The introduction of the side by side has made a large impact in the hunting world. The ability and characteristics of these machines lends themselves perfectly to many hunters. While, minimalist hunters may scoff at the advantages they provide, there are plenty who can benefit from them. Hunters that are looking for an edge will find that a side by side will enhance their hunting experience. UTVs can be used to improve the hunt itself and also enhance the preparation needed to manage your hunting land.
A stock UTV can be used successfully for hunting. But to get the most out of your machine, you need to add accessories and modifications to build it into the best machine for you and your hunting land. Below you will find great ways to optimize your machine to be the ultimate hunting side by side.
For the Hunt
Using your side by side for hunting really boils down to getting yourself into your area before the hunt and out of the area at the end of it. Adding the right accessories will make hauling all of your gear and your harvest as efficient as possible.
Gun & Bow Mounts
Hauling your gun or bow without mounts can be risky. One wrong bump could lead to your sites or scope being knocked out of adjustment. There are many options and styles available for UTV gun and bow mounts. They range from hard-case gun boots and bow cases to center console mounts roll cage mounts.
Skid Plate & A-Arm Guards
Getting to the best hunting spots often means traveling to the most remote pieces land. And when you go off the beaten path, you’re sure to encounter obstacles like downed trees, boulders and deep ruts. Adding a skid plate and A-arm guards provide you with added insurance against day-ending impacts.
Storage space can be limited on side by sides, especially sport-oriented machines. Adding additional racks and rack extenders will provide more storage space for not only your gear, but also for your harvested animal. A rack that extends above the bed of your machine allows you to essentially double the cargo space of the bed. Front racks can also be added over the hood to haul smaller or more flat gear. A rack extender allows you to leave the tail gate down without the worry of your cargo slipping out the back.
The ability to be silent will always be important in hunting. The louder your machine is, the more likely you are to push the animals out of your hunting area. By adding an aftermarket exhaust with a lower decibel rating, you are creating a stealthier machine. If you don’t want to change out your exhaust, there are other options. Secondary mufflers, like the Kolpin Stealth exhaust system, can be added on to your existing exhaust. You will reduce decibels all while retaining the performance characteristics of your current exhaust.
LED light bars and spots have come a long way over the past few years. Not only has their price gone down, but they have become extremely durable and dependable. All serious hunters know that travel in the dark is necessary. Not only do you travel in the dark, but processing an animal often takes place after the sun goes down. Spot lights can be a godsend when you need to process an animal in the dark. A good light bar will help you stay on the right path when your headlights just aren’t enough to see the unmarked trail and the hazards that it holds.
Preparing for the Hunt
The above recommendations pertain to using your side by side on the actual hunt. But the versatility of these machines also lends themselves to the pre-hunt setup. This includes clearing trails, creating shooting lanes, setting stands, and building food plots. With the right setup, you can accomplish all these tasks with your UTV.
UTV implements continue to grow as a category in whole. This is largely driven by the fact that more and more hunters and workers are finding how useful their UTV can be to get work done. With these implements, you can get to even the most remote areas and work the ground.
A 3-point hitch is a great place to start. Many of the implements that you to build a food plot require a 3-point hitch. UTV 3-points can be installed by slipping into a heavy-duty 2-inch automotive style hitch. An electric actuator lift system makes power easy as it is simply wired into your starting battery.
UTV specific implements like chisel plows, s-tines and disc plows allow you to work land in the remotest of areas. If you can get your side by side to the area, you can likely produce a food plot. Spreaders and sprayers are also available to further produce your plot.
Tool specific mounts like chainsaw holders are also great. They allow you to get your tools in and out of the woods without the worry of damage.
With these modifications and accessories, your UTV can be made into the ultimate hunting machine. But these are not the only mods that can be made. Let us know in the comments what you have done to your side by side to make it the best hunting machine for yourself.