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Bourjaily: Why Minivans Make Great Hunting Vehicles

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January 13, 2010

Bourjaily: Why Minivans Make Great Hunting Vehicles

By Phil Bourjaily

My Jeep Liberty chose the last Saturday of pheasant season to suffer power steering problems quite possibly related to -13 overnight lows.  When it warmed up to -1 or so, I closed out the year taking my wife’s car – a 2002 PT Cruiser – to the field.  Jed’s box fit neatly in the back with the seats folded out of the way.  It held me, my older son, our guns and gear, a snow shovel just in case, and, on the way back from the field, a couple of unlucky roosters.

I tried to snap a picture of the car for you, but it was too cold for my camera to work. Taking the PT Cruiser reminded me that the Jeep is actually the first 4WD hunting vehicle I’ve ever owned. Before that, I drove minivans for hunting. In fact, I drove minivans for hunting and I liked it. There: I said it and I don’t care who knows it.

When we replaced whatever van we were hauling kids in with something newer, I got the old van. My first hunting van was a 1985 Plymouth Voyager; the second, a 1995 Ford Windstar.*  Say what you will about their lack of manly appeal, they were extremely practical. I could haul three passengers and immense amounts of gear in either one: dog boxes, decoys, layout blinds, you name it. A corn-fed 145-class whitetail fits in the back of a Windstar, too. I know because I tried it.

The big back hatches were great for loading and unloading gear, as were the sliding side doors. In fact, when I went looking for new hunting vehicle I briefly considering buying a new Dodge Caravan (it was a great deal) before I found a late model Liberty at an unbeatable price. I like the Liberty, but I am still getting used to its lack of cargo space compared to my old vans. If I had found the vehicle pictured above when I was car-shopping, it would have solved all my problems.

Anyone else out there willing to admit to hunting from a minivan or the family sedan?

 *A famous lemon. Nearly half the 95-98 Windstars blew headgaskets which leads in short order to thrown rod and a ruined engine.  When it happened to mine, Ford put a factory rebuilt engine it, and it was trouble-free after that. 

 

Comments (100)

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from MB915 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

When I was a kid, my parents had a ford taurus stationwagon to haul my brother and I to soccer practice and what not. Well the stationwagon was also the hunting vehicle. Fit all three of us nicely, easily fit deer in the back, and still enough room for all of our gear. It served its purpose perfectly. The other members of the hunt club did give my dad a hard time though.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew Steven Knoop wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

No way I am going to be seen in a mini van, I will suffer in a '10 F-150.

-4 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

i have a 95 for E-150 that i use for hunting sometimes. it has a cage seperating the cab from the back that i hooked a come along to to drag my deer into the van if i'm by myself. i also sleep in it on fishing trips. i mounted fishing rod racks to the inside of the roof and a shelving unit to the side wall for gear and food. i am currently putting a cargo rack on top for kyacks and a rifle rack to the cage in the cab. this thing does it all! any more suggestions as to what i can do with it?

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I keep my sunglasses on and slump in the back seat of the Dodge Caravan we use for our county transit-owned vanpool to keep anyone from recognizing me on the way in to work.

I drive 14 miles to meet the manpool every morning in my Chevy 4x4 and dream Walter Mitty-like that I am on my way to an elk hunt in the pre-dawn darkness. But then I am slapped back to reality when I get off the exit to the Park n Ride. Just long enough for about 4 good C&W songs on a CD.....

Minivans? Nein, danke

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from mutt wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

STATION WAGON AND I LOVE IT

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from liver5660 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

To this day there are two. The 97' ford windstar, or the plum colored 96'dodge caravan. Both of them have blood stains in the carpet from deer in the back.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from gman3186 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

like i tell people around here im not going to own a vehicle and not hunt out of it. every vehicle i have owned has seen a deer in the back of it. like i tell them you can give me a brand new lamborghini and i will go hunting in it and if i kill one there will be a deer in the passenger seat

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bella wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Minivan? I drive a Jeep!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from seadog wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Whatever gets you where you need to go is OK with me, but a minivan would not be my first choice. My F-150 is working out just fine.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from RichardF wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

03 Dodge Ram 1500, to make it more lady like I added a topper and it works great. Momma doesn't have to worry about deer blood getting on the carpet in her minivan, it's all hers!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Harold wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

If you want to go hunting, you do what you got to do! Prior to my eighteenth birthday,(1966) my father and I hunted out of our family car. We had to, no 4WD. When my Xterra was in the shop, I used our Camry to go duck and goose hunting. I like the Xterra. While a little short on room it has high clearance, a sturdy suspension, and I still have managed to cram three men, all our gear and three dogs for a day of chuckar hunting. It's small size also makes it easier to get in and out of tight spaces. So, who cares what you use as long as it gets you out in the field AND BACK AGAIN!

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from kyka1865 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

For a while I hunted and fished out of a 1992 Buick Roadmaster, complete with wood panels. I even put a deer or two in the back, not mention all the wet clothes, dirty wading boots and hunting clothes.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Jeep Liberty Renegade--Good balance of grunt 4x4, SUV, and gas mileage. Renegade is a heavy-duty Liberty in cooling systems, front-in and suspension. Don't make 'em now.

Previous had a Jeep Rubicon. Great off road vehicle, but no space and going over 60 mph was like flushing the toilet on the gas tank.

Modern vans lack ground clearance.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mjenkins1 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Im all about SUV's. Ive put a combination of deer, coolers, hay bales(3), and other gear in the back of my 4 door Explorer, without putting down the middle seat. Gonna drive it until it dies.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from -Bob wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I once brought a doe home wrapped around the back of a '95 Dodge Neon. It was homecoming weekend at Penn State, and I was a one-car parade float on I-80...musta had my picture taken five times. Good times!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from JD wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Hi Phil,

Good point; it's not what you drive to go hunting, it's what you do once you get there that makes every hunt a great day.

Obviously if we had our way, we'd be able to walk out of our front door and be in hunting paradise. Used to be like that for me, then 'she got the goldmine while I got the shaft'. Now to top it off I got the dog, so i guess I won!!!

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from Eric Greene wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Plus you can run over cars in the parent drop off lane at school.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

When I was a poor starving college student who subsisted largely on fish and game I drove a Ford Pinto with a 1600 CC engine. Talk about a lemon... but it was cheap and I could work on it myself. It would also go anywhere. If it got stuck a buddy and I could get out and lift a bumper and "walk" it out. Many was the "finger" lifted in my direction as I easily went past big pick ups with mud tires who were stuck soundly in the red Georgia clay. Guns rode easily in thier cases in the trunk and the ocassional beagle or birddog rode in the back seat. Game animals of larger size were fit into, across and onto the Pinto in various ways. Yes, it even had a trailer hitch!

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I've been a Ford p/u guy since day one. I've been driving 30 years and have had nothing but.

I have however owned a few minivans which I thought was a requirement when you had 3 kids. I can't recall a single time I've subjected my gun or bow to the pleasure of riding in one.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckbull wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

If I ever see the day when I think that doing a tuck back is fine; maybe I'll consider a minivan. Until then; it will be trucks made from detroit steel.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

buckbull

......and assembled in Mexico.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jeff Bowers wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Caprice station wagon. An..... '81, I think.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Yes, I admit it. I used four different minivans. Only problems was the low ground clearance that either limited access or damaged the chassis. A 4x4 slightly lifted GMC G-van would be a great hunting truck. Still a little wide for some access points, though.

It still amazes me what some people will use to access hunting and fishing areas. I have been in locked 4-wheel drive on difficult two tracks only to come up on beat up Pontiac Sunfires and Chevy Celebrities going the other direction. Always more than one person on board - pushers, pullers, and packers I suspect.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from RC wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

It is just about impossible to get a minivan into the places that I hunt. You need, at minimum, eight inches of clearance, and four wheel drive is strongly recommended, and that's just for the more easily reached areas. Otherwise, high centering or ripping your underside out on rocks is a definite possibility. Hell, my Explorer has come close to not making it out more than once. A full sized pickup or a jeep works best; the extra clearance really helps.

One of the truck-based vans might work, though.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dann wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Some years ago, I followed a gentleman to the game check station. He was driving a lime green Geo Metro. What caught my interest was the deer he had stuffed into the back, with the hooves dragging the pavement.

While we're waiting our turn, the gang was giving him gentle ribbing about the metro. He explained that his pickup was in the shop and he wasn't gonna let that stop him from bagging a buck. To this day, I wonder if he ever told her there had been a dead deer in the back.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from auburn_hunter wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

on the flip-side, my Tundra double cab is the daily commuter with two carseats in the back. just today at lunch I had to manuever a rifle around from front seat to back floorboard (again, the carseats were in place) in order for a co-worker to get in the truck to go to the local sporting goods store. wouldn't change it for the world!

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I would wish FORD would come back out with he original old Bronco. Small, Light and powerful!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

That Jeep Liberty, might want to add a few more inches to the lift!

I wish I still had my 1980 International Scout II, 3 inch left and 11x15's, perfect for New Mexico!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

left? LIFT!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Hey I loaded a deer in the trunk of an 1991 Cadillac Brougham!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from tygh98 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I had recently graduated from school and our only vehicle was a fairly new Honda Odyssey. I set up and hunted ducks all opening morning. About noon I decided to check out a wildlife area a few miles from where I had hundted. As I pulled through the parking area other hunters were milling about. I drove by a pick up with hunters hanging around and thought about stopping to ask how the morning went. Before I did, I heard a low comment, not meant for my ears: "a minivan? You have got to be kidding me." I kept on driving and promptly returned home. I bought a Yukon shortly thereafter.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from tbogg10 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

currently i have a 95 ford ranger, only been stuck a few times, but ive got buddys that can pull me out if needed, before that i had an 02 chevy malibu, never took a deer while i owned that car, but wouldnt have hesitated to throw a deer in it.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from TJ wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

4x4 diesel Ford Excursion. Go anywhere, pull anything, tons of room for people and gear.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from zfk193 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

My Jeep Libery worked great this year. A rear hitch-mounted rack also worked out pretty good to keep stains off the interior on successful hunts.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rabbitpolice88 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Chevy 1500 4wd 5spd manual, got stuck once in a tractor rut, used the tractor to pull it out, best farm/hunting truck out there.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from John L wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Best vehicle ever owned, 1958 Rambler Classic Station Wagon. Enough power, room for LOTS of stuff, decent clearance, powerful enough, and the seats all folded down to make the entire car a flat surface for sleeping.
Weren't any deer around here back then, but we could put at least 5 bird hunters and couple dogs plus gear in, and in the spring we loaded 6-8 coolers and gear and went to Lake Superior and filled them with smelt, which we brought back and fed the volunteer fire department.
Guess it would qualify as a minivan, with more room.
Bring back the big station wagons!

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from stephenblogger@... wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

All I have to say is if ever gets the job done then why not. I do have to admit when I was in high school, and it was all about have the coolest car, I drove a yellow 79' Toyota Corona station wagon, and let me tell you that car hound dogs, decoys, and even doubled as a camper on cold nights. So I have one word for you remember "shameless".

Gunsellers.com
A gun market place that is friendly, safe, and legal.
8520 South 1300 East
Sandy, Utah 84094
(801) 486-2727

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from joelr271 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I used a '99 ford windstar the last 2 years! It was great! I took out the seats, and it was almost just like having a truck with a topper. But i just blew out the transmission, so its to the junkyard for the windstar. A downside to a van was the bloodstains in the back. But i got a Ford Ranger 4x4 now, and i love it

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from alabamaoutlaw wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

My hunting vehicle is a 28 foot pontoon .There are no roads where i hunt and atv's and horses are not allowed got to go by water and i carry a big wheeled wagon like the kids use.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from logan.vandermay wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Ford pickups have hauled every deer I've ever shot home.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bellringer wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

During high school I had a 1957 Ford Station Wagon, great for dates and hunting, only problem was getting the beagle smell out before picking up my date.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from crm3006 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Good ideas and entertaining stories all, but after hauling one deer home in my LTD, long years ago, I will keep my LWB 4 wheel drive, thank you.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carney wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Any car that'll do, will do!

I don't like being stuck "under vehicled" in the snow, a ditch, a mud hole, etc. I prefer 4X4 but haven't been able to afford one since my last Suburban. My Ford econoline 350 is heavy enough to keep me out of trouble but I always think twice before I head into the mud or snow.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from hnestle wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Borrowed my parents taures wagon for a while, when my truck got sideswiped. The only complaint is that it didn't have the ground clearance I needed to get to my favorite spots. But it did hold my gear my buddies gear and two deer at one point. But I will stick to my f 150 Fx4, and about 10 years from now it will be replaced by another Fx4.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from elmer f. wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

i am on my first 4wd vehicle as well. i have used everything from a dodge omni to a '73 dodge club cab flatbed truck to my ex hot rod, a 73 dodge charger w/ a 440 six pack. most, were just regular old 2wd cars. of varying sizes. most of us have to use whatever it is that we use for a daily driver for hunting. a select few have the luxury of haveing a special vehicle to use, but that is not the norm. sometimes though, out of necessity, folks have a "special hunting vehicle" that they leave right at deer camp. it never sees the likes of pavement, with the exception of an occaisional "beer run". my late uncles freind had such a vehicle. an army surplus jeep (wwII) that he bought for someting like $300.00 including spare tires. it usually took the better 1/2 of a day to get it up and running every fall, but once the fire was lit in that old beasts heart (named "sarge"), it would start almost as well as anything that was driven up there. i certainly wouldnt call it a luxury vehicle, but when it came to bringing a deer back to camp, it was a cadillac compared to dragging a deer by hand!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from mihunter wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I agree with that, but the best hunting vehicle i've used is my 2002 Ford Excursion with the 7.3 diesel. it is huge with plenty of space for gear, 4 wheel drive, seats 7, and you can tow pretty much anything with it.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from imawild1 wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I've had several 4X4 Suburbans through the years. What a great combo. Comfort, loads of room for gear, and sleeping, and never stuck. Above par all around.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

In the early 90's my hunting ride was a Celebrity wagon with 4 cylinder motor and front wheel drive. It would go better than a 2 wheel drive pickup in the woods and had lots of rrom. That old white wagon looked kind of cool with 2 nice bucks on the roof rack.
Nowdays I love my 07 4 door Tundra. There was plenty of room for Beekeeper, Dan, Billy, yours truly, Jill, Buck, and a pile of guns and gear to drive 400 miles on a Pheasant hunt in comfort.

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from WiscTJK wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I recently sold my Trailblazer to a friend and bought a minivan. It is great. Haul the kids one day, haul all my hunting gear the next. Help a friend get a couch, not a problem. They are the most practical vehicles made in my opinion.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from blueridge wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Dave, you have hit a nerve with the macho crowd here. I don't see what the problem is with the minivan...front wheel drive, ROOMY, big hatch in rear, and gun and dog friendly.

Have had the 85 Voyager, 98 Voyager, 2000 Grand Caravan, and am driving the Pontiac Montana, now. Great gas mileage, and can hardly get 'em stuck in mud or snow. Haul bags of grain, dog food, dogs, and deer in them, with aplomb. And--they stay dry, despite the weather. My son and I have slept in them during reenactments and overnights, shooting with the 27th North Carolina Grays in the North-South competitions.

What's not to like? and, still a man.

Blue

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from blueridge wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

My bad...called you Dave...forgive me. Too much carbon monoxide, right?

Blue

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from MidMichHunter wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Can't say I've used a minivan as a hunting ride; I use my Silverado and it works just fine. We did just get my wife an '09 Chevy Traverse AWD and I can't help but think in 8-10 years, it'll make a nice hunting rife for me & my kids. AWD, plenty of room and darn comfortable. Too bad she won't let me put a gutted deer in it just yet.

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from Westy wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I had a 94 Chevy Astro AWD van would get me anywhere I needed to go (and back). I live in Oswego, NY where 3 feet of snow is common, so that's saying a lot.It would pull the Bass boat, haul gear and could easily fit 7 grown men. I gave it to my brother who still uses it for his daily driver/work van for his construction business. Way past 200,000 and still going.

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from Zermoid wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

First, I have been hoping to find a 4WD Astro Van as an all around vehicle, family and hunting vehicle in one. Barring that a decent 4 door SUV.

My first hunting vehicle was a '69 Mercury Montego Sports Coupe (Looked similar to a Dodge Charger) and my method of not getting stuck was to dive the dirt roads and back woods paths at 45-55 MPH, Dukes of Hazzard Style! Only got stuck once, and it was a doozey! Sunk to the floorboards in the mud, front bumper slightly buried. Was about a 10 mile hike to a friend's house to get him to wank it out with his truck, Learned on that walk that pac boots with large treads while comfortable on soft ground are not for walking on paved surfaces.

I Knew EXACTLY where every tread was in those boots by the time I got to his place. If you buy pac boots get the ones with the chain design on the sole, makes for better long walking boots!

I have at one time or another used the above 2 door car, a Chevy Sport Van 20 (reg size van with all the way around windows, 2WD, but I put in a Posi-Rear), an International Scout 4x4, a Chevy Citation (that was a pain, NO ground clearance to speak of), a Grand Marquis Station Wagon (nice ride but a gas hog), a Ford Explorer 4x4, and right now a Dodge Stratus (POS but it runs).

Hope to get something cheap and 4WD before next year.....

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom warner wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I do more hunting and fishing than most folks. Like westy, I have been driving the Chevy Astro AWD for the last 12 years or so and it can't be beat. Goes anywhere and will hold anything, including multiple deer, propane tanks, 2 or 3 buddies, you name it! Too bad they stopped making it. Prior to that I drove VW vans since around 1958. They were perfect for anything that I wanted to do. I can't imagine what the problem some guys have with driving a van. Some kind of imaginary challenge to their manhood? Van's are the ONLY way to go. All the rest are just inferior junk.

Tom

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

One of my old fishing and hunting buddys had an '80-something GMC 3/4 ton cargo van with a 350 V-8 that would pull a big fishing boat and/or haul 2 wet Labrador Retrievers, guns, decoys, and dead ducks in style. Another duck hunting partner has an AWD Astro that could haul all the gear and you could sleep in it in a pinch. Not the most comfortable ride for a long trip, but it would git 'er done!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from okduckhunter wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

As practical as you may say they are, a minivan would nver make it in and out of the muck I encounter getting to my waterfowl hunting spots. I had a 1996 Jeep Cherokee 4x4 that I loved, but it came to the end of its useful life, so I got a Chevy Tahoe 4X4. I love the cargo space and the hitch carrier I added works great for hauling wet decoys and unlucky deer. Of course, you've got to play with the hand you're dealt and if it takes a minivan or a pt cruiser to get the job done, then do it!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from wingshooter54 wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Whatever gets you there and back. When I was a teenager I lusted for the old Toyota Landcruiser. (they resembled a British LandRover) During the late 70's my goose hunting buddies and I spent a cold night in a full size Ford Van so we would be first in line at the San Bernard Wildlife Reguge. One time, the only vehicle available to me for a duck hunt was a 1976 Datsun 260Z sportscar. I had to park on the paved road and walk in to the pothole. Don't ask me how I got my gear, two dozen inflatable decoys, and a lab in that two seater hot rod.
I have often thought a 4 wheel drive van would be the perfect hunting vehicle, especially if it had fold up bunks attached to the inside.

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from caanders wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

What no Volvo's?

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from JD wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I wish I had one of those old Daimler-Benz 4x4 military style trucks, that would be an excellent hunting truck. They were small enough to get anywhere, ultra high clearance and you could even put a 3 pt hitch on them to work up a food plot. Can't recall the name of them, just how they were so utilitarian.

WAM, never would have remembered that vehicle without the "nein, danke" reference!

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from blackdawgz wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Of course, I love it! The space and fuel economy. I have the heavy-duty version: '83 E-350 with 4.9l, C-6, and 4WD from a '83 Ford military one-ton truck with 4.10 gears (love that number). Positraction in the rear and independent front suspension, lifted 7". It will go through mud and snow up hills. It also pulls my hunting camp. A '68 Airstream Sovereign Land Yacht. Just right for the Labs and the Model 97.

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from ckonnerth wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

First car was a '64 Austin Healy Sprite, deer head and legs sticking out the trunk was quite a site. didn't get too far back into the woods but back then I had no problem doing that on foot

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from blueridge wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

ckonnerth, I am trying to imagine your deer sticking out of both sides of the Austin Healy...love it!

Now, that is dedication. Had an Indian friend named Carl, who propped his buck up in his convertible passenger seat, and had a cigarette propped in his mouth. Carl would park in front of a post office, and talk with the deer.

Shooters are a unique kind of people...our kind. May we drive on forever.

Blue

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from jonnywalker77 wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Living in Wisconsin, I would have to agree that while a minivan (or anything for that matter) will work, a 4x4 is ideal. I am a big fan of grand cherokees and durangos-room for cargo and things and excellent off road capability. I have a friend with a mid 90s suburban and he loves it for a hunting vehicle too. Tons of room and great off road (although not great in tight spots).

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from jonfredricks wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Oh - I want to cry! I have reluctantly hunted out of my Ford Windstar for a some time. Feeling a bit intimidated and jealous of every jacked up/polished truck until this year...I stand comfortably under the hatch and out of the rain. I loaded gear/kennel/totes/extras Sept 1 - and just kept it there. And can still get 4 kids to and from school. It's awesome - and fortunately tinted!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from twincitysmitty wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I traded in my 170K Ford Explorer for a 98 Civic. The 60 mile round trip to hunt with pals is much easier on the pocket book. True, I look odd with my sedan packed full of treestands and hunting gear, but all my buddies have pick-ups, so i transfer my gear to their vehicle.

The joke by asking if my Civic is AWD, or 4WD, but I am comfortable with myself to the point where I don't need a big truck to be cool with my cronies. And, they respect that.

Besides, in the end, it's all about the mighty dollar.

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from FARMBOY wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I inherited my wife's old Toyota Sienna when she got a new car. I called it the APV, "all purpose vehicle". Although my hunting club buddies laughed at me at the club, I laughed at them at the gas pump. It really is very versatile. Pulls my boat too! Alas, southern manhood being what it is I finally bought a Duramax Diesel Pick Up. Now my youngest son is sporting around the University of Florida in it and he says the girls love it! Go Gators!

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from gahunter wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

FarmBoy forgot to mention that his hunting club buddies ceased their laughing when he and I (the older son) pulled a deer I shot out of the swamp and to the campsite in the back of the APV.

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from ilikehunting wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

deer do not fit too well into a jeep cherokee but we used to have a plymouth voyager and i guarantee i could fit a deer in that thing. as well as a ladder stand and a hunting buddy. no joke minivans are awesome. (never thought i'd say that)

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from damo450 wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

1990 ford fiest with ONE seat, the drivers of course. It is hell in mud, almost impossible to get "stuck" but very possible to get high centered

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I have since got rid of the Cadillac Brougham, (Left it in Europe because of a leak in the rearSEAL COULD NOT GET FIXED OVER THERE)! Now have a 2005 FWD S-10 Crew Cam that works just fine with up to 3 deer in the bed. +3 people and gear in the cab.

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from jcarlin wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

A '90 Honda Accord fits doe nicely. I suspect, but never found out, that headgear on a deer would have made that a much less practical vehicle. as it was all my trunk gear had to go in the backseat to make that work. My '99 Explorer really can't do much better than 2 guys and gear if you factor in a deer or two at the end of the day. Well, depending on the weather and distance of trip.

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from Sourdough Dave wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I have to make a distinction between transportation for you, the dog, and the gear out to the pheasant field and a hunting vehicle used to get you up and down the mountain and carry down the deer or elk. Any vehicle will get you down the paved or gravel road to the pheasant field, But I can guarantee that your minivan won't take you where I hunt in my fully chained 4X4. As a kid I rode my bicycle with my shotgun held across the handlebars with my thumbs. Does that make a bike a good hunting vehicle? Several posts wanted to see the return of the big old station wagons. They are back and they are better. They are now called SUVs.

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from RichardF wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Has anyone had a AMC Eagle, I use to ride in one hunting deer. This was before the days of everyone having a 4 door pickup.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Phil, your so full of piss & vinegar. There's no way the minivan pic is your wife's car, lol!

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from Westy wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

It's interesting living near the Adirondacks to see the early 1900's pictures of the hunter's with their Model T's, deer tied down on both fenders. They thought they had the best offroad vehicles possible. They used those cars for everything from hunting the mountains, thrashing wheat and hauling the family to church. Where there's a will there's a way.

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from 60256 wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Looking at this, I've noticed that if you say "Ford", you get more 'plus 1s' than everybody else.
With that said, I feel the F-150 is the ultimate all-purpose hunting truck.

Nate

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from tuckerj5047 wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

My dad, brother and I hunted in an old caravan, and then an oldsmobile until i was 14. They were not exactly all terrain vehicles but we got where we needed to be, but we did get stuck a few times.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I hear Fords are easier to push?

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from sgaredneck wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

WaMtn are you taunting the Ford folks again?LOL

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

sgaredneck?

What? Who, me? 60256 said you'd get more +1's if you say "Ford", so I thought I'd say something nice about Fords.

Hey FARMBOY

We're having another 'gator fry over in Atlanta next December. Ya'll come.

ROLL, TIDE, ROLL!

WMH

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from dmeister wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Mini-vans are great because they kill a full-size pick-up or any SUV on MPG (by a hefty margin) and still carry everything you need. You can set them up to carry whatever. They are simply the cheapest, easiest, most comfortable way to move a lot of anything. That said, they suck if the dog gets skunked or you need to go off road.

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from Gunslinger wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

For years Iusedwhat ever vehicle we owned to hunt from. Even hauling dogs in. The got a great deal on a 92 model Blazer (now has l56K) and withoug dought is the better vehicle I ever used. When days hunt is over, no worry of getting the junk out of the pickup or car, just close and lock the doors and ready for next day. No dragging in or out on a rainy day or night allyour extra cloths, guns, snacks,whatevers. I keep a case of drink and snaks in there for all days even the neanie Weines. That little Blazere is short wheeld based, easy to get around in the woods or sharp curved logging roads. Just make sue you got a good chain and a Cum-a-ong.Flashights and a small stove( type you use a can of solid flue with to make a cup of coffee each Am. Also, kep q extsa blanket. Make sure you always got plenty of gas.A extra 2gallon jug on bumpber can come in handy.,Object is a dependable, useable and pratical vehicle that meets your needs. This jelopy has hauld ovr l00 deer from the woods.

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from rabbitpolice88 wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

vans my hold a lot of stuff but there are few things worse than being stuck up to your frame in muck on a cold morning when you are trying to go hunting.

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from Mock1 wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Last year, I had a couple of buddies giving me crap where we hunt for whitetails because I drove out my old 2wd 99 ranger with a hard, lockable fiberglass cover. They were driving a new Yukon. Well, we got three deer. Guess what those deer rode back to my butcher shop in?

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from Gunslinger wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Beauty is sin deep, but the old tried and proven stuff wworkls yet. A chp came in out camp late one evening , day befoe season opened. He carried a small bedroll, pack, etc and a beat up old taped grip Rem 700 in 06. He un rolled his bedroll, un folded his sleeping bad, gt his little coffee pot, flled with some water and coffee, placed near the fie stones around the cire circe. Bid us all good night and soon as gone. Next Am, s other smart Assed huntrs arose about l hr before sun lite and the older man had drunk his coffee and was gone. About 10 minutes after sunlite ( light enough to see horns) Bang. In about 30-45 minuts, the old guy came ito camp, ask the man in charge of the pack string, if he could bowwor one of his mules for about 30 minutes. Of coursee he dd. So in about 30 o so min. the old man and his mule and his now dead 6 x 6 came stroling ito camp and thanked the guy for the loan of his mule. All were dumfounded.Old man said I apoligize f I woke any you guys early, but got to get up and out to get a nice Elk. All the huntes keep their mouth shut. He was only successfujl guy in camp for 3 days, however he did lots of camp chores and helped the wrangles with the stock but never ate indors,cooked his Elk on a stick over the fire/tatos in foil h stck in coals and our mouths hanging open. Will never forget that expeience, hopefully can be repeated soon.O, never leave home with out a roll of Elec.tape for your cracked old gun.Odd how habits ocure, my day pack has a roll as well as a short piece of bailing wire and small pliers, a old Hickory Kitchen Knife that had been sharpene almost to the last . Guys it's not the equiptment or the $ it cost, but how to use what we have and learn how to hunt. One last itme, cary a couple of fish hooks and some string in a 35 mm film box, as you may get hungary if you sleep too late. One last campfie truth, I knw guy who had a trusty 30-30 and was going der hntng alone, carrid a piece of plastic, small pot/coffee and only 2 rounds of ammo, ask why so few, he saud ws all he had and was to far to the local store l0 miles by foot,so he figued with 2 rounds he was ok. It was and had a spare if needed for at days end a Smokey Mtn Black Bear if crossed his trail. I pity the Bear.Guys you ain;t unted till yu unt the Smokey mountain with Russian wild Boars running you up a tree and your gun on the ground. I bet next time the hunter caries his 44 mag in a god holster.Will get off and out of your hair for tonight, got many such stories I could share with you if was needed

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from Brian Martin wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Yea, i have used minivans, trucks, and even an 01 buick century and i am still secure enough in my manhood to pull the trigger. you don't need the newest truck out there to hunt successfully contrary to popular "manly" belief.

Just my personal opinion means nothing to anyone but me.

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from Brian Robinson wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I have hunted, fished and four wheeled out of a 88 blazer,73 blazer, 93 jeep wrangler, 94 cherokee, 89 caprice, 73 landcruiser, 99 Silverado, 01 Dodge diesel and a 03 Subaru. The Land Cruiser and Subaru where the toughest and also the cheapest to operate. Unfortunalty Detroit Steel doesnt hold up as well in day in, day out use on the unpaved roads in NW Colorado.

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from buriti wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Since I do not have a pick-up, I used many different cars to hunt, both upland birds and deer, including my wife's Town & Country, a Ford Taurus, a Buick Century and a BMW 325i (the smallest trunk of any of the above, requiring deer to be properly folded).

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from FARMBOY wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Hey WA Mtnhunter
I think I'll pass on next year's game. I don't like the smell of fried gator!

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from Tom Govin wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Yeah. Dodge Caravan. 2 large dog kennels and 4 people. My favorite though was an '85 Omni 4 door hatchback. 2 guys, gear for a week and 2 deer. I could still see out the rear window and got 40 mpg.

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from cgaston53 wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Hunted all last season out of a Honda Odyssey minivan, charcoal gray. On opening weekend of Alabama gun season I hauled four dead deer out of the woods in it. After that the other guys in the club started referring to it as "the hearse". With the middle seats removed and the rear seats folded into the floor, it was kinda like flying a Huey.

BUT... I did have to replace two of the motor mounts recently.

(BTW, the Honda Ridgeline "truck" is basically an Odyssey chassis.)

This year I'm hunting on much more mountainous terrain with difficult roads, and I'm doing it in a 2004 Toyota Tacoma (the last year before it morphed into a mid-size) and I love it. Don't have to scrub the deer blood out of the wife's carpet.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Hmmmm.

Perhaps driving a minivan is a lot like riding a moped. Lots of fun, you just don't want your friends to see you....

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from ericb622 wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Growing up
All our hunting and most of the camping was done out of a station wagon or VW bus. 4x4's were rare in the 60's and 70's. I can remember loading all our gear in the back of my dad's pontiac and throwing the canoe on top for a weekend at the lake.

I have used mini-vans for hunting and camping since the 80's. I slept many night in a Ford Aerostar. They are comfortable and roomy. Actually more practical than a pickup if you have a hitch-hauler and don't have to go off the two-track.

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from maccamera wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

Had to get a rental vehicle for a CO elk hunt in Oct. They wanted WAY too much for a 4x4 SUV, so, the next closest thing that could carry a 120 qt. cooler, rifle case, duffle bags, misc gear, etc. was a Ford minivan. Since all hunting was done on horseback, the minivan worked out great to take everything including my quartered out bull elk with room to spare since the back seats folded flat. At home in California, its my favorite '87 Toyota Land Cruiser that gets me back to those remote fishing spots that only a 4x4 can get too with all my camping and fishing gear.

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from thaddeus93 wrote 3 years 40 weeks ago

mercury Grand Marquis, 4 people weekend supplies and anywhere from 1 to 8 deer, don't complain people.

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from Buck Masterson wrote 3 years 16 weeks ago

I use a 04 Ford Freestar. I'll put this vehicle up against any pickup any day. All of the haters just have voids in their manhood. I was able to take 5 people, 5 tents, 4 coolers, chairs, a grill, bags, and other assorted gear all on a camping trip a few months ago, and the 4.2 liter engine gets up and moves as well. For the record, I just pulled my brother in laws FOUR WHEEL DRIVE GMC Yukon out of a snow bank with my minivan. Yeah, real men drive minivans.

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from youth_hunter1994 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

My dad owns a 2006 dodge mega cab and that worked great for hauling all our stuff. Too bad diesel was too expensive and we had to take my dad's dodge Dakota witch had very little space for the both of us.

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from 1Browning2 wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

nothing beats a '97 two door, manual, dodge neon with 300,000 miles on it to haul deer and pheasants. It outworked our truck that weekend!

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from BippityBoopityMate wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

I've seen ford festivas converted into trucks before, that may be the best hunting vehicle ever!

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from JD wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Hi Phil,

Good point; it's not what you drive to go hunting, it's what you do once you get there that makes every hunt a great day.

Obviously if we had our way, we'd be able to walk out of our front door and be in hunting paradise. Used to be like that for me, then 'she got the goldmine while I got the shaft'. Now to top it off I got the dog, so i guess I won!!!

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from Beekeeper wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

When I was a poor starving college student who subsisted largely on fish and game I drove a Ford Pinto with a 1600 CC engine. Talk about a lemon... but it was cheap and I could work on it myself. It would also go anywhere. If it got stuck a buddy and I could get out and lift a bumper and "walk" it out. Many was the "finger" lifted in my direction as I easily went past big pick ups with mud tires who were stuck soundly in the red Georgia clay. Guns rode easily in thier cases in the trunk and the ocassional beagle or birddog rode in the back seat. Game animals of larger size were fit into, across and onto the Pinto in various ways. Yes, it even had a trailer hitch!

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from jamesti wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

i have a 95 for E-150 that i use for hunting sometimes. it has a cage seperating the cab from the back that i hooked a come along to to drag my deer into the van if i'm by myself. i also sleep in it on fishing trips. i mounted fishing rod racks to the inside of the roof and a shelving unit to the side wall for gear and food. i am currently putting a cargo rack on top for kyacks and a rifle rack to the cage in the cab. this thing does it all! any more suggestions as to what i can do with it?

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from Harold wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

If you want to go hunting, you do what you got to do! Prior to my eighteenth birthday,(1966) my father and I hunted out of our family car. We had to, no 4WD. When my Xterra was in the shop, I used our Camry to go duck and goose hunting. I like the Xterra. While a little short on room it has high clearance, a sturdy suspension, and I still have managed to cram three men, all our gear and three dogs for a day of chuckar hunting. It's small size also makes it easier to get in and out of tight spaces. So, who cares what you use as long as it gets you out in the field AND BACK AGAIN!

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from rabbitpolice88 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Chevy 1500 4wd 5spd manual, got stuck once in a tractor rut, used the tractor to pull it out, best farm/hunting truck out there.

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from blueridge wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Dave, you have hit a nerve with the macho crowd here. I don't see what the problem is with the minivan...front wheel drive, ROOMY, big hatch in rear, and gun and dog friendly.

Have had the 85 Voyager, 98 Voyager, 2000 Grand Caravan, and am driving the Pontiac Montana, now. Great gas mileage, and can hardly get 'em stuck in mud or snow. Haul bags of grain, dog food, dogs, and deer in them, with aplomb. And--they stay dry, despite the weather. My son and I have slept in them during reenactments and overnights, shooting with the 27th North Carolina Grays in the North-South competitions.

What's not to like? and, still a man.

Blue

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I hear Fords are easier to push?

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from MB915 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

When I was a kid, my parents had a ford taurus stationwagon to haul my brother and I to soccer practice and what not. Well the stationwagon was also the hunting vehicle. Fit all three of us nicely, easily fit deer in the back, and still enough room for all of our gear. It served its purpose perfectly. The other members of the hunt club did give my dad a hard time though.

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from Eric Greene wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Plus you can run over cars in the parent drop off lane at school.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

buckbull

......and assembled in Mexico.

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from auburn_hunter wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

on the flip-side, my Tundra double cab is the daily commuter with two carseats in the back. just today at lunch I had to manuever a rifle around from front seat to back floorboard (again, the carseats were in place) in order for a co-worker to get in the truck to go to the local sporting goods store. wouldn't change it for the world!

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from John L wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Best vehicle ever owned, 1958 Rambler Classic Station Wagon. Enough power, room for LOTS of stuff, decent clearance, powerful enough, and the seats all folded down to make the entire car a flat surface for sleeping.
Weren't any deer around here back then, but we could put at least 5 bird hunters and couple dogs plus gear in, and in the spring we loaded 6-8 coolers and gear and went to Lake Superior and filled them with smelt, which we brought back and fed the volunteer fire department.
Guess it would qualify as a minivan, with more room.
Bring back the big station wagons!

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from Del in KS wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

In the early 90's my hunting ride was a Celebrity wagon with 4 cylinder motor and front wheel drive. It would go better than a 2 wheel drive pickup in the woods and had lots of rrom. That old white wagon looked kind of cool with 2 nice bucks on the roof rack.
Nowdays I love my 07 4 door Tundra. There was plenty of room for Beekeeper, Dan, Billy, yours truly, Jill, Buck, and a pile of guns and gear to drive 400 miles on a Pheasant hunt in comfort.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I keep my sunglasses on and slump in the back seat of the Dodge Caravan we use for our county transit-owned vanpool to keep anyone from recognizing me on the way in to work.

I drive 14 miles to meet the manpool every morning in my Chevy 4x4 and dream Walter Mitty-like that I am on my way to an elk hunt in the pre-dawn darkness. But then I am slapped back to reality when I get off the exit to the Park n Ride. Just long enough for about 4 good C&W songs on a CD.....

Minivans? Nein, danke

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from mutt wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

STATION WAGON AND I LOVE IT

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from gman3186 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

like i tell people around here im not going to own a vehicle and not hunt out of it. every vehicle i have owned has seen a deer in the back of it. like i tell them you can give me a brand new lamborghini and i will go hunting in it and if i kill one there will be a deer in the passenger seat

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from seadog wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Whatever gets you where you need to go is OK with me, but a minivan would not be my first choice. My F-150 is working out just fine.

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from kyka1865 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

For a while I hunted and fished out of a 1992 Buick Roadmaster, complete with wood panels. I even put a deer or two in the back, not mention all the wet clothes, dirty wading boots and hunting clothes.

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from Mark-1 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Jeep Liberty Renegade--Good balance of grunt 4x4, SUV, and gas mileage. Renegade is a heavy-duty Liberty in cooling systems, front-in and suspension. Don't make 'em now.

Previous had a Jeep Rubicon. Great off road vehicle, but no space and going over 60 mph was like flushing the toilet on the gas tank.

Modern vans lack ground clearance.

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from -Bob wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I once brought a doe home wrapped around the back of a '95 Dodge Neon. It was homecoming weekend at Penn State, and I was a one-car parade float on I-80...musta had my picture taken five times. Good times!

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from Dann wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Some years ago, I followed a gentleman to the game check station. He was driving a lime green Geo Metro. What caught my interest was the deer he had stuffed into the back, with the hooves dragging the pavement.

While we're waiting our turn, the gang was giving him gentle ribbing about the metro. He explained that his pickup was in the shop and he wasn't gonna let that stop him from bagging a buck. To this day, I wonder if he ever told her there had been a dead deer in the back.

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from TJ wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

4x4 diesel Ford Excursion. Go anywhere, pull anything, tons of room for people and gear.

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from joelr271 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I used a '99 ford windstar the last 2 years! It was great! I took out the seats, and it was almost just like having a truck with a topper. But i just blew out the transmission, so its to the junkyard for the windstar. A downside to a van was the bloodstains in the back. But i got a Ford Ranger 4x4 now, and i love it

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from alabamaoutlaw wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

My hunting vehicle is a 28 foot pontoon .There are no roads where i hunt and atv's and horses are not allowed got to go by water and i carry a big wheeled wagon like the kids use.

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from logan.vandermay wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Ford pickups have hauled every deer I've ever shot home.

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from elmer f. wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

i am on my first 4wd vehicle as well. i have used everything from a dodge omni to a '73 dodge club cab flatbed truck to my ex hot rod, a 73 dodge charger w/ a 440 six pack. most, were just regular old 2wd cars. of varying sizes. most of us have to use whatever it is that we use for a daily driver for hunting. a select few have the luxury of haveing a special vehicle to use, but that is not the norm. sometimes though, out of necessity, folks have a "special hunting vehicle" that they leave right at deer camp. it never sees the likes of pavement, with the exception of an occaisional "beer run". my late uncles freind had such a vehicle. an army surplus jeep (wwII) that he bought for someting like $300.00 including spare tires. it usually took the better 1/2 of a day to get it up and running every fall, but once the fire was lit in that old beasts heart (named "sarge"), it would start almost as well as anything that was driven up there. i certainly wouldnt call it a luxury vehicle, but when it came to bringing a deer back to camp, it was a cadillac compared to dragging a deer by hand!

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from MidMichHunter wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Can't say I've used a minivan as a hunting ride; I use my Silverado and it works just fine. We did just get my wife an '09 Chevy Traverse AWD and I can't help but think in 8-10 years, it'll make a nice hunting rife for me & my kids. AWD, plenty of room and darn comfortable. Too bad she won't let me put a gutted deer in it just yet.

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from liver5660 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

To this day there are two. The 97' ford windstar, or the plum colored 96'dodge caravan. Both of them have blood stains in the carpet from deer in the back.

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from RichardF wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

03 Dodge Ram 1500, to make it more lady like I added a topper and it works great. Momma doesn't have to worry about deer blood getting on the carpet in her minivan, it's all hers!

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from Mjenkins1 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Im all about SUV's. Ive put a combination of deer, coolers, hay bales(3), and other gear in the back of my 4 door Explorer, without putting down the middle seat. Gonna drive it until it dies.

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from buckbull wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

If I ever see the day when I think that doing a tuck back is fine; maybe I'll consider a minivan. Until then; it will be trucks made from detroit steel.

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from Jeff Bowers wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Caprice station wagon. An..... '81, I think.

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from MLH wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Yes, I admit it. I used four different minivans. Only problems was the low ground clearance that either limited access or damaged the chassis. A 4x4 slightly lifted GMC G-van would be a great hunting truck. Still a little wide for some access points, though.

It still amazes me what some people will use to access hunting and fishing areas. I have been in locked 4-wheel drive on difficult two tracks only to come up on beat up Pontiac Sunfires and Chevy Celebrities going the other direction. Always more than one person on board - pushers, pullers, and packers I suspect.

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from RC wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

It is just about impossible to get a minivan into the places that I hunt. You need, at minimum, eight inches of clearance, and four wheel drive is strongly recommended, and that's just for the more easily reached areas. Otherwise, high centering or ripping your underside out on rocks is a definite possibility. Hell, my Explorer has come close to not making it out more than once. A full sized pickup or a jeep works best; the extra clearance really helps.

One of the truck-based vans might work, though.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I would wish FORD would come back out with he original old Bronco. Small, Light and powerful!

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

That Jeep Liberty, might want to add a few more inches to the lift!

I wish I still had my 1980 International Scout II, 3 inch left and 11x15's, perfect for New Mexico!

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

left? LIFT!

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from tygh98 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I had recently graduated from school and our only vehicle was a fairly new Honda Odyssey. I set up and hunted ducks all opening morning. About noon I decided to check out a wildlife area a few miles from where I had hundted. As I pulled through the parking area other hunters were milling about. I drove by a pick up with hunters hanging around and thought about stopping to ask how the morning went. Before I did, I heard a low comment, not meant for my ears: "a minivan? You have got to be kidding me." I kept on driving and promptly returned home. I bought a Yukon shortly thereafter.

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from tbogg10 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

currently i have a 95 ford ranger, only been stuck a few times, but ive got buddys that can pull me out if needed, before that i had an 02 chevy malibu, never took a deer while i owned that car, but wouldnt have hesitated to throw a deer in it.

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from stephenblogger@... wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

All I have to say is if ever gets the job done then why not. I do have to admit when I was in high school, and it was all about have the coolest car, I drove a yellow 79' Toyota Corona station wagon, and let me tell you that car hound dogs, decoys, and even doubled as a camper on cold nights. So I have one word for you remember "shameless".

Gunsellers.com
A gun market place that is friendly, safe, and legal.
8520 South 1300 East
Sandy, Utah 84094
(801) 486-2727

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from Bellringer wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

During high school I had a 1957 Ford Station Wagon, great for dates and hunting, only problem was getting the beagle smell out before picking up my date.

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from crm3006 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Good ideas and entertaining stories all, but after hauling one deer home in my LTD, long years ago, I will keep my LWB 4 wheel drive, thank you.

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from Carney wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Any car that'll do, will do!

I don't like being stuck "under vehicled" in the snow, a ditch, a mud hole, etc. I prefer 4X4 but haven't been able to afford one since my last Suburban. My Ford econoline 350 is heavy enough to keep me out of trouble but I always think twice before I head into the mud or snow.

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from hnestle wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Borrowed my parents taures wagon for a while, when my truck got sideswiped. The only complaint is that it didn't have the ground clearance I needed to get to my favorite spots. But it did hold my gear my buddies gear and two deer at one point. But I will stick to my f 150 Fx4, and about 10 years from now it will be replaced by another Fx4.

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from mihunter wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I agree with that, but the best hunting vehicle i've used is my 2002 Ford Excursion with the 7.3 diesel. it is huge with plenty of space for gear, 4 wheel drive, seats 7, and you can tow pretty much anything with it.

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from imawild1 wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I've had several 4X4 Suburbans through the years. What a great combo. Comfort, loads of room for gear, and sleeping, and never stuck. Above par all around.

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from WiscTJK wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I recently sold my Trailblazer to a friend and bought a minivan. It is great. Haul the kids one day, haul all my hunting gear the next. Help a friend get a couch, not a problem. They are the most practical vehicles made in my opinion.

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from blueridge wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

My bad...called you Dave...forgive me. Too much carbon monoxide, right?

Blue

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from Westy wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I had a 94 Chevy Astro AWD van would get me anywhere I needed to go (and back). I live in Oswego, NY where 3 feet of snow is common, so that's saying a lot.It would pull the Bass boat, haul gear and could easily fit 7 grown men. I gave it to my brother who still uses it for his daily driver/work van for his construction business. Way past 200,000 and still going.

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from tom warner wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I do more hunting and fishing than most folks. Like westy, I have been driving the Chevy Astro AWD for the last 12 years or so and it can't be beat. Goes anywhere and will hold anything, including multiple deer, propane tanks, 2 or 3 buddies, you name it! Too bad they stopped making it. Prior to that I drove VW vans since around 1958. They were perfect for anything that I wanted to do. I can't imagine what the problem some guys have with driving a van. Some kind of imaginary challenge to their manhood? Van's are the ONLY way to go. All the rest are just inferior junk.

Tom

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

One of my old fishing and hunting buddys had an '80-something GMC 3/4 ton cargo van with a 350 V-8 that would pull a big fishing boat and/or haul 2 wet Labrador Retrievers, guns, decoys, and dead ducks in style. Another duck hunting partner has an AWD Astro that could haul all the gear and you could sleep in it in a pinch. Not the most comfortable ride for a long trip, but it would git 'er done!

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from okduckhunter wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

As practical as you may say they are, a minivan would nver make it in and out of the muck I encounter getting to my waterfowl hunting spots. I had a 1996 Jeep Cherokee 4x4 that I loved, but it came to the end of its useful life, so I got a Chevy Tahoe 4X4. I love the cargo space and the hitch carrier I added works great for hauling wet decoys and unlucky deer. Of course, you've got to play with the hand you're dealt and if it takes a minivan or a pt cruiser to get the job done, then do it!

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from caanders wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

What no Volvo's?

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from JD wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I wish I had one of those old Daimler-Benz 4x4 military style trucks, that would be an excellent hunting truck. They were small enough to get anywhere, ultra high clearance and you could even put a 3 pt hitch on them to work up a food plot. Can't recall the name of them, just how they were so utilitarian.

WAM, never would have remembered that vehicle without the "nein, danke" reference!

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from ckonnerth wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

First car was a '64 Austin Healy Sprite, deer head and legs sticking out the trunk was quite a site. didn't get too far back into the woods but back then I had no problem doing that on foot

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from blueridge wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

ckonnerth, I am trying to imagine your deer sticking out of both sides of the Austin Healy...love it!

Now, that is dedication. Had an Indian friend named Carl, who propped his buck up in his convertible passenger seat, and had a cigarette propped in his mouth. Carl would park in front of a post office, and talk with the deer.

Shooters are a unique kind of people...our kind. May we drive on forever.

Blue

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from Bella wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Minivan? I drive a Jeep!

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from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Hey I loaded a deer in the trunk of an 1991 Cadillac Brougham!

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from zfk193 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

My Jeep Libery worked great this year. A rear hitch-mounted rack also worked out pretty good to keep stains off the interior on successful hunts.

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from Zermoid wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

First, I have been hoping to find a 4WD Astro Van as an all around vehicle, family and hunting vehicle in one. Barring that a decent 4 door SUV.

My first hunting vehicle was a '69 Mercury Montego Sports Coupe (Looked similar to a Dodge Charger) and my method of not getting stuck was to dive the dirt roads and back woods paths at 45-55 MPH, Dukes of Hazzard Style! Only got stuck once, and it was a doozey! Sunk to the floorboards in the mud, front bumper slightly buried. Was about a 10 mile hike to a friend's house to get him to wank it out with his truck, Learned on that walk that pac boots with large treads while comfortable on soft ground are not for walking on paved surfaces.

I Knew EXACTLY where every tread was in those boots by the time I got to his place. If you buy pac boots get the ones with the chain design on the sole, makes for better long walking boots!

I have at one time or another used the above 2 door car, a Chevy Sport Van 20 (reg size van with all the way around windows, 2WD, but I put in a Posi-Rear), an International Scout 4x4, a Chevy Citation (that was a pain, NO ground clearance to speak of), a Grand Marquis Station Wagon (nice ride but a gas hog), a Ford Explorer 4x4, and right now a Dodge Stratus (POS but it runs).

Hope to get something cheap and 4WD before next year.....

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from wingshooter54 wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Whatever gets you there and back. When I was a teenager I lusted for the old Toyota Landcruiser. (they resembled a British LandRover) During the late 70's my goose hunting buddies and I spent a cold night in a full size Ford Van so we would be first in line at the San Bernard Wildlife Reguge. One time, the only vehicle available to me for a duck hunt was a 1976 Datsun 260Z sportscar. I had to park on the paved road and walk in to the pothole. Don't ask me how I got my gear, two dozen inflatable decoys, and a lab in that two seater hot rod.
I have often thought a 4 wheel drive van would be the perfect hunting vehicle, especially if it had fold up bunks attached to the inside.

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from blackdawgz wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Of course, I love it! The space and fuel economy. I have the heavy-duty version: '83 E-350 with 4.9l, C-6, and 4WD from a '83 Ford military one-ton truck with 4.10 gears (love that number). Positraction in the rear and independent front suspension, lifted 7". It will go through mud and snow up hills. It also pulls my hunting camp. A '68 Airstream Sovereign Land Yacht. Just right for the Labs and the Model 97.

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from jonnywalker77 wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Living in Wisconsin, I would have to agree that while a minivan (or anything for that matter) will work, a 4x4 is ideal. I am a big fan of grand cherokees and durangos-room for cargo and things and excellent off road capability. I have a friend with a mid 90s suburban and he loves it for a hunting vehicle too. Tons of room and great off road (although not great in tight spots).

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from jonfredricks wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Oh - I want to cry! I have reluctantly hunted out of my Ford Windstar for a some time. Feeling a bit intimidated and jealous of every jacked up/polished truck until this year...I stand comfortably under the hatch and out of the rain. I loaded gear/kennel/totes/extras Sept 1 - and just kept it there. And can still get 4 kids to and from school. It's awesome - and fortunately tinted!

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from twincitysmitty wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I traded in my 170K Ford Explorer for a 98 Civic. The 60 mile round trip to hunt with pals is much easier on the pocket book. True, I look odd with my sedan packed full of treestands and hunting gear, but all my buddies have pick-ups, so i transfer my gear to their vehicle.

The joke by asking if my Civic is AWD, or 4WD, but I am comfortable with myself to the point where I don't need a big truck to be cool with my cronies. And, they respect that.

Besides, in the end, it's all about the mighty dollar.

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from FARMBOY wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I inherited my wife's old Toyota Sienna when she got a new car. I called it the APV, "all purpose vehicle". Although my hunting club buddies laughed at me at the club, I laughed at them at the gas pump. It really is very versatile. Pulls my boat too! Alas, southern manhood being what it is I finally bought a Duramax Diesel Pick Up. Now my youngest son is sporting around the University of Florida in it and he says the girls love it! Go Gators!

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from gahunter wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

FarmBoy forgot to mention that his hunting club buddies ceased their laughing when he and I (the older son) pulled a deer I shot out of the swamp and to the campsite in the back of the APV.

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from ilikehunting wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

deer do not fit too well into a jeep cherokee but we used to have a plymouth voyager and i guarantee i could fit a deer in that thing. as well as a ladder stand and a hunting buddy. no joke minivans are awesome. (never thought i'd say that)

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from damo450 wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

1990 ford fiest with ONE seat, the drivers of course. It is hell in mud, almost impossible to get "stuck" but very possible to get high centered

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from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I have since got rid of the Cadillac Brougham, (Left it in Europe because of a leak in the rearSEAL COULD NOT GET FIXED OVER THERE)! Now have a 2005 FWD S-10 Crew Cam that works just fine with up to 3 deer in the bed. +3 people and gear in the cab.

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from jcarlin wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

A '90 Honda Accord fits doe nicely. I suspect, but never found out, that headgear on a deer would have made that a much less practical vehicle. as it was all my trunk gear had to go in the backseat to make that work. My '99 Explorer really can't do much better than 2 guys and gear if you factor in a deer or two at the end of the day. Well, depending on the weather and distance of trip.

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from RichardF wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Has anyone had a AMC Eagle, I use to ride in one hunting deer. This was before the days of everyone having a 4 door pickup.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Phil, your so full of piss & vinegar. There's no way the minivan pic is your wife's car, lol!

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from Westy wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

It's interesting living near the Adirondacks to see the early 1900's pictures of the hunter's with their Model T's, deer tied down on both fenders. They thought they had the best offroad vehicles possible. They used those cars for everything from hunting the mountains, thrashing wheat and hauling the family to church. Where there's a will there's a way.

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from 60256 wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Looking at this, I've noticed that if you say "Ford", you get more 'plus 1s' than everybody else.
With that said, I feel the F-150 is the ultimate all-purpose hunting truck.

Nate

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from tuckerj5047 wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

My dad, brother and I hunted in an old caravan, and then an oldsmobile until i was 14. They were not exactly all terrain vehicles but we got where we needed to be, but we did get stuck a few times.

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from sgaredneck wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

WaMtn are you taunting the Ford folks again?LOL

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

sgaredneck?

What? Who, me? 60256 said you'd get more +1's if you say "Ford", so I thought I'd say something nice about Fords.

Hey FARMBOY

We're having another 'gator fry over in Atlanta next December. Ya'll come.

ROLL, TIDE, ROLL!

WMH

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from dmeister wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Mini-vans are great because they kill a full-size pick-up or any SUV on MPG (by a hefty margin) and still carry everything you need. You can set them up to carry whatever. They are simply the cheapest, easiest, most comfortable way to move a lot of anything. That said, they suck if the dog gets skunked or you need to go off road.

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from Gunslinger wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

For years Iusedwhat ever vehicle we owned to hunt from. Even hauling dogs in. The got a great deal on a 92 model Blazer (now has l56K) and withoug dought is the better vehicle I ever used. When days hunt is over, no worry of getting the junk out of the pickup or car, just close and lock the doors and ready for next day. No dragging in or out on a rainy day or night allyour extra cloths, guns, snacks,whatevers. I keep a case of drink and snaks in there for all days even the neanie Weines. That little Blazere is short wheeld based, easy to get around in the woods or sharp curved logging roads. Just make sue you got a good chain and a Cum-a-ong.Flashights and a small stove( type you use a can of solid flue with to make a cup of coffee each Am. Also, kep q extsa blanket. Make sure you always got plenty of gas.A extra 2gallon jug on bumpber can come in handy.,Object is a dependable, useable and pratical vehicle that meets your needs. This jelopy has hauld ovr l00 deer from the woods.

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from rabbitpolice88 wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

vans my hold a lot of stuff but there are few things worse than being stuck up to your frame in muck on a cold morning when you are trying to go hunting.

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from Mock1 wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Last year, I had a couple of buddies giving me crap where we hunt for whitetails because I drove out my old 2wd 99 ranger with a hard, lockable fiberglass cover. They were driving a new Yukon. Well, we got three deer. Guess what those deer rode back to my butcher shop in?

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from Gunslinger wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Beauty is sin deep, but the old tried and proven stuff wworkls yet. A chp came in out camp late one evening , day befoe season opened. He carried a small bedroll, pack, etc and a beat up old taped grip Rem 700 in 06. He un rolled his bedroll, un folded his sleeping bad, gt his little coffee pot, flled with some water and coffee, placed near the fie stones around the cire circe. Bid us all good night and soon as gone. Next Am, s other smart Assed huntrs arose about l hr before sun lite and the older man had drunk his coffee and was gone. About 10 minutes after sunlite ( light enough to see horns) Bang. In about 30-45 minuts, the old guy came ito camp, ask the man in charge of the pack string, if he could bowwor one of his mules for about 30 minutes. Of coursee he dd. So in about 30 o so min. the old man and his mule and his now dead 6 x 6 came stroling ito camp and thanked the guy for the loan of his mule. All were dumfounded.Old man said I apoligize f I woke any you guys early, but got to get up and out to get a nice Elk. All the huntes keep their mouth shut. He was only successfujl guy in camp for 3 days, however he did lots of camp chores and helped the wrangles with the stock but never ate indors,cooked his Elk on a stick over the fire/tatos in foil h stck in coals and our mouths hanging open. Will never forget that expeience, hopefully can be repeated soon.O, never leave home with out a roll of Elec.tape for your cracked old gun.Odd how habits ocure, my day pack has a roll as well as a short piece of bailing wire and small pliers, a old Hickory Kitchen Knife that had been sharpene almost to the last . Guys it's not the equiptment or the $ it cost, but how to use what we have and learn how to hunt. One last itme, cary a couple of fish hooks and some string in a 35 mm film box, as you may get hungary if you sleep too late. One last campfie truth, I knw guy who had a trusty 30-30 and was going der hntng alone, carrid a piece of plastic, small pot/coffee and only 2 rounds of ammo, ask why so few, he saud ws all he had and was to far to the local store l0 miles by foot,so he figued with 2 rounds he was ok. It was and had a spare if needed for at days end a Smokey Mtn Black Bear if crossed his trail. I pity the Bear.Guys you ain;t unted till yu unt the Smokey mountain with Russian wild Boars running you up a tree and your gun on the ground. I bet next time the hunter caries his 44 mag in a god holster.Will get off and out of your hair for tonight, got many such stories I could share with you if was needed

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from Brian Martin wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Yea, i have used minivans, trucks, and even an 01 buick century and i am still secure enough in my manhood to pull the trigger. you don't need the newest truck out there to hunt successfully contrary to popular "manly" belief.

Just my personal opinion means nothing to anyone but me.

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from Brian Robinson wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I have hunted, fished and four wheeled out of a 88 blazer,73 blazer, 93 jeep wrangler, 94 cherokee, 89 caprice, 73 landcruiser, 99 Silverado, 01 Dodge diesel and a 03 Subaru. The Land Cruiser and Subaru where the toughest and also the cheapest to operate. Unfortunalty Detroit Steel doesnt hold up as well in day in, day out use on the unpaved roads in NW Colorado.

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from buriti wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Since I do not have a pick-up, I used many different cars to hunt, both upland birds and deer, including my wife's Town & Country, a Ford Taurus, a Buick Century and a BMW 325i (the smallest trunk of any of the above, requiring deer to be properly folded).

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from FARMBOY wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Hey WA Mtnhunter
I think I'll pass on next year's game. I don't like the smell of fried gator!

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from buckhunter wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I've been a Ford p/u guy since day one. I've been driving 30 years and have had nothing but.

I have however owned a few minivans which I thought was a requirement when you had 3 kids. I can't recall a single time I've subjected my gun or bow to the pleasure of riding in one.

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from Sourdough Dave wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I have to make a distinction between transportation for you, the dog, and the gear out to the pheasant field and a hunting vehicle used to get you up and down the mountain and carry down the deer or elk. Any vehicle will get you down the paved or gravel road to the pheasant field, But I can guarantee that your minivan won't take you where I hunt in my fully chained 4X4. As a kid I rode my bicycle with my shotgun held across the handlebars with my thumbs. Does that make a bike a good hunting vehicle? Several posts wanted to see the return of the big old station wagons. They are back and they are better. They are now called SUVs.

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from Tom Govin wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Yeah. Dodge Caravan. 2 large dog kennels and 4 people. My favorite though was an '85 Omni 4 door hatchback. 2 guys, gear for a week and 2 deer. I could still see out the rear window and got 40 mpg.

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from cgaston53 wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Hunted all last season out of a Honda Odyssey minivan, charcoal gray. On opening weekend of Alabama gun season I hauled four dead deer out of the woods in it. After that the other guys in the club started referring to it as "the hearse". With the middle seats removed and the rear seats folded into the floor, it was kinda like flying a Huey.

BUT... I did have to replace two of the motor mounts recently.

(BTW, the Honda Ridgeline "truck" is basically an Odyssey chassis.)

This year I'm hunting on much more mountainous terrain with difficult roads, and I'm doing it in a 2004 Toyota Tacoma (the last year before it morphed into a mid-size) and I love it. Don't have to scrub the deer blood out of the wife's carpet.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Hmmmm.

Perhaps driving a minivan is a lot like riding a moped. Lots of fun, you just don't want your friends to see you....

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from ericb622 wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

Growing up
All our hunting and most of the camping was done out of a station wagon or VW bus. 4x4's were rare in the 60's and 70's. I can remember loading all our gear in the back of my dad's pontiac and throwing the canoe on top for a weekend at the lake.

I have used mini-vans for hunting and camping since the 80's. I slept many night in a Ford Aerostar. They are comfortable and roomy. Actually more practical than a pickup if you have a hitch-hauler and don't have to go off the two-track.

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from maccamera wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

Had to get a rental vehicle for a CO elk hunt in Oct. They wanted WAY too much for a 4x4 SUV, so, the next closest thing that could carry a 120 qt. cooler, rifle case, duffle bags, misc gear, etc. was a Ford minivan. Since all hunting was done on horseback, the minivan worked out great to take everything including my quartered out bull elk with room to spare since the back seats folded flat. At home in California, its my favorite '87 Toyota Land Cruiser that gets me back to those remote fishing spots that only a 4x4 can get too with all my camping and fishing gear.

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from thaddeus93 wrote 3 years 40 weeks ago

mercury Grand Marquis, 4 people weekend supplies and anywhere from 1 to 8 deer, don't complain people.

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from Buck Masterson wrote 3 years 16 weeks ago

I use a 04 Ford Freestar. I'll put this vehicle up against any pickup any day. All of the haters just have voids in their manhood. I was able to take 5 people, 5 tents, 4 coolers, chairs, a grill, bags, and other assorted gear all on a camping trip a few months ago, and the 4.2 liter engine gets up and moves as well. For the record, I just pulled my brother in laws FOUR WHEEL DRIVE GMC Yukon out of a snow bank with my minivan. Yeah, real men drive minivans.

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from youth_hunter1994 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

My dad owns a 2006 dodge mega cab and that worked great for hauling all our stuff. Too bad diesel was too expensive and we had to take my dad's dodge Dakota witch had very little space for the both of us.

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from 1Browning2 wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

nothing beats a '97 two door, manual, dodge neon with 300,000 miles on it to haul deer and pheasants. It outworked our truck that weekend!

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from BippityBoopityMate wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

I've seen ford festivas converted into trucks before, that may be the best hunting vehicle ever!

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from Drew Steven Knoop wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

No way I am going to be seen in a mini van, I will suffer in a '10 F-150.

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