Hunting With All-Terrain Vehicles

The all-terrain vehicle, or ATV/4-wheeler, as it is sometimes called, has become one of the most essential tools of the hunter — used for everything from scouting game, hauling out game and treeetands, to traveling trails to the hunting stand, and gaining access to dense wilderness areas. 

The ATVs popularity began in the early 1980s, and although these vehicles were actually developed in the 1970s, they only began to garner interest in the 80s as a mode of transportation for the average hunter. As time went on, various attachments and accessories were introduced, specifically to make the ATV more hunter-friendly. As a result, most hunters today now make use of these vehicles during most of their outdoor excursions. An all-terrain vehicle is a luxury in some ways and a necessity in other ways. By understanding its usefulness and using it to your advantage, will certainly ensure a more successful and productive hunting trip.

Special Equipment For ATVs
As the size and strength of the ATV grew over the years, so too did the availability of hunting attachments and accessories. The first accessory introduced for hunting was the gun boot — a case for guns, rifles, or muzzle-loaders, which could be mounted on an ATV. The gun boot has proven to be one of the most versatile attachments available today. There are other styles of firearm racks and bow mounts now available and used quite extensively by the North American hunter.

A ‘gun-boot’ is essential for any ATV hunt, and the author makes sure his is securely fastened.

Various electronic attachments can also be housed on a 4-wheeler and used during a hunting trip. There are two-way radio attachments and GPS mounting brackets meant for extended use during a hunting trip. Most 4-wheelers are now equipped with a winch system for pulling it out of a jam, and the new “bikes” also have ample storage space, and all the power a hunter could ever need, for hauling even a moose out of rough terrain.

Advantages Of Using An ATV For Hunting
The first advantage of using an all-terrain vehicle for hunting is the ability to cover a great deal of ground or territory in a short period of time. Hunters can travel from their treestand locations; around rough forest trails in almost any condition, all year long, and today’s 4-wheeler can go virtually anywhere you point them. Another advantage is the ability to haul and tow a large amount of weight, which may include towing a trailer with a deer or moose quarters on it, hauling ladderstands around, or even hauling out firewood for the hunt camp. These powerful units are geared for work and more than strong enough to do the job. Not only are ATVs handy for travel in the north woods, they have become the popular mode of transportation for all hunters. 

ATV big-game hunters have a big advantage over the competition, by getting into position earlier in the morning, and returning to camp faster at the end of the day. With an ATV, you can stay at your treestand or hunt location longer; thus increasing your chance of seeing game. Another huge advantage of an ATV comes after a large game animal is on the ground. We all know that this is when the real work begins, and a 4-wheeler can be used for packing out deer, moose, and even bears from the deepest forest depths. A winch can also be used to hoist an animal out of a deep hole, and the heavy-gauged racks on today’s bikes are more than strong enough to support the weight of a whitetail deer or a moose quarter. With a trailer hitched to it, the ATV can also pack out most wild game and assorted hunting equipment with little effort.

The ATV has become so ubiquitous that even game animals are accustomed to the sight and sound of an all-terrain vehicle. Traveling into the backwoods on a 4-wheeler has its advantage because big-game are less wary of a hunter driving an ATV, than one walking on foot. In regions with heavy forestry work, for example, the droning sound of a tree-skidder will not phase the deer or moose nearby. ATVs can quietly and quickly slip through the backwoods into a hunting position without really disturbing animals in the area. This is also evident among small game hunters, as grouse and even rabbits are rarely alarmed or threatened by the presence of an ATV, thus making your approach more efficient. Many moose and whitetail deer have also grown accustoming to seeing an ATV in the forest, and are not at all bothered by them. 

The author tours the back-woods trails in search of game during the hunting season.

Becoming Essential Hunt Gear
We have witnessed the evolution of the all-terrain vehicle and its popularity among hunters, and that when used properly, it can create a huge advantage for hunters. ATVs have nearly replaced the 4 x 4 truck as the most common form of transportation in the back woods. Their strength, versatility, and adaptability make them an essential part of any hunting trip. When used properly and responsibly, an all-terrain vehicle can often make or break a hunting trip.  Good Luck, good hunting, and drive carefully!

For a fine selection of ATV Accessories, click here.

Leave a Reply

Commenting Policy - We encourage open expression of your thoughts and ideas. But there are a few rules:

No abusive comments, threats, or personal attacks. Use clean language. No discussion of illegal activity. Racist, sexist, homophobic, and generally hateful comments are not tolerated. Keep comments on topic. Please don't spam.

While we reserve the right to remove or modify comments at our sole discretion, the Sportsman's Guide does not bear any responsibility for user comments. The views expressed within the comment section do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of The Sportsman's Guide.