More hunters now relying on mountain bikes

An environmental and hunt-friendly method of transport?

This article might well be read along with the one I posted, The confessions of an off-road-vehicle outlaw.

A horse is very useful hunting, especially for getting your kill out, but many people don’t have the means or the property to keep a horse. Rather than turn to an ATV, this might be a good solution.  Of course, for a raw and, I think, ethically satisfying hunting experience packing it on foot out is best. Having done this myself, however, it is misery.





  1. Cris Waller Avatar

    The link isn’t working.

  2. smalltownID Avatar

    Generally mountain bikes are a better alternative but I am not convinced that atv’ers are any more detrimental than mountain bikers as a group. Really popular mountain biking areas have far more numbers of riders and are equally disturbing to wildlife despite less noise

  3. josh sutherland Avatar
    josh sutherland

    I have hunted off of a mtn bike before, its nice if you have some decent trails and if its not to steep.. 🙂

  4. Mgulo Avatar

    Where I live and hunt many hunters have used Mtn bikes for at least two decades to get in to non-motorized units(where non-motorized transport is legal), then park the bike and hunt on foot. I’ve done it a quite a bit myself. It’s also useful in bring the animal out. Trying to “road hunt” from a bike is a great way to demonstrate Darwinian selection. Where I am we have a lot of roaded areas which are gated off during hunting season to limit motorized access but the roads are fine for bikes. I’ve not seen, nor would I encourage, riders using trails through the brush.

  5. mikepost Avatar

    Rogue mnt bikers do just as much damage to the ground and negatively impact wildlife as rogue ATV’ers. There is a bit of an “outlaw” mentality with many of these mechanized public land user groups that flaunt the rules and even challenge the rights of private property owners to keep them off their land. Doesn’t seem to have much to do with hunting, more just thrill riding and arrogant self-indulgence.

  6. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    My observation is that “rogue” mountain bikers tend to build new trails (or “enhance” existing ones) in areas not previously open to biking. Mountain bikers rarely travel off trail or road like ATV/motorcycles. I don’t believe that mountain biking itself causes any more damage than any other form of human or horse powered recreation, generally speaking. Of course there are exceptions. But constructing new trails for the purpose of mountain biking is what causes problems. There are a whole bunch of formerly “rogue” trails in the Boise front that are now part of the official trail system (many former logging roads). Here in Boise, they also happen to be some of the best mountain biking trails around. We lucked out that the rogue trail builders happen to be very good at what they do.

    I think hunting with the help of a bike could add greatly to the backcountry hunting experience. It is generally a quiet form of travel and with a trailer could make hauling the animal out a lot more enjoyable. I worked with a guy who used his mountain bike extensively for hunting and swore by it for those reasons. I have no problem with it as long as all the rules are followed.

  7. timz Avatar

    Just took a ride along the trails near my house. You could tell it’s hunting season, they are littered with empty cigarette packs, beer cans and bottles, the makeshift campsite fire rings full of cans and trash. Must not have room on whatever they rode in on to haul their trash out.

  8. Elk275 Avatar


    ++Just took a ride along the trails near my house. You could tell it’s hunting season, they are littered with empty cigarette packs, beer cans and bottles, the makeshift campsite fire rings full of cans and trash. Must not have room on whatever they rode in on to haul their trash out.++

    How do you know that it is hunters? If the trail is near you house then it must be close to others homes and people. What about a few high school kids having a few beers in away from the law. I remember when I was in high school in the late 60’s.

    Some of the worst trashed areas are remote hot springs that have nature lovers, gwarkers, and others.

  9. timz Avatar

    “How do you know that it is hunters”
    Becuse I was back there late last week and saw them. And have seen them coming and going for the last couple weeks.
    Very few locals go back there during hunting season, something about getting mistaken for game and shot.

  10. Jay Avatar

    Elk, you sound like you’ve spent enough time in the hills to see the annual bloom of the Bud Light Tree dropping it’s fruit along the road sides, right about the time hunting season starts. Not saying its hunters, but that’d be a logical guess, don’t you think?

  11. josh sutherland Avatar
    josh sutherland

    Jay come walk the trails on the Wasatch Front in UT. About 99.99 percent hikers, and you will see trashed scattered from hell to breakfast…

  12. Elk275 Avatar

    Irresponible people trash areas and leave their empty’s, be it hunter’s, fly fishermen/women, mountain bikers, rock climbers, etc. When I was young I never though about empty shotgun casings, litter is litter and empty shotgun shells are litter. In Montana a hunter or fisher can lose they privileges for one year if caught littering. I have started to wonder if a bird hunter does not pick up the empties where they should be cited for littering.

    Some of the worst trash that I have seen is at Jerry Johnson Hot Springs and Gold Bug Hot Springs. But if hunters are leaving there trash then confront them or call the game warden. Do not be afraid to call anyone out if they are littering and don’t be afraid of going into the woods during hunting season, at least in the western states, hunters do it all the time, but wear orange.

  13. JB Avatar


    Where are you hiking. I’ve hiked quite a bit in the Wasatch and found it one of the less littered locations.

    Of course, you won’t find a lot of beer cans up that way.

  14. mikepost Avatar

    You guys are lucky. The most common trail marker here in SoCal forests is the disposable diaper.

  15. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Float the Yellowstone River in some stretches and you won’t see a lot of waterfowl but plenty of empty beer bottles and cans.

  16. timz Avatar

    “Irresponible people trash areas and leave their empty’s, be it hunter’s, fly fishermen/women, mountain bikers, rock climbers, etc.”

    Oh, but I thought hunters were special, the prime stewards of the forest. Why if not for them and all the fees they pay there would be no forest, right. Even my dog has sense enough not to shit in his own space.

  17. gline Avatar

    lol timz

    This blog seems to continually go toward the hunter is better vs the non hunter is better argument. uncanny!

  18. Elk275 Avatar

    A litter bug is a litter is a litter bug is a litter bug ……………………………………….. I do not care who they are.

  19. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I don’t think there is any doubt that those who arrive in motor vehicles, leave more trash. The larger the vehicle, the more trash.

    I also have seen people with vehicles picking up large amounts of others’ trash, but the equation puts the plus sign on the leaving trash side.

    I wonder what the social psychological explanation is?

  20. Cobra Avatar

    Up here it’s the road hunters and the atv hunters who leave the most garbage. Wood cutters do their fare share also. Can’t believe they can haul a full can up in their rig but can’t take the empties back home with them.
    I was hunting with a friend and his dad one time and on our way up to the trail head his dad threw a candy wrapper out the window, my friend stopped the truck and told his dad we weren’t going any farther until he got out and picked up his candy wrapper and any other garbage he could find. They argued about 10 minutes and finally my friend turned off the truck and didn’t start it again until his dad picked up the candy wrapper. My buddy told his dad ” I don’t throw down garbage in your house don’t do it in mine.” It wouldn’t hurt if we all would police each other.


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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