Accessories Can Upgrade Your ATV For Hunting

With fall leaves dropping, undercover receding and shooting lanes opening up around tree stands and blinds across the land, now is the perfect time to customize your UTV or ATV for hunting season. Whether it’s a gun scabbard, additional lighting or some camouflage, a few changes can transform your stock off-road vehicle into a personalized hunting tool that’s both functional and impressive to your hunting buddies.

.     While it may be tempting, the first step in building the perfect hunting ATV or UTV should be covering the functional bases before focusing on image-only improvements. Focus on improving traction and/or ground clearance and storage of necessary components before anything else. Will you be riding over soft, muddy terrain or up any steep hills? If so, more aggressive tires could be a lifesaver, especially if you’re trying to haul out a big trophy buck.

.     Next, where can you safely store your gun or bow? If you’re carrying it across your lap in a case, you’re doing it all wrong. A specialized gun scabbard or bow rack gives sportsmen a place to store their gun that’s safe (both gun safety, and riding safety), won’t damage your gun or bow and will allow the rider to focus on riding safely, without restricting range of motion or the ability to use body English to navigate challenging terrain.

.     Speaking of storage, most hunters are carrying the works with them as they head out into the woods — lunch, snacks, ammunition, bait, knives, camera, tow rope and flashlights are just a few of the items most hunters are carrying. If you can ride your ATV or UTV out to your hunting site, why not bolt on additional storage so your machine can do the carrying work for you? Some companies offer specialty rack boxes and bags made just for hunters, as well as a variety of grip holders, that can add copious amounts of storage to your machine.

.     Now that you’ve taken care of the functional stuff, it’s time to have a little fun. Nearly any ATV or UTV accessory is available in camouflage, and you can even purchase camouflage tape that will allow you to turn any surface into a deer-fooling camo pattern of your choice. Speaking of going stealthy, quiet exhaust systems can dramatically quiet your machine, giving hunters more confidence that they’re not scaring away the critters when driving out in the morning or back in the evening.

.     A final consideration, which can be helpful throughout the year, is supplemental lighting. As the days get shorter in the fall, and you’re heading out at the crack of dawn to hunt, upgraded lighting can make a huge difference in visibility and functionality. There is some amazingly high-output powersports lights available nowadays, up to HID lights that can turn night into daytime, and ATV accessory outfits and many dealerships offer spotlights and other handheld or directional lighting that can be useful in many hunting situations — aside from all the other uses throughout the year, like plowing snow late into the evening.

.     With the mass popularity of using a UTV or ATV for hunting, there are limitless aftermarket accessories out there to improve the looks and functionality of your existing ATV or UTV. Whether you’re looking to add a bit of utility or going all out, making changes to your machine can be very rewarding when it matters most — on the hunt or hauling our your trophy.

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Tips For Buying A UTV Or ATV for Hunting

From a $4,000 2WD ATV all the way up to a snarling, $16,000 high-performance UTV, there are many options to consider when shopping for an ATV for hunting vehicle. To make it easy, break the decision down to a few key factors: where/how/what you’ll be hunting, how much time you’ll spend with the vehicle, price and what other uses you have in mind for your new purchase.

Having the proper UTV or ATV for hunting is vital.

.    Okay, sure, the first one is an obvious question. If you’re planning to hunt down a 700-pound bull elk in the mountains, a small, 2WD utility ATV is not going to cut the mustard. But, if your goal is to spend a small amount of fun money on an ATV that will be used only to transport you to your deer stand or for bird hunting, you can easily get away for $5,000 or less for a basic utility quad. Just as 250cc three-wheelers hauled deer carcasses just fine in the 1980s, most any utility ATV can get the job done — though 4WD certainly helps.

.     Next, consider how much time you’ll be spending on your new ATV or UTV. If it’s a vehicle you plan to use throughout the year — plowing snow, trail rides, projects around the house, etc.  — strongly consider all the features you’ll use to satisfy all of your goals. It’s easy to spend too much on a machine that looks cool, but is rarely used. Be a smart shopper and get a vehicle truly tailored to your needs. There are a lot of choices in the ATV and UTV markets.

.     In choosing between a side-by-side UTV or a traditional single-seat ATV, price is a huge determining factor. Generally, UTVs cost more, but offer advantages like a more comfortable and protected cab and more room for storage or mounting accessories like lights or gun scabbards.  Plus, if you’re going to your deer stand with a family member or buddy, it’s far more comfortable riding side-by-side in a UTV than front-to-back on an ATV.  The aftermarket is full of options, however, and most everything you’d want on a UTV is also available for ATVs. Most ATVs start around $4,000 and can top out north of $15,000, while entry-level UTVs usually start at approximately $8,000 — and the sky is the limit on the top end, especially when aftermarket accessories are included.

.     Lastly, consider specific usage factors. Will you be hauling our a big carcass? Just about any off-road vehicle can haul a full-size deer by dragging it, but smaller ATVs will be very unbalanced or even impossible to drive with hundreds of pounds overloading the cargo racks. Try to strike a balance between size/maneuverability, cargo capacity how much power and traction you’ll need.

Will you be using your ATV or UTV to merely get to the tree stand or duck blind, or are they larger uses in your plans?

.     Once you’ve decided on your ideal, motorized companion for a UTV or ATV for hunting, make it the perfect tool by outfitting it with accessories to make it even more useful. More powerful lights, rack-mounted cargo boxes or bags, gun scabbards, GPS, hitch-mounted carcass racks, weather protection items, bumpers or fender protection for brush, or even beefier tires can ensure when that flock of birds or the perfect buck moves into your sites, you’ll be ready to haul our your game safely, without getting stuck and with an off-road ATV or UTV you’ll be happy with for years to come.

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ATVAM Vital For ATV Riding In Minnesota, Even If You Just Use Your ATV For Hunting

Are you an ATV owner in Minnesota? Do you enjoy ATV trail riding, using your ATV for hunting or ice fishing, or otherwise use your ATV somewhere other than your own personal property?

If the answer is yes, you should pay attention to an organization called the ATV Association of Minnesota – or ATVAM – because they are the ones focused on your right to ride.

The annual ATV Fair is ATVAM’s most high-profile event, but the organization is vital to ATV riding in Minnesota.

Formed back in 1983, ATVAM isn’t as well known maybe as the Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association (MnUSA), but like the snowmobile organization is for snowmobilers, ATVAM’s efforts are vital to the rights and the enjoyment of ATV use.

ATVAM has been instrumental in getting laws passed that make off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails possible and keeps them open. From its very beginnings in the 1980s, it worked to make it legal to drive an ATV on a frozen lake, along a ditchline or on select state forest roads and trails. It has helped clubs gain Grant-In-Aid funding for trails, and it represents you, us and all other ATV owners regularly at the state legislature and in front of the DNR when various laws or rules are being considered.

ATVAM is also a social group – it hold its annual ATV Fair in the spring, has an annual fall convention in September, serves an important networking function for clubs and organizations, is involved in ATV safety training and much more.

Yes, ATVAM certainly helps ATV trails in Minnesota. But it also helps protect all ATV owners’ rights, even if they usually just use their ATV for hunting, rural transportation or other utilitarian functions. For more information, visit

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