Hunter Tips

Hunter Tips

Right off the bat we want to make sure you are aware of Hunter’s Education available in the State of Utah, online and in person training.  The details can be found at: Utah Hunter Education

In the back of your mind, one of the reasons you purchased your ATV was to help you out on the deer or elk hunt. There is no question that an ATV can be a great tool for that very thing. However, there are some inherent dangers that accompany the combination of guns and ATVs or any OHV. Here are just a few points to keep in mind to assure that you return from your hunt successfully and safely.

  • NO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES or DRUGS! No kidding, just don’t even bother to take along a six pac and you will not be tempted to have a cool one to take the edge off the day. The use of alcoholic beverages or drugs is attributed to more hunting accidents than any other single factor. Even if you would rather not believe it, it is true. The use of alcohol and drugs in any form clouds vision and judgment to the point of severe impairment much faster than its users can even recognize. This applies even if you are not using an ATV. If you are carrying a rifle or any firearm your blood alcohol or drug level should be 0.00. There is no safe level of alcohol or drugs in your blood. Here are some of the things that have been attributed to the use of Alcoholic beverages or drugs on the hunt:
    • You can become lost, requiring massive resources to locate you after your buzz wears off.
    • You can shoot yourself – suicide is a self-serving tragedy – don’t go there.
    • You can shoot your own hunting partners: There’s something out in front of you moving in the bushes… you raise your rifle to get a view… BLAM! What was that? You didn’t think your finger was anywhere near the trigger, but you are on your butt from the recoil. Off in the distance you can hear someone writhing in pain. When you stumble over to the spot you find someone covered in blood… it looks like his leg is blown off. Then you think to yourself… “If I had just not had that beer a while back.” (This tragedy is repeated time after time almost every year)
    • You can miss judge the safe speed required to make a turn on the trail. At 35 MPH you plunge over the side of the road and roll your ATV. You feel every one of the 536 pounds as it rolls across your chest.
    • You can pass out and waken to find that the weather has turned from a warm Fall day to a 10″ snowstorm in the ensuing hours. When you rise to return to your ATV you cannot find it, much less the trail back to your camp. Eventually hypothermia convinces you to sit down and rest…. in peace. Okay…. I know I rammed this down your throat, but there is just too much to lose. I may be the target you mistake for a deer or elk. You’ll have to excuse my desire for self-preservation.
  • Always scabbard your rifle while riding your ATV. You may have the physical prowess to carry your rifle while you drive, but ATV riding is a two handed sport. Keep your rifle protected from elements by keeping it in the scabbard. If you get mud up your barrel, you are done hunting until you clean it out again.
  • The time honored sport of road hunting remains illegal. It is not legal in the State of Utah to shoot across a roadway.
  • If you really want to find deer/elk while you are riding you must go very slow… under 4 MPH and make as little noise as possible. When you see a deer. Turn off your motor. Remove your helmet, then, take your rifle from the scabbard/gun case. Get off your ATV, then determine what is behind your target, raise your rifle, take careful aim for a one shot kill of your prey and squeeze the trigger and fire. If you move slowly you will not spook your game. You may be the focus of their attention, but they are not likely to jump and run if you do not act alarming.
  • It is not legal to take your ATV from the trail to retrieve your prize in any National Forest. Some BLM areas do permit this. You must drag your game to the trail to load it on your ATV. I don’t make the rules, I’m just telling you what they are.
  • Wear your helmet at all times while you are on your ATV. This is not the law, it is just good sense.
  • One advantage of hunting in an area that permits ATV travel is that deer and elk that are familiar with ATVs in the area are less spooked when they approach.
  • If you skipped the part above about No Alcoholic Beverages or Drugs, because you wanted to ignore it anyway, go back up and read it. You will be no good to our cause if you are not around to support it.
  • Please don’t haul your deer all the way home strapped to the back of your ATV in the back of your pickup. To those of us who are hunters we are not offended by your trophy, but there are many out there who believe that Bambi is real and are seriously appalled by the vision of a slaughtered animal. Just be a good citizen and put your prize where it won’t be seen by the non-sporting public. If they associate ATVs with slaughtered deer, then we will find no support from them in keeping our mountain roads and trails open.
  • Haul out more than you haul in. Critics of hunting and motorized use of the forest also point to the amount of trash that is left behind by those who visit. It matters not that those without motorized transportation are more likely to leave behind their trash, than those with motorized transportation, because it is blamed on the motorized travelers anyway. Respect the use we have of the forest and public property by making sure that we are found to be the volunteers who leave it better than the way we found it.
  • Tread Lightly. It is only a natural thing for the kids to climb on the ATVs while in camp and start putting around a bit. There is no real harm in this right? Well, not exactly, as long as they don’t start making new trails around the perimeter of your camp. This is actually one of the most dangerous activities, because they tend not to be adult supervised, nor are helmets worn. What starts out as innocent fun, can easily result in serious injury and damage. The best practice is to stay on the trail. Some riders get mixed up with the reason why they are there. If you start tooling around like it is play-time at the sand dunes you will have few good shots at deer, unless you don’t plan on hunting anywhere near your camp. Mountain trail riding requires different rules and behavior than does open area/sand dune riding. Even if you have a 650 Sand Thrasher, if you take it with you on a hunt, you are using it as a utility vehicle and thus you should not ride as though your plan is to break air over the next hill. It may be fun to spin Brodie’s in the loose gravel on the trail, but it is an unwise practice. When others find such evidence they point to these as “abuse” of the environment. By “Tread Lightly” we mean that you should leave as little evidence of your having been there as possible.
  • Use of ATVs in muddy conditions in National Forests causes’ severe damage to the trails. If you find yourself in conditions such as this, please wait until the trail dries up or freezes over before you ride your ATV. No one enjoys deep ruts cut in the trail by 4WD vehicles or ATVs. It is damage like this that closes trails for “revegetation”
  • Did you really read the caution on the use of alcohol and drugs?
  • Never go hunting on your own. Always have someone with you to help you out in a pinch.
  • Stay in contact with your camp with the use of an FRS radio or a short wave radio. You can get a FRS radio from Radio Shack that plugs into your cigarette lighter it makes a great camp base station radio.
  • Visit the area you plan to hunt before the season. Learn the trails that are open and the potential hunting grounds for your hunt.
  • Have your hunt planned and marked on a map. Leave a copy of the map at home and in your base camp. Clearly mark the places you intend to hunt. Also take a copy of the map with you and stay within your plan. If you choose to change your plan, then mark it on your map, and call home with your cell phone and let your loved ones know you are moving your hunting area. Give them the map coordinates, or the GPS coordinates of the new hunting area.
  • If you read the warning on Alcoholic beverages and still plan to have a six pack, then please be sure you stay home from the hunt. Drink all you want and enjoy the excitement of your favorite chair in front of the weekend football game, but don’t go hunting!

Blog picture taken from: Montana Hunter Ed site , they have some great reminders on ATV Responsibility.

Categories: ATV Info

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