ATVs and UTVs are spectacular tools for hunting. In many ways they are like our trucks, in that there are many accessories available which allow us to not only customize the look and style of the machine, but the functionality of it as well.
Here are 10 ATV accessories you need to look at before hunting season arrives.
Windshields really are either a love-it or hate-it accessory. Some guys really don't care for them. But when the temperature drops, or the rain and snow starts flying, a windshield can turn a miserable ride into a much more pleasurable experience. There are a few things to look at when selecting a windshield for your ride.
One of the first things that will hit you when you start shopping for one is the price — they aren't cheap. There are a few aftermarket windshields out there that cut down on the cost noticeably, but there is a downside. They are often made from plastic that flexes and scratches easily.
If you're going to buy a windshield, you might as well bite the bullet and buy factory glass right from the start. Factory designed parts fit perfectly and work very well. Oh, and get the rear one while you're at it. Otherwise, you'll be sucking dust right into the cab.
Roofs go hand-in-hand with windshields. You can actually get away with saving a few bucks on a roof, though. Soft or fabric roofs work well and cost a fraction of a hard, plastic roof. The nice thing about a roof is that it keeps the sun off you while you ride, and helps keep the weather out.
Ever have a rain storm hit while you're out in the deer blind? Hop in under a roof and stay a little drier.
If you're going to haul your rifle or shotgun on-board your ATV or UTV, you need a scabbard. It's much more safe and efficient than simply tossing your case in the bed, or strapping it to a rack.
Just about every manufacturer offers some form of a scabbard. Scabbards don't take up much room. In fact, they save space for other gear, and the level of protection they offer to your firearm makes the cost well worth it, too.
Can you lift 4,000 pounds? No? Well, then, you're going to be really happy you opted for a winch on your machine. A winch can pull your machine out of the mud, drag a downed tree off the trail or haul that buck out of the river after you double lunged it.
Here's some sage advice on winches. It's kind of like the windshield, in that you should spend more to save more. Cheaper, lower quality winches just don't cut it. They burn out, drain battery life and end up needing to be replaced. Get a Warn, or other major brand name winch.
We all haul stuff with our ATVs and UTVs. That's why they have racks and cargo boxes. You can optimize and expand that with the proper accessories. For example, Hornet Outdoors makes an outstanding cargo rack for the bed of select UTVs. It adds another level of options for what you can carry and how you carry it.
You can also get spare tire carriers, very good for deep off-road excursions, chainsaw carriers and more. It's all about keeping your stuff secured where it's supposed to be for when you need it.
It's one thing to put a brush guard on your truck. Getting one for your ATV is a whole lot more serious because you're going to go further back into the depths of the hard-to-find places with your ATV and expect it to get you back out again. Bruch guards and side rails are good insurance against an unexpected trail breakage.
Tires also fall under this category as they are what gets you back home to be honest. If a tire goes flat, or won't get traction, you're done! Manufacturers design tires to work with the machines under a wide range of conditions. If you're going to go into something a little more extreme, then you should select a more extreme tire.
Protection also extends to your body. Buy a quality helmet and wear it. Even inside a roll cage on an UTV, you're open to serious injury and more from an accident. Look for a minimum of DOT certification in a helmet and make sure it fits you properly.
Spend a little money; it may literally save your life.
The thought of a generator as an accessory for an ATV may seem odd, but it's not. A compact, yet powerful generator, like Yamaha's EF2000iS, gives you power when and where you need it.
Need to rebuild that deer blind? Haul your tools out to the woods and get to it. Have a CPAP, but want to do a back-country elk hunt? A generator does a much better job adding compact electrical power than a power inverter that runs off your machine's battery.
Staying hydrated can make or break a hunting trip. That's one of the many reasons the new breed of extreme coolers are so popular. You can have ice-cold water for days away from a refridgerator. A good cooler, such as the Orion, will provide you with cold water, or anything else you need to keep cool while on the hunt.
We would be remiss if we didn't mention the basics that everyone should have with them in any ATV or UTV when it comes time to go hunting. A first aid kit is a must, along with fire starting materials and a basic tool kit. This can help if you break the machine, or yourself. Don't leave home without them!
We can also include a chainsaw here, as a good saw can help clear trails, cut firewood and defend against Sharknados. The last one is true! We saw it on TV!
This is a big category and is part of the pre-season hunt that we all so enjoy — getting things ready for the season. Preparing food plots is a major part of deer hunting these days. Plows, sprayers and spreaders can make setting up a food plot a snap, and using an ATV or UTV can allow you to make up a food plot in places you never thought you could.
There are a lot of different ATV accessories out there, from the factories and the aftermarket. The best advice is to look at the construction of the implement before you buy it to ensure you're going to be happy with your purchase and that it will work with your machine.