcine oafs.

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from Mike wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

Same conversation should apply to off road bikes and snowmobiles. Nothing like having a couple of boneheads ruin a hunt by being where they are not supposed to be. Keep 'em on public access and specified trails. I would also love to see quieter electrics - wondering how quiet this new electric snowmobile will be. Access for handicapped needs to be addressed, too.

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from UB3L wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

IMHO, ATV (aka four-wheelers, quads) are for the infirm, elderly, or lazy. Case in point, my father is approaching sixty years of age, is still in fine condition (for the most part) but doesn't want to walk the hills in VA anymore so he wants to get an ATV. I told him to walk it off. Still another case, guy I hunt with had his spine smashed by, literally, a ton of brick when it fell from scaffolding some years ago - he needs an ATV to get out in the woods even though he can walk. One more case, lazy hillbillies in the mountains where I hunt cruz the old and new backwoods logging/fire trails, the power lines cut-throughs, etc. and do drive-by shootings on wildlife. To me it's no different than spotlighting or road hunting. Keep the ATVs out of the woods, get off your ass and walk.

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from Pops wrote 4 years 1 week ago

What about us old folks that can't walk like we did 50 years ago. Are we to just give up hunting because we are old. When I was young I could walk down a pointer bird dog. Now at age 68 and neuropthy in my legs and feet a quarter mile is quite a task. I still love to hunt as much as ever but am very limited as to how far, when, & where I go. Do you young guys plan to give up hunting and the outdoors as you age? Remember I can still vote and vindictive as hell. If you cut me out you won't last long.

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from Pops wrote 4 years 1 week ago

When I was young I could walk a pointer bird down. Now at age 68 with bad legs and feet, a quarter mile is a task. I still love to hunt as much as when I was young. Am I just to give all this up? Do you plan to give up hunting & fishing when you age? Is hunting just for the young and robust? There are a lot of us old folks and we vote and some are as I, Vindictive as hell. If you cut me you won't last long.

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from bberg7794 wrote 3 years 45 weeks ago

"However (and there's always a however), there remains a sizeable contingent of hunters who believe hunting should remain a leg-borne activity and if ATVs are to be used then they damn sure need to stick to the roads."
Count me among the contingent who do not support ATV's for hunting. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard "give me a chainsaw and my ATV and I will go anywhere" and how sick this makes me feel about the wanton disregard this attitude displays for wild country. I see hunters every season with a loaded rifle on the forks (illegal), a cooler in the basket (containing beer-illegal), road hunting while driving the ATV (without a helmet-illegal), in places where ATV's are not allowed (illegal). These are the people non-hunters see and associate all hunters with. I don't agree with this and I don't want to be associated with ATV hunters.
I am getting older and have one knee that gives me trouble. I don't run anymore, and maybe I never will again but I still get to the weightroom two to three days a week and regularly walk as much as possible. Fitness is part of my dedication to hunting as much as target shooting is. I plan on slinging my rifle and using trekking poles to help me get back in the woods when I need to. I realize that eventually I will have to limit how far I walk and start hunting from a stand on farmland that is only 1/4 mile from the road, and eventually stop hunting altogether. This is natural and hopefully I can still hunt into my upper 80's like some in my family have.
Pops-"If you cut me down you won't last long." What is that? I don't threaten my one neighbor who rides his ATV 250 yards back to his tree stand behind his house, nor my other neighbor who owns an assault rifle just because I disagree with them. They are my neighbors first, and good people even though we don't see eye to eye on all things. I am a passionate hunter as are you, I am sure. I vote too and voting is where we should disagree without openly threatening our neighbors who we are more like than we want to believe.

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from Elk2010 wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

Well, I'm one of those awful atv users. And here's my "however", the guy sounds like Obama throwing those 90% numbers around. I've seen lots of "overweight gear heads", and the number is more like 30%. I would also point out that beer cans, cigarette butts have been out there long before the atvs came along. I guess it was either Indians or those rugged outdoors types packing that junk in. What's more I've seen game trails used so much they were starting to erode! We need to do something about those wild animals, I suppose. Lastly, I sure appreciate this guys concern (ha) for hunters. But there's one problem, I've had my hunting experiences spoiled a whole lot more by noisy "outdoor types" like him, or even more noisy horseback riders. I really wonder if this Idaho spud hikes as much as he lets on. Finally, I promise not to lump all arrogant, but avid, deer hunters into one category, if he will do the same for atv riders. I love the mountains as much he does, but I have sense enough to know there are bums everywhere whether they walk, or ride.

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from Pops wrote 4 years 1 week ago

What about us old folks that can't walk like we did 50 years ago. Are we to just give up hunting because we are old. When I was young I could walk down a pointer bird dog. Now at age 68 and neuropthy in my legs and feet a quarter mile is quite a task. I still love to hunt as much as ever but am very limited as to how far, when, & where I go. Do you young guys plan to give up hunting and the outdoors as you age? Remember I can still vote and vindictive as hell. If you cut me out you won't last long.

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from Pops wrote 4 years 1 week ago

When I was young I could walk a pointer bird down. Now at age 68 with bad legs and feet, a quarter mile is a task. I still love to hunt as much as when I was young. Am I just to give all this up? Do you plan to give up hunting & fishing when you age? Is hunting just for the young and robust? There are a lot of us old folks and we vote and some are as I, Vindictive as hell. If you cut me you won't last long.

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from Justin T wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

ATVs destroy streambeds and cause erosion and siltation of streams. As an AVID fly fisherman, I have seen how ATVs can destroy a brook trout stream. Another annoyance of these machines is that my quiet wilderness experience is rudely interrupted by the noise of engines and jackasses screaming. Where I hunt, we have 600 acres leased and I walk to my stand and only use ATVs to bring a deer out. In my opinion, if you are too lazy to walk to your stand, you should not be hunting anyway.

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from mdmnm wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

John C's comment:"I once heard it said that while not everyone who plays golf is an "***hole," every "***hole" plays golf. Well, I feel exactly the same way about ATV riders."about sums it up for me. I feel the same way.

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from YooperJack wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Hey, I hope I'm looking at this realistically! We hunters, as group, are aging. ATV's are a tremendous asset for hauling game. If you're not in a wilderness area or an area posted against ATV's, I see nothing wrong with using them for that purpose. Michigan has laws that prohibits riding ATV's in hunting areas except when going in, coming out, and transporting game. I think that's a good common sense approach. While I don't agree with a lot that many of you write, I do look forward to reading your posts. I shudder to think that you might not be writing anymore because you passed away, dragging that buck.YooperJack

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from Hypocrite wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Sadly, even though there is an overwhelming amount of commentary opposed to ATVs, they will still show up as advertorial in F&S because ATVs buy the advertising, regardless of reader input.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

"if they bother you, go pay the money and hunt privite."I'd rather see them banned entirely from public land."you can fuss and fight all day and it will not do no good except fuel the fire for the antis"It's the guys riding the quads who give ammo to the antis. If you want to do something for real sportsmanship, get off your bike and walk off some of that lard.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

90% of 'em are lazy, overwight slobs. I see dozens every hunt. These guys are pretty much all obviously road hunting. Most of 'em will toss empty bottles right off the quad rather than carrying them home to a trash can.Yeah, it's a stereotype. It's also an ACCURATE stereotype.Thing I don't understand is the combination of fashion-chic camo clothing and the quad. Most of these guys are driving dark colored quads, wearing camo bush hats, camo clothing, camo packs on their cargo deck, with a camo gun case (probably carrying a camo-synthetic-stocked yahoo supershort magnum) while they cruise around on their loud, obnoxious, landscape destroying machinery. Nothing says "I'm a dumbass yahoo slob" better than a camo-bedecked guy who "hunts" the entire day from his motorized toy.

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from William wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

I can't begin to count the number of hunts that have been ruined because of ATV's loud, identifiable sounding engines. I read lots of comments about other people using ATV's to retrieve fallen game. Remember that when you go to pick up your downed animal that there are other hunters that haven't bagged anything that are still hunting. More times than any the part that ruins the hunt is when an ATV rider is "just trying to pick up his downed game" and everyone else gets the shaft. Luckily on the public land that I hunt ATV's generally aren't allowed. The problem is that noise knows no geographic boundary so the hunt can still be ruined by other people in surrounding areas that are out joy riding.

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from Shane wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

Just catching up on blog reading after a week in the woods. Why do people need a truck or ATV to retrieve a deer or any creature? In my hunting career there have been only two methods of getting a deer back to the truck. Method one drag the sucker, method two frame pack and quartering in the field.

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from Curt R wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

While ATV's are noisy, smelly, and tear up the ground, horses and mules also stink and muck up creeks, trails, and meadows, and are not native to the land! Why not ban them all? Then we can leave the woods to the little forest critters, and all their environmental whacko friends! If you don't hunt on "public lands", limit your opinions and comments to the bar area of your "high fence hunt clubhouse".

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from Dr. Ralph wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

Where I hunt the deer know ATV's. The area is extremely unpopulated and when they hear that ATV they disappear. It makes it tough for everyone as they gain popularity. I have one friend I hunt with that carries an ATV in the back of his truck and only uses it after a deer has been shot in a remote area. He has had two stolen from him while in the woods. The world is going to hell fast.The people I know who live on farms in these desolate areas hate ATV's as they hear them creeping around in the middle of the night doing who knows what. Just another tool for the criminal/poacher/slob/fatass hunter. Maybe they should pass a law making them legal for the elderly and disabled but other than that they cause many more problems than they solve...

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from Blue Ox wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

What about horses?A good draft horse can carry or drag most anything one can bag in N. america. Yea, they may be pricey to house and maintain, but they're quiet and don't tear up the woods like a careless atv-er might. A horse can go where most atvs can't- they can step right over blowdowns and even swim across rivers if need be.Them's my 2 cents.

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from scott wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

just remember that we do have wildlife officers that can take care of it they have something called cellphones and they have a number u can call when you are watching trouble happen dont set here and gripe about it do something about it call the wildlife people there may be alot of people tearing up the forest but theres alot of people thats not we all need to pull together and start geting ahold of the right people and turn them in for it

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from James Westbrook wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

All of you are right and young, short sighted or just ignorant. Respect for the environment and others is part of a person's makeup or not. I would much rather walk through the world at large, but after two hip replacment ,a spinal fusion ,a shoulder replacement and three other orthropedic procedures I depend upon ATVs four-wheelers and the like allow me some access to otherwise unreachable places.

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from michael/arkansas wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

i am not lazy. my son and myself work hard for what we got. an atv is one of them. i am for staying on trails, just stop reducing the number of trails. we need more trails, not fewer of them. we get mad ourselfs about riders being riding too early of a morning and late of the evening during the hunting season. i am not going to argue with the so-called sportsman about keeping atvs off the land. if you are using public land, get used to them. there is enough fussing and fighting about this and it needs to stop. this is what gets recreation use closed for us all. for or against is up to you. if they bother you that much go pay the big bucks on some ranch if that is what you want, but leave THE PUBLIC ALONE!!!!!! this is our tax-paying right to be here the same as the other guy. everyone needs to respect the other.so please, if they bother you, go pay the money and hunt privite. you can fuss and fight all day and it will not do no good except fuel the fire for the antis. if there where thay are not supposed to be use your CELL and report them and leave us all alone, please. and i hope that if anyone that does not like the atv does not need rescue/help in the woods because they will have to use them, safely of course. have a safe and wonderful camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, vacation season.

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from aps wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

The problem with atv's in the public wilderness revolves around the users, not the machines. The fools who take their atv's off of the designated areas and destroy habitat are worthless and should be prosecuted. But remember, proper atv use on designated areas is still just as legal as carrying a firearm into the woods. The answer isn't in passing more laws, but in better education of the public.Also, I enjoyed the article on basic atv use, especially on the correct ways to use your atv when maneuvering obstacles. Often, someone will encounter a fallen log laying across an atv trail and rather than go around it, creating new paths, they can go over it. Furthermore, not everyone hunts public land and those people who hunt their own private land are free to make their own paths or trails.Thank you, Field and Stream, for publishing a very informative article that will help many beginner and intermediate riders. Please continue the good work. BTW I have never hunted off of an atv, but do use public trails for family recreation. I also teach basic and intermediate atv courses and realize that most of the public are very uneducated to the proper use of ATV's.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

One of the reasons I don't hunt public land is because of atv's. Some riders have no limit to how far in the woods they'll go or who's hunt they'll ruin tearing thru. An atv is to get you close, then walk in.

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from Gary Eldreth wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

When used properly and with care atvs want damage the landscape much. I have one and I only use it for retreaving any game that I can't carry. Other than that it has no place on the hunt. If I were not getting to the age that I can't pull the little two wheel game carts I would use it.

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from John C. wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

I once heard it said that while not everyone who plays golf is an "***hole," every "***hole" plays golf. Well, I feel exactly the same way about ATV riders. And yes, I own one that I use to check fences and such.My father and I have spent at least $10,000 in the last decade repairing damage to the roads, fields and fences on our farm that the local ATV riders have caused.Then there are the countless deer carcasses we have found that these same ATV riders have spotlighted and shot for the hell of it.Oh and did I mention how pleasant it is to have these things go by your house at 3:00 in the morning. I am especially found of the guys who feel the need to alter their mufflers so as to make their bikes even more annoying.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

"It is the same breed of slob that has caused most public and private land to become gated and/or posted due to damage and litter."Yep. And now, thanks to quads, those slobs can make their messes and rip up ground where you never used to see them.

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from Ernie Talpey wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

I've hunted for over 30 years in the state of Maine as my parents grew up there but I live in Massachusetts. There are millions of acres in northern Maine that are a part of the "Land Share" program whereby outdoor sports are allowed within certain conditions - you don't hunt where men are logging; you keep snowmobiles and ATVs on marked trails, and you drive your vehicles only on the logging roads. Are there gated areas? Yes, from millionaires and conservation groups buying up "kingdoms". This is happening more and more as paper companies look to make a quick buck. Concern is mounting that we'll be shut out completely.I'm dissappointed by the bulk of the comments here as you are doing to ATV usage what the anti-gunners, environmental extremists, and all of our "opposition" are saying about those of us that go hunting and fishing. The key word here is "go" because we are a dying populace.Unless we work constructively to get as many people involved in our sport we will see our public land access being reduced to zero. Think back to the 70's when snow machines were getting popular. No trails, no clubs or any enforcement. Today, they are an economic boon to places where accepted and the 5 percent are the problem as within our society as a whole. The ATV community has the same learning curve to head down and I'm proud to say that Maine is tackling the issues head on by supporting the growth of ATV clubs and they manage and enforce the marked trial system.Lastly, I hunt, fish, shoot skeet, hike, kayak, and enjoy many methods for getting my family and friends (young and old) into the outdoors. That is our key to success for the future of our outdoor sports. How we share these resources we have is up to us. Generalization of a certain populace is an ignorant approach to protecting your idea of how to live. Remember, there are those on the other side saying that of you! Probably not what you want to hear. Constructive use of our time, working with land owners, snowmobile, ATV, 4-wheeler clubs, and environmental, AMC, and other clubs will be the only way that all of us can hand down our fields and streams to the next generation and those that follow.

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from matt lenhart wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

In Colorado where I hunt for Elk, deer and antelope, the DOW has done a good job of enforcing open/closed trails. The ATV is a good tool for getting to the general location of the hunt and hauling your trophy back to camp. They are not a good hunting tool. Nothing can replace walking the terrain. Looking for sign, stalking to the bed and quietly awaiting the moment that you worked so hard for. The other moment of satisfaction is talking about your hunt with other hunters. Where we hunt, we just about know everyone who hunts the area. I will admit, though, that there is the occassional incondsiderate ATV user in the areas where we hunt. We let them know how we hunt the area and let them know that they are being inconsiderate of the other hunters in the area. Maybe we are mellower in Colorado.

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from badger wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

Well, it seems that there is a good debate. I would also say that many people use them well. For example I use them for hauling out the animals that I shoot. This last year I shot a real nice elk, had to packframe it out 1 mile to the trailhead and then on the quad. I don't think many of you have ever had to pack out six trips of elk on your back (12 miles worth) just to get to the trailhead. The ATV's are tools the same as guns and any other gear, the benefits of them can be ruined by anyone, but it takes us as a group to help enforce the rules for others, so we can maintain the option. I have hunted back east and all over the west and I have seen plenty of careless (litering and impolite) hunters in each state I have been. Don't place the blame on ATV's but the people using them. Sure, let's have some restrictions on usage, but lets be smart about those restriction, otherwise we are just offering for more things to be taken away

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from Gary Tompkins wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

Our club in SC is 1500 acreas. We have a rule in place during hunting season that you have to walk to your stand; however,we can use our ATV's to retrieve deer. Everyone knows that you can hear an ATV 1/2 mile away and the deer know that sound and will leave an area or hide out.Off season, we use them to transport fertilzer, lime, seed and pull planting implements. There is definately room for them in the tools of a hunter.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

I agree that ATV's should not be allowed on certain lands. The slobs will always find new ways to f-up the hunter's image.

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from muddog wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

ATV's will be outlawed sooner or later and for good reason.Hunting has become equated with Lazy / Slob Hunter "Types" and the ATV is just another mechanized tool for those to lazy to get off their ass. Simply shooting something in the woods does not make one a "Hunter".I hope that those who decry the ATV keep shouting so we can get these things off of what little pristine wild lands we have left to hunt on!.....

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from muddog wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

ATV's will be outlawed sooner or later and for good reason.Hunting has become equated with Lazy / Slob Hunter "Types" and the ATV is just another mechanized tool for those to lazy to get off their ass. Simply shooting something in the woods does not make one a "Hunter".I hope that those who decry the ATV keep shouting so we can get these things off of what little pristine wild lands we have left to hunt on!.....

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

I think most of you boneheads that are cursing the ATV are self righteous jerk offs.I think that the off road rules should be enforced just like other rules. But beer can littering, fat assed, road hunting, drive-by shooting, slobs tearing up the woods were on the American landscape long before the ATV was invented.So the root cause is not the ATV. It is the same breed of slob that has caused most public and private land to become gated and/or posted due to damage and litter.

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from Mark-1 wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

I dislike ATV’s. They’re a lazy, suburban person’s “horse” that doesn’t require skill, time or knowledge to wrangle or to ride…nor paddock/pasture. Sorta reflective of our modern USA life.ATV’s are good for intruding and invading, but of doubtful hunting value.BTW you can buy a very good horse, saddle, and tack for much less.

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from ks wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

i think every one here is smoking crack the ATV is seconed only to the gun and warm clothes. because there is no way im going to get up at 2am and walk 5 miles, when i can get up an 4am and ride 5 miles

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from albertahunter wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

Alberta restricts ATV's during hunting season to before sunrise and after noon but the fools joyriding and 4x4ing have ruined a lot of our wilderness. a good dump of snow shuts down the lazy hunters but this year is not one of them. Its really tough to enforce when they are in areas most sane persons avoid.

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from Dr. Ralph wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

Obviously we are all in agreement... the damn things have ruined the woods. They are the ultimate poaching tool and they take away the true meaning of the hunt. Communing with nature and your environment as it was for many thousands of years. Now "hunters" roll off the couch, into their truck, and onto their ATV's and think they are hunting. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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from KingFisher907 wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

There's nothing more frustrating than rising early and hiking your ass off to reach a remote area only to hear the roar of some fat slob approaching on his "quad", replete with winches, coolers, handlebar-mounted GPS, gun boots and every sissified piece of gear imaginable...I laugh, 'cause I know that even on my WORST day, I can out-hunt, out-fish and piss farther than these outdoor channel wanna-be's...

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from Mitch Wilson wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

One of the huge problems here in Minnesota (and I'd venture to say its the same in Michigan and Wisconsin) is that with active forest management, you need to had a road network to get the wood out, and that invites the yahoos to get farther and farther back in. It's borderline impossible to find a place you can hike to on the Chippewa National Forest, where I live, that's more than a 1/4 mile from a passable trail.

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from Tom Sorenson wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

Sounds like I'm with the majority of the others who've commented thus far. I dislike four wheelers and their place in hunting. If they'd stick to the roads where they're supposed to be used, I'd not have a problem with them - it is easy enough for me to hike far enough away from a road where that never becomes an issue. Problems arise when idiots take these things off roads where they are not supposed to go - in fact, not sure how it is elsewhere, but in Idaho it is illegal to take them off roads where they absolutely tear the crud out of the land. Not to mention makes me want to explode when I hear a rig puttering where there ain't supposed to be any puttering goin' on! Keep the rigs on the roads if ya want, but leave them outta the pristine woods.

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from bnorth wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

Fortuntely where I live, ATV's are banned on public recreational property, and I'd like to see it stay that way. There are too few responsible ATV riders and the yahoos on wheels do nothing but tear up the environment.

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from I'm in school right now wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

You should never use an ATV unless you need it to haul something. We hunt on land where there is a very steep hill that drops about 200 feet in elevation. We take a lot of big deer down there, and we can't get to them with a pickup due to all the trees. It is very time-saving to go down with the ATV and get it. Using it for anything else should be banned though.But if you allow one thing like that, someone will try to make an exception or a loophole, so for now i guess we can have just us guys haul it up the hill.Nate

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from Mitch Wilson wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

If you were to take a survey of my 10 closest friends who hunt with both guns and archery tackle, at least 7 of them would strongly encourage banning the use of ATV's on all public land, with the exception of user-fee funded ATV recreation parks. The three that would oppose banning them are, unfortunately, precisely the types that ruin everybody else's experience. I was bowhunting elk in North Idaho in September with a buddy. We knew that the entire upper end of a drainage was closed off to vehicular access, so we hiked 3 miles in, dropped down about 1000 feet, and the elk were screaming their heads off. Third day of hunting in there, some lazy slobs forced a quad into the drainage on an old logging road, and the elk were gone. ATV restrictions are practically unenforceable, so the best way to go would be ban them completely on public lands.

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from Ajax wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

In Montana our ranch ATV was good for leveling the horse paddock, pulling the Chevy S10 out of ditches, and generally getting around where the truck couldn't. ATVs are excellent for utility, and a lot of hunters love them, especially young hunters. They're like a poor man's horse, in a way--half the point of hunting with one is to just be out on it--and it's hard to argue with anything that's bringing more hunters into the field. But I have zero interest in hunting with one myself, and when I hear them in the forest, I wish they'd be banned. It's a conflicting issue--certainly ATVs would be better if they were quieter and cleaner. For now I have to agree with Mr. Kehrer--if you're going to use an ATV, keep it on the road.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

Based on my observation, 90% of ATV riders are caruncle-brained, porcine oafs.

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from Mike wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

Same conversation should apply to off road bikes and snowmobiles. Nothing like having a couple of boneheads ruin a hunt by being where they are not supposed to be. Keep 'em on public access and specified trails. I would also love to see quieter electrics - wondering how quiet this new electric snowmobile will be. Access for handicapped needs to be addressed, too.

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from UB3L wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

IMHO, ATV (aka four-wheelers, quads) are for the infirm, elderly, or lazy. Case in point, my father is approaching sixty years of age, is still in fine condition (for the most part) but doesn't want to walk the hills in VA anymore so he wants to get an ATV. I told him to walk it off. Still another case, guy I hunt with had his spine smashed by, literally, a ton of brick when it fell from scaffolding some years ago - he needs an ATV to get out in the woods even though he can walk. One more case, lazy hillbillies in the mountains where I hunt cruz the old and new backwoods logging/fire trails, the power lines cut-throughs, etc. and do drive-by shootings on wildlife. To me it's no different than spotlighting or road hunting. Keep the ATVs out of the woods, get off your ass and walk.

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from bberg7794 wrote 3 years 45 weeks ago

"However (and there's always a however), there remains a sizeable contingent of hunters who believe hunting should remain a leg-borne activity and if ATVs are to be used then they damn sure need to stick to the roads."
Count me among the contingent who do not support ATV's for hunting. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard "give me a chainsaw and my ATV and I will go anywhere" and how sick this makes me feel about the wanton disregard this attitude displays for wild country. I see hunters every season with a loaded rifle on the forks (illegal), a cooler in the basket (containing beer-illegal), road hunting while driving the ATV (without a helmet-illegal), in places where ATV's are not allowed (illegal). These are the people non-hunters see and associate all hunters with. I don't agree with this and I don't want to be associated with ATV hunters.
I am getting older and have one knee that gives me trouble. I don't run anymore, and maybe I never will again but I still get to the weightroom two to three days a week and regularly walk as much as possible. Fitness is part of my dedication to hunting as much as target shooting is. I plan on slinging my rifle and using trekking poles to help me get back in the woods when I need to. I realize that eventually I will have to limit how far I walk and start hunting from a stand on farmland that is only 1/4 mile from the road, and eventually stop hunting altogether. This is natural and hopefully I can still hunt into my upper 80's like some in my family have.
Pops-"If you cut me down you won't last long." What is that? I don't threaten my one neighbor who rides his ATV 250 yards back to his tree stand behind his house, nor my other neighbor who owns an assault rifle just because I disagree with them. They are my neighbors first, and good people even though we don't see eye to eye on all things. I am a passionate hunter as are you, I am sure. I vote too and voting is where we should disagree without openly threatening our neighbors who we are more like than we want to believe.

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from Elk2010 wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

Well, I'm one of those awful atv users. And here's my "however", the guy sounds like Obama throwing those 90% numbers around. I've seen lots of "overweight gear heads", and the number is more like 30%. I would also point out that beer cans, cigarette butts have been out there long before the atvs came along. I guess it was either Indians or those rugged outdoors types packing that junk in. What's more I've seen game trails used so much they were starting to erode! We need to do something about those wild animals, I suppose. Lastly, I sure appreciate this guys concern (ha) for hunters. But there's one problem, I've had my hunting experiences spoiled a whole lot more by noisy "outdoor types" like him, or even more noisy horseback riders. I really wonder if this Idaho spud hikes as much as he lets on. Finally, I promise not to lump all arrogant, but avid, deer hunters into one category, if he will do the same for atv riders. I love the mountains as much he does, but I have sense enough to know there are bums everywhere whether they walk, or ride.

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