Bob Humphrey photo
By Bob Humphrey
Are you heading to the woods this fall on your Side-by-Side to do a little hunting? If so, there’s a lot you can do ahead of time to ensure a safer, more enjoyable and more successful trip.
1) Obtain Information - If hunting public land, your first step should be to contact the federal, state or local agency that administers the property. They will be able to provide you with maps and regulations. Most public lands have specific rules and regulations regarding the use of Side-by-Sides. Maps will also show you areas that are off limits to Side-by-Sides, which could save you a lot of time when it comes to the next step.
2) Plan - From your maps, and whatever other resources you can obtain (like aerial photos), select the most promising areas for the game you’re after. If you’re waterfowling, you may want to target larger water bodies away from major access points; or you might want to look for isolated beaver ponds and marshes. If you’re turkey hunting, you might target field edges or food plots. For big game, look for thick cover, remote areas or potential food sources.
3) Scout - Don’t wait until opening day to unload your SxS and head into the woods. Visit the area you plan to hunt well before the season. Learn your way around the trails. Log trails and other attractive features in your GPS so they’ll be easier to find when you return to hunt.
4) Leave a Plan - You should have at least two copies of your maps. Mark your route and potential destinations on both. Take one with you and leave the other at home, camp or in your vehicle so folks will know where to look for you should you fail to return at the appointed time and place.
5) Be Prepared - Even if you don’t plan on staying overnight in the woods, be prepared to do so. Bring along a survival kit, shelter and enough food and water to get you through the night. Bring a cell phone and charger, and a radio. You should also bring along a simple repair kit with hand tools and common service items like spark plugs, fix-a-flat, duct tape and wire.