Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Where does the trip start?
A. The hunting party will meet RTO at the predetermined trailhead at the agreed upon time. RTO does not provide transportation to the trailhead. Hunters will be able to lock and leave their vehicles at the trailhead. We have not had any issues with vandalism or theft at our trailheads. But keep in mind we do not recommend leaving valuables in your vehicles. If hunters leave their vehicle on RTR property, they leave them at their own risk. RTR is not responsible for any damage to vehicles or stolen goods. Hunters must also leave their keys so that RTR can move their vehicle if needed for any reason.
Q. How long is the ride into camp?
A. The length of the ride varies depending on which camp you’re going to. Most camps are all 2-4 hours away from the trailhead. Which trailhead we use depends on where we’re going and the weather/road conditions.
Q. What comes with a drop camp?
A. Our drop camps are setup to make your stay in the back country as comfortable as possible. They are equipped with cots, tables, chairs, a wood stove and a propane cooking stove. Along with basic cooking utensils, dish soap, pots, pans, cups, plates, bowls and silverware. Propane for the cooking stove and fuel canisters for the Coleman lanterns are included. Lighter fluid for the wood stove will be provided, along with some firewood. Hunters do have to collect firewood to burn depending on how much you go through. There is an ax, handsaw and shovel in camp.
Q. What kind of gear do I have to bring for a drop camp?
A. You need to bring your sleeping bag, food to last the length of your trip and necessary hunting gear for the type of hunt you’re on. We recommend coming prepared for a wide range of weather conditions as well, regardless of the time of year you’re in the mountains. Please look at the “Gear List” page for a full list of recommended gear.
Q. Is there a way to communicate when I’m in the mountains?
A. Cellular phone service is nearly nonexistent in the back country. RTO staff uses the Garmin Inreach satellite communications device, as well as hand held radios, as they are the easiest and most reliable way to communicate in the back country. We have found satellite phones to be inconsistent and unreliable depending on weather. RTO does not provide any satellite communication devices for Clients. You can find information on the Garmin at https://explore.garmin.com/
Q. What do I do when I have an animal down?
A. RTO provides packout service to our drop camp and pack-in hunters as part of our agreement, as well as providing meat packing service to DIY hunters. The animal must be quartered out, we recommend the use of games bags and suggest hanging them in trees to help preserve the meat and prevent scavengers from getting to it. Game doesn’t necessarily have to be packed back to camp, it is the hunters responsibility to pack it to a location that is safely accessible for horses. Please provide coordinates or an accurate description of where meat is located for game pack out. Often the hunter will be needed to lead us to the meat location.
Q. How do I tag my animal?
A. Properly marked carcass tags should already be filled out and attached to a quarter. (Not to the antlers per game regulations). Evidence of sex is required by state game regulations to be naturally attached to one quarter. Carcass tags should be punched - MONTH, DAY , SEX and SIGNATURE are REQUIRED. Hunters do not have to accompany the wrangler out with their animal, but are required to sign a game packout permission slip per state regulations. The permission slip states that the hunter gives RTO permission to transport the animal from the site to the processor in Antonito, CO. Packout permission slips will be provided to hunters.
Q. What happens if I need to leave camp early?
A. RTO provides pack in, pack out as well as any trips necessary to bring game out as part of your contract. However, if you forget something in your vehicle, or if an individual in your party wants to come out early requiring additional trip into the wilderness, an additional $300 fee will be assessed. See contract.
Q. Will the altitude affect me? What can I do about it?
A. Altitude affects everyone differently and our camps are all above 10,000ft. We advise people to try and spend an extra day or two before your hunt in the area to allow your body time to acclimate. Be sure to drink ample amounts of water before, during, and after your trip! There are also medications and supplements that you can look into that can be helpful. Diamox is a prescription altitude medication you can talk to your doctor about before your trip. Wilderness Athlete makes a supplement called Altitude Advantage that some of our hunters recommend as well. You can buy cans of oxygen either locally or online that seem to provide immediate, if temporary, relief from symptoms. Most hunters that come from lower elevations deal with a period of adjustment, the better shape you’re in, the easier the adjustment seems to be.
Oxygen - https://www.amazon.com/Boost-Oxygen-Natural-Portable-Canister/dp/B08562MH82/ref=sr_1_5?crid=1626Z4RKJIT2L&dchild=1&keywords=oxygen+boost+canisters&qid=1618754348&sprefix=oxygen+boost%2Caps%2C199&sr=8-5
Altitude Advantage - https://wildernessathlete.com/products/altitude-advantage
Q. What kind of food should I bring?
A. We have clients that bring everything from freeze dried mountain house meals and homemade meals that have been prepared, vacuum sealed and frozen for reheating in camp. You can pack in groceries to cook regular food, many hunters bring steaks/seafood, vegetables and canned goods for meals. Hunters are welcome to bring soft sided coolers for perishable/frozen food for long term refrigeration. Small hard sided coolers must be able to fit in panniers (pack saddle bag). We recommend avoiding glass containers whenever possible due to the possibility of breakage. No ice allowed in coolers.
Q. Do I need to bring water?
A. At each camp there is a water source, and a filtration system. We’ve never had an issue drinking the creek water, but you can boil, treat or filter before use.
Q. How can I make my pack-in easier?
A. One of the biggest ways to help with your pack in, is to have your gear and food boxed or in duffle bags of equal weights. This makes the loading of gear on the horses easier and quicker. Equal weight distribution is important when packing horses. Bags can be pre-weighed at home and labeled.
Q. Can I bring alcohol?
A. RTO can pack in alcohol for clients, but responsible use is encouraged. Please see your contract for weight restrictions.
Q. Can I bring marijuana?
A. NO, it is legal in the state of Colorado, but federal law makes it illegal to have on Federal land. Therefore RTO policy prohibits marijuana on all of our trips. All of RTO operations take place Federal land.
Q. What do I have to do before being picked up at the end of my trip?
A. RTO will drop you off in a clean and tidy camp. It is your responsibility to leave the camp as you found it. This includes washing, DRYING and packing away all dishes to prevent rodents from getting into them. Nothing should be left out. Nothing should be left behind; if you packed it in, pack it out! Clean up trash and bag it for pack out, sweep floors, and clean cook top. Please have your bags packed and ready for loading onto pack horses when your wrangler arrives in camp. If anything in camp is damaged (lanterns, dishes, etc) please inform the wrangler so the next group can be provided for. IF RTO HAS TO SEND IN A WRANGLER TO CLEAN THE TENT BEFORE THE NEXT GROUP ARRIVES, A $400 FEE WILL BE ASSESSED.
Q. What are the weight restrictions for packing in?
A. Hunters are limited to 60 pounds of gear a piece. Gear must be split into at least two duffel bags (maximum of 30 pounds a piece), so that it may be loaded equally on either side of the pack horse. This does not include the bow or hard case. Each person is allotted 35 pounds of groceries, including cooler weight.
Fishing Trips/Pack Trip:
Q. Can my children come on the trip?
A. Children need to be 12 years old to go on our pack trips. Our camps take 2-4 hours to get to by horseback, and tend to be too difficult for younger children. If you feel your child can handle the trip, discuss with us and we may make an exception, but it is at RTOs sole discretion.
Q. Does RTO provide our food?
A. RTO provides food for fully guided trips. Client is responsible for bringing food for drop camps.
Q. How many camps are available?
A. RTO has permits for six camps. Our Second Meadows Fish Camp is the most popular for summertime use. it is an option to visit more than one camp on a pack trip.
Q. Does RTO provide fishing guides?
A. No. RTO provides a wrangler/camp cook for fully guided trips, but Client is responsible for doing their own fishing.
Q. Does RTO provide fishing gear?
A. No, Client is responsible for bringing their own poles, bait, tackle, etc. Client is also responsible for purchasing a valid fishing license prior to the trip.
Q. What do I need to bring?
A. Please see our Gear List page.
Q. What are the weight restrictions for packing in?
A. We limit pack horses to 160 pounds per horse, and riding horses to no more than 240 pounds per rider.
Q. Where are you/your camps located?
A. RTO is located approximately 50 miles southwest of Alamosa, CO and 30 miles north of Chama, NM, we are in the heart of the Rio Grande National Forest and the South San Juan Wilderness. See our Map for our location and the locations of our camps.
Q. How far ahead do we need to schedule?
A. We start taking bookings January 1st of each year for the coming season. To guarantee your spot, the earlier you book, the better. Most of our hunting camps fill up by the first of March. If you know the date you will want to go, contact us several months in advance for all hunting and pack trips. For spur of the moment occasions, give us a call and we will do our best to accomodate you.
Q. Where is your office?
A. We are located at 1484 FDR 250 Antonito, CO 81120. Clients are responsible for meeting us at the trailhead. We do not provide any transportation.
Q. Do you offer trail rides?
Q. What are the weight restrictions for riders?
A. Riders must not weigh more than 240 pounds to ride our horses. This is for their own safety as well as the safety of our horses.