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If you’ve just purchased an ATV for hunting, or are thinking about buying one, you’re going to need some accessories. These extra items will bump the final purchase price, but fortunately, there are a few ways to make sure you’re not forking over all your hard-earned cash.
First, check out the options at your local ATV/UTV dealer, and then search the internet for rock-bottom deals. If you’ve yet to purchase one, don’t be shy about asking your dealer to throw in some accessories.
Now, let’s look at some of the bells and whistles every hunter riding a 4×4 should consider.
Adding a basket to the back of your ATV simplifies hauling gear. It should also help keep your clothing and gear free of exhaust fumes, sweat, and other odors that could spook game.
Securely mounting a bow or gun rack on your ATV makes transporting gear safe and simple. Some states even require riders to properly store their bow or gun during transport, as opposed to riding with it on your lap or slung over your back.
This is a crucial one. All the ATV aficionados I talk with insist everyone should have a winch. Chances are you won’t use it that often, but you’ll be glad you brought one next time you’re sinking in the mud. A sturdy winch can help free a stuck ATV or pull game from a ditch or steep ravine.
Tip: If your ATV manufacturer sells a winch designed for your model, buy it. You might save a few bucks on an after-market winch, but they’re often difficult to install, fit poorly, and don’t work like they should. Spend the extra dollar on the real McCoy to prevent headaches and save time down the road.
With the aid of your winch, a power-loader can easily accomplish the same back-breaking work of loading and unloading game that would require several adults. You can also use it to load and haul tree stands.
One alternative to the power-loader is the backpacker cart or trailer. Designed for hauling game out of remote hunting areas, this accessory weighs only about 80 pounds but allows one person to easily transport 800-pound game.
To load, disengage each wheel and fold it back, which will lower the trailer bed to ground level. After rolling the cargo onto the bed, use the lever arms found on each wheel to lift the trailer off the ground and back to the transport position. With over a foot of clearance and a width about the same as most ATVs, your backpacker trailer should glide down any ATV trail.
A hunting pack may sound like a cheap alternative to this accessory, but gear bags are good idea if you want a burden-free ride. More than once I’ve had a backpack zipper open and spill high-priced equipment onto the trail. What’s worse, I didn’t realize it until I reached my destination.
Even if you’ve got a map of your hunting area, it’s not exactly easy to hold one and safely navigate the trail. A mounting device for your handlebar makes for easy viewing.
Tip: For safe riding, only look at your GPS when you’re pulled over and parked.