In Colorado, and on public lands nationwide, ATV/OHV overuse and abuse is increasingly impacting big game (and other wildlife) habitat and related watersheds for trout and other aquatic species. To help deter such public lands abuses, and encourage the reporting of lawbreakers to appropriate authorities, the Colorado chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) recently teamed-up with the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Colorado River Valley Filed office to post ATV/OHV enforcement signage on ten trails where the BLM has detected illegal motorized access.
Rick Seymour (of Silt, Colo.) was in the lead for Colorado BHA chapter on this effort, and said: “Everywhere we go, we hear stories of hardworking hunters and anglers who have had their stalks ruined and their favorite habitat trashed by illegal or inappropriate off-road vehicle use. ATVs are powerful tools that may be appropriate in some places, but when they are abused they cost everyone. We’re extremely pleased to work with the BLM to help rein in such public land abuses.”
Colorado BHA chapter chair, David Lien, adds: “Illegal use of ATVs is altering the big game hunting landscape. Every fall more and more ATVs take to the hills, pushing big game animals farther into seclusion. Every year we hear more stories of big game stalks ruined by the indiscriminate use of off-road vehicles. We’re lucky to have chapter leaders like Rick Seymour who routinely take the initiative to help protect our public lands hunting and angling heritage from such abuses.”
The new BHA-BLM ATV/OHV signs say (in part): “Don’t let the illegal riders and gate-busters degrade big game habitat and steal our hunting opportunities.” As stated on the signs, we’re also asking hunters and other public lands users who encounter illegal motorized users to report illegal off-road abuse by taking the following steps:
-Photograph or copy the license plate, ORV sticker or VIN.
-Photograph the vehicle, tracks or other evidence.
-Record a GPS or map location of the violation.
-Record: When, where, who, and what you saw.
Then, contact your game warden, local law enforcement or BLM/Forest Service law enforcement. BHA also offers a reward of up to $500 for information that leads to the conviction of anyone abusing land or water open to public hunting or fishing. For example, in the past, awards have gone to a Montana hunter who used a remote trail camera to document illegal riding in protected big game habitat. Another BHA member reported an outfitter who was illegally shuttling clients into a non-motorized area with a helicopter. For additional information, visit:http://www.backcountryhunters.org/bha_s_ohv_reward_fund