PDA

View Full Version : Poachers ruined our campsite! ~ A little long


evona
10-12-2008, 11:59 PM
My DS had a very interesting adventurous weekend. We were on a backpacking volunteer trip at a local wildlife preserve. Our goal was to remove invasive plant species in some rugged canyon areas of the preserve. Our trip happened to coincide with opening day for deer season on nearby National Forest land. Well, the manager drove us up to the "trail head" and notice a truck that looked suspiciously like a hunters truck so he decided to come down with us a little ways to check for hunters and let them know they were on preserve land. Well, the manager and one of the founders of our volunteer group got hot on their trail and found part of their group - 3 men and 2 teens.

It was pretty early in the morning when we started and their trail seemed to meander aimlessly - not like real skilled hunters, plus when we found them they were being so loud we thought there is no way they were serious hunters - and we heard no gunshots in the hours it took to find them. The manager figured (or maybe he just hoped) that they probably weren't that skilled and might have given up by the time we found them. They were asked to leave and seemed pretty cooperative so we went along our way while the manager tried to track them back up canyon.

A while later we found 2 hidden deer heads, 2 separate gut piles and 4 hidden backpacks full of venison and ice packs, so we radioed up to the manager who apprehended the group we found and quickly learned there were 2 other men who heard us coming and hightailed it out. Being as the poachers knew we were unarmed volunteers we were told to photograph the evidence and get out of the area as quickly as possible. Most likely nothing would have happened but no one knew who we were dealing with and we were in rugged terrain. Problem was, they hid the stuff in our planned campsite. So we had to bushwack down canyon as fast as we could and had no idea when a better site for 11 people would appear . We were tired, with achy feet and just wanted to eat dinner!!!!!!

Well - we found a good site and monitored the radio. They got all the poachers and cited them for trespassing, no tags, no hunters license, falsification of identification and a few other things. We helped the manager and the rangers bring the evidence, including the meat out and the good news is that if the game warden approves we get to have a barbeque next week! Well, I'm vegetarian so I won't be partaking, but the rest of the party will. The going opinion is that they don't want the deer to have lost their life and just have their body wasted. The game warden so far says they do not need the meat for evidence - just the heads and the ammo, spent shells we found, the packs and the pictures.

For a short while though we were kind of worried about those 2 guys with rifles that were obviously planning to come back for their prizes. I seriously doubt they would have attacked us, but you never know - people do strange things some times.

LilHuskiesFootBallMom
10-13-2008, 01:23 AM
here in upstate NY, the confiscated deer/bear/whatever gets sent to the Zoo in Utica...

Debkcs
10-13-2008, 02:28 AM
I'm just glad that you and your group weren't approached by those people. Three adults teaching two teens how to bypass the law - great.:nails:

Dangles
10-13-2008, 03:56 AM
I concur.

I'm just glad that you and your group weren't approached by those people. Three adults teaching two teens how to bypass the law - great.:nails:

rachael72knitter
10-13-2008, 05:58 AM
That is terrible. It seems there are so many hunters out there that just encroach upon whatever land they want.

I have several friends here in TX that have lots of land, that they live on, and I can't tell you how many times they have found deer feeders and evidence of hunters on THEIR property. It just amazes me and that this is sooooo dangerous. These poor ppl feel like they have to go out in bright oranges on their own property so as not to be shot at.

Infuriating those damn hunters- is deer so important and a kill that they will hunt wherever?

evona
10-13-2008, 10:24 AM
I'm just glad that you and your group weren't approached by those people. Three adults teaching two teens how to bypass the law - great.:nails:

I agree! We were discussing that at least these kids saw that their parents/relatives/adult friends didn't get away with it. They were young teens so its an important lesson to learn before they become the hardened "I know better than everyone" older teens. From what we were told later the teens were wide eyed and looked scared when they and their group were caught. Plus they spent hours with the manager, rangers and sheriff waiting for the 1 game warden we have for a huge are (and with the opening of the season he was busy). I'm sure they were cold, hungry and exhausted and just wanted to go home. That'll help them remember :wink:

evona
10-13-2008, 10:27 AM
here in upstate NY, the confiscated deer/bear/whatever gets sent to the Zoo in Utica...

That's a good idea too.

tarrentella
10-13-2008, 10:36 AM
Sorry to hear that. There are restrictions and laws on hunting for a reason and it is bad when people break those laws for everybody concerned, especially when it potentially puts people like you in danger. I am glad you were all safe in the end and that they were caught.

Puddinpop
10-13-2008, 10:41 AM
Why was the deer meat sent to the zoo? I can't stand the idea of deer not having a place to go without getting gunned down. My husband used to hunt and he really likes it, but I just don't see how a deer is prettier on the wall, dead, than one that is alive and running free. Of course, they don't take over where I live.

Mike
10-13-2008, 10:42 AM
Deer doesn't BBQ very well. It's too dry. It takes a skillful grill master to do it. If nobody has any experience BBQing game I suggest another method.

I'm confused. It sounds like there were hunters allowed since they were going off to let them know you were there.
So was the problem just that they didn't have tags?

Also why would they send you out there when there would be firearm hunting going on? That sounds like an accident waiting to happen.

evona
10-13-2008, 11:34 AM
Deer doesn't BBQ very well. It's too dry. It takes a skillful grill master to do it. If nobody has any experience BBQing game I suggest another method.

I'm confused. It sounds like there were hunters allowed since they were going off to let them know you were there.
So was the problem just that they didn't have tags?

Also why would they send you out there when there would be firearm hunting going on? That sounds like an accident waiting to happen.

No - they weren't allowed. Its a private wildlife preserve with signs everywhere tat say "no trespassing" and "no hunting". The manager tracked them to tell them they were on preserve land and had to leave. Apparently, hearing us coming, they hid their meat, etc and split up. Knowing that at least someone would be found a group of them sat down for lunch and pretended to not know any better while 2 of them went down an adjoining canyon - presumably to come back for the meat, heads, ammo, etc after the coast was clear. Being as the ones in the initial group that was found were not the ones that shot the deer, they had the least to worry about. They would have gotten trespassing and the two teens didn't have a license - and trespassing is something the sheriff doesn't often enforce since these guys were playing dumb at first - oh gee we didn't see that humongous sign on that gate we must have walked around judging by our tracks - duh!!!!!!!

The manager of the preserve is a hunter as well so maybe he does know how to barbeque venison :shrug: I don't know anything about that at all, but I will pass on your advice :)

evona
10-13-2008, 11:46 AM
BTW - any animal on the preserve is protected; however, the real draw for poachers is that it is primarily a Tule elk preserve (with pronghorn about to be reintroduced soon). Out here in California our Tule elk population was decimated. We have one or two preserves further north and then the preserve we were on this weekend. From 60 elk being introduced they have grown to a herd of between 180 to 220. That's not bad growth but its not a big herd for the size of the preserve (85,000 acres). Certainly not enough to cull.

To put the size of the herd into perspective, the herd on one of the preserves north of us (Point Reyes) grew from 10 animals to over 400 in an area that is only about 2,600 acres.

Because of this the rangers and manager of the preserve take poaching of any kind extremely seriously. They could have easily target an elk had they come across the herd (and I'm sure they would have loved to). Being as they are in rut now it could have been devastating to the herd had they killed off even a couple of males.

rachael72knitter
10-13-2008, 12:06 PM
The fact that they were hunting on a preserve just disgusts me, and since ppl were hunting nearby for deer, it almost makes me think they were on that preserve hoping for the elk you spoke of.

Mike
10-13-2008, 12:58 PM
No - they weren't allowed. Its a private wildlife preserve with signs everywhere tat say "no trespassing" and "no hunting". The manager tracked them to tell them they were on preserve land and had to leave. Apparently, hearing us coming, they hid their meat, etc and split up. Knowing that at least someone would be found a group of them sat down for lunch and pretended to not know any better while 2 of them went down an adjoining canyon - presumably to come back for the meat, heads, ammo, etc after the coast was clear. Being as the ones in the initial group that was found were not the ones that shot the deer, they had the least to worry about. They would have gotten trespassing and the two teens didn't have a license - and trespassing is something the sheriff doesn't often enforce since these guys were playing dumb at first - oh gee we didn't see that humongous sign on that gate we must have walked around judging by our tracks - duh!!!!!!!

The manager of the preserve is a hunter as well so maybe he does know how to barbeque venison :shrug: I don't know anything about that at all, but I will pass on your advice :)

I see.
The name preserve doesn't make sense to me. That's what the place next to a friend's farm is called. It means he stocks pheasants for people to come out and hunt. In order to get the "preserve" name he had to be allowed to include my friend's farm even though he isn't allowed to let anyone on it or have any say over it. My friend even leases part of his farm out for deer hunting and being a farmer has never been worried about preserving the deer herd.

Also state wildlife "refuges" don't always mean no hunting.
The only name I know of around here the definitely means no hunting is the duck "rest area".

evona
10-13-2008, 02:08 PM
I see.
The name preserve doesn't make sense to me. That's what the place next to a friend's farm is called. It means he stocks pheasants for people to come out and hunt. In order to get the "preserve" name he had to be allowed to include my friend's farm even though he isn't allowed to let anyone on it or have any say over it. My friend even leases part of his farm out for deer hunting and being a farmer has never been worried about preserving the deer herd.

Also state wildlife "refuges" don't always mean no hunting.
The only name I know of around here the definitely means no hunting is the duck "rest area".

hmmm - well, out here wildlife preserves are places where wildlife are protected. I know some preserves, etc allow a certain amount of maintenance culling when their respective herds outgrow the area and the herd and/or environment's health are at danger as a result, but I don't know any around here. I may be wrong though.

In full disclosure, I am a vegetarian and a conservationist. Although I do not hunt myself I am not anti hunting. I am not so naive to think that there are no good reason to hunt. As one example, sometimes herds outgrow their land and as a result become unhealthy and hurt the land. I don't see anyone giving up their houses to allow the herds to grow nor do I expect or want them to, so those herds need to be culled from time to time. I also know a lot of respectful sustenance hunters and many people who follow rules and don't take more than they need. They always feed their families, friends and neighbors with their bounty. I've known people who make beautiful things with the hides and beautiful stag knives out of the antlers. These people have respect for the animals they kill. I do object wholeheartedly to people who care so little for property lines or the people who may be on that property completely unaware of being in danger. To me these are people who care little for the animal they kill or anything else. These are not people who have an awareness of sustainability either. Most responsible hunters I have met understand that not taking more than your share ensures there will be a hunting season next year. Unfortunately, rotten apples give the whole lot a bad name sometimes.

miccisue
10-13-2008, 09:42 PM
Why was the deer meat sent to the zoo? I can't stand the idea of deer not having a place to go without getting gunned down. My husband used to hunt and he really likes it, but I just don't see how a deer is prettier on the wall, dead, than one that is alive and running free. Of course, they don't take over where I live.

I used to feel completely like you do, but now I'm torn. I hate the thought of deer being shot, but on the other hand, here in IL and a lot of the Midwest they are overrunning the land. I'm 53, and when I was first driving right up through the last 10 years or so the thought of hitting a deer was the furthest thing from your mind. Now, I'm seriously afraid of driving in the fall, winter, and spring due to the deer population. I have a niece that hit 5 in a period of 2 months this spring. Summer isn't so bad merely because it stays light longer and you can see...but after dark, it's really dangerous.

The big problem here as I see it is that way back when IL started to be settled, the deer moved west as the land was taken over by people. The cougar, wolf, and other predators followed them. Well, some governmental bigshot got the brilliant idea back in the 1800's that they needed to bring deer back so they'd have something to hunt....problem is they didn't bring back any natural predators. Over the years, the deer are multiplying faster than the hunters can take them. We have coyotes here, but they don't do a very good job of controlling the deer population. So, there are many, many deer hit by vehicles every year. Sometimes it kills them right away, sometimes they get up and run away and are OK, and sometimes they get away but probably suffer a lot before they die. And that's not to mention the cost not only in damage to vehicles, but injuries to the people that hit them.

I've always thought that they should find something that works as birth control for the deer and put it out in salt licks for 3-4 months in the spring, or on ground where hunting isn't allowed. It seems like the only way to try and control the population. I mean, hunters get some, cars get a lot, but there's still so many left.....and living in the middle of corn and bean raising country, I know they are not likely to starve. Harvest always leaves something behind (and it's apparently more than enough with the sheer number of deer there are here).

So, while I hate the basic idea of hunting, I hate the thought of hitting one with my car worse. And, they do have a program here where hunters that get more venison than they want can donate it to local meat processors who then (through working with food pantries) give it to families who need it.

cphkat
10-14-2008, 01:58 AM
I, too, hate the thought of deer being shot for trophies or just wounded and left to die. I would never try to shoot a deer myself for fear of doing just that (only wounding it). However, my Dad and other family members have shot deer most of my life. Dad always tried to get his legal limit. It may sounds terrible, I know, but we always ate what he killed. He never trophy hunted. The meat was for our consumption. And it was delicious!

Venison is very healthy meat being so lean. (For example, in weight watcher's you can eat as much venison as you want, very low points). Of course that makes it dry if not cooked correctly. And it tastes much better if it is handled in the right way from when the deer is first killed. It is great in stews or made into sausage. And as miccisue said, venison donations to food banks are an important source of protein for their programs.

So, I have no problems with legally and conscientiously hunting deer for meat. What these fellas did, though is illegal and very dangerous to all concerned. Just my 2 (or maybe 3 cents worth :teehee: ).

evona
10-14-2008, 02:48 AM
So, I have no problems with legally and conscientiously hunting deer for meat. What these fellas did, though is illegal and very dangerous to all concerned. Just my 2 (or maybe 3 cents worth :teehee: ).

I agree. Being a vegetarian born & raised in Los Angeles I used to have a much more intolerant viewpoint about hunting, but after living in Northern California and working in conservation and with many hunters who are also conservationist has changed my opinion. I don't hunt and wouldn't hunt (well, unless we had some sort of complete breakdown in society and I was forced to - never say never :wink: ) However, I don't think hunting in and of itself is evil. I think stupid, careless, thoughtless & selfish people give hunting a bad name sometimes though. Same with guns. I used to be very anti gun, but now I realize that guns aren't the problem. many - if not most - gun owners are responsible with their guns. The criminals and the just plain dumb gun owners are the ones that make the news though.

Plantgoddess+
10-20-2008, 08:23 PM
Unfortunately as always, it's the idiots who give the rest of the hunters a bad name. We have even had people shoot deer on our property while in their vehicle and driving down the road. They have shot right over my corrals and horses. We did catch a couple who drove off and onto my neighbors property and climb through the fence in order to get the carcass. It cost them $500 for that deer.
We have enough neighbors that we have to be very careful who we let hunt on our land. Too many hunters don't hunt safely. I do wear orange during hunting season when I hike my property during hunting seasons.

evona
10-21-2008, 01:30 AM
That's awful Plantgoddess! You really ought not have to worry about your or your animal's life on your own property!

Debbie
10-21-2008, 06:33 AM
I think the meat goes to the zoo ... for other animals to eat ? Not the deer who are living in the preserve ??

Plantgoddess+
10-27-2008, 07:36 PM
That's awful Plantgoddess! You really ought not have to worry about your or your animal's life on your own property!
The funny thing is, is that the neighborhood would love to have a large number of the deer culled. There have been special spring hunts in the past in order to save the neighbors hay fields. There have been as many as a hundred or more deer in the field next to my property.
Too many hunters are looking for a rack instead of meat and don't want to hunt does.
Now we're getting a larger herd of moose in the area as well. They just ignore barb wire fences and just walk through.

Mike
10-28-2008, 12:21 AM
Too many hunters are looking for a rack instead of meat and don't want to hunt does.

I hate that and think the trophy hunting will be the downfall of hunting.
I'm a meat hunter and shoot the first thing that comes by, odds are that's a doe. I get sick of hearing how it's not affordable to be a sustainance hunter. I seem to manage, mainly because I'm not trying to price other people out of hunting so I can get a trophy.
Nobody is buying the claim that people are paying $1000 leases to hunt for 90lbs of meat. The ones paying those leases are tying up way more land than they need so fewer people can hunt.
States are seeing the population problem and if hunters aren't going to take care of it the state will.

If the whole neighborhood wants deer taken look into some bowhunters. The big issue with bowhunting suburbia is the access to retrieve shot deer.

Plantgoddess+
10-30-2008, 07:43 PM
I do believe most hunters are respectful responsible people. If we didn't have new homes going up in the woods surrounding our property I would have no problem allowing more people to hunt my land. Our property is steep and timbered and it's hard to see the neighbors houses until you are at our fence lines and we worry about stray bullets so we have just a few people we allow to hunt.

OffJumpsJack
10-31-2008, 01:08 PM
Poaching is taking a game animal (those that can be hunted in a designated hunting season and or area) out of season or outside the hunting areas, i.e. inside a protected area posted to preserve habitat and game animal populations.

We live in a world that requres balance. Too much of anything can be bad or even deadly. (Like if they brought the mountain lions back to IL, that could be dangerous for the people living there).

I grew up in a hunting family, and we followed the good sportsman rules (I always though it similar to good sportsmanship in atheletics). Always thinking safety first and good environmental stewardship. Here are the simple phrases.

Only aim at what you are permitted to take as food. (Safety, if you don't know what it is, don't aim at it!)

Shoot only what you can kill. (You don't want to wound an animal that can run away and suffer a lingering death.)

Kill what you shoot. (If you did only wound the animal, track it and finish it if at all possible. The meat quality may suffer, but the animal should not suffer. This is also to prevent a rotting carcass from attracting carion pests that may spread rabies.)

... and finally...

Eat what you kill. (You are hunting for the meat, not the trophy. But getting a big buck is a bonus. Lets the younger, stronger males reproduce for a healthier future population.)

I grew up in western Pennsylvainia. The deer population it that state was similar to what the poster from IL described. So many deer that many were hit by cars.

Hunting seasons are in effect to protect the animals during their reproduction seasons. In PA there was both a Buck and Doe season and a separate season for archery and another for muzzle loaders.

Part of being that good hunter (safety and conservation minded) it to know the area you are in before the season opens. Talking to the land owners and getting permission to hunt on their property or to track a wounded animal that crosses their property after you shot it.

Having said all that I should also admit that I am not a hunter, myself. What I have posted may be over simplified or even missing important details; that would be because I've never taken a "hunter safety course" nor practiced (apprenticed?) with an experienced hunter. I was taught safe weapon handling at home as a child and teen. I am also old enough to have been a teen back when the world was different and more tollerant of weapons (due to a greater expectation that those in posession of a weapon had been taught safty first). I remember the highschool announcements as hunting season was approaching that any students who planned to go hunting after school should get a permission slip from the principals office before bringing their firearm to school.

Yes, way back when a firearm at school wasn't a threat. Hunters were admired for their skill, and safety was taught at every age and in every home. Because everyone knew that hunting was for food, and any firearm must be treated (and respected) as a loaded, and deadly weapon.

I appreciate the balanced attitudes that have been expressed here. :cool:

--Jack :guyknitting:
P.S. Sorry, didn't expect it to get so long. :roll:

evona
10-31-2008, 01:43 PM
Thanks for sharing your knowledge Jack - I agree! Respect, knowledge and safety - that's all that is needed. These particular poachers had teenage kids with them. I am only hopeful that they will take form this experience a lesson not to do what their dad/uncle/ family friend did and that when they teach their children how to hunt they teach them to respect the animals, respect the land, and respect people while they're out there.

miccisue
10-31-2008, 02:30 PM
First off, Jack, you will never see mountain lions brought back into IL (although there are reports of cougars in certain areas, but not entire packs of them) simply because of the livestock raised here.

Still, something seriously needs to be done, IMHO, as the deer seasons - both bowhunting and firearm - are not beginning to make a dent in the deer population, and they are a serious danger to motorists. I personally know one young man who hit one while riding on his motorcycle - he's lucky to be alive, let alone have what little bodily damage he received. A lot of people aren't so lucky.

JMHO.

OffJumpsJack
10-31-2008, 03:54 PM
I knew I should have looked for your post to see what predators you had mentioned, instead I used the only large predator I could think of. :doh:

I didn't mean to imply you wanted the big cats, was is a smaller cat you mentioned? Wildcats perhaps or something else... (off to look see again :eyebrow2: )? Cougar or wolf ...

problem is they didn't bring back any natural predators

That's it. I agree with that being a problem. I am sorry and apologize for the misquote.

I remember reading about birth control for deer in the PA game news. Seems like it was a long while back, certainly must have been more than a few years ago as I haven't seen the mag in at least that long. Deer can be a terrible nuisance for crops, but their ticks can also be a direct threat to our health. Lymes disease is occurring more in suburban areas as deer push back in due to habitat loss and lack of predators.

--Jack :guyknitting:

ArtLady1981
10-31-2008, 05:35 PM
This has been a most interesting, and informative, thread!
Thanks for starting it, Evona!

My husband is a hunter. Only whitetail deer. Only bucks. No does. He got a doe tag one year...and while he was out of camp hunting one morning...I saw one of our does in the gully...and her spotted fawn was nursing. I tore up the doe tag with his permission. In Washington State, very few doe tags are issued, and even then, the doe has to be harvested in a certain section. If you harvest a doe, you can't also harvest a buck. In Washington State, you cannot hunt the rut. Our state is very judicious in maintaining the populations.
It is a hard life for deer here. We have 20 acres on Nighthawk Summit...at the top at 4,300 ft. We currently live in a city close to Seattle, however, we enjoy our mountain property for our 6 weeks of time off per year. That will change when DH retires in December. Anyway, I'm off track. We have a trail cam. We move it around on the property. We might leave it in one spot for 30 days. We are amazed at what the photos reveal. A skinny spike buck. A skinny female moose. Lots of nursing does. About 5 adult bucks. We put a small salt lick on a tree for the deer (in a non-hunting area). The deer enjoy it immensely, but so do lots of different squirrels. (so the birth control idea someone had wouldn't work very well...the deer aren't the only critters attracted to the salt)

My husband harvests one buck every year, til this year. There were numerous other hunters crawling all over the mountain, road hunting...camping on private property...most of the land owners don't live on the mountain...too rugged...so the poachers felt very smug and snug. We think they disturbed the normal flow of things. My husband could have harvested a spike buck...but left the spikes (there are several) to grow up and replace the adult bucks who have lose their lives this season. And he no longer applies for a doe permit. If he harvests a doe...our trail cam has proved to us that she prolly has a fawn close by, hidden within the trees. We just can't justify killing Bambi's mother. Not good.

Our venison has never ever been dry. I don't get that. Dry?
And never ever "gamey". It is all in the method of immediate field dressing, and immediate removal of hide and head, and fully cooling the deer upside down...all this within one hour. Gamey meat comes from poor handling of the harvested deer.

I don't hunt. I take care of the hunter. And knit. And tend camp. :teehee:

We have evidenced the presence of cougar on our property, both by tracks (male in the gully, female and cub in camp) and by a deer carcass stashed in the lower branches of our trees!
We have also evidenced the presence of black bear and cub by tracks on our drive. They all pass quietly through. We have Treeing Walker Coonhounds that run around during the spring summer months...we don't hunt with them (illegal in Wa State) but we have them as pets, and to be a presence of their own on the mountain. Cougars and bears hate hounds...and will avoid them. Unlike some our our neighbors in the lower elevations, we have never had any problems with the bear and cougars whose property we are grateful to share.

I got some great photos of all the tracks...in and around camp when we return after a 30 day absence. After we get there, the hounds make sure no one wants to pass through camp.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3206/2654498948_f80ceeaef7.jpg?v=0

And Charlie, our 10 mo old puppy also comes along!
I have to watch him like a hawk. The hounds like to take him out of camp...and then they ditch him!
He has to make his own way back to camp. Caused me a lot of anxiety the first time!
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3169/2653674009_771e2d1cae.jpg?v=0

And then there's Katie, our Shih Tzu! She loves the wilds.
See the slope? That is where the nighthawks nest in spring.
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2302/1810351172_65d3be70b6.jpg?v=0

A man, a can of sardine, and 3 beggars!
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2316/2489206972_761daed736.jpg?v=0

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2241/2257846728_c72691e34e.jpg?v=0

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3266/2347606065_5b4d5a5414.jpg?v=0

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2207/2348435286_46931d76bf.jpg?v=0


http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2004/2287406343_a5fe74dd5d.jpg?v=0

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2100/2257846780_b6e48dc9bc.jpg?v=0

Dawn on Nighthawk Summit:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3148/2707167691_90c62ee985.jpg?v=0

evona
10-31-2008, 06:07 PM
I always love pictures of your vacation property and your sweet doggies Artlady :)

When I volunteer we often see very fresh black bear and cougar/mountain lion tracks. We've seen some itty bitty baby bear tracks following momma. The bear in the rugged back country we go into aren't the same as Yosemite bears. They're hunted and have a healthy fear of humans. We tie up our food out there and have never ever had a bear come through camp (at Yosemite I have a bear come through every single time though).

I'm a little bit of an anomaly here in L.A. People don't understand when I bring back pictures like the one in my avatar. They think that I'm insane to want to be out in the woods for a hike never mind for a week with my bed, wardrobe and kitchen strapped to my back. Therefore most of my L.A. minded friends don't understand hunting. They think its evil and wrong and can't understand an argument for it (especially an argument coming from a vegetarian :roflhard: )

I've learned a lot from my volunteering and my backpacking about stewardship and our relation to this earth and its inhabitants though and don't see in such black and white extremes; however, I can't stand it when someone is so horribly disrespectful to everything around them that they don't care about rules. To poach is to spit in the face of stewardship. Its to say that they don't care about all the planning someone did to make hunting available to others and, in our particular case, it shows a complete disrespect of private property and the safety of other people and it potentially disrupted the rut of an animal that is severely threatened in our area. I believe that a person who poaches is unlikely to be a person who cares much for the environment nor much for the animal they take.

BTW - here's a picture of one of the cougar prints we found.

ArtLady1981
10-31-2008, 10:42 PM
We never hike around on the mountain without carrying
a can (each) of UDAP Bear Deterrent Pepper Spray (http://www.udap.com/). It is EPA registered, and the cans have expiration dates on them...so you are not out there will old product.

There are many parks, preserves, etc. in which a hiker is not allowed to carry a gun of any sort anyway...but that said, it's proven that in most cases of bear attack...the bear deterrent is more effective than a gun. It is quicker and easier to use in 2 seconds time...and a bear can cover a lot of ground in 2 seconds. Two seconds is about how much time you have to react.

There are documented cases of a bear continuing its charge with 6 bullets in it. The bullets just do not stop an enraged bear. They just keep on a-comin'. Like a locomotive. And a bullet to the head (if you can aim accurately in a tight situation) can glance off the skull, proving ineffective as well.

The bear spray is faster, quicker and effective. The bear stops like it's hit a brick wall. Really.

DH and I don't want to kill any bear that we may surprise upon...and we don't want to be killed either. The bear deterrent is a win-win for all.

Be aware, that not all bear deterrents are created alike. It has as much to do with the propellant than the actual active ingredients. Some ineffective bear deterrents just kinda drizzle out...and you are toast.

The UDAP bear deterrent spray will reach 35 ft away, 96" high, 127" width, and 112" diameter. It propels out like a bullet, but suspends in the air to reach its maximum targeted range.

Anyway, click the link and read about it. This spray could save your life, and that of the bear, sometime.

The bear strength is illegal to use against humans. It can kill a human being. There is a "people strength" pepper spray available for personal protection on that score.

:teehee: No, I dont' sell it...but I have read A LOT about it, and actual experiences in books written by park rangers, etc.

We are believers. Bear deterrent pepper spray is a lifesaver. :thumbsup:

Mike
11-01-2008, 02:25 AM
ArtLady1981,
35 feet is less than 12 yards. If you have a bear charging you at 12 yards you're going to get hit, like you said 2 seconds isn't much time and a lot of ground can be covered even if you're ready to start spraying exactly at 12 yards. And with that spray pattern you'd better not have the wind in your face, which if you surprised the bear you likely do.

Have you ever burnt off a can of pepper spray to practice just like a person should do with a gun (like the website suggests)? If not you're more likely to end up putting yourself down.

I understand you not wanting to shoot a bear, but bullets do stop them. I would be leery of putting my life in the hands of some park rangers who like animals better than humans.
Pepper spray might work. Bullets might work.

That spotted fawn that late in the season was probably not going to survive (especially if you have large predators) and if the mother was still nursing odds are she wasn't doing so good after the winter either. By fall the fawns should be weened and the does that don't wean them are making themselves weak.

Venison is always dry. It is not marbled with fat like beef is (which is good because deer fat is nasty and goes rancid quickly). If yours isn't dry it's how you cook it.
I had a buck that was gamey and I did it just like all my other deer. The rut has a lot to do with it.
If I could pick out any deer I would pick 3.5 year old does.
Even though I have a first shot presented philosophy because a "bird in the hand", I will never shoot another old buck in rut again. Chili wouldn't even cover up the taste of that meat.

ArtLady1981
11-01-2008, 04:02 AM
Yes Mike, I read about the wind in your own face. :teehee: Ya can't always "choose" which way the wind's blowin' that's for sure.

Yes, the UDAP Bear Deterrent Pepper Spray set includes a dummy can that has everything but the pepper. For practice. The spray for either one is orange...so you can see where it's at.

I did read one experience where the bear deterrent didn't phase a particularly enraged bear, like she had a high tolerance for the pain, or her adrenaline superceded the pain. Hard to say what she'd done to the guy if he HADN'T had the pepper spray.

But that is not the norm, for it not to work.

The pepper is activated by moisture. If you just get it on your skin it's not the same. If you get it in nasal passages or in the eyes...it's activated. If you sweat with it on your skin (like the residue from a previous spraying) then it will activate and burn the tar out of your skin. It needs moisture.

My DH has a Red Hawk 44 Ruger. He still carries it on his hip when he's trudging back and forth on the mountain, but now he carries the bear spray, too. What is so good about the bear spray is that you don't have to 'draw it' out of a holster. You just press the button down. I wear a shoulder holster. I keep the safety pin off when we're trudging around.

We don't expect a surprise bear encounter with the hounds circling us. They run ahead, around and through. And they make lots of noise.

But who ever "expects" to be jumped by a bear, or bump into a bear?
We just know that the possiblity exists. You only have one chance really. No "do overs".

Oh here's a good one for ya': most people know that a black bear has claws like a cat...they retract...and those type of claws are what enables a black bear to climb trees as easily as a cat. So the point is...climbing a tree to escape a black bear is of no use.

The grizzly bear has claws that stay out. They don't retract. So most folks say that you CAN climb a tree to escape a grizzly bear because he CAN'T climb a tree like a cat.

Well, wrong. This guy climbed a tree to escape an enraged grizzly...and that bear came right up the tree! How? By hoisting himself up with his powerful arms, branch by branch, arm over arm. What saved the guy is that the grizzly grabbed him by the shoe as the guy was kicking. The shoe came off, and the grizzly fell to the ground, and quite a ways. Dazed but not defeated, the bear climbed the tree next to the guy to see if he could swat the guy.
Anyway, the guy lived to tell about it. He said he was grateful he had been lazy that day...and had NOT put on his high-top lace-up boots as he normally would have been wearing.

So much for the theory that grizzlies can't get you in a tree.

Mike
11-01-2008, 02:00 PM
I did read one experience where the bear deterrent didn't phase a particularly enraged bear, like she had a high tolerance for the pain, or her adrenaline superceded the pain. Hard to say what she'd done to the guy if he HADN'T had the pepper spray.
That's what I was getting at. "Enraged" animals are like criminals on PCP. I wouldn't want to be 12yds from either no matter what the weapon.
If I had a bear charging me I think I'd be running before they got to 12yds, that's from my fence to my target, way too close for comfort.

I definitely like the idea of carrying both a gun and the spray better. (I really like the idea of avoiding bears the best, we knew they hung out at the dump in WI so I never went to the dump.)
At least grizzly tends to kill you first, blacks tend to eat you alive.

evona
11-01-2008, 02:38 PM
We have no grizes in California - and haven't for a long time, despite them being on our flag :teehee: We wouldn't want them back either because our population is too high here and there is not enough room for them to roam around without having devastating contact with humans at some point - and probably often. We do have black bear though. The most aggressive black bear I've come into contact with was at a campsite in Redwood National Park. She had a youngster around and they really got used to the good food around camp. This is a people problem! Campers leave their food lying around and throw their leftovers all over the place. They also tend to want to feed the "cute" animals. This habituates the bears to people and associates food with people. She was still scared off by our yells and making ourselves big. She tried to gain higher ground and gave a false charge, but we got on the picnic table, waived our trekking poles and stomped all over the table yelling. She ran off and we hightailed it out to go tell the ranger. We decided to go to a more isolated place - The Lost Coast! They had bear there as well and we had a bear can for our food. We saw tracks as we hiked, but never once saw a bear. That's because there are so few people on The Lost Coast the bears don't associate them with food. The people who do come by are backpackers and serious surfers.

The next time I had contact with a bear was actually on The Lost Coast though. Well, I shouldn't say contact - I never saw it. There is a place on The Lost Coast that you can't pass at high tide, so my BF and I arranged our schedule around the lowest tide of the day and hiked through that particular spot at about 2 a.m. or so. It was foggy and quite and out of the darkness comes a woof, woof, woof. It sounded like a bird with a 50 ft wingspan flapping its wings. Well we were sure it was a bear, and it was getting an easy meal in the tide pools. We obviously came between it and the safety of the forest when we walked along the beach and he warned us that this was his buffet not ours. We listened and simply went on our way and a little faster clip (but not a run - never a run with any predator). Never heard from Mr. Bear again. (But at sunrise - oh boy - what a ethereal moment that was. The sea birds flying out of there cliff nests, a seal showering under a waterfall against the cliffs. )

Third time I had contact with a bear was Yosemite. Yosemite bears are considered smarter than the average bear. I was in a car camp waiting for our permit to hike out in the back country. We had just set up our tent pad and were sitting down for a moment when we hear some one yelling "bear". We looked over and there was the bear, coming down the hill right for camp. We jumped up and the bear ran right over our tent pad and away into the woods.

Now I've been places with big bear tracks and have known I was surrounded by them. But I have never actually seen a bear in the back country.

The big predator all around here though - even a few miles away here in the valley - are mountain lions. I've seen their tracks too, but I have never ever come into contact with one. I think one growled at me once, but I can't be sure. I did see a rather new mountain lion kill hidden under a juniper tree while backpacking though. If hiking around dusk I make sure to keep up brisk conversation. Mountain lions are pretty shy creatures and don't like humans. There HAVE been a few mountain lion attacks, but most of them are in areas where human encroachment have made food hard to come by and they have almost always attacked runners or bicyclists - see, running is a sign of prey to a mountain lion. All their prey run!!! Where food is prevalent though I think they'd much rather stay away from us - unless you come upon their food, which is why I slowly backed away when I saw the kill under the juniper and hike a bit off trail to go around it.

Plantgoddess+
11-03-2008, 04:00 PM
I see a lot of bear scat when out picking huckleberries in the local mountains, so far haven't seen the bear who left it.
I agree with Mike, by the time hunting season rolls around the fawns have all been weaned. Any late season fawns will probably starve or be taken by predators. The best way I know to control deer population is to control the number of does of breeding age.
Our last winter was a tough one and it was very hard on the deer. They had trouble getting around in the deep snow and a lot of their feed was too deep to reach for a good portion of the winter.We had a lot of starved deer and the plant material was badly damaged. A lot of the brush on my property was girdled (bark stripped) by deer and it will take a long time for it to grow back which means less feed this winter for the deer. A larger number of deer were hit by cars as the easiest place for deer to travel was on the roads. I had deer tearing through tarps and ripping down woven wire fences to get to my hay. With hay prices what they are now I didn't have any to spare for wildlife and I fought to keep them out of the barn.
Man has had to replace other predators in controlling the deer population and I don't see any other way for us to coexist.

ArtLady1981
11-03-2008, 07:57 PM
I agree with Mike, by the time hunting season rolls around the fawns have all been weaned. Any late season fawns will probably starve or be taken by predators.

:waah:

CountryKitty
11-12-2008, 10:17 AM
Please don't blame all hunters for the crimes of a few---they ruin it for the rest of us. It does seem like there are a lot of them at times; they're kind of like the thieves you hear about on the news once in a while...2 people will get busted for a string of 50-60 robberies. It'll seem like an area is crime ridden from the number of break-ins that occur, but in fact it's just 2 rotten eggs; likewise, a very few irresponsible hunters think nothing of breaking numerous hunting laws, making it seem as tho' a larger number of hunters are ignoring the laws.

A great number of my family hunts on family-owned property here in KY, another hunts privately owned property in TX with the owners permission--he's a very responsible and careful fellow, so the owner thinks nothing of givning him standing permission to hunt whatever is in season (and to take down feral hogs anytime, as they have a horrendous impact on native ecology).