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Thread: Camping in established sites on a river

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    Default Camping in established sites on a river

    I found an old thread that got me thinking. How do I know if a camp is "someone's spot"? Do I have to keep going because they think a spot is theirs?

    Here are some more details:
    I'm hunting a river with no ATV or motor access. Let's say I find the following camps: is it okay to camp there??
    1. An established camp with fire ring and meat pole. No sign that anyone has been there this year.
    2. An established camp with fire ring and meat pole. It appears that a group hunted it earlier in the season. No evidence that they have been here in a few weeks.
    3 A good camping site. It appears that folks have made some improvements. Again, no signs that anyone has been there this year.
    4. A good camping site. It seems like a popular spot. Lots of evidence that folks have camped and hunted from there this season.

  2. #2
    Member Phish Finder's Avatar
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    Many, if not most, really good campsites along many rivers have an established fire ring. If it's on public land, set up camp. That's my take (as long as there is no signs of current use).
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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Your scenario is a first come, first serve kind of thing man.

    You get dibs on said campsite by pitching your tent on it.
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    I'd say if they are not there and obviously none of their gear it's like any other open spot on public land. Cabins are a different story.

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    Some folk liable to think it's their's.

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    If it is unoccupied and on public land, have at it.

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    Definitely first come first serve if on public land. As was said, some may not like it, but it's not their right to claim any kind of dibs on one of the likely many somewhat improved sites along a hunted river, and will hopefully act like adults.

    Then there's the other situation (not looking to hijack but a heads up on behavior that needs noting). A few buddies of mine ran/dragged their jet boat a few miles up a small drainage out hear DLG last weekend, got camp set up near a bluff they like to glass from and were the first guys around (and often the only). An hour or so later as dark was approaching, two other guys came from town lining a canoe up the river and were obviously disappointed to see a camp set up in what was likely their intended spot, at least for the night.

    Both groups spoke for a bit, were known by first name to each other, when the canoe crew said "well, where do you guys plan to hunt"....

    to which my buddy replied...."uh, we're here, we are going to spot from that bluff and take it from there".....

    canoe crew responds...."oh, okay, well we're gonna go WAAAAY up then because we dont' want to step on anyone's toes."

    So canoe crew starts upriver, then after a few hundred yards starts to make camp within easy view of the boat camp. Boat campers are thinking these guys are just laying up for the night and will continue on in the AM...as they had said. Next morning, boat camp wakes up, gets ready to hunt but lags a bit as they wanted to let the other guys move on before worrying about hunting and essentially glassing from directly above these guys camps. No big whoop until one of them says "I think I heard a shot"...and sure enough, the guys who were going WAAAAAAAY up, climbed up on that knoll, spotted a moose and headed down and whacked it.

    My buddy wasn't chapped about the moose (he'll find more as always), but rather the exchange and the stated intentions of the canoe crew and then their obvious lack of either memory, tact, or ethics in actively hunting from the exact spot just down the ridge from the already set up boat camp. This was not unsafe, or illegal but the cheese factor was about a 11 out of ten. Not sure if these guys (generally new to town) were used to elbow to elbow bs from hunting the road system or if they are just weaselly DB's.

    So, the worst part of this is, knowing the crew in the boat camp, had they been second in line and found a camp in their intended area they would have A: gone WAAAAAAAY up or B: gone WAAAAAY down or C: spiked for the night as it was late and then buggered up or down the next day or D: just gone somewhere else off the drainage. They would have NEVER acted in the way that they were treated, it's disappointing as we live in a place with no lack of places to go, there are plenty of moose in said places, and most hunters you meet you will know by first name.

    So in short conclusion to a long post......don't be that guy. Some of my best hunts have come from being corked by someone else getting there first and I struck out to new territory. I would like to think the canoe guys that snuck up early in the AM to get a quick hunt in at least felt cheesy about the kill (which would absolutely ruin it for me were I to do such a thing).

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    first come first serve, and if you want to you could always improve the campsite a little bit. always leave it cleaner than you found it.

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    First come first serve

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    have at it, fire ring or not its public land. just because someone leaves there meat pole and fire ring doesn't mean they own the place.

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    I would say that if the camp site will support more than one group of hunters, then just put up your tent next to theirs and make some new friends. After all, it is public land and everyone has the right to set up camp where they see fit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by luv2fishhunt View Post
    I would say that if the camp site will support more than one group of hunters, then just put up your tent next to theirs and make some new friends.
    The best way to make friends with me is to appreciate that I enjoy having a camp to myself/my group. I'm more than happy to share a gravel bar chat with someone but much prefer to be asked if I mind before someone sets up camp right next to mine.

    I'm pretty friendly in person but will gladly voice displeasure over someone not respecting my enjoyment of nature. Is it illegal? No. Is it unethical? In my opinion, yes. The story is different if there isn't another campsite for 5 or 10 river miles.
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    Quote Originally Posted by luv2fishhunt View Post
    I would say that if the camp site will support more than one group of hunters, then just put up your tent next to theirs and make some new friends. After all, it is public land and everyone has the right to set up camp where they see fit.
    Thats funny stuff there. I disagree completely on this aspect. Many of us go out in the field not only to provide for our families but also to get away from it all and have a little solitude. As was stated, I can see doing these actions if the next available space is way out of range but setting up on someone else is just not a wise idea, especially when you plan on hunting from the same camp. Its about respecting others and their space, both in camp and up on the hills. Personally, I move on until I can find a spot for myself. I dont hike up on a hill when I know there are others already in there, just my way I guess. Can the land support more than one group up on the hill? Sure, burt they were there first and I just dont have it in me to as I would call it "intrude" on someone else's hunt.

    Last year I set up an aircharter to fly me out on a goat hunt. day 4 of my hunt a registered guide no less lands his plane and sets camp up right next to mine, not for a client but his own personal hunt. He said he never seen my camp, but had flown around the whole basin looking at goats and such. My tent is a super bright yellow REI tent that cant be missed from above. This area had airstrips all over the place he could have went to. There were goats on every hillside he could have went after. What did he do? Set up next to me and went right up the same hill I told him I was hunting. Free country, free land use but come on, this cat had his own plane to go anywhere and he pulled stuff like this. All I could do was laugh and never forget who he was as he would never get a recommendation from me to anyone.

    Up here, we have planty of space compared to hunting the lower 48, common courtousy is all we should ask and provide for one another when in the field.

    To the original poster, as long as its public land, which most of this state is, have at it. Just dont set up on top of someone else in my opinion. Good luck.
    Take a youngster out when you go, it will change his/her life forever!!

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    Suppose you have an established camp from many years of hunting an area. Meat poles up and used every year. Outhouse dug and obviously used every year. Bear proof barrels left with your stashed gear in them. Some firewood left over from the previous years hunt. All of this is on public land and therefore, no exclusive right to this spot exists. Now if you came in there for your annual hunt this year and someone was already set up there, what would you do? I ask because this happened to us a few years back. We simply opened up our bear proof barrels with our wall tent and other gear in them and proceeded to set up and make our camp as the gravel bar was large enough for about 10 wall tents. We became good friends with these people and they now hunt with us every year.

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    Nothing personal luv2fishhunt but I strongly disagree. The behavior you describe sounds perfectly acceptable -- at an RV park. As Phish Finder clearly describes, most of us are friendly enough, but we head to the wilds to get a little space away from the crowds. Also, from the sheer volume of gear you have cached on public land, it sounds like more than just camping. (I sometimes cache gear too, but you could trip over it without seeing it.)

    Nothing wrong with your preferred style of camping, but please be aware that you may be unintentionally imposing your preferences on others. While I'm capable of speaking up, it's quite frankly an imposition on my limited energy, and on the peace and quiet, to put me in the uncomfortable position of having to ask you to move away from an already occupied spot! As Catch It's story above explains, you could just as easily unpack your barrels, load the gear in your boat, and float off a mile or two to find an unoccupied campsite.

    Please don't take this the wrong way, I mean you no disrespect, I also enjoy camping among others occasionally, just not when I'm out in the bush. Obviously, being such a friendly person, I'm sure you would never intentionally choose to impose on others! Of course, the saving grace of this whole situation is that given a choice, I'd rarely even consider camping in such a developed spot as the campsite and cache you've described.

  16. #16

    Wink Intimidation Factor

    Quote Originally Posted by Seraphina View Post
    Of course, the saving grace of this whole situation is that given a choice, I'd rarely even consider camping in such a developed spot as the campsite and cache you've described.
    And...of course this is exactly what the offending party intended. They fully expect you to be intimidated by their selfish actions. People like to stake claim to the best spots on public lands and always have. Because they whacked out an alder patch to tie their plane, cached a bunch of gear or put up a plywood shanty they think they have priority over all others in its use. There is no room for this rude behavior in Alaskan any longer. The ones that do this are in the wrong and no one should condone it nor accept it. It truly needs to be put to a stop and the guilty party should suffer the consequence, not the innocent.
    How difficult is it for some to understand what public lands are set aside for?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akres View Post
    And...of course this is exactly what the offending party intended. They fully expect you to be intimidated by their selfish actions. People like to stake claim to the best spots on public lands and always have. Because they whacked out an alder patch to tie their plane, cached a bunch of gear or put up a plywood shanty they think they have priority over all others in its use. There is no room for this rude behavior in Alaskan any longer. The ones that do this are in the wrong and no one should condone it nor accept it. It truly needs to be put to a stop and the guilty party should suffer the consequence, not the innocent.
    How difficult is it for some to understand what public lands are set aside for?
    I agree 100%.

    The fact that this attitude transcends beyond the selfish few to the Feds and special interest makes it all the more difficult.

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    There is a flip side to this story. When we got to the gravel bar where we normally camp and saw someone already there, we stopped to originally pick up our gear and were going to move on to another place. (remember we had our wall tent and some other gear stored in some bear proof barrels that we left from the previous years hunt) The party that was already there insisted we stay and join them. They thought we had already been there for the year and our hunt was over. We always hunt the late part of the season. (15th - 25th) Since they were so accomadating and insisted we stay, we did. As I said previous, we became good friends and hunt every year with them. By the way, this was not on a river, but was on a gravel bed on a small creek. We used argos to get into this area. Now you know the rest of the story as Paul Harvey used to say.

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    this is an interesting topic with many ways to look at it. its not something that can be regulated by fish and game, troopers, or anyone except by yourself and what your state of mind is. its cool to hear some different sides to the story. In my opinion people shouldn't be allowed to leave barrels, tents, or gear out in areas all year on public land. stashing things is kind of a selfish way to reserve a spot on land that isn't yours and its kind of leaving trash around. i like the idea of only being able to have a camp up for a set amount of days and then having to move it at least a certain amount of miles away so "spots" can't be "hogged" by whoever leaves the most crap out in an area. as far as setting up right next to somebody it's everyones right to do so (probably won't make you very popular). In some cases putting all camps together for all the people hunting in the same area would cause a lot less disturbance to the animals in the area and perhaps make hunting better instead of spreading scent and sounds all over the place. another way to look at it i guess.

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    The two foremost concerns/dislikes I have with another party setting up within less than 2 miles of me is ;

    1) Safety -too many times I have been out hunting only to have a party land a short distance away while we were out hunting then they go off hunting in the same general area. That is a HUGE safety issue not knowing where the others are and especialy when the other party is unaware they are there- makes it far too easy for someone to catch a bullet. If you see another vehicle or indication someone is there and are unable to make contact with them, you have no business going off into the country, the risk for someone to get injured or killed is too great.

    Once my pregnant sister in-law was in camp when a party landed about 300 yards downstream, failed to communicate their intentions, went to a very near clearing and plugged a moose. Our boats where clearly visible to them. This party shot this moose in an area between the area we were hunting and our camp. It was completely irresponsible behaviour.

    Another example was when my partner was up a slough, an unobstructed path for a bullet 500yards+, a fellow came in on his airboat, the river small enough he had to run right within 20ft of my boat and visible camp to get to this slough approx 1/4 mile from my camp. By the time I got to him he was setup on the lookout knob above the slough. No communication from him until I approached him, no consideration for hunting so near another camp, no thought of safety on his part. My partner was hunting the far end of the slough.

    Both cases where in areas where there is a great deal of land to hunt without being within 2 miles of any camp.

    These are just 2 examples.

    2) A major pleasure I derive from hunting is seperation from the masses. There is more than ample area for a party to hunt without infringing on the safety, space and enjoyment of others experience while outdoors. This is not to say that I would respond in a hostile manner to anyone who had the courtesy to make contact and explain their intentions to camp and hunt near my camp, and that makes all the difference. Communication of intentions will make for a enjoyable and safe experience and I am all for that. Dropping in and putting down stakes on top of my camp without a conversation will get my hackles up, you can count on that.

    If anyone feels they need to hunt or have no choice but to camp for the night near others, do everyone the courtesy to communicate your intentions to all parties involved.

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