I love commuting with my mountain bike and also riding the trails over the weekend. I also love to go hunting. So, I was thinking to myself… How can I use my mounting bike when I go hunting, so I can not only make my hunting experience easier, but also, so I can get to ride my mountain bike even more!
How to Go Hunting with a Mountain Bike
- Select the right mountain bike (Regular fat tire vs. E-Bike)
- Determine how to carry your gear
- Determine how to carry the game back (small game vs large game)
- Figure out how to transport your mountain bike
- Figure out how you are going to find/secure your mountain bike when in the forest
How to Select the Best Mountain Bike for Hunting
There are two main types of mountain bike that work well for hunting. The first style is a regular fat tire mountain bike and the other is an electric fat tire mountain bike. You may have noticed that both of these are fat tire mountain bikes. The reason why a fat tire mountain bike is what I would recommend for hunting is that a fat tire bike is going to allow you to ride on a variety of terrains, pretty much all of which you are going to encounter when hunting, and also a more comfortable, balanced, ride.
The obvious advantage of using a regular fat tire mountain bike is that it will be drastically less expensive than an electric fat tire mountain bike. You can pick up a relatively decent regular fat tire mountain bike for a few hundred bucks as opposed to an electric bike which starts out at a couple thousand for a decent fat tire mountain bike.
Electric fat tire mountain bikes have an obvious advantage as well, however. Not halving to pedal, or only having to assist pedaling occasionally, is a huge deal if you are not particularly athletic. Electric fat tire mountain bikes also will have the advantage of allowing you to bring more gear and hunt for larger animals as they will allow you to comfortably carry much more weight on the trail.
The final decision of which style to get is really, therefore, up to whether or not you think you will need to be traveling farther distances with greater amounts of weight, or if you simply need something to make that couple mile journey between the parking lot and your hunting location more comfortable.
How to Carry Your Hunting Gear on a Mountain Bike
The primary place I would pack my gear would be in a backpack. A good hunting backpack, in my opinion, is one with a frame to strap your larger items to. Doing this allows a lot of the weight to be on your back rather than any portion of the mountain bike where it could be damaged in the unfortunate event of a crash. Often times the gear you’re going to be carrying around can get quite expensive, so hopefully if it is on your back when you crash most of the impact will be absorbed by you and not your gear. Additionally, any sights you happen to be carrying can get off center if they are impacted by the shock of being mounted directly to the frame of the bike. On your back, your body acts as a shock absorber so your sights stay true.
Another way to carry various items is a cargo rack. To learn how to install a rear cargo rack on a mountain bike you can read this article. Link “How to Install a Rear Cargo Rack on a Mountain Bike”.
A cargo rack is good for smaller items and even for carrying back small game. It is important to remember to keep the mountain bike balanced however so packing of a cargo rack or saddle bag should take this into account.
The best way to greatly increase the amount of stuff you can bring is to get a tow behind mountain bike trailer. A trailer will only really work if the terrain you’re planning on hunting on is not extremely rough. Additionally, a trailer will only be practical for a regular fat tire mountain bike if it is relatively light. The reason for this is that trying to tow a heavy trailer with your mountain bike would be so tiring that it would only hinder your hunting experience.
The Rambo R180 bike trailer is super heavy duty. Built to carry 150 pounds of gear yet it only weighs 25 lbs so it’s easy to peddle. The hitching it to your bike is made simple with the well engineered attachment. I recommend this trailer you can read more RAMBO R180 Aluminum Bike Cart (link to AMAZON for price and reviews)
However, if you have an electric fat tire mountain bike a trailer could be a perfect solution to carrying all of your gear. Electric mountain bikes will allow you to pull more weight easier and so when you need to move a lot of gear, or even sections of a larger animal, a trailer won’t be a difficult solution.
Specific electric mountain bike trailers are available, and some even come with extended range battery packs that can either extend the distance you can travel or at least increasing the amount of weight you can move in the same amount of distance as when you’re just relying on your electric mountain bikes battery.
How to Carry Your Game Back to Your Car When Hunting with a Mountain Bike
For small game it should not matter whether you chose to get a regular fat tire mountain bike or if you chose an electric fat tire mountain bike. With either the best way to carry small game is just in your backpack or even in a saddle bag. The main difference here is just that your ride back will either be really easy as you have an electric motor powering your ride or just normal which is still pretty fun. It is also healthier to pedal for yourself.
For larger game, this is when the electric mountain bike and trailer really come in handy. With larger game you should be able to pack sections of the animal on the trailer and easily get back to your vehicle. And if you got a particularly large animal then it won’t be much trouble to take two trips to get everything. Remember, you’re not going to be the one doing the heavy work here the electric motor is. It is still possible to move large game with a regular fat tire mountain bike but is most likely going to require you to take many exhausting trips, but if you have the endurance and the determination then it can be done.
How to Transport Your Mountain Bike When Hunting
The transport of your bike is something that could be easily forgotten but really should not be. You would assume you can just put your bike in the back of your truck and go right? Well maybe, but there are a few factors you should consider before assuming this.
Firstly, if you are hunting large game then there might not be room in the bed of your truck for your gear, your bike, and the animal. In this case it is always good to have a rear bike rack mounted to your tow hitch so that the bike does not take up unnecessary amounts of room. I recommend making sure that your fat tire mountain bike is compatible with the rear mount before purchasing one, especially if you have an electric fat tire mountain bike which could have nonstandard sizes and mounting points.
Secondly, if you are planning on putting your fat tire mountain bike in the bed of your truck then it is crucial you do not place it in a way where the spokes or wheel can be bent when strapped down. Unnecessary amounts of pressure can damage, particularly, these fragile components often in transport.
How to Secure Your Mountain Bike when You Need it and How to Find it When You Come Back
Often when you are in the bush even your fat tire mountain bike will not be able to cross the various terrains and dense growths that the forest has to offer. In times like these you will have no choice but to temporarily abandon your mountain bike and continue your search of game. But, although you may believe that the forest is a pretty safe place, other hunters are still there and because of that you risk getting you couple hundred, or couple thousand, dollar fat tire mountain bike. Locking up your mountain bike is just as necessary in the bush as it is in the city.
Luckily finding places to lock up your bike are extremely easy to find in the forest. Since you’ll never be too far away from your bike, simply locking it around a sturdy tree should do the trick just fine. Another great way to lock your mountain bike up is to lock it to a pre-made hunting blind if you happen to have one available.
Finding your mountain bike again is a little trickier. I always like to keep a roll of brightly colored indicator tape with me to wrap around the tree I locked my mountain bike to. I also use this tape to mark various trees and other landmarks the further I get away from my bike. That way, when I get an animal or, unfortunately, have to give up, I can always find my way back to my ride out of the forest.
Of course, it is always good to familiarize myself with the area and to know all of my routes, however. No amount indicator tape replaces having a good bank of knowledge on the land you are hunting and the turns you take as you are walking through the forest.
Why use a Mountain Bike for Hunting?
- In terms of convenience biking is much more exciting and pragmatic than simply hiking your way to your hunting spot. Especially if you decide to go with an electric fat tire mountain bike.
- In contrast to things such as ATV’S or Snowmobiles, regular mountain bikes and even electric mountain bikes produce no fumes. Fumes from the burning of gasoline, not to mention the noise, can scare away animals and possibly ruin your whole trip.
- In terms of how much stuff you can carry, halving a mountain bike dramatically increases your capacity. The possibility of putting gear in saddle bags or on a cargo rack, or even on a trailer, makes all the difference.
- In terms of fun, mountain biking has all other modes of transportation beat, for me at least. There is nothing like riding through the trails to my hunting spot on a super cool fat tire mountain bike. Not to mention, the health benefits are really noticeable. It is important to keep in shape, so I can still take long hikes through the forest when the animals decide it to be so.