The herd of elk was perfectly positioned for a stalk. I’d been hiking for an hour in the dark and was delighted when I spotted the animals about where I expected them to be when shooting light arrived. By making a half-mile circle, I’d be within 80 yards for the shot, and the wind was in my favor. It couldn’t have been better.

Suddenly an all-terrain vehicle roared in front of me, its two occupants heading in the general direction of the elk. The driver crossed a Forest Service fence where a gate was down and sped toward the herd. Moments later, the panicked animals bolted and then milled about in confusion even as one of the hunters jumped off the ATV and shot an elk.

I was livid and had to mentally restrain myself from confronting the hunters and having it out with them. The fact that they’d beaten me to the elk wasn’t the issue; it was the way they’d done it, as well as the fact that they had driven in an area that was closed to