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Hunting And Fishing With Your ATV

January 31, 2014

Being able to explore the outdoors is one of the joys of having an ATV. What makes it even better around this time of year is when you can use your ATV for a specific purpose while enjoying the outdoors, like hunting or fishing.

Many enthusiasts find that an ATV can be very practical while also increasing their enjoyment on hunting and fishing trips. Along the way, riding responsibly promotes a positive image of ATVs and riders to the general public. That’s valuable not only for future hunting and fishing trips but also to help protect against unfair crackdowns on ATVs now and in the future.

Here are a variety of tips to get the most out of your hunting or fishing adventure:

Don’t make alcohol or drugs a part of your hunting or fishing trip. It’s a dangerous combination.

Also, don’t carry a loaded firearm while riding—keep your firearm secure in a protective case separate from the ammunition.

Know your local laws. For example, it may be illegal in the state in which you are hunting to do so from a motorized vehicle, including an ATV, unless you are disabled and have a special permit.

For safety reasons, ride, hunt and fish with a buddy. You may have an accident and need help. Also, let family or friends know when you are headed off on a hunting or fishing trip and when you expect to return.

Besides being a responsible ATV rider, be a responsible hunter. When you plan to take a shot, be sure you see your target clearly, know what it is, and consider what is behind the target in case your bullet continues past the game.

Also, don’t shoot across roads, trails and waterways. 

Don’t leave animal remains in wetlands, campgrounds, or on roads or trails.

Plus, don’t chase game on your ATV, and respect hunters who may be near you stalking game. It’s important to limit ATV use in and around campgrounds out of respect for other campers.

When on the trail while on a hunting or fishing trip, it’s important to follow the riding courtesies you would follow if you were trail riding. For example, slow down or stop your ATV when you approach others on the trail. When coming across people on horseback, pull over and stop, turn off your engine, remove your helmet and ask how best to proceed.

When overtaking others, pass in a safe and courteous manner.

Whether you are out trail riding, hunting or fishing, respecting the environment is very important not only for the good of the land but for the image of ATV riding as well.

Make sure your ATV has a functioning spark arrester and muffler. Not only will you help prevent the possibility of starting a fire with your machine, but on public land it is likely to be illegal to ride without a spark arrester and muffler on your ATV.

Also, only ride in areas that allow ATVs, and stay on established trails. This is critical, since riding off existing trails can cause soil erosion that can damage fish and wildlife habitats. Some hunters and anglers have picked spots that don’t allow ATVs so they can enjoy their recreation in their own way. Don’t spoil it for them by riding where ATVs aren’t allowed.

Be sure to get the landowner’s permission before riding on private property. When riding on public land, know the rules governing that land. You can find out what you need to know by contacting the agency that manages the land, whether it’s the federal Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service or a state land management agency.

When riding, only cross creeks and streams at designated crossing areas so that you don’t cause erosion, which could have a negative impact on fish habitat. Also, riding off the trail in wet areas can cause serious damage to wetlands.

Concerning obstacles, ride over them carefully. Going around them could damage the area off the trail. 

Finally, pack out what you bring in. Don’t leave trash in the woods. Many responsible ATV riders carry trash bags with them and pick up trash they find while they are riding around. After all, being good stewards of the environment helps ensure riding opportunities for future generations. 

Riding an ATV responsibly means following sensible rules of conduct. When you do, you contribute to the positive image of ATV riding, and that helps us preserve ATV riding for future generations.

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