Imagine yourself alone on the trail, maneuvering whips and turns while maintaining that ever-important tight turning radius. If this sounds like your ideal hunting experience, then an ATV could be right for you. The ATV allows the operator to explore places that many off-road vehicles fear to tread. The average ATV measures about 40 inches wide and 6 to 7 feet long, while most side-by-sides are 60 or more inches wide and reach over 10 feet in length, making the ATV more agile and just right for a tight squeeze. Agility is the word—the smaller frame and maneuverability offered by the ATV help it to stand out over other off-road vehicles. In many circumstances, an ATV is faster and quicker than a comparable SxS, but extreme care should be taken when driving these vehicles at or near top speed. Please remember, proper safety equipment should be worn at all times, and never operate an ATV on pavement.
When it comes to speed, most hunters are not looking for a vehicle that will blow the doors off but, rather, a workhorse, and what the ATV may lack in hauling abilities, it makes up for in its maneuverability through most any terrain. It’s true that many ATVs can exceed speeds of 40 mph, but for hunters, maneuverability and agility are probably more important. An ATV is lighter than a comparable SxS and, in many cases, fits into the back of a pickup truck for easy transport to your property. Just make sure that you get ramps designed for the size and weight of your vehicle, regardless of whether you plan to use your pickup or trailer to haul your ATV, and be sure to follow proper loading procedures.
The size of your ATV is also important. With engine displacements (a.k.a. engine sizes) for adult-sized vehicles ranging from 250 cc to 1,000 cc, there is a wide range of options available. A 250 cc is much smaller than a 1,000 cc, and most hunters will settle on a vehicle between 400 and 800 cc. A bigger engine usually translates to more speed, a bigger frame, and compromised maneuverability. To determine what size is best for you, speak to a local dealer who will be able to help you to understand the wide array of options available and to make a well-informed decision. And don’t forget to actually sit on the vehicle to get a feel for its size. If possible, ask for a test drive around the store.