4-wheelin’ for wildlife
More than two decades ago I purchased 70 acres of land in central Minnesota. Since then, I have carried out many habitat projects, including planting food plots for deer and other wildlife, selective forest harvest, and planting thousands of trees and shrubs. To complete those projects, I used an ATV and some of the many handy attachments that are available.
Many people are not aware of the farming capabilities of an ATV or UTV outfitted with a 3-point hitch and attachments.
The farm implements are attached to the ATV or UTV via the 3-point hitch. The 3-point hitch mounts to the machine by a standard trailer hitch. The various implements connect to the 3-point hitch with three basic lock pins, so switching implements is easy. A simple push of a button located on the handlebar of the ATV raises and lowers the implements using an electromechanical screw-driven lift that runs off the ATV’s battery.
You might be wondering why a person would use an ATV or UTV for habitat work when a farm tractor, with its greater power and larger implements, would work better.
First, a lot of landowners already own an ATV. With the addition of a few implements, they can use their machine for work and play. In my case, I purchased an ATV specifically for habitat work because many of my projects are in remote, swampy sections of my land and it would be difficult, if not impossible, to access those areas with a larger tractor. My ATV, when equipped with a 3-point hitch and various farming implements, is highly maneuverable, which allows me, for example, to shape and contour food plots to match the lay of the land. When I do get stuck (and I do) I simply extract my machine using a winch attached to the front of the vehicle.
Recently, my old 3-point hitch gave out and it needed to be replaced. Therefore, I purchased a new hitch from Kolpin Outdoors. Fortunately, all of my current category-0 implements fit the new 3-point hitch. So I’m back in action.
Most people would be amazed at the amount of work a properly equipped ATV is capable of performing, and companies are introducing new products all the time. A web search, or a visit to your local ATV dealer, will provide you with many options.
It is recommended that if using your ATV for planting food plots and other heavy work that you purchase a machine with at motor of at least 500 CCs. Bigger is even better.
An ATV is not cheap, and neither are the implements. But what hobby is? Wildlife habitat work is rewarding, good exercise and a great excuse to get outdoors.
In addition to food plot construction and light farm use, an ATV equipped with various implements can be used for a variety of chores such as gardening and lawn maintenance. No need to rent that garden tiller each spring. Don’t forget snow plowing, hauling wood, and clearing and mowing woodland trails. Uses for an ATV equipped with the many available accessories are limited only by one’s imagination. Implements are available to convert your machine into a four-season workhorse.
Just a decade ago, the idea of farming for wildlife seemed rather absurd to most people. A lot has changed in recent years and many folks now own land purely for their enjoyment, whether it be for hunting, wildlife viewing, or other outdoor recreation.
BILL MARCHEL is a wildlife and outdoors photographer and writer whose work appears in many regional and national publications as well as the Brainerd Dispatch. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can visit his website at BillMARCHEL.com.