A Cowgal's Story: Dear Hunters

Editor's Note: It's hunting season in our corner of the country, and as 50% of the Diablo Trust land area is owned by the U.S. Forest Service and 20% is State Land, the Bar T Bar and Flying M ranches attract a great number of hunters and sportsmen each year. Both ranches allow hunting on some of their private lands, but ask a few things in return, like having visitors sign in through the AGFD Compact Agreement (see Ground Truth – W17). Sheila wrote this open letter to hunters in 2014 and asked for it to be reprinted this year. It is everyone's hope that every public lands group - ranchers, hunters, recreators, scientists, and so many others - can get along amicably, if not collaborate on common goals.

Dear Hunters,

We’re happy that you were drawn out for your elk tag and wish you luck in getting a nice one. Here at the ranch we try to be respectful of you in the early morning hours and don’t go out in areas that you might be hunting, giving you the best opportunity to fill your tag. We also try to do work at HQ in the late afternoon, once again giving that time of day the quietness needed for your hunt.

But in return we ask for respect.

  • Don’t open the gates and leave them down: close them.
  • Don’t cut the wire because you don’t want to climb over the fence: either climb through, push it down and step over, or find the nearest gate.
  • Don’t park or set up a camp in close proximity to a gate. We use those gates for moving our livestock through and would feel terrible if a bull or other livestock were to damage your items. Plus, some of our cattle aren’t easy to move past something they don’t know and that’s how wrecks can happen.
  • Don’t go off-roading when there are signs posted that ask you to stay on established roads.

We let you hunt on the private land. We will usually offer advice of where we would personally go to hunt - we try to help most of you out, and will unlock gates so you can go retrieve your game. 

Please extend the same respect to us that has been shown to you. But if the gates are continuously left open, the fences cut, etc, then we will have to start out in those hunting areas much earlier, thus causing most of the game to move away. We will have to travel to known water tanks and such to search for the missing cattle, then if we are lucky enough to find them, we will have to drive them back to where they belong. That can take hours and sometimes days, depending on how far they have wandered. And it’s sure to cause the deer, elk, antelope, and other game to go elsewhere. 

So all we are asking is some common courtesy from those who hunt in this area. We’re offering it to you and we hope you can respect the ranch enough to offer it back.


Welcome to a new segment of Ground TruthA Cowgal's Story! This is a monthly installment by Sheila Carlson, a 'cowgal' on the Flying M Ranch. Through her short notes and letters, you will be able to learn more about ranching and ranchlife in our region. There will also be 'guest posts' by other cowfolks on the Flying M and Bar T Bar ranches.