By Tracy Breen
-- An ATV is a great tool for deer hunters. It can cut the time required to get to your favorite hunting spot, especially if it is off the beaten path. Once a deer is on the ground, it is much easier to get it out of the woods with an ATV than by using old-fashioned blood, sweat, and tears.
Photo: Great Day Loader - This powerloader makes lifting a deer and other heavy objects simple.
However, many hunters who own ATVs use them for those two purposes and nothing else, which means that the ATV is sitting in the shed for the majority of the year. If you have an ATV and want to use it more, you are in luck.
In the last five years, a variety of attachments have been designed that can turn your ATV into a piece of farm machinery within minutes. Gone are the days when the only purpose of your ATV was hauling deer. You can now use it year-round after purchasing a few attachments.
Food plots are more popular than ever before. Managing food plots gives hunters something to do during the off season, provides deer with valuable nutrition, and can be a great hunting tool. ATVs make planting food plots simple.
In the past, you could use a rake and elbow grease to plant a plot or purchase a tractor. The elbow grease method has been tried by many and can be effective, but it is time consuming. Unless sleeping on the couch or in the garage sounds like fun, purchasing an expensive tractor is out of the question. However, there are now ATV implements that will give any tractor a run for its money.
If you are on a budget and in the market for an ATV attachment that will make creating a plot easier, there are several options. The first must-have attachment is a disc of some sort. An inexpensive disc machine can be purchased at any farm store and will quickly tear up the soil - making the job of planting seed much easier.
If you have more money to spend, you can purchase an all-in-one machine that has a disc, seeder, rake, and other attachments. These all-in-one machines will turn any ATV into a true piece of farm equipment. However, they do come with hefty price tags.
Another alternative is buying a disc that offers add-on attachments that can be purchased as you can afford them. As you research different brands and attachments, don't forget about purchasing a sprayer. Sprayers are relatively inexpensive and make quick work out of killing unwanted weeds.
Photo: Sprayer - A large sprayer can quickly and efficiently kill weeds and unwanted vegetation.
In addition to farm attachments, there are other pieces of equipment that can make life around the house easier. Many companies offer bushhog attachments for ATVs that help cut your trails and two-tracks into an easy chore. If you live in a northern climate, a snow plow is a great attachment for clearing the driveway. Most plows are raised and lowered with a winch and can save your back and body a lot of aches and pains.
Speaking of aches and pains, nothing can be more of a workout than dragging a deer out of the woods. Hunters have been using ATVs to get deer and other big game out of the woods for decades. However, in the last few years, more specialized ATV equipment has been designed to make the task easier. The Power Loader by Great Day Inc. can haul up to 250 pounds and is like a forklift for your ATV. Simply drive up to your deer, scoop it up with the Power Loader, and drive away. It's that easy!
Photo: Plotmaster - All-in-one machines, like this Plotmaster, turn an ATV into a true workhorse.
There are a variety of attachments for ATVs that make transporting your hunting gear in and out of the woods easier. Gun racks, bow racks, and waterproof bags that can hold extra clothes, knives, ammo, and other things can be added to an ATV. I've even seen an ice auger holder. If you live up north, this will come in handy. It keeps your auger safe and secure while you drive to your favorite fishing spot. ATV trailers are also very popular. Trailers can haul bails of hay, deer, fishing shanties, and anything else you can fit into them.
Whether you purchase a snow plow or Power Loader, having a power winch on your ATV is a wise decision. A heavy-duty winch is only a few hundred dollars and can be used to do several things. With a winch, hauling brush and trees is easier. A winch will also come in handy if you get stuck in the mud.
Windshields and full enclosures can be purchased for ATVs. They can help you stay warm and dry on rainy days. I have seen camo enclosures that enable an ATV to double as a deer blind.
Choosing the perfect accessories can be a tough decision because there are so many options. The same is true when choosing a new ATV. If you are currently in the market for an ATV, you have probably noticed that there are as many ATV and even UTV models as there are days in the year. From your basic four-wheeler to the new electric four-wheel drive buggy, choosing the right one can be a daunting task.
As you research the ATVs and accessories on the market, ask yourself which ATV and accessories you would get the most use out of. ATVs and their accessories cost a lot of money. The price tags are much easier to swallow when you know that you will use them a lot. The last thing you want is a costly machine sitting in the garage collecting dust.
One thing is for sure: with all of the available ATVs and attachments on the market today, an ATV can be a machine that gets used all year long.
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