All-terrain vehicles (ATV) and off-highway vehicles (OHV) have become very popular with hunters over the last 20 years. Many of the models on the market are specifically designed to meet the demands outdoorsmen require to access those back areas and rugged terrains in pursuit of that trophy.
With hunting season in full swing, it is a good time to review some safety and protocols when using your ATV or OHV while hunting.
As with planning any hunting trip, preparing your off-highway vehicle should be a priority on that preparation list.
· Make sure your off-highway vehicle is properly serviced and maintained. Never take an off-road vehicle on a trip with known mechanical issues.
· Pack the “kits” – First aid, survival, and tool kits should be standard packing on your off road vehicle. Adding things like extra tools, utility tape, flashlights and a compass are small additions to gear that could come in handy.
Always wear protective gear
When operating an ATV or OHV vehicle in challenging conditions, it comes with an increased risk of an overturn or accident.
· Helmets – While some hunters may dismiss the thought of wearing a helmet because it may restrict vision needed for the hunt, the increased risk over a rollover or a driver or passenger being ejected becomes high. Even slow speed accidents can lead to serious head injuries.
· Appropriate clothing – It is always smart to wear the right gloves, boots, and gear when hunting. It is also as important to do so when operating off-road. Keep that orange vest or coat on to make yourself visible to other hunters in the area.
Practice good gun safety
A loaded gun could easily discharge when bouncing over trails or land while being transported in/on your off highway vehicle. Always keeps guns unloaded when in transport.
Furthermore, when it comes to transporting firearms make sure that you secure the firearm properly. Never carry it strapped over your shoulder or across the driver’s operation area. The gun could catch a low branch or shift in operation taking your attention away from safe driving.
Make sure your off-road vehicle is properly licensed AND insured
North Dakota Game and Fish requires that all off-highway vehicles and all-terrain vehicles are licensed when operating within the State. Contact North Dakota Game & Fish with any questions.
Also, North Dakota requires all ATV & OHVs carry proper liability insurance. Do not assume that your homeowners, business or farm & ranch policies provide protection. (They often do not or only provide very limited coverage) Before taking your ATV or OHV on the hunt, it is a very good idea to review coverages needed with your Nodak Insurance agent.