Just got back from 9 days on the Oregon Coast. Couple close calls, but no dice, yet...
Ran into a situation about 6 am friday morning. Having scouted a particular clearcut earlier in the week I got up early and drove into the unit and arrived around 5:30. Waited for shooting light to appear and started down the road. Standing atop the clearcut glassing and waiting for my partner to finish his morning business, I heard a truck pull up and park behind mine about 500 yards back up the gravel road. I was standing at the intersection where the gravel logging road goes left back into the trees and a dirt cat road takes off down the unit, along the tree line to a landing below.
I heard foot steps and looked up expecting my partner and was greeted with a brief hello by a hunter as he walked right past me and started down the cat road. I quickly got the guys attention and let him know I was hunting that unit. He told me he was too and that he had been hunting there all week. I told him I understood but we had gotten up early and been there first. I told him it was a tough break and that we had dibs on the unit today. He then tried to tell me he had guys coming from the bottom, which happens to be private farmland might I add. Again I told him I understand, but they will have to adjust their plans. He responded with its public land and I agreed that it was, but that it was good hunting ethics if another hunter is in there first, you got to move on. Feeling half way bad for the guy, I told him we'd be willing to let them come along, so he started down the road again. I stopped him once again and told the guy he was welcome to join, but we were heading down first. He disgruntling responded with a "go ahead then." So I started down and as I past in front of him, he calls me a prick. I quickly turn, looked him dead in the eye and ask why I was a prick. Surely he wouldn't follow other hunters right after the worked a tree line. Why would I?
Off I went and come to find out, he had some choice words for my buddy as he past by too. The road ended up being maybe a mile in length. During the hunt I felt bad, like I had been to direct and could've done more to work with the guy. But I feel that I was spot on after thinking about it and that it is a rule of common knowledge in hunting ethics to not impede on anthers hunt. Am I wrong?
On the other side
I was in a similar situation this weekend, but I was in the other guys shoes. I drove up to my unit in WY. I had only scouted one area in the unit, so I went up to the area I scouted on opening day. It had been about three weeks since I had been there. There was a pickup parked where I walk in at. I was kind of bummed, but thought oh well. When darkness came the other guy and me ended up coming down at about the same time. I tried to be friendly and ask him if he had had any luck. I could tell right away that he was upset that I showed up at the same spot. He said he had been watching the elk there for 4 days. He got really irritated when I said that I would be camping there. He said that he was going to just go hunt somewhere else. He couldn't believe that I actually walked up there after seeing his truck parked there. I told him that I wasn't trying to run him off, but that was the only area I had scouted, therefore that is where I planned on hunting.
I understand his position, especially because I think he was out of state. However, I, like you, was trying to be nice and reasonable, but he was obviously pissed and didn't want to talk. So I just said good luck.
I'm not sure what the solution is, but I do think that we are out there for the same reason, and if we happen in to bump into each other, we should just wish each other luck and move on. I don't think, however, just because he was there first he had exclusive rights to that area. It was just unfortunate that we ended up in the same place. I was actually just as irritated as he was, but I thought there was nothing I could do about it. He has just as much right to be there as I do.
Just my 2 cents. Good luck
I've ran into people in the backcountry before with no issues. They have just as much right as I do. In my mind hunter ethics comes more into play when you are stalking or something similar. If I was that guy, would I have done that? Probably not. I would have moved along. Not on the road for one. Where I do see people get their panties in a bunch about territory is duck hunting. One time we were at the duckclub and these dudes were snow goose hunting with their decoys set up in the parking lot. Yes. The parking lot. So we went to the next parking lot and humped our layout boats 1/3-1/2 mile out in the flooded field and they were yelling at us. I couldn't believe it. We can barely make out what they were saying and you know how sound travels on a calm day over water. They packed up their decoys in their truck that they didn't park in a lot, it was 70-80 yds down the road from their decoys and left. Sorry guys. You can't have the whole duck club to yourself.
Guys...I don't want you to take what I am going to say the wrong way, but IT IS public land and everyone has a right to be there. I used to hunt a lot in California and ran into this situation a lot. Best thing I can say is just suck it up and make the best of it. Sometimes more hunters can actually make it better. I've had to deal with it a lot more bird hunting that big game hunting. Lots of hunters hear shooting and bust their buns to get as close to you as possible hoping you bird dog for them. I know it's really discouraging after you've spent the time scouting and someone else shows up, but maybe they did the same when you wern't there. Here in SW Colorado we have a lot of public land and with over the counter elk tags, we get lots and I mean lots of NR hunters. We just have to deal with it and make the best of it.
I just don't understand this kind of behavior in the woods. I was always taught that if someone is already there do not go in there. Period. It's just common courtesy to your fellow hunter.
For me it depends on a lot on the size of an area. If I see another truck at a trail head that leads into a 1000 sq miles of public land, I'll walk in. Simply because there is more than enough space for 2 guys to hunt. If it is a 1 mile road or a little cut block some place I will go elsewhere if it is already occupied. I feel the same when I see guys walking into an area I am in. If it is a big spot, come on it. If it is a tiny spot, keep on down the main road. Seems to be common sense.
If your likely to walk over a guys hunt, keep out. If there is so much space the odds are you wont, it is everyones land.
Thanks guys. Hey I understand sharing backcountry area on public land and have bumped into people during the course of a hunt as well. It happens. This I felt was a little different situation. In Oregon, you have a lot of big timber with spider webs of road systems. Makes it real easy to travel through a patch of timber and come out on an open unit and see another hunter. Usually you smile and back out with out disturbing the other guy if you can. The difference here is, take miles of forest and cut 200-300 acre patches out. Clearcuts. The cat road traveled solely along the side of this cut and ended, didn't connect to any other road system. The only way to really hunt it (elk not in the open) is to still hunt the tree line hoping to catch the elk in transit. Might be a 2 hour hunt if you go slowly and then you'd trek back to the rig and try the next spot.
I would agree we all have the same right to be there, but when it's obvious I'm there, getting ready to hunt the tree line and you walk by me with the intention of doing the same exact hunt I'm about to start, you are being a Richard. do you really want to be "that guy?" Would you walk up to a spot see someone 100 yards off creeping along and then follow suit? No, it would be pointless. This guys was trying to bully right past with hopes that I wouldn't call him on it. Proved by the fact that I told him he was welcome to follow suit right after us. Why didn't he? It would have been pointless with me already half hunted the spot. It would be like going to a concert/game with 1000's of open seats and standing right in front of another person blocking their view. You are either oblivious or a Richard. When it is big country, entirely different. You ask the other guy, where are you going to be? OK I'll be here...Simple, you might even use it to your advantage. Parked rig, no hunter in sight, ya, precede with caution, hunter starting a hunt and you rush right by and start hunting the same hunt... Come on?
This is why I refuse to hunt in the more populated areas. There are too many disrespectful and down right rude people in the woods. The last time I hunted an area that held multiple hunters, I felt like i had a target on my back. We were tailing a herd of elk and even before legal shooting light the shooting started, all my buddy and I could do was hit the deck and wait it out! After things quieted down we back tracked out of there and went to a different area. I have been on both sides of the coin and my solution is to stay away from other hunters!
I'm of the same opinion to that it is public land and everyone with a tag has a right to hunt there. My thought on your particular situation is to ask the guy where he was planning on going and try to work with him so that you weren't hunting the same trails and hunting on top of each other. I hunted public land in Idaho in 2009 and ran into several other hunters out on the trails. Just asked them which way they were headed and told them we would go in another direction but still hunt the same area and not each others laps. Wished them the best of luck and went about hunting. Now if either one of you were just planning on walking the roads and didn't want anyone to get past you, I would have definitley taken issue with that. You can't expect to stop all flow of traffic into a hunting area because you are on the road and you don't want any competition. Not getting onto anyone, because I wasn't there, but in those situations thats the mentality I would have.
Ok after reading your second post I see the picture now and agree with you. It would be like fishing a shore line for large mouth bass on a public lake and a guy swinging right in front of your boat and throwing out a lure on the line you are fishing. Yeah, I would have called him out too.