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DRIFTWOOD OUTDOORS: Evolving into a useful tool

Outfitting the ultimate ATV for hunting

Few tools are as useful for hunters as an ATV. Jason Heath hauls deer out of the woods on his.

Few tools are as useful for hunters as an ATV. Jason Heath hauls deer out of the woods on his.

Aside from a gun or bow, few tools are more useful to a hunter than an ATV.

If you’re serious about hunting, then you know it’s a year-round ordeal. Planting food plots, hanging stands, hauling gear to camp and pulling that monster buck out of the woods are just a few of the chores an ATV makes easier and more enjoyable. To get the most out of your ATV for hunting, you need to have the right accessories.

ATVs have come a long way in the last decade. With top-of-the-line models now pushing 1000cc and costing upward of $10,000, some of these off-road vehicles cost more than trucks guys are using to pull them to camp. The accessory market has followed suit, and exploded with offerings to help hunters with every task.

The following accessorizes will help turn your machine into the ultimate ATV for hunting.

• Winch —The first piece of gear to add to any ATV destined for the deer woods is a winch. A winch is good for so much more than pulling you out of the mud.

• Rear Molded Box Seat — Rear boxes with a seat in the center offer protected, waterproof storage and a comfortable place for a passenger to sit. Weather is always an issue in the outdoors.

• Front Bag — For quick access to items you need to keep secure, an ATV front bag is the answer. Rain gear, ropes, gloves, a flashlight, a tool kit and more can all have a permanent home in a front bag.

• Stealth Exhaust System — Noise can be a limiting factor when it comes to ATV use. You don’t want to ride a loud machine into your hunting area and possibly alert game of your presence.

• Seat Cover — Look around at old ATVs and you’ll quickly notice that seats are one of the first things to go. As seats age, they crack and tear.

• Trailer — Don’t struggle with hauling a deer on your front or rear rack. Complete your ATV outfit with a strong and durable trailer.

• Mud Flaps — With your gear in a trailer behind you, the last thing you want to do is sling mud all over your load. Installing extended mud flaps will help keep your gear clean and in proper working order..

• Gun/Bow Rack — Secure your gun or bow in a forked rack in front of you to keep an eye on it and to have quick access.

• Tool Kit — Always be prepared for a blown tire or a break down when in the backcountry. Make sure you have a tool kit that includes everything you’ll need to fix a flat tire and inflate it.

• Windshield System with Handguards — Riding an ATV during winter in most parts of the country can make you cold, quickly. A windshield system with handguards will help keep you warmer by deflecting bitter cold air from your face, body and hands.

• Tires — Having tough, durable tires is extremely important. You are going to be riding over rocks and logs and through mud.

• Gun Boot — The last thing you want to do is bang your gun against something while riding your ATV and possibly knock your scope off or worse. A gun boot mounted on the side of your ATV ensures your firearm will have safe passage top and from your hunting area.

• Spotlight — Of course, spotlights are illegal in most hunting applications, so you must use your best judgment as to when is or is not the proper time to turn one.

See you down the trail …

Accompanying photo: Jason Heath hauls deer


Brandon Butler is an outdoors columnist for the News Tribune. Contact him at


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