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Accessories NAW+ Tips & Tactics

How to Get Your Truck Unstuck

by Mike Schoby   |  May 16th, 2012 8

Whether you are spring turkey hunting, baiting bears, or heading out to the farm to put in food plots, it is often all too easy to get stuck in the soaked soil of spring—it doesn’t take much mire, either. All it takes is a small downpour, a muddy road, or a late season snow flurry and you are calling a buddy for help getting unstuck. Of course, you could add a winch to your vehicle (and it is something we do highly recommend), but it can be a costly investment for the very limited times you’ll use it. But there are some pretty simple techniques and tools for getting unstuck that anyone can perform, and they don’t break the bank, either. These tools will make the job much easier, and some may help you get out without having to go through the endless ribbing for years to come that a cell phone call to the hunting buddy will bring.

If you hunt, sooner or later you are going to get stuck. It is a fact of life almost as guaranteed as death and taxes. While sometimes unavoidable, having the equipment and know-how to get yourself free can make the difference between a good day and a very bad one.

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Barring using any tools, there are some basic techniques to get unstuck. To start with, if it is a case of tires just not getting traction, think creatively on how to solve this. An easy solution is to cut some tree boughs, pull some grass, or shovel some gravel from the roadside under the offending tire. Failing that, think about dropping the tire pressure. This is a standard technique for offroaders in snow or sand and by doing so increases the tire’s footprint where it meets the ground. Remember, if you do this you will need a means of re-inflating the tires once unstuck.

Unless you have a portable air compressor (which we have covered in the past), deflating is a last-ditch effort. If these simple techniques don’t work, it is time to break out some gear. Here are some essential items we don’t leave home without:

  • Don Anderson

    Left out is the ratcheting cable winch (a light wt cable block & tackle) that can, when attached to a convenient tree (or if necessary a buried spare tire dead-head), together with ~ 100 ft of stout rope, pull your vehicle out of the hole it is in. I used such a gadget many times in the 2 years of home-made safari off-roading we did in Zambia when I was there in 1973-'75, in company of fellow faculty outdoorsmen or staff from remote mission hospitals.

  • David

    The first thing you need to do if you are going to doing much driving off-road is to invest in a decent set of AT truck tires. The stree tires that your truck has on it are completely useless even on wet grass, nevermind mud or loose leaves or tree bark off of the road. You do not need big lugged rock climbing tires to get around off road as they are extremely loud on the pavement, just get a good set of All Terrains made by Pro Comp, BF Goodrich or another reputable tire manufacturer.
    Second……buy a truck with real 4-WD…..the kind that actually locks the hubs not the fake crossover vehicle style that only drives two wheels at a time……..and don't go anywhere off-road without having it engaged.

    Finally…..just because you have decent tires and real 4 WD does not mean you are driving a mud bogger!!!! Use common sense and if you do happen to start spinning a tire, get off of the gas, get out of the vehicle and do something to get traction and get out instead of trying to drive your way out which generally means you will be needing all of the aforementioned equipment and probably a tractor to get you out!!!!

    Common sense is the best tool you can pack into your vehicle!!!!

    • doug

      A brain is an excellent place to start. A shovel (season appropriate), axe, hand saw, hi-lift jack , snatct strap, and tire chains with tightners will get you out of snow,,mud, being high centered, and blocked roads.

  • Josh Tucker

    Buy a 4WD vehicle, add the ratcheting cable winch and don’t make a serious mistake that would require a 2nd vehicle to pull you out

  • Jim Perry

    Check out the latest invention for getting unstuck..They are awesome. Go to

  • Muresan Mihai

    I agree whit your tips, grate article and well written but I
    come across this website
    they seams to innovate a product so called Trac-Grabber and is a rescue device
    to help get vehicles unstuck from snow, sand or mud. For the one who have
    problems in getting vehicles stuck I think they should try it.

  • Jim Perry

    The first thing you should do if you are going to be driving off-road is get yourself a set of Trac-Grabbers. They are the most efficient and economical answer to getting any vehicle unstuck. Just google Trac-Grabbers and you will see for yourself.

  • bobby

    I’m in a 2003 f-250 4/4 the 4/4 does not work I am stuck in a spot that when disturbed turns to bad it feels like water..the truck is approx..40 yards down a 40degree incline what are my optiins

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