Hunting and the ATV: Fair Chase

hFall is in the air, and in many states hunting season is on…an exciting time for sportsmen. In the past few decades, ATVs have become a tool for many hunters, but their use is also a controversial issue – mainly because some few riders don’t follow fair-chase rules or they fail in common sense courtesy. Following a few simple rules can improve the public perception of hunting with the use of an ATV, win points with experienced hunters, and make it a better hunt for everyone.

When you head out, have a plan. Don’t drive across another hunter’s line-of-sight in order to reach your destination. Many hunters choose their spot specifically because motorized vehicles – and the noise and smell they create – are not allowed. Don’t break the rules if the area is closed to motorized transportation. If they are allowed, your ATV is a great way to access the area in which you want to hunt, but you’ll cause less disturbance to other hunters if you ride in early to your spot, then proceed to hunt on foot. Keep your ATV tuned, to reduce emissions and muffle noise. The sound and smell of an ATV can chase game away and is a sure way to create hard feelings among others hunting in the area.

Hunting from an ATV is legal and appropriate in some states, and certainly helpful to people with disabilities, but generally most sportsmen believe that hunters should play fair by employing a “walk when you stalk” stance. Able-bodied people who hunt from their ATV raise concerns among other hunters of the fair-chase ethic. Be safe and legal in this regard. You can use the ATV to access your hunting area, and when permitted, to pack out your kill. Know the vehicle regulations in the area in which you plan to hunt, and follow them.