Some tools are made for work on the farm, but ATVs and UTVs are also capable of helping in many other areas. Using your machine for hunting can be yet another way to really get the best bang for your buck—pun intended. There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing your ATV or UTV for hunting in the woods on your farm or out on the range. First and foremost should be your preference for solo or group hunting, which can determine if you would want an ATV or multi-passenger side-by-side.
Hunters who prefer going out in groups can get a two-up ATV that allows you an additional person to ride comfortably behind the driver—check out the Can-Am Outlander Max and the Polaris Touring 570. These machines typically have longer frames and heavier shocks to accommodate the extra weight when riding rough terrain. If you have a single-seat ATV, you can still accomplish plenty of work and play.
The front and rear racks on the typical mid-bore ATV can haul between 75 and 200 pounds, depending on the model or manufacturer. The weight of the game you hunt should be calculated into the haul capacity. ATV towing capabilities are pretty impressive—some with more than 1,000 pounds—so if you really wanted to go after that trophy White-tailed deer, you could tow a trailer to haul the beast back home. With most larger displacement vehicles having a 2-inch receiver hitch in the rear, you could also use a winch to drag game to a safe place for loading. A simple rope with a D-ring attached to the receiver hitch would work nicely. Be sure to not overload the rig, as an ill-handling machine could result in injury for yourself or others.
If you hunt or work in colder climates, you can add heated grips to the steering mechanism to give yourself a little more comfort.
When you get into the world of side-by-sides, you open up many new hunting opportunities. Machines that carry three or more passengers, including Yamaha’s Viking and Viking VI, the new Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXT, or the Polaris Ranger Crew 570, give you a chance to share the fun. Take trail size into consideration: These machines are like small trucks and can be tough to maneuver in some conditions.
However, if you need a big dumping bed to load a number of turkeys or even a score like the 150-class big buck, UTVs let you do so with ease. It’s also easy to add items to these pieces of equipment for a more secure, comfortable ride in unforgiving and unpredictable climates. Installing a roof and doors on most side-by-sides is an easy task and could also keep the sun and rain off your back when working the machine on the farm. These machines all have great four-wheel-drive systems, so if you should get into a little mud or on an off-camber embankment, you can usually get away easily.
When using either of these machines for hunting purposes, keep safety paramount. Finishing a good day’s work is a great feeling, but if it’s overshadowed by an injury from lack of proper safety gear or precautions, the fun quickly disintegrates. Taking the time to educate yourself as well as those around you on proper use and safety features is vital. Always wear a helmet and your seatbelt—these two small things may save your life.
Learn more about ATVs and UTVs on HobbyFarms.com:
- All-Terrain Farming
- Tools for Tight Spaces
- Farm Utility Vehicles: A Buyer’s Guide
- Video: UTV Buyer’s Guide