Yamaha Outdoors Tips — ATV and SxS Vehicles for Food Plots

Side-by-Side vehicles like the Rhino offer the added, time- and labor-saving convenience of extra cargo space. Photo by Bob Humphrey

By Bob Humphrey

You can kill a deer with a .223, but I wouldn’t recommend it.  Similarly, you can plow a field with a 300 - 400cc ATV, but it’s gonna put excess wear and tear on your machine.  You should consider 400 as a minimum.  It will get you by if you’re doing small plots with good, tillable soil.  For larger plots, new ground or hard or rocky soil you’ll want something in the 600 - 700cc range.  It will have the pulling power necessary for any ATV implements, without putting excess stress on your vehicle. 

For food plotting, consider 4WD an absolute must.  You may be fighting some tough conditions and it’s preferable to put more strain on the mechanics and less on the engine.  And make sure it’s liquid-cooled, which will help cool the engine at slower plowing speeds.  Also remember that you shouldn’t run your ATV like a tractor.  Work in shorter time increments and allow for frequent cool-down breaks.

Either ATVs or Side-by-Side (SxS) vehicles will work if they are 4WD and have enough power.  However, SxS vehicles have some distinct advantages when it comes to building food plots.  The most obvious is cargo space.  As part of the process you’ll have to haul all manner of materials and equipment to the site including minerals, fertilizer and seed.  This becomes even more of a consideration if you have remote plots.  If it’s a small plot you can strap what you need on the racks of your four-wheeler.  Bigger plots mean more materials, however, and you’ll appreciate the difference.  An extra seat also allows you to carry more help with you.  

You should also consider overall intended use when deciding on your vehicle.  If you do a lot of recreational riding and a little food plot building, or if you’re just doing smaller remote plots, a wheeler might be a better option.  If you’re looking more for a work-hunting rig, go with the SxS vehicle.