Time and time again, we encounter individuals with enough forethought to book their hunting trips a year in advance, yet they wait till the last minute to ready their units. Well, not this year people; let’s plan in advance to ensure success.
Whether your unit is new, new to you, or you’ve owned it for a while, taking the time to read your owner’s manual can be one of your greatest assets. You will find crucial information and tips on troubleshooting potential problems. It is information that we all need to know. Once you are done reading it, pack your owner’s manual in your ATV so you do not forget it at home.
Fully inspect your unit. Here is a checklist of what to look for:
Ensure proper tire inflation based upon the specs provided in your owner’s manual. If one is drastically lower than the others, inflate it, then check a day later. It may have a slow leak, which will have to be addressed before you head out into the great wide open.
If you feel your tire life has bit the biscuit contact your local dealer or tire supplier to see if another tire is available. Do not wait until the last minute to get this tire then panic when it doesn’t arrive on time.
You will need to pack a tire repair kit. There are a couple of options: plugs and the inflatable spray, which seals the tire from the inside. Just make sure you are prepared in the event of a flat.
Check all fluid levels on your unit and top up when necessary.
✔ CV boots
Inspect your CV boots for holes, grease, twists and tears. It is important to address problems now, without hesitation. If you are out in no man’s land and you cross a creek with a ripped CV boot, you will end up buying a CV shaft instead of just having to replace the boot.
Check your unit’s front and rear brake operation. Go for a test run and pay close attention to your brakes while you do so.
Check and see how much is left of your pads and check to see how much adjustability is still available on the shoes. The wear indicators may not always be the most accurate way to gauge their lifespan.
Inspect your winch cable for integrity, again, not waiting until the last minute to order a new winch line. If the winch line has not been properly spooled, it may compromise its integrity. The winch hook needs to be in optimum condition—if it’s not, replace it. Your winch will be one of your most valuable tools when you go deep into the backcountry. Treat it as such. It may come down to the difference between getting home safe and sound, or being stranded in the wild.
Inspect your headlights because on a hunting trip they aren’t just a convenience, they are a necessity. Replace any burnt-out bulbs.
Inspect your battery for signs of corrosion and leaking. If problems are evident, replace it. Ensure that your connections are tight. It is a very good idea to take full-sized booster cables with you as you will not be venturing into the wild alone, or with only one machine. Most units today require full-sized cables in order to fully boost the battery.
There are so many accessories that are designed to make hunting more enjoyable. Gun boots not only protect your gun, but they are also a handy way to transport them. Kolpin makes a chainsaw mount to transport your saw safely, without stealing all the room from your storage boxes. Extra fuel can be transported in a traditional gas can, or some of the newer designed containers that maximize your space usage.
✔ Hand and thumb warmers
The warmth of your hands makes all the difference between enjoying the crisp fall air, or loathing it. When you install your thumb and hand warmers, make sure you disconnect the battery before you begin your installation. Ensure you are taking power from an appropriate source—if not you could end up destroying vital components, such as your ECU, GPS and other electrical accessories. If you are at all unsure, take the unit to a professional—which leads us to our next point.
✔ Book your appointment in advance
In the event you need professional assistance, book far in advance. Part availability may be scarce or your local shop may be busy. Do not wait until the last minute to bring your unit in for service, as it may just be too late.
On a final note, always share a clear itinerary of your trip with friends and loved ones, including your time of departure and return. If possible, include GPS co-ordinates within this information. Pack enough provisions for the duration of your stay, and then some.
If anyone in your group is prone to allergies, everyone in the group should be informed. In the event that medication has to be administered, everyone involved needs to know how to do so. A basic first aid kit should be packed along with survival items, such as radios, cellphones (if within a service area) a spot locator and a flare gun.