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Don't be a Trail Idiot: Special Edition

Updated: May 13, 2023

There's a trail I like to regularly hike in my local mountains. To access this trail you need to park in a County run Park and walk across Private land, then across State and Federal Land to even start on the hiking trail. Each of these jurisdictional passings of land used to have gates or blockades preventing access to vehicles. Current times have led to people knocking down or outright removing the blockades and there's no enforcement preventing access to off-road vehicles but, there are signs warning you of the Laws limiting access to these areas. When I came across this new Trail Idiot it was two weeks into the hunting season for Deer. All these details help the lede to the FULL PACKAGE TRAIL IDIOT.

I usually start early on my hikes to have a better chance of photographing wildlife on the trail. It's a quarter-mile walk from where I park my car to the private property portion of the trail. This is the portion that prohibits vehicle traffic but hikers are welcome. Then it's a half-mile hike to the State managed portion of the land, and this is the section where I noticed a parked Jeep with an empty ATV trailer. Based on the bumper and window stickers it didn't take much brain power to figure out these were hunters. From where the Jeep was parked to the Federal USDA land and the first sign stating no motorized vehicles beyond this point is about another mile. Multiple ATV tracks clearly took the path past the missing gate that was illegally removed earlier in the year. The actual hiking trail starts another mile up the fire road the ATVs took. Once I reached the trailhead I noticed the ATV tracks kept going up the mountain and at that point I heard a gunshot (Packing Heat Trail Idiot) from the ridge overlooking the left side of the trail. The oak tree-covered trail follows a valley to a natural spring the wildlife like to use and this is where I normally hang out to take photos. It has a good view of the whole area allowing me to see anything coming up the valley, but the gunshot also came from that direction. On my guard, I cautiously walked up the trail.

Halfway up the trail I could smell cigarette smoke and located my first poorly camouflaged hunter on my right waving to another more camouflaged hunter on the left ridge. Once I confirmed they both were aware of my presence I continued to a ridge higher up above their vantage point. From there I could see the third smoking man (Cancer Stick Idiot) hiding near the summit of the trail. They were also using the ridge to watch the valley for wildlife to shoot, but with guns.

The hunters were actively hunting right off the trail used by hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders and my presence was making them uneasy. They met up in the middle of the valley and walked down the valley toward the base of the trail. I continued on over the summit and down the backside where I found their ATVs and empty beer cans (Littering Trail Idiot) parked on the upside of the trail poles designed to keep ATVs off the trail (Off Trail Idiot & WTF Trail Idiots). I heard another shot from the south and figured they would be coming back around the opposite side to retrieve their ATVs so I walked back up the hill toward the way I came. Back at the top of the ridge, I found their hangout spot with more Bud Light beer cans and cigarette butts.

Quick Joke: What is the difference between drinking Bud Light and having sex in a canoe? Nothing they are both F@*king close to water.

Granted hunting is legal in this area but It is unlawful for a person to intentionally discharge a firearm or release an arrow or crossbow bolt over or across a public road or other established way open to the public in an unsafe and reckless manner. Even though the firing of their guns is legally questionable, the FULL PACKAGE TRAIL IDIOTs did break a bunch of other laws.

FGC § 3001 - Unlawful to Hunt while intoxicated

FGC § 3004. (a)) - Unlawful to discharge a firearm in a "safety zone"

FGC § 2006 - Unlawful to possess a firearm on an ATV

CA Penal Code § 374.4 - Littering

CA Penal Code § 602 PC - Trespassing on Private Land

CA CVC § 38301 - Operates a motor vehicle in an area closed to that vehicle

LA MC § 57.25.21 - Operates a motor vehicle in an area closed to that vehicle

36 CFR 261.52h - Operates a motor vehicle in an area closed to that vehicle on Federal Land

36 CFR 261.52d - Smoking in a restricted area

MANC ORD § 147.619- Smoking in a restricted area

If you want some extra Trail points, pack out some trash or perform some trail maintenance to fix damaged areas.

The great outdoors is there for everyone to enjoy. Do your part to see that everyone does, Safely. Don't be a Trail Idiot

The photographs contained in this website may not be reproduced without the express consent of Shutter Bison.

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