In my deer and turkey camp, my fellow hunters and I often discuss products and what we’d like to have vs. what we really need to be successful and enjoy our hunt to the max.
A few years back we came up with a list of more than 25 items we thought essential to being successful while on our ATVs in the deer and turkey woods. I’ve whittled that list down to five items. See if you agree.
To do these two things, everyone in our camp is required to at least carry a compass and have an idea of how to use one – even guests – well, especially guests who are unfamiliar with the areas we hunt. Better than that, most of us now carry a hand-help GPS unit with the cabin set as “home” so we don’t have to spend the night in the woods.
I also carry a two-way radio with a range of a couple of miles even in the hills. The companion to my radio stays at the cabin where someone can check it when they come in by calling me and making sure I’m OK. The radios have come in handy a couple of times when I found my truck wouldn’t start or I had a flat tire and needed help changing it (always check the spare for proper inflation before every hunt) in the dark (make sure your flashlight has good batteries or you have spare batteries).
What about a cell phone? Well, we’ve found that some of the places we hunt are remote enough that we have no cell service. While our wives can’t reach us, neither can our hunting partners who might need help.
Protect Your Firearms
While I’ve seen just about every way there is to carry a rifle or shotgun while riding an ATV, the best way I’ve found and the one my hunting partners swear by is one of the hard-sided Gun Boots that attaches to the ATV. They protect your firearms better from dust, moisture, dirt, rocks, branches – you name it. And, they are pretty inexpensive considering the protection they provide. Most are lockable, so you can leave your firearm in it even when it is parked out of your sight.
Rack Bags To The Rescue
The bags I’m speaking about are the bags that attach to your ATV’s racks so you can carry items with you such as binoculars, a camera, extra clothing or food, and the radio I mentioned above. These bags are probably one of the best accessories you can put on your ATV for year-round use. And, if you want to remove it for some reason, most just snap on or are held in place by straps that are easy to remove.
Let There Be Light
Whether heading to your blind in the dark or heading back to the cabin after sunset, lights and plenty of them always come in handy. I use the headlight on my ATV, but I also have a large spotlight I keep in the rack bag to help light up the way when I’m going into the woods or coming out of the woods.
My large spotlight has helped me find deer I shot just before the end of shooting time, and I’ve helped several others do the same. A good light is worth its weight in gold when you are traveling in the dark on your ATV.
Keep Your Winch Handy
I’ve written many times about having a winch on the front (and rear) of your ATV/UTV and how they can get you out of the mud, help pull game up a hill, hoist game into a tree, or get game off the ground when it is time to clean/process it.
You just can’t exaggerate the value of having a winch that can pull you out of a problem. Just be sure you get one with a remote so you don’t have to be on the vehicle to make the winch work.
OK, that’s my list. What’s on you list?
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