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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