Using an ATV while hunting may not appeal to all sportsmen, but a growing number are embracing them.
Many hunters know how helpful ATVs can be when hunting, both for tracking a hunt and hauling it in, especially in big game hunts like elk, bear and moose.
ATVs can cost between $2,000 and $15,000. How much you spend will depend on what you need for the terrain and game you are hunting and how serious you are with your gear. There are all sorts of ATV parts you can add to improve the experience.
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One typical feature would be a gun boot, or a case for guns. Boots and clamps are made for all kinds of firearms and equipment, including for bows and ice augers. Boots range in cost, but can start pretty low.
With cutting edge compact GPS technology, grandpa’s old hunting compass is merely a keepsake these days. ATVs can be equipped with two-way radios and GPS mounting brackets that can allow you to install your GPS device for extended trips or help you maneuver through unfamiliar territory.
Perhaps one of the most useful additions to an ATV is a winch system, which can pull up to 3,000 pounds. No longer do you have to rely on extra hands to help you pull out your harvest from the woods. With an ATV and winch system, it becomes a one-man job.
Add a snatch block with your winch system and you can double the pulling power. A snatch block doubles the pulling power and allows you to gear down, which increases the load you can pull. This comes in handy especially for bear hunters, as typical adult male bears weigh in between 300 to 850 pounds.
When looking into ATVs for hunting, always check its storage capacity. Storage for hunters, especially big game hunters who make long treks, know they need room to pack a lot of stuff. Yamaha’s Grizzly 700 and 550 ATVs are great storage stuffers. They come with dual storage compartments, one in the fender and the other under the seat. Storage baskets can be added, too. These can be installed as roll bar baskets or rear or roof cargo baskets. Cost for these additions can range between $130 to $550.
Proper etiquette is necessary when using ATVs on hunting excursions. First and foremost, know local policies and regulations about the use of these vehicles on private and state land (and the obvious rule: Don’t shoot a weapon while operating the vehicle!).
But you also must respect other hunters. Keep your ATV maintained and use it only when needed, as emissions and sounds from an ATV can scare game away for other hunters. Always assume there are hunters around, and think long and hard before starting up an ATV and tearing through the woods.
Retrieving game during the afternoon (when most hunters aren’t hunting) and staying on trails as much as possible are also good tips to follow when using ATVs. Also, check in with your state land department to be sure you have the proper permits. Some states may require you to purchase additional permits when hunting on state land. In states like Arizona, however, people driving ATVs on state trust land need only have a valid hunting and fishing license for those purposes.
How have you used ATVs to help in your hunting exploits?