Yamaha Outdoors Tips — Ten ATV Tips for Waterfowlers: Before, During, and After the Season

Hose down your ATV after each waterfowl hunt, and dry it off as well. Steve Hickoff photo

By Steve Hickoff 

If you’re a hardcore waterfowler, taking care of your gear is a labor of love and necessity. Decoys. Guns. Calls. All-terrain vehicle. Here are 10 tips for getting the most out of your ATV investment before, during and after the season. 

1. Keep that battery charged, and store it in a place with moderate temperatures. Maine waterfowlers and Mississippi duck hunters have different challenges. Respond accordingly. 

2. Protect your ATV from dust and dirt on downtime. A storage cover will keep it dry but also shield it from moisture. Keep it in a storage shed if you can, or a garage—anywhere but out in the elements. You have it out there enough during the season.

3. Used oil will kill your engine if you let it. Offer the best treatment possible: Change the oil. Get a new filter. Run the engine a little right after to cycle it. Your ATV will purr at you for it. 

4. Check all larger hardware parts on your four-wheeled machine slowly and surely. Does anything need replaced? Be methodical, like a doctor giving a patient an exam.

5. Clean moving parts, removing marsh mud, trail dirt, duck feathers, and retriever hair from them, and lubricate each one.

6. Inspect smaller essentials such as the lights, switches, brake levers, and especially the spark plug. 

7. Turn off the fuel valve and/or drain the fuel tank in the off-season. Don’t forget to run the engine to get fuel out of the carburetor. 

8. Consider spraying the brakes and suspension with water dispersant, especially in northern areas where highway salt can do some damage over the hunting season as you travel to and from hunting locations and blinds. 

9. Definitely inspect all nuts and bolts, the brake system, drive chain, carburetor idle, and throttle every month during use. Lubricate the drive chain on that schedule too. 

10. Hose down your ATV after each waterfowl hunt, and dry it off as well. 

Final note: Print this article out, and nail it to your garage wall. Take care of your ATV.