As hunters we rely on all-terrain vehicles to get into the backcountry. There are plenty of dangers in the woods, so we want to eliminate them on the road. An accident on the way to the trailhead is no way to start a hunting trip.
Every hunter has their own way of securing their ATV to a flatbed trailer or truck bed. Here are some common tips that will ensure a stable load and a safe journey.
Use tie down straps
Over the years, people have been securing vehicles to trailers with chains or ropes, but the best material to use are two-inch tie-down straps and a ratchet. For older ratchets, make sure to grease the moving parts, and for newer ratchets be sure you know exactly how it operates.
Four points of contact
Whenever securing a heavy load, you want to maintain four points of contact. This means you will have four separate straps that are attached to four points on the vehicle and four points on the trailer. You can install D-rings on the trailer if it doesn’t have them already.
Pull down on the suspension
Attach straps to the vehicle’s frame or rear grab bar to pull down on the suspension so it doesn’t shift during transport. Don’t worry. This won’t damage the shocks. Do not use the vehicle’s winch to secure it on the trailer as this can damage the winch and void the warranty. Simply tying down a vehicle’s tires will work also, but it allows the suspension to shift the vehicle’s weight during transit and can make for a nail-biting drive.
Use a ramp or trailer foot
When you’re rolling a heavy vehicle onto a flat-bed trailer be aware that it has a tendency to life the opposite end of the trailer off the ground. This can damage the trailer and worse yet, your pickup truck. To prevent this, use a trailer foot – which keeps the rear of the trailer from hitting the ground – or a ramp that guides the vehicle’s tires onto the trailer.
Use blocks and parking break
Always apply the parking break to any vehicle that’s being trailered. To further prevent any unwanted movement push blocks under the tires. Blocks can always help mark the optimal spot to pull forward. That’s it. Now you’re ready to hit the road and get on the hunt.
If these steps are too time consuming there are plenty of permanent setups you can install on your trailer or truck bed that require a minimal amount of effort. Once in place, simply drive right into the wheel mounts and secure the locking mechanism and you’re done.