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Deer hunting has already started in many parts of the country or is about to kick off everywhere else, and an ATV can be a useful tool to help make it a successful season. While there are lots of reasons to use an ATV in your hunt, there appear to be just as many arguments against it. Most people with an opinion on the matter fall decisively into one camp or the other.
An ATV gives you access to remote or impassable areas that are not reachable by truck or too far on foot. If you set up miles away from home base or your pickup truck, as opposed to yards, you want to have a quicker means of getting there than on foot.
Using an all-terrain vehicle allows you to haul equipment and supplies to isolated areas with lots of storage space. ATV accessories like an ATV cargo box or specialized carrier like a gun rack work great for keeping your gear clean, dry, secure and organized and are especially nice for transporting heavy or cumbersome items like tree stands.
Four wheelers are invaluable for carrying your deer back to your vehicle or cabin and a much better option than dragging a buck or doe by hand over muddy, rough or steep terrain, or across streams or creeks. However, there are also non-motorized options for this, such as a pull-behind hand cart designed specifically to traverse wooded and grassy areas.
Hunters with disabilities often benefit greatly from the use of an ATV or quad during hunting season. For some, the use of one is the difference between being able to participate in the hunt or not at all and is the only means of getting to their stand.
Most hunters using ATVs make it a point to leave some distance between their ATV and their stand, but others report taking quite the opposite approach. Some sportsmen actually park their ATV in tall grass, top the machine with a camouflage cover and sit behind It like a blind. In some areas, deer populations are already used to the sounds and smells of the local farmers’ machinery, or hunters take the time to make regular, frequent trips with their ATV to their hunting stands in order to get the deer acclimatized to its sound and smell. However, the temperament and tolerance of the herd you are hunting will dictate whether this could be a successful strategy for your area.
First and foremost, you should know the local regulations regarding ATV use or the preference of the landowner where you hunt, since many public lands prohibit the use of ATVs. It would also be a smart strategy to find out your neighbor’s viewpoint on the matter, too, to keep the peace when tensions may run high.
The obvious objections to four-wheelers in the woods during hunting season are the noise, smell and footprint left behind by an ATV when a trail is disrupted or torn up. Fumes from an ATV may carry not just in the area surrounding the machine but also on your clothes, though walking into the woods may help minimize the scent. The noise issue may be improved with an add-on, secondary muffler, which can quiet ATV exhaust noise by up to 50% and without any sacrifice in performance.
Some hunters claim that the use of ATVs in hunting areas (even out of season) keep deer away, spook them or diminish the numbers of mature deer who will occupy your territory. Others, however, have had the opposite experience, and have downed a mature buck within 100 yards of a parked ATV.
For the purists, part of the hunting experience is to get as close to nature as possible; that includes using your legs and all your senses to their fullest to take in every detail possible. Driving past nature doesn’t allow the same experience, and you may miss a lot! Sometimes, the sound of total silence can be the payoff, whether you fill your tag or not.
Reminders for Hunting with Four Wheelers
Should you decide that you want to use an all-terrain vehicle for your hunting endeavors, here a few things to keep in mind:
Learn the local laws in your hunting area regarding the use of ATVs on public land. On private land, find out the landowner’s decree for riding four-wheelers in his kingdom, as well as having at least an awareness of the neighbors’ positions on the matter.
Stay on established trails and roads, and avoid widening that trail by unnecessarily driving around obstacles that can be crossed over.
Steer clear of stands as much as possible, preferably, driving part of the distance, then walking in the last leg on foot.
Limit your ATV driving time to coincide with off-peak activity hours of the deer. Plan ahead to drive in well before sunrise, and wait until after dark to return. The less disruption, the better.
Be safe! This includes driving with unloaded, secured weapons, riding slowly while keeping an eye out for other hunters on foot and wearing the necessary protective gear. Make sure your rig is outfitted properly with tools in the event of a breakdown and a GPS if you are covering unfamiliar territory.
Be aware of how additional weight on your ATV racks or cargo boxes affects the machine’s handling and responsiveness. An overloaded ATV, combined with steep hills, can make a vehicle tippy.
A Happy Medium?
A modified approach seems to work for many. For example, consider using an ATV to retrieve downed game at the hunt’s conclusion or just off-season for utility, recreation and hunting preparations like hanging stands, raking trails or preparing food plots; hoofing it for the initial trek out to your stand creates the least amount of disturbance.
An electric golf cart could also be a possible alternative. While a golf cart won’t have the power or traction of an ATV on certain terrain or in wet or snowy conditions, it doesn’t have the noise or odor, either. Golf cart accessories for the outdoorsman, such as gun carriers or bow holders, also help to make this a more appealing option.
Sometimes getting your ATV to your destination can be half the battle, and the hunting hasn’t even started! Use the right equipment to haul your four-wheeler for a hassle-free and enjoyable outdoor adventure.
If a pickup truck is your mode of transportation, a good set of ATV loading ramps (and not some spindly 2 x 4’s) can’t be beat. Don’t just “make-do” with scraps you have on hand, and take care of your equipment. Otherwise, a hitch-mounted ATV carrier is another option, so that the bed of the truck remains available for all the other gear and equipment you need to take along on your hunt.
For the larger-scale expedition that requires the use of a trailer, trailer ATV ramps let you load your four-wheeler quickly and without blowing out your back. Save the work for climbing into your tree stand.
Have a safe and productive hunt!
There’s a local morning radio show that plays a special call-in feature before every major holiday, “Where Ya Going, Whatcha Taking?” Listeners phone in with colorful tales of mothers-in-law, great uncles and green bean casserole. But sometimes the “what you’re taking” part is much more complicated than holding a delicious raspberry fluff on your lap.
Say you are headed out for a weekend camping trip, helping your best friend move every one of his worldly possessions or picking up Grandma, who gets around best with the help of a power scooter. Whether you are trailering, loading into the bed of a pickup truck or have a handy hitch-mounted carrier, you need to secure the items being transported in the most safe, dependable way. What kind of tie down straps will best do the job?
First, understand there are much better options than using a length of rope or a bungee cord you dug out of the garage. Not using the proper equipment and techniques puts you, other motorists and your possessions at risk. You also need to consider the size of the job at hand and make sure you have straps that are the proper length, width and strength.
There are many lengths of tie downs available, from just a few feet to upwards of 40 feet for commercial trucking applications. The same holds true for strap width, typically ranging from one to four inches wide. Just remember that when it comes to tie downs, “more” is, generally speaking, better. In other words, better to be safe with heavier straps than sorry with tie downs that are not strong enough for the job.
Tie down straps come with two ratings to indicate overall strength. While the Break Strength rating tells you the minimum weight it would take to cause the strap to totally fail, it’s the Working Load rating that you really want to pay attention to. Working Load is the maximum amount of weight that a tie down can support with regular, day-to-day use and without damaging it. Working Load is calculated as 1/3 of the Break Strength.
Once you determine what you need for a tie down strap in terms of the length, width and load limit, you have more options to consider. The two main strap “styles” are Cam Buckle Straps and Ratchet Straps, and there are advantages to both.
Cam Straps are generally lighter-duty than Ratchet style and create tension through the metal teeth in the buckle to hold the strap taught. They are easy to tighten and release, an advantage for someone who may not have great hand strength or dexterity. However, if the load you are securing is a solid or dense item, such as a refrigerator or other appliance, it may be more challenging to get a Cam Strap tightened. Something like an ATV or dirt bike, however, that has “give” because of its suspension will be easier to get a secure hold with the Cam Strap style.
Ratchet Straps typically have a higher strength rating than Cam Straps and can create a tighter, more secure strap tension. However, they tend to be slightly more complicated to use and release, so they might not be ideal for all users. The Ratchet Straps also tend to be the more expensive option.
Beyond the strap styles of Cam and Ratchet, tie down straps have many different options available in terms of the hook end varieties. S hooks, J hooks, flat hooks, snap hooks and more all have advantages in particular applications; this discussion may be addressed in a future posting.
Finally, a note about overall quality. Be aware that there is a significant difference in the tie down straps available in the marketplace! The material of the strap itself, along with the quality of the metal used in the buckle and hook ends, can create significant differences in the tie down’s performance and length of life. Cheap, soft metal in a buckle will wear teeth down more quickly and lead to a strap slipping or loosening. Some ratchet handle styles are designed without an opening for an easy-to-grip handle, making them more difficult to use. Invest in a good quality set of tie down straps, and they should, with normal use, last indefinitely.
In addition to the many sizes, strap and hook end styles, there is a multitude of tie down accessories and specialized tie downs available. You can check some of them out here.
So with your quality tie down straps in hand — where are you headed next, and what are you taking?
It may have taken a while, but you finally wised up enough to figure out your old man actually knows a little something about something. Why not show him how smart you’ve gotten in appreciating that fact, plus a thanks for all he does for you, with an awesome – not lame – gift this year for Father’s Day?
To help you in that pursuit, we’ve created the following pigeonhole categories to describe all (most) of the father-types out there, along with links to corresponding gifty areas of interest. This will point you in the right direction, where you’ll see tons of ideas, one of which is sure to flip Daddy-O’s lid.
Should you get your selection narrowed down but can’t quite drop the hammer, ring us up and speak with one of our terrific Product Experts. (They may not know yet that Personal Shopper has been added to their job description, but they’ll definitely be able to help you out.)
So keep your eyes peeled! Specific items for each “brand of dad” will be suggested on our Facebook page in these coming days leading up to the celebration of all things patriarchal, along with a special Father’s Day board of inspired gift ideas on Pinterest.
One other thing: when you follow us on Facebook, we’ll have a special discount offer you can use to save a little dough on the big purchase. And won’t that impress your pop?!?
Here you go:
Sportsman Dad (hunting, fishing) – Lives in camouflage, adores meat, levitates a little bit when the weather starts to cool and fall approaches.
Athletic Dad (bicycling, golfing) – Enjoys the fresh air and early mornings, taken to wearing shirts that are obnoxious either in their retina-peeling brightness or pretentious left chest insignia. This is the Grey Poupon group of dads.
Outdoorsy Dad (camping, boating) – Granola eating, sandal wearing dad who smells of bug spray or sunscreen or both; spends an inordinate amount of time listening to the weather report.
Green Thumb Dad (lawn, garden) – Obsessive about every blade of grass in his lawn or potato bug that rolls into town, suffers saddle sores from extended hours logged on riding mower, makes frequent trips to the local garden center for “one more thing.”
Fanatic Dad (football, baseball, etc) – A bit of a loudmouth and a livewire, often in charge of coordinating and executing Operation Tailgate.
Grill Master Dad (patio, barbecue) – Also adores meat (ref. Sportsman Dad, above), has a vaguely smoky aroma about him, spends extended periods of time sitting in a lawn chair looking at nothing.
Handy Dad (repairs, improvements) – A male Martha Stewart who can rig or build anything around the house that needs a fixing. Also, makes many, frequent trips to the local hardware store for “one more thing.” (Ref. Green Thumb Dad, above.)
Man’s Best Friend Dad (pets) – Even though he drives a dually, this dad is known for the little doggy perched on his lap as they cruise through town on errands and, though inseparable, Doggy often has a little accident whenever they are reunited after any length of time apart.
Did you find your dad in any of these categories? Don’t forget to check out our Father’s Day gift ideas on Facebook and Pinterest and to get your hands on the upcoming discount code!
Happy Father’s Day!
Here is a new item we added to Discount Ramps.com
The ATV Rear Lounger Storage Box is weather resistant and provides a rear seat and backrest. Made of heavy duty polyethylene keeps storage items safe from the elements. Includes 2 keys to lock cargo box. Includes 1 year manufacturer’s warranty.
Thanks for reading! Jay Tamez – Discount Ramps LLC