ATV or UTV Hunting Checklist
It’s finally here! That time of year when the leaves are changing, temperatures are dropping and the best holiday of the year – opening day of hunting season! Like you, I’ll be loading up my ATV and heading to the woods in search of that trophy buck and some meat for the freezer. Before you go, there are a few things you need to make sure you have with you. Some items are “just in case” items that you may not need, but will be glad to have them if you do, while others are plain necessities that you must have. Come on; let’s get ready to go hunting!
Gun or Bow Case
You need to have a way to securely transport your gun or bow while headed to the woods. While not every state or province requires a case, many do. Be sure you know your local laws. Kolpin makes the best new gun case on the market with its sweet new DryArmor series.
Whether you need it to help drag out your buck, or pull a trail obstacle out of the way, you really shouldn’t go hunting without some good rope with you. Get a good braided rope, and if you’re going to leave it in your machine and it is in a spot where it isn’t protected from the elements, make sure you get marine-grade rope that won’t rot easily.
You probably have a flashlight in your pack already when you go ATV or UTV hunting, but have a spare on your machine. It can be extremely helpful in getting your gear on so you can head into your stand, or if you accidentally drop something while getting ready to go.
I got in the habit of carrying an axe with me when I go ATV or UTV hunting. Twice, I started off on a ride to my stand and had to go back to the truck to grab an axe to clear big downed branches off my trail. It just made sense to carry one all the time. You should too.
First Aid Kit
I used to tell myself that I was so close to the house, when I was hunting the family farm, that if anything happened, I could just go to the house and take care of it. Then I cut my hand on a broadhead. Now I carry first aid with me in the machine where ever I go, and especially when hunting. Stuff happens.
Ever been checked by a conservation officer or game warden while hunting? That is one scenario where having the rules handy can help. Another is when you run into another hunter who thinks you’re violating. I had a guy try to tell me that I couldn’t run my ATV during hunting season on my own property. In my home state, you can’t run them on public land during firearm deer season during certain hours. I had a copy of the regs and showed him how wrong he was. Then we discussed the rules on trespassing. He didn’t like that much either.
Spare Hunting Essentials
I, like most all of you, have a pack that I carry all my essentials in when I go ATV or UTV hunting. I have a knife, gloves, hat, spare ammo, or if I’m bow hunting, my release, and a few odds and ends. However, after hearing a few horror stories and a few errors on my part, I got into the habit of carrying a few spares in a sealed box in my UTV. I keep a few spare rounds of ammo for my rifle, or a spare release aid for the bow. If my wife is hunting, I bring an extra cocking rope for her crossbow. Plus, spare gloves and a hat are a good idea, along with a few hand warmers if the weather turns cold.
Now past these few items, you need to have your hunting gear for in the field, as well as proper clothing, a safety harness if you’re up in a treestand and, of course, your licenses. You should also have your helmet and eye protection for when you’re riding. The point here is to make sure you’re over prepared so that you don’t lose any valuable hunting time to an “oops-moment.” No one wants that.
Derrek's love for all things ATV started when he was a mere 11 years old, growing up on his family farm. His mom gave him and his sister a choice - get a horse, or a three-wheeler. The sister wanted the horse, and Derrek wanted the ATV. Luckily he won out, and was soon burning up the trails on a Yamaha Tri-Moto 200. By the time he was 14, he had saved enough of his own money by working on the farm and in his folks restaurant to buy a new 4-wheeler. That happened the day he and his mom were driving past the dealership and saw 1987 Banshee. His mom had no idea what he was buying, and he never looked back. He's been riding ever since, and been writing professionally for many years. He has ridden all over North America and been behind the controls of just about every machine out there. And yes, he still has his 1987 Yamaha Banshee.
More by Derrek Sigler