Hunting is a serious pastime in the United States. Statistic Brain notes that 12.5 million people over the age of 16 go hunting each year, approximately 7 percent of the U.S. population actively takes part in the sport and 60 percent of U.S. wildlife areas allow in-season hunting. These days, many hunters are electing to incorporate all-terrain vehicles into their hunting adventures. It makes sense. ATVs give hunters the keys to the backcountry — areas that trucks can’t access and that are challenging to reach on foot. Without an ATV, a hunter must hike in with all of his or her gear; and if it’s a big-game hunt, bringing the kill out of the wilderness can be a major exercise in problem-solving. ATVs that are specifically designed for hunting have a few key features, according to Petersen’s Hunting:
That last point is key. You’ll have plenty of space for weapons and ammunition (or fishing/archery gear), food, water, a portable heater, first aid supplies, tools (for maintenance/repairs) and possibly camping gear or supplies to make a hunting blind. And you don’t have to be a hunter to appreciate this type of ATV; if you’re simply out there to hunt for the perfect photo, you’ll have the storage capacity you need for cameras, tripods, binoculars and all the extras.
Ask any photographer who has hiked into the backcountry with a heavy pack — an ATV will be a much-appreciated companion and workhorse. There are a few tips to keep in mind, however. The first major consideration is safety, according to the American Hunting Lease Association (AHLA).
Then there are matters of etiquette specific to hunting. There are more than 7 million ATVs in use in the United States being operated by 16 million Americans, according to a 2007 report by the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America. Responsible operation is critical to ensure that future generations of hunters will be able to enjoy this country’s wild areas with their machines.
For more information and advice regarding ATV use while hunting, turn to governmental websites in your own state. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Idaho Parks & Recreation and Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks, for example, all offer online resources for hunters who are planning to incorporate ATVs into their outdoor lifestyle.
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