What Is a Hunting ATV?

Dan Cavallari

A hunting ATV is an all-terrain vehicle designed to accommodate the needs of hunters who are traveling into the woods or over rough terrain. The design and features included with a hunting ATV can vary according to the hunter's specific needs, and some hunters actually prefer utility task vehicles, or UTVs, instead of ATVs. A UTV is sometimes known as a side by side because two people can ride in the vehicle sitting side by side, rather than one person riding on a traditional ATV. UTVs are also usually capable of hauling more equipment.

A UTV, or utility task vehicle, looks like a golf cart, but is more rugged and can carry heavier loads.
A UTV, or utility task vehicle, looks like a golf cart, but is more rugged and can carry heavier loads.

An ATV can be modified to accommodate hunting needs. A hunting ATV is likely to include storage racks, gun racks, headlights, floodlights, coolers, and hauling equipment such as winches to accommodate the various needs of a hunter who is in the woods without the amenities of home. Most hunting ATV models are larger than racing models and feature either manual or automatic transmissions, depending on the user's preferences. They have a low center of gravity for stability when loaded down, and they are generally easy to steer and otherwise control. The tires will feature aggressive treads for handling a variety of terrain conditions.

One of the primary functions of the hunting ATV is to haul a lot of gear. When an animal is killed, it is usually loaded onto one of the racks on the vehicle to be hauled out of the woods. In order to position the sometimes large animals, a winch is used to haul the animal toward the vehicle. This winch is mounted on the front of the ATV, and it allows a cable to be fed out or retracted so it can be secured around the carcass and then pulled back toward the vehicle. Almost all hunting ATV models will feature a winch, and if they do not, winches can be added after purchase.

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Another major feature of the hunting ATV is the gun rack or other weapon rack. These racks can feature an enclosed case that protects the gun from the weather and from any impacts during transport. Some are mounted to the rear rack of the vehicle, while others can mount to the side of the vehicle so valuable rear rack space is not taken up by the gun case. Bow and arrow hunters can also find cases to accommodate their weapons.

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