USFS suddenly shuts public roads prior to elk hunt

hank4elk

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Jan 8, 2015
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SW NM
A dozen or so years back hunters headed into the Sierra's for a "Migration" storm,the time when you can pick them off trails & stories are told for years.
I had filled my tag a few days before and was finishing closing the cabin til spring. I knew a big one was coming. In an hour after the snow started there was a foot on the ground and it was getting worse. I put the chains on, threw my stuff in the truck,loaded the doggie & got off the mountain.
There was a stream of vehicles going UP the mountain thru Shaver Lake and non stop as I hit the valley floor. To hunt.
The next day on the news, hundreds were stranded & dozens missing just by Dinky Creek.
3 died. 2, yards from their trucks.
Dozens of rigs left til spring were dug out when they resumed the search for bodies.
One guy was never found.
 

huntnpack

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Nov 22, 2019
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Idowahio
How many of yo have heard of the Armistice Day Storm?

Read this or google it. Then ask, would you, as forest district manager, be okay with this happening on your watch when you have the option to prevent it?

Have they ever closed access to the Miss due to weather? For those that are interested in extreme winter weather, read “the children’s blizzard”.
 

Old man bob

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Some people don't understand, and they think they are invinceable. Several allways sadly pass in big storms here in AZ. . Don't like it ,nobody does but it saves lives.,unfortunenatatly not all of em..................BOB!
 

MTGomer

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Some people don't understand, and they think they are invinceable. Several allways sadly pass in big storms here in AZ. . Don't like it ,nobody does but it saves lives.,unfortunenatatly not all of em..................BOB!
You Arizonans are just big.... when it comes to anything other than sunny, and hot 😂

Except for Clod. I think he has seen it hit the fan a time or too.
 

Wind Gypsy

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Tough to take a stand on either side without being familiar with the area. When I first spent time in the winter in CA, I was surprised to find out how often they mandated chains even for 4wd vehicles.
After spending a fair amount of time driving in the CA mountains in winter conditions, I can understand why they need to treat people like incompetent children. Makes me wonder if AZ doesn’t have a similar issue with folks not having a clue.
 

dirtclod Az.

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You Arizonans are just big.... when it comes to anything other than sunny, and hot 😂

Except for Clod. I think he has seen it hit the fan a time or too.
I've seen the Hit Sit the fan more than once.12yrs old shot a cow Elk on the Mogollon.
Tee shirt weather.Hung her in a tree. woke up the next morning,two feet of snow and
she was frozen solid to the tree.We were going no where.Happy days,missed 3 days of school!
(Mud fest on the way out)Chains are our friends. 🔥
 

bigjohn

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Dec 26, 2015
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AZ
I started hunting late elk in AZ in the 60's. Snow was a given most years. We would just chain up all 4 wheels on the jeep and go hunting. If the snow got too deep to get around, we would drop to lower elevation to hunt, because the elk had also dropped lower. We would pull out other hunters when they got stuck and they would do the same for us. It seemed to be the unwritten code of elk hunting. I always thought that snow was part of the adventure. We didn't have the US Forest Service watching out for us, lucky that we survived!
 

Straight Arrow

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Gallatin Gateway, MT
I started hunting late elk in AZ in the 60's. Snow was a given most years. We would just chain up all 4 wheels on the jeep and go hunting. If the snow got too deep to get around, we would drop to lower elevation to hunt, because the elk had also dropped lower. We would pull out other hunters when they got stuck and they would do the same for us. It seemed to be the unwritten code of elk hunting. I always thought that snow was part of the adventure. We didn't have the US Forest Service watching out for us, lucky that we survived!
Most of us who have hunted and fished the winter months in northern climates have experienced what you have described ... chaining up, getting stuck, shovelling out, pulling others out, enduring deep snow and winter conditions Those conditions are not what resulted in the closure. The conditions compelling authorities to close roads are extreme winter blizzard, snow, frigid conditions during which you and I likely would be unable, ill equipped, and inexperienced to provide the required emergency response efforts to extract foolish nimrods from the dangers. Although I don't like to see outback roads closed either, especially during hunting season(s), yet I support well-vetted decisions to minimize the extreme risks and reduce the need for emergency responders to sacrifice their time and exposure to danger.
 

MTGomer

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MT —> AZ
How long was the closure in place for?
Some for 5 or 6 days, some for the season. Depends on the road, the forest etc.
In a lot of areas guys were able to get in Tuesday 3rd to hunt through the end of the season the 5th.
 

Tradewind

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I would be on board with a system where by the agency may issue a travel warning, but things remain open. If people choose to go out anyway during the warning, fine. But if they need a rescue during the warning, they should foot their own rescue bill. After a couple of examples, I think most people would start making better decisions about their abilities to operate in those conditions. And those who are skilled and prepared aren’t automatically barred from going out.
Exactly
 

Greyman

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Jan 14, 2019
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South Texas
Stories like this make me grateful to live on the South Texas Gulf Coast. That is until hurricane season rolls around.
 

bigjohn

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AZ
Most of us who have hunted and fished the winter months in northern climates have experienced what you have described ... chaining up, getting stuck, shovelling out, pulling others out, enduring deep snow and winter conditions Those conditions are not what resulted in the closure. The conditions compelling authorities to close roads are extreme winter blizzard, snow, frigid conditions during which you and I likely would be unable, ill equipped, and inexperienced to provide the required emergency response efforts to extract foolish nimrods from the dangers. Although I don't like to see outback roads closed either, especially during hunting season(s), yet I support well-vetted decisions to minimize the extreme risks and reduce the need for emergency responders to sacrifice their time and exposure to danger.
From my perspective as a hunter that has hunted the late elk hunt in Arizona numerous times and as a retired Wildlife Manager for the Arizona Game and Fish Dept. that has worked lots of late elk hunts, the snowfall amounts received did not justify the closures. I felt that the Forest Service over reacted in the closures and those closures infringed on the rights of the elk hunters to access public land. Please forgive me, I am just a old hunter that is pro hunting, pro hunter and pro access to public lands. BTW I was not an elk permit holder for the late elk hunt.
 
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Old man bob

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Arizona
Big deal You Montanans can handle the Snow and cold. Theres only 100k people living in the Bozeman area. There are over 5 million in Phoenix area. So you can't compare the 2 And theres over 2 feet of snow in many areas up north. And people here don't go prepared. You can't compare the 2. Thats like You Montanans coming here in July when its 118 degrees. You Guys would Puss out. I would go golfing , its just nature reversed. Don't like it ,Don't hunt Here. Just like I wouldn't hunt Montana in -20. I would Puss out.....BOB!
 

Carnage2011

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Whitehall, MT
Big deal You Montanans can handle the Snow and cold. Theres only 100k people living in the Bozeman area. There are over 5 million in Phoenix area. So you can't compare the 2 And theres over 2 feet of snow in many areas up north. And people here don't go prepared. You can't compare the 2. Thats like You Montanans coming here in July when its 118 degrees. You Guys would Puss out. I would go golfing , its just nature reversed. Don't like it ,Don't hunt Here. Just like I wouldn't hunt Montana in -20. I would Puss out.....BOB!
Maybe they should have only closed the roads for residents then? Since they are the ones that aren’t prepared...(that’s sarcastic). Lots of non residents drew tags and may have been prepared, but weren’t given the opportunity. Sounds like you locals are more equipped to golf than hunt. Gomer-we’ll consider you a MT resident still.
 

dirtclod Az.

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Big deal You Montanans can handle the Snow and cold. Theres only 100k people living in the Bozeman area. There are over 5 million in Phoenix area. So you can't compare the 2 And theres over 2 feet of snow in many areas up north. And people here don't go prepared. You can't compare the 2. Thats like You Montanans coming here in July when its 118 degrees. You Guys would Puss out. I would go golfing , its just nature reversed. Don't like it ,Don't hunt Here. Just like I wouldn't hunt Montana in -20. I would Puss out.....BOB!
Heck yea,I always golf in the summer.Rates are lower and the Beer lady comes by more often
with way less clothes.I also Archery Deer hunt in Aug.when it's over 100deg.,even at higher elevations.
Snow is not my favorite,but I can tough it out.Still they shouldn't have closed the roads prematurely. 🔥
 
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