Thanks. If I carry a climber in I will probably leave it and risk getting it stolen. No way I haul it in every time I hunt. One thing that is a constant about Upper Sardis is the deer are way off the main road. I don't hardly see a track the first .5 mile, and don't really see much buck sign until at least a mile back in. I hunted it in the 70's and 80's before moving away and had no trouble finding deer. Now, they seem to be in isolated pockets. Once the acorns are gone, its a really tough place to hunt.
I think the warden presence is higher up near the river, and my guess is if they see you riding it off the road or not for retrieval purposes they are going to ticket you. But like you said, it's a big place for basically 1 guy to cover. And that's not even counting all of the other areas he is responsible for.
I too, have seen tons of ATV trails that were clearly not used for game retrieval. I am guessing most of it is joy riders in the spring and summer months.
I encountered a guy on an ATV while taking down stands this year. Stopped and talked to him and he said he knew it was illegal but he hunted alone and figured it was worth the risk vs carrying the stand 2 miles by himself. Hard to argue with that logic, but i have no idea what the potential fine would be. Risk/reward.