Hunting hints for using OHV: If you’re stalking, you’re walking; stay the trail

Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs) and hunting pretty much go hand-in-hand. They are designed with off-road characteristics perfect for accessing your hunting land. They are comfortable, quick, and nimble enough to negotiate obstacles standing between you and your game. They offer racks and scabbards to outfit your machine into the ultimate gear carrier.

However, the ethical use of OHVs is important while hunting. All OHVs operated in Colorado need to be registered if you’re a Colorado resident, or permitted for nonresidents. Transport of firearms on an OHV must comply with game regulations as specified by Big Game Regulations; firearms must be fully unloaded in the chamber and magazine, and, as with bows, be fully enclosed in a hard or soft case.

Remember, the start of the hunt is the end of the ride. “If you’re stalking, you’re walking” is a tagline to help you remember your OHV is limited to transporting hunters and downed game, not a tool involved with the hunt itself.

OHVs create noise, dust and fast speeds, elements that don’t compound with spotting, tracking and taking game. OHVs may not be used as a rifle rest while hunting, and shooting from your OHV or from, on or across a public road or trail is illegal.

Also, be considerate of hunters not using OHVs. Reduce your speed and keep vehicle noise to a minimum. Be courteous of other land users and give wildlife their space and solitude. It is unlawful to harass or pursue wildlife with an OHV.

Motorized cross country or off-route travel to hunt or retrieve your game is not permitted in most areas: Stay the Trail. Be prepared to pack out your game and check with local BLM or Forest Service offices for specific game-retrieval policies. Forest Service motor vehicle use maps indicate the amount of travel allowed off established routes. This can range from one vehicle length to 300 feet if you are not creating resource damage or leaving an indication your vehicle left the roadway.

Travelling off-road creates lasting damage and encroaches on natural animal migration paths and habitat. Creating new or following user-created routes also impacts vegetation, leading to erosion, landscape change and possibly temporary or permanent closures for rehabilitation. If you can track your animal by its indications, imagine the footprint left behind from an OHV.