The confessions of an off-road-vehicle outlaw

He had a change of heart when other off-roaders ruined his elk hunt-

The confessions of an off-road-vehicle outlaw. By Garrett Veneklasen. Op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune. Writers on the Range.







  1. Mike Avatar

    I love this article. It’s an eloquent example of how a person can change their ways when they experience something first hand.

  2. monty Avatar

    A breath of fresh air! Why can’t others understand what this guy does!

  3. Cliff Avatar

    Thanks for this timely post. Comments on the Bitterroot National Forest Travel Plan EIS are due next Monday. Opponents of widespread and illegal motorized use are bolstered by stories like this and the recent ruling by Judge Molloy enjoing the Gallatin National Forest from implementing its travel plan because it didn’t comly with the Wilderness Study Act.

    For the story on Molloy’s Gallatin ruling, see

  4. smalltownID Avatar

    NFS seems to be leading the way for agencies in terms of off-road recreationists. I wish BLM had a spine. As a hunter I can’t beleive it took him that long to have a bad experience with illegal off-road travel. I battle with it every year deer hunting with my bow around poky bc I can’t take weeks off at at time to hunt in remote central idaho. I even had a problem with a guy cross-country driving his pickup while sharpy hunting two weeks ago.

  5. Jay Avatar

    Its nice he changed his ways, but it still irks me that he was willing to subject everyone else to the same shit, and only decided to stop when he got a dose of his own medicine. I don’t buy the ignorant “well I just didn’t realize how obnoxious and destructive these things are” excuse proffered up–if you ride an ATV, you know damn well the negative impacts, particularly when you’re out their busting trail illegally (like it sounds this guy did frequently). Damned machines anyways…although like many things, it’s just a tool, and a reflection of the inconsiderate jerk-wad riding it (not legal riders, the lazy ones that won’t get off and walk to save their life).

  6. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    I would love to ditch my ATV and walk to “Save my Life” sorry can’t do it any longer, an AK-47 round took care of that..I for one, am glad I have my ATV, it still allows me to use legal trails and roads to get out.

  7. Jay Avatar

    Yes, I know you’re disabled, and we’ve had this discussion before. Don’t make it sound like I want to kick the crutches out from underneath you, or take away your wheelchair or prosthetics, or something equally cruel and vindictive. You know damn well the kind of folks I’m referring to.

  8. josh sutherland Avatar
    josh sutherland

    The problem in UT is not the blocking of roads and trails, its the lack of enforcement of the existing laws. There is like 2 rangers for literally hundreds of square miles. I am not for shutting down all access points because I dont want to get horses, but they do need to enforce the laws that are currently in place now. I know in UT its like a $700 ticket if you take an ATV where its not supposed to be. Hand out a bunch of those and I am sure people will get the idea. I feel its just the lack of enforcement that is a HUGE issue.

  9. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    Then don’t group everyone into you description of “lazy ass hunters that won’t get off their ATV’s to save their life”(My Words) Anyone that stumbled on this blog and read your statement would assume that ALL people who use ATV’s are lazy and won’t get off them to save their lives..

  10. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    by the way, even with my disability, you would have a very hard time kicking the crutches out from under this cripple!

  11. Jay Avatar

    You’re right SB, ATV’s are not an issue. You’re always right.

  12. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    boy, I do have you bamboozled don’t I Jay…I have never claimed to be right all the time, if I was right all the time I would be rich, which I am far from..

  13. ElkSlayer Avatar

    ATV’s are the problem….period! Eliminate the atv’s and you will have a healthier elk herd since they will no longer be pushed out of prime habitat. Herd bulls on public land will be bigger since not many are willing to get into the kind of shape it takes to access them.
    If states would just have the balls to only allow atv’s on roads open to all vehicles during the fall, close trails to atv’s through prime habitat during the parts of the year when that habitat is being utilized, and ENFORCE the laws that are already on the books, the elk herds would be healthier and the hunting would be better.

  14. hilljack Avatar

    Enforcement is the problem. I for one try to spend as much time during the hunting season as possible educating hunters on travel management and ticketing those that don’t listen. You get a ticket for 225 dollars and you start rethinking your attitude.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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