Using an OHV, which includes ATVs and UTVs (side-by-sides), as a tool for hunting is becoming more popular. When used responsibly they can be very useful to hunters. Many people ride from their hunting camp to a location where they get off the machine and hunt on foot. Riding on a designated trail can allow a hunter to access remote areas that are too far to reach on foot. OHVs can also come in handy to retrieve game by parking them in a safe location and bringing your meat to the trail to load. Remember it is illegal to take your OHV off designated open trails, so only use them where they are specifically allowed. Check with your local land management agency to find out what restrictions apply to OHV use in the area that you plan to hunt.
Here is what you need to know.
- Always wear a helmet. A helmet protects your head from serious injury in the event of a crash. Any person on an OHV under the age of 18 is required by law to wear a helmet. Also, wear goggles, gloves, and appropriate footwear.
- Know how to properly operate your OHV. Using an OHV can be dangerous. Read and follow all manufacture guidelines. Take a hands-on operator safety course to develop your riding skills.
- Never overload your OHV. OHVs are made for one person unless otherwise noted by the manufacturer. Be aware that adding gear or game to your OHV changes the way it handles and can increase the chance of crashing.
- Slow down. Too many OHV crashes occur due to high speed or recklessness. Whether you are carrying a load or not, maintain moderate speed and exercise caution at all times.
- Use the buddy system. Travel in groups and make sure no one is left behind. Check on your partners often to make sure that all stay together and offer assistance when needed.
- Think safety and be prepared. Be sure that riding conditions are safe and that your OHV is in good working order before traveling. Always carry a first aid kit and a tool kit.