Yamaha Outdoors Tips — Minimize Your Impact During Hunting Season
By Bob Humphrey
ATVs can be invaluable for getting you into more inaccessible areas. It’s important to remember however that access roads bring more hunters. This leads to greater interaction and potential interference with other hunters. The sound of your machine could spook game, ruining your own or someone else’s hunt. Irresponsible off-trail use can cause soil erosion and other habitat degradation.
Here are a few tips on how to reduce your ATV impact during the hunting season.
• Know the vehicle use regulations for the area you are hunting. When hunting public land, contact the local field office for travel management information before you go. On private land consult the landowner.
• Stay on existing roads or trails and respect road and area closures. Creating new travelways or following unauthorized travelways created by other users can contribute to resource damage and habitat destruction, particularly in riparian zones or on steep slopes.
• Go early. You can increase your chances of success and cause less disturbance to hunters around you by accessing your hunting area before shooting hours, then hunting on foot.
• Retrieve harvested big game during the middle of the day or after dark when possible. This will reduce conflicts with other hunters and prevent spooking game at peak hours.
• Respect other users. Follow the rules of the road and the off-road. Slow down or stop when approaching other riders on the trail. When meeting equestrians, approach slowly, pull over and stop, turn off your engine, remove your helmet and ask how best to proceed.
• Avoid wet areas. Even with lighter weight and low-pressure tires, ATVs can damage wet areas.
• Keep your ATV properly tuned and muffled to reduce exhaust sounds and emissions.
• Don’t widen single-track trails by forcing your ATV down the trail.
• When overtaking others, pass in a safe and courteous manner.
• Limit ATV use in and around campgrounds. Be respectful of other campers’ desires for quiet and minimal disruption.
These simple steps can go a long way toward reducing the impact of ATV use and the need for more regulations, and will help retain existing ATV opportunities.
Note: Much of this information was provided by the U.S. Forest Service.