Photos Courtesy of Tyler Chmilar
Hunting is instinctual and is in all of us. All we need to do is observe our own kids (or recall from our childhood) playing various forms of Hide & Seek, Kick the Can, and Capture the Flag. I love watching as they go into stealth mode, attempting to outwit their prey or escape a predator. These games are timeless, and provide hours of entertainment – kinda like traditional, grown up hunting, eh?
Whether we hunt or not, we’re all aware that our ancestors were hunters at one time or another. It really is the oldest sport. While the nature of the sport has stayed the same, the technique is always changing. Hunters are looking for better ways to stay camouflaged or undetected, to attract the big game, or just to make things a little more comfortable. One of the biggest, maybe even the most controversial, changes to hunting has been the use of ATVs & UTVs. It is much easier, not to mention faster, to get deep into the bush, and they are very useful in packing out any game you’re lucky enough to get.
With the popularity of ATV/UTV use for hunting purposes there are some things we can do to earn the respect of other backcountry users – including the more traditional hunter – to show we are responsible riders, both before and during the hunt.
BEFORE THE HUNT:
Recognize that the conditions – time of day, terrain, etc. – you are riding in are different from any recreational riding you do. You’ll most likely be riding in the dark either before sunrise, after sunset or both. This is not the time or place for mechanical problems. You put a lot of prep work into making sure you’re ready for the hunting trip – do the same for your UTV/ATV. Check out our blog on Fall Maintenance 101 to make sure your machine is ready for the hunt.
Three Parts & Accessories you might want to pay special attention to are:
- Tires – Make sure your tires are aggressive enough for the terrain you are in. If you are uncertain which tire would be best for you ask your local dealer. Be careful of going too aggressive or too big as these can lead to problems too.
- Winch – I wouldn’t recommend any type of riding without a winch, except maybe racing. A winch can be your saving grace when there is no one around to help you, or it can turn you into the hero when someone else is in trouble. Either way it’s a win – ch!
- Lights – Make sure your headlights and taillights are working as you will most likely be riding in the dark at some point during the hunt. Don’t stop there though, you also want to think about any other lights you may need – whether for better visibility, a well situated spotlight for those late afternoon wins,, or just for entertaining around the campfire when the hunt is done.
DURING THE HUNT:
#ResponsibleRiding applies to hunting too. Anytime we venture out on the trail or into the backcountry we are representing OHV users everywhere. We have a few reminders of what #ResponsibleRiding looks like:
- Know the Rules – Know both the hunting and vehicle-use regulations and restrictions for the area you are hunting in. If a road or area is closed, respect those closures. Adhere to Fair Chase ethics and “walk when you stalk.” We keep other hunters, trail users and landowners happy when we stay on the right side of the law.
- Be Quiet – We all know that a huge part of hunting is staying undetected by all senses: sight, smell, and sound – okay, so not all senses, we would be in dangerous territory if our prey could taste us. But you get the idea. There are things you can do to keep noise to a minimum. Make sure your UTV/ATV is properly tuned and muffled to reduce exhaust sounds and emissions. It is recommended that you access hunting areas before shooting hours and then hunt on foot.
- Stay on the Trails and Respect the Landowners – This is pretty self-explanatory. We want the area we ride in to be around for our children and grandchildren. If you want more info on what #ResponsibleRiding looks like, read our blog on #ResponsibleRiding…Who Me?.
AFTER THE HUNT:
We love seeing pictures of you hunting with your UTV/ATV, so send them to us. And you are more than welcome to come into the office and brag about your big kill – our only stipulation is you must bring in the cured/cooked meat for us to sample.
Hunting is a huge sport across Canada. Whether you are an avid hunter or just getting your feet wet we want you to enjoy a safe and responsible hunting season.