Hunting on Mountain Bikes
In elk country they say that you need to be at least three to five miles away from any road in order to start seeing elk. At least that’s what Outdoor Life says. I personally think that Outdoor Life is the sportsman’s version of WebMD, a want have I told you about WebMD? You don’t have Ebola!
Basically there are three choices on how to get into the back country. The first, and I think the best way is on horses. I grew up on a cattle ranch in Montana, so my family hunted elk on horses. Cowboys have a saying; ”riding is always better than walking”, and I happen to believe it. The drawback is horses are very expensive. You have to buy the horse, then you have to buy the saddle & tack, and then you have to buy a horse trailer in order to get your horse to the mountains. Not to mention that you have find a place to board your horse and feed it. Before you know it you’ve spent $10,000 on a horse to get you up the mountain.
The second is to use an ATV or a trail bike. ATV’s don’t eat anything when you are not using them. I have 98 Polaris sportsmen, and I love it. Again riding is always better than walking. The drawbacks are that they are expensive, and also very noisy. A lot of the back country trails are closed to ATV’s, and a lot of ranchers don’t like you to use them on their land. Which brings up the cheapest way in walking. The drawbacks are that it requires that you to be in good physical shape, and you may have a hard time getting your elk back to the truck.
However there is an alternative, and that is to use a mountain bike. You can spend anywhere between $300 and $3000 on a mountain bike. Just like everything else the more money that you spend the nicer the bike. At the very least you need knobby tires and 18 speeds. Mountain Bikes are generally less expensive then ATV’s, and a hell of a lot more quiet. You can also cover a lot more ground on a mountain bike that you can walking. Some Mountain Bikes are even especially designed for hunting with big fat knobby tires, and gun / bow racks.
The key to success is to buy your mountain bike before elk season starts, and get use to riding it. Just about every city has some bike trails that you can ride. This will also increase your cardiovascular system, and get in you better shape for other sports i.e. skiing, soccer etc. Not to mention increasing your sense of balance.
So go out and get a mountain bike today or dust off the old one in your garage, and take it for a ride.
Good Luck & Good Hunting!