ATV Accessories for Food Plot Maintenance
Most hunters dream of turning a secret corner of their hunting land into a big-buck hot spot. ATVs and UTVs can be excellent tools to help in achieving this quest, because they can be used to plant food plots even in hard-to-reach hunting areas. Providing highly nutritious forage for deer will increase their antler size, help them survive high-stress conditions and hopefully help you fill the trophy space on your wall. ATV accessory manufacturers have caught on to this booming market and there are more ATV implements available today than ever before. There are food plot packages for small, medium and large food plot acreages. Some are "one-pass" designs that can make putting in a plot a snap. Here are some of the best makes and models available today.
Kasco builds rugged, high-end food plot implements. Their Plotter's Choice, Model # KPCA-48, is a professional-level implement that can be used as a drill for planting row crops or as a broadcast spreader for seeding grasses. This deluxe combination unit can disk, plant, and cultipack all in one pass. When used as a drill it plants four rows, ten inches apart. Depth control and metering rate are fully adjustable. The entire unit is just 48" wide and all components in the lower areas are free-rolling so it can be pulled behind an ATV or UTV to a remote food plot site.
Kasco Plotters Choice
The Plotter's Choice is available with either a three-point hitch or a pin-type hitch attachment. Price: $5,025.00. Kasco's Versa Drill, Model # KVGA-489, is a drill implement for row crops. The unit has a unique ground-hugging design that is suitable for use on rocky and uneven terrain. The Versa-Drill plants five rows that are 9" on center, and also cultipacks for true one-pass planting. Its total width is only 48", so this implement is designed to be pulled to remote locations. The Versa-Drill costs $6,885.00. Visit www.kascomfg.com to learn more about their hard-core food plot solutions.
Dr. Timothy Fulbright of Texas A&M, a noted authority on deer management, recommends that landowners in southern states plant at least one warm-season and one cold-season food plot per square mile. Kolpin's Dirtworks series of ATV and UTV accessories is designed for use by year-round or small-time deer-farmers. The foundation for many of these implements is their custom three-point hitch system. The WHS03 Category "0" three-point hitch is for UTVs and has an extra-heavy-duty frame. It comes with a built-in electric actuator that can be operated from the dashboard of the UTV to raise the hitch when the UTV is being driven in reverse. This hitch has 15" of travel at the drawbar and the lift arms are all threaded so they can be adjusted for various heights. Heavy 5/8" pins are used to attach implements to the hitch. The price for this hitch is $829.99. Kolpin's three-point hitch for ATVs is part number WHS03E. The WHS03E has all the same functionality as the UTV model, but is constructed from slightly lighter-gauge steel, and costs less at $689.99. As for attachments--Kolpin's 54" wide disk plow, part number DP8, allows for adjustable disking angles and has eight hardened disks. The disk blades turn on sealed ball bearings that are zero maintenance. The disk plow carries a price tag of $349.99.
Kolpin Dirtworks behind Rhino
Another great accessory is the Seeder/Cultipactor part number 86800. This tool is 48" wide and has a spring-loaded compactor to help properly bed the planted seed. There is a dial adjustment for different types of seeds, and the driver can control the deposition rate without getting off the vehicle. The Cultipactor costs $862.99. A 60" rake, part number LSR60, has replaceable hardened-steel tines and can be used in pull or push mode. The rake can be turned at five different angles to change the drag rate. The rake costs $344.99. Kolpin also manufactures two versions of S-tine cultivators. The cultivators have sweeps that are 1 3/8" wide and the tips are both reversible and replaceable. Part number CT038 is an eight-tine version that costs $344.99 and CT036 cultivates using six tines. It sells for $287.99. One last note--if a lower-powered ATV is to be used for food plot work, Kolpin recommends a trailer, part number WHS03TA, to extend the three-point hitch connection farther behind the quad. This specialized trailer costs $287.99. Visit www.kolpinpowersports.com for more information on their top-notch ATV and UTV accessories.
Tecomate Wildlife Systems' "Plotmaster" series is a group of food plot implements with some unique features. For example, their Hunter 300 has a "ganged" disk design with five disks in the front and five in the middle of the unit. This double-disking feature helps to achieve optimum soil breakdown for planting. The 300, like their other models, also has a patented, electrically-controlled "Versa-seeder" design that can be loaded with nearly any type of seed from corn to grass. There is an integral metal drag smoothes soil down over the planted seed. An adjustable cultipacker brings up the rear on the 300, ensuring that food plot seeds are properly bedded in the soil to help achieve optimum germination.
Plotmaster Hunter 400
All of the Plotmaster models have an electric actuator built in for easy height adjustment and so the implements can be raised off the ground for transport to and from the food plot area. The Plotmaster Hunter 400 takes all of the features of the 300 and adds a foot of width to cover more area in less time. The 400 has six disks per "gang" in the front and rear, and the disk cutting width is 48" instead of 36" like it is on the 300. The cultipacker on the Hunter 400 is naturally also wider at 52" compared to the 38" cultipacker on the Hunter 300. The Hunter 300 lists for $2,299.00 and the 400 costs $2,999.00. Plotmaster's home on the web is at www.theplotmaster.com or call 888-629-4263.
Food plot implements must be rugged and versatile. If you own a recent-year Arctic Cat ATV, you can use Cat's "Speedpoint" accessories to perform almost any kind of food plot activity. Start by installing their Speedpoint three-point hitch, which is part number 1436-078. The hitch has a built-in electric actuator that is controlled with a handlebar-mounted switch. The actuator can be adjusted upward or downward to vary the pressure and depth at which the implement is pressed into the soil. Downward pressures of as much as 600 Lbs can be achieved with the unit. The hitch has a price tag of $749.95. Other Speedpoint tools can be installed to this hitch in seconds. One of them is Arctic's moldboard plow, part number 0436-934. This three-part plow system has a coulter in the front to cut sod, a hardened-steel plow, and a gauge wheel in the back to help monitor the pressure and depth. The moldboard plow rings up at $499.95.
Arctic has a "single disk", part number 0436-933 with 8 notched, hardened-steel disks that have zero-maintenance sealed bearings. This type of tool is good for maintaining ground that has already been broken up and costs $459.95. A "tandem disk" assembly with 16 notched, hardened disks is a solution for breaking up fallow ground. This heavy-duty assembly is part number 0436-932 and costs $849.95. Their cultivator, part number 0436-931, has individually replaceable tines for custom-cultivating everything from crops to trees. The tines self-clean and they can be removed for cultivating individual rows. The cost of this unit is $399.95. Visit www.arcticcat.com or your local dealer to learn more.
Moultrie's Food Plot Spreader, part number MFH-FPS, can be installed on the back of almost any ATV. The Spreader is made of a composite material so it will not rust. The basic unit holds 50 pounds of seed and dispenses it through a conical opening that can be mechanically controlled to meter the dispensation rate. Price: $119.00 A more advanced spreader that Moultrie offers is part number MFH-AEG. This spreader comes with an electronic deposition rate controller and has a 100-pound capacity. Price: $299.00 Visit www.moultriefeeders.com to order.
Once a food plot starts to take off, it's important to guard it against disease and insects. Cycle Country's Deluxe Spot Sprayer part number 40-1025 can turn your ATV into a rapid response team to deal with these threats. Their spot sprayer mounts to the rear rack of any ATV. The sprayer delivers 1.8 Gallons per minute, has a 25-gallon storage capacity and includes 15 feet of hose. The composite construction won't corrode and an optional boom sprayer can also be added. The 25-gallon Deluxe Spot Sprayer sells for $355.00. Cycle Country offers sprayers in other sizes and other tools suited for every kind of food plot. Visit www.cyclecountry.com to learn more.
Frontier Implement, a division of John Deere
The biggest name in the agriculture industry has now released equipment for the quality whitetail management crowd under their "Frontier Implement" brand. Their new line of food plot implements makes putting in a food plot much less time-consuming. Model FP1204 can be connected to a UTV or ATVs three-point or single-point hitch. This model incorporates tools like a four-foot-wide disk with six sixteen-inch hardened disks, a cultivator, seeder and culti-packer. Turning points, chisel points and sweeps are all standard. The tools on the FP1204 can be used individually for maintaining an established field or all together for one-pass planting on fallow ground. Visit www.deere.com and check out their Frontier Implement, Seeding Equipment web page for more information.
John Deere FP1204
GGB Exhaust Technologies
A loud, corroded ATV muffler can leave a rider's ears ringing and can also scare game. GGB Exhaust Technologies has introduced a line of replacement mufflers with Quiet Ride Technology (QRT) for Sport-Utility ATVs and UTVs. QRT is the result of more than 15 years of GGB experience in designing exhaust systems. GGB's rock-solid, ultra-quiet mufflers give hunters an advantage when they are accessing hunting areas. GGB's exhaust silencers fit most of the major ATV and three-wheeler models that have been produced since the early 1980s. The mufflers have a matte black finish to eliminate glare, and they are zero-maintenance because their proprietary internal tube design requires no packing material.
GGB Exhaust on Grizzly 660
Unlike many other replacement muffler brands, GGB's mufflers with Quiet Ride Technology will exceed the stock silencer performance as well as state and federal exhaust silencing regulations. The mufflers carry a no-questions-asked three-year warranty and every product is backed by great customer service. Muffler prices vary per model. Ask for GGB Exhaust Technologies products at your local ATV or outdoor product retailer, order direct by using their on-line store at www.ggb.ca, or call them at (705) 384-2800.
Raider Powersports Helmets
Safety should not be overlooked even when using quads at low speeds. Raider Powersports has helmets that are stylish and DOT approved. They offer hunters a range of open and closed-face ATV helmets in Mossy Oak camouflage, solid black and other patterns. The camouflage-patterned versions cost $79.99 for the open-face design and $119.99 for the MX design. They are available at Big-Box retailers like Gander Mountain and Cabelas. If you want an ATV helmet designed for hunters visit www.raiderpowersports.com or call BCS International at (888) 965-3700.
Many trailers work fine as ATV carriers, but they are too wide or too pretty to pull down a woodland trail. Other trailers are narrow enough to be pulled behind an ATV but don't meet on-highway regulations. The new Hunter's Advantage Sportsman dual-purpose trailer from Nichols Trailers meets both of these needs. The Hunter's Advantage Sportsman was designed specifically for rugged outdoors applications. Steel-tube construction ensures years of durability, the prow-shaped front is designed to push through brush, and the bed tilts for easy loading and unloading of your ATV, game or equipment. If you have to pull your ATV or UTV down a highway to get to your hunting paradise, the Hunter's Advantage could be just what you are looking for. Price: $1,629.00. To learn more about the Hunter's Advantage Sportsman trailer, visit www.nicholstrailers.com or call (866) 502-4128.
Gary Gustafson was formerly employed in the engineering departments of Polaris and Arctic Cat. An avid hunter and outdoorsman, he is now President of G-Force Consulting and lives with his wife and 5 kids in Northern Minnesota.