Yamaha Outdoors Tip of the Week - Bird-doggin' By Side-by-Side
By Bob Humphrey
There’s no arguing that man’s best friend is a furry, four-legged creature, especially if that man (or woman) is a bird hunter. But your next best friend, and your bird dogs as well, just might be an ATV or Side-by-Side (SxS) vehicle, particularly when you consider the advantages it offers the bird hunter.
A typical hunter leaves their vehicle by the road-side and hunts on foot. That means whatever distance you walk from your vehicle you’ll have to cover again returning to it. As a result, most folks tend not to stray too far from the road system.
Hunting from a SxS vehicle like the Rhino allows you to leave the truck by the side of the road and venture farther from the road than most hunters are willing or able to go.
That may not mean much to pheasant hunters in the Midwest, where every section is surrounded by roads. But in the north woods of Maine or Minnesota, where heavily hunted grouse wise up quickly to the sounds of dogs and hunters, or on the rolling western plains that stretch out for miles, it can make a tremendous difference.
Sure, if you’re on foot you can hunt your way in and out. But if the area between the road and your favorite backwoods honey-hole is birdless cover, you end up wasting valuable hunting time hoofing to and from less accessible areas. A SxS allows you to zoom past the birdless wasteland.
In a typical hunt you’ll need to return to your truck periodically for food, water and rest for you and the dogs. That’s more hunting time squandered. With a SxS you can transport two hunters plus your dogs and all your gear. That means in addition to traveling farther from the road, you can also stay in the back country longer. And with the added mobility, you’re less likely to stray too far from your SxS, which means it will be close at hand come break time. You can even take more, shorter breaks, which means less fatigue and even less down time.
There’s almost no limit to what you could bring along, but there are a few essential items to consider, like food, water and a first aid kit for you and your dog. You can also bring along amenities like extra ammo and an ice chest to keep birds cool throughout the day, further reducing down time. And if you really want to take advantage of the added mobility of hunting from a SxS, consider packing in some camping gear and doing an overnight in the back country.
Whether you’re trying to reach the more inaccessible covers, hoping to extend your hunting day or merely looking for a change of pace, consider loading up the dogs and hunting from your SxS this fall.