Leaving camp in co backcountry?

DouglasR

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Jan 9, 2019
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Hi guys,

Going on my first backpack hunt/VACATION in Central Colorado for a archery elk hunt in 15 days 8 hrs and 21 mins. Planning on hiking in a ways to set up a spike camp and drop off some gear/weight and hunting out of there in different directions for 4-6 days. When you guys do this do you usually leave your tent erect or put it in the bag and hang it? it’s not like I can’t set it up in the dark but it would be one less thing to do when coming back after a long day of hiking. However, it would really suck to come back to a tent that had been ransacked by some pesky critter. Thanks for any feedback.
 

wllm1313

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Dec 9, 2015
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Aurora, CO
Hi guys,

Going on my first backpack hunt/VACATION in Central Colorado for a archery elk hunt in 15 days 8 hrs and 21 mins. Planning on hiking in a ways to set up a spike camp and drop off some gear/weight and hunting out of there in different directions for 4-6 days. When you guys do this do you usually leave your tent erect or put it in the bag and hang it? it’s not like I can’t set it up in the dark but it would be one less thing to do when coming back after a long day of hiking. However, it would really suck to come back to a tent that had been ransacked by some pesky critter. Thanks for any feedback.
Would be more worried about people stealing your stuff than critters. My BIL had his pad and bag stolen out of his tent 5+ miles in 2 seasons ago.
 

LopeHunter

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Theft is a risk anywhere are hikers, hunters, herders, hill people. Sure, 99% would not take a thing but if enough foot traffic then a bad apple will come along one of these times and depending on what is taken or damaged could create serious issues. At a minimum would forever negatively shift the experience of that hunt. I would stash items where can not be seen from the trail or nearby glassing points.
 

DouglasR

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Jan 9, 2019
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I hate thieves.
Thanks for the tips. Looks like I’ll be hiding everything.
 
Last edited:

wllm1313

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I hate thieves.
Thanks for the tips. Looks like I’ll be hiding everything.
This might be a dumb question but would this ever be considered bad etiquette, especially in a heavily pressured area? Like there’s already a bunch of people there and then I’m just leaving my stuff laying around.
I don't think so, lots of people do it. I typically leave my tent set up and then stash the rest of my gear 50-100 yards away.
 

pre6422hornet

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I don't hide anything. I guess I am just hopeful in humanity, but only thing left in camp is food/tent/bag. Food would suck if it was stolen. I do leave my vehicle completely unlocked at the trailhead though. I figure I would rather they open the doors and look for something ( there is nothing in there) than break a window. I hide granola bars and water in the bumper in case I hike out with meat/antlers and need a recharge before heading back in.

We hiked in north of Durango into the Weminiche Wilderness back in 2017 and had zero issues. We even had a guy set a tent up about 150 yards away and he never even came over at night to say hi.

We did have some cattle come through our camp in New Mexico (unit 45) back in 2015 when we were 5.5 miles in. They trampled the tent, scattered the ashes from our fire all over the place, and licked the crap out of our sleeping bags.
 

nrpate05

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Damn, I didn't realize this was a concern. I've always just left everything in my tent other than stuff that needs to go in a bear bag even in popular camping areas. Never had an issue, but maybe I'll reconsider.
 

SnowyMountaineer

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WY
Tucking camp into a less visible nook is one thing, but there's no way I'd take camp down and set it up every day again at the same location.
 
Joined
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In the backcountry I just move my camp around and take everything with me and that’s mostly because I don’t camp the same spot twice. Different story for truck camp though. I’ve always left my truck camp up with limited gear in tent. Stuff like cot, table, chairs, etc. never had any issues, ever and that includes camping all over the country. Hopefully I’m not jinxing myself since I’ll be taking the boys camping and fishing again this weekend...
 

vanish

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Colorado
I leave camp set up all the time. Don't leave something like a spotting scope sitting around though.
 

KipCarson

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Bossier City, Louisiana
I’ve been camping all over Colorado since I was a kid, everywhere from roadside camps on national forest roads to backpack camps 6 miles deep into wilderness areas. Theft has never been a problem. I never think twice about leaving everything as is, I don’t leave guns, spotters, binos, or electronics laying around visible but that’s the only precaution I or my family ever take. Call me naive but I just don’t ever worry about my stuff. I’ve taken friends that worried constantly about camp when we were away from it. One thing I’ve seen is usually the guys who worry don’t have nearly the fun as the ones who don’t! Best of luck to you!
 

Kharper

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North Georgia
I've never hunted central Colorado, but I have hunted sw Colorado many times and the only critters that have messed with anything in my camps have been whiskey Jacks and ground squirrels. They haven't done any significant damage worth worrying about. I've never had any issues with people either but I've always camped out of sight of trails.
 

Muskeez

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NW Iowa
Never had an issue, we leave the tent and bags set up. Hang the food away from camp, A little metal pulley on a separate rope helps. Setting up camp every night in the dark after a long day of hiking sux!
 

RockinU

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Texas
I’ve always left camp set up in the back country, and I’ve even left it set up at trailheads if I’m not going far or leaving it unattended for just a bit.

Packing up a damp tent in the dark of early morning , then pitching it again in the dark of night would suck, maybe not as much as getting your gear stolen, but still suck.

Just pay attention where you set up, and understand that there’s risk of suckage in everything we do...
 

TexAg09

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Nov 18, 2015
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Central Texas
I always leave my camp set up, but usually don't leave anything super valuable. The only people back where I'm camping are hunters who know it's hunting season. I kind of figure you'd have to be an idiot to try to steal from someone who was more than likely armed and could probably shoot you at 400 yards off or so.
 

Rzrbck918

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Aug 13, 2016
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Bixby Oklahoma
We leave camp set up. Hasn't been an issue in NM. I wouldn't leave valuable transportable items like optics etc out but a tent and bag aren't too big a temptation for most. The other factor in that is my bag and tent are not the most desirable.
 
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