UTVs in the Hunting World
UTVs are becoming the new choice for hunters.
This bow hunt has shown that UTVs are becoming one of the hunter’s choices of vehicle.
They are smaller than a truck or jeep and much lighter. You can drive around all day, and go through about five gallons of fuel.
I look forward to the bow hunt as being my wife and my favorite vacation of the year.
I have been bow hunting since I was a little kid, who would follow my dad around the mountains when he would bow hunt.
It has become a tradition to spend a full week up in the mountains near Flaming Gorge, Utah, and we absolutely love it. We have been going up there with my cousin, Jim, since 2009, and have been taking my Polaris UTV since 2014.
In this time period I have upgraded my UTV through the years and now use my 2017 Polaris XPT. It is not the best UTV for hunting, but it works just great.
In the last ten years, we have been watching the number of hunters riding UTVs increase every year, and this year was no exception.
The group of hunters in our party is starting to get a tad bit older, and with age comes some health issues. There are several of our group who are thinking that a side x side may be the smarter hunting rig. They have been riding ATVs since they came out, and have not liked the UTVs invading the hunts. But, if you can’t beat them, then join them.
Several reasons the UTVs have some advantages:
- Fully automatic – no shifting while road hunting
- Easier to get in and out than over and straddle
- Bed for carrying all your stuff and your kill
- The wife can drive while you keep your eyes on the hillside looking for the big one
- Warmer on those cold mornings
- Easier on your body sitting in a chair
- Being able to talk to your hunting partner without stopping
With this being said, I have been asked what UTV would be best to purchase. My response is that there are so many makes and models, you need to seriously ask some important questions before this one can be answered.
- What will be your main riding areas?
- Will you be riding in sand dunes?
- Do you want the quietest UTV around?
- Do you have certain brands you are loyal too?
- Do you want new or used?
- What is your budget?
I am going to comment on the hunters we go with and their suggestions on needs for a UTV. They want it mainly for hunting, and it has to be automatic and they are very fond of Hondas.
Also, they want a 50” machine – this category limits the number of UTVs.
With the limit of 50” UTVs and a Honda, it only has one choice, and it is a Pioneer 500.
When you limit yourself to a 50” machine, you give up many of the great features that modern-day UTVs have now. The ride is only going to be so good with the smaller UTV, and your bed to carry all your gear will be significantly smaller.
If you are thinking about a 50” UTV, make sure you will be hitting many 50” trails. If you really don’t ride on that many 50” trails, I would highly recommend getting a bit wider machine for the reasons I just mentioned.
If you consider a 60-64” UTV, your possibilities skyrocket. Your ride and hauling are increased significantly, including power, shocks, and suspension, size of the bed, and hauling load.
In the last two years in central Utah, they have been increasing many trails to fit 66” UTVs. It does seem like this is where the majority of trails are heading. Don’t get me wrong – there will still be plenty of great 50” trails out there to keep the damage to a minimum. Some of the trails are so small and rough, they want to keep big machines from getting to the point where they can’t get out.
For the hunters out there where 50” is not a concern, the UTVs coming out are great and plentiful. These include the best brands in the business: Polaris General, Can-Am Defender, Yamaha Wolverine R-Spec, Honda Pioneer, Kawasaki Teryx, and Textron Stampede.
So, when you are considering your first UTV, make sure you think long and hard about your needs, and what you will be using it for on a consistent basis.
The advantages of a UTV for hunting
- Partner with you on the ride
- You can ride passenger being more ready for the chase
- Warmer on those cold mornings.
- Smoother ride.
- Carry more gear.
- More lighting
- Pack deer out in the bed
- Steering easier
I hope when you are about to go hunting for a UTV that you will think about specific reasons and write them down to make sure you purchase the correct UTV for your own needs.
Good luck to all the hunters out there and be safe.
If you would like to call or send an email, I would be glad to bounce some ideas around with you.
Till we hunt again.
Owner of UTV Service specializing in shocks and suspension.
I have always loved making cars and now UTV’s run and handle there best. I do not believe in taking short cuts and when something comes along that does not fit my values I will not sell or back that product.
Business owner for over 35 years. 3-Time Nascar short track champion at our local race track Rocky Mountain Raceway in Salt Lake City, Utah
2017 Polaris XPT 2-Seat Turbo-Current
2015 Polaris XP1000 -Sold
2011 Polaris RZR 800- Sold