Outfitting An ATV For The Rocky Mountains, By Chas Carmichael

Justin Crossley

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All-Terrain Vehicles are often a topic of much frustration among hunters. Almost all of us have had a bad experience due to some idiot on at ATV at some point or another. But, they can also be an invaluable tool to have in your backcountry arsenal. Chas Charmichael has been using them in the mountains for work and recreation for 40 years. In this article, he talks about how he chooses and outfits an ATV for mountain use.

Outfitting An ATV For The Rocky Mountains
 

Pelagic

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Nice article, Chas!

I'd love to take an ATV or SxS more often, but the biggest gripe I have with them is how loud they are. Do you know of any aftermarket parts, or mods, that are effective in quieting these machines down? I've seen some that claim to knock several decibels from the exhaust, but this doesn't seem like it's enough.
 

loggerchas

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I know folks who have used ATV Silencer products and been happy. One needs to be cognizant that adding an aftermarket tuner to the "brain" may be required with any exhaust mods as you are changing the factory balance of suck-squeeze-bang-blow parameters the engine system operates on. Again, forums dedicated to the specific model of ATV will be the best resource.

Also, different manufacturers have different "sounds". Hondas have typically been quieter than Polaris with the new double lung CanAms being very quiet when a buddy and I rode two weeks ago. Where most mid-size ATVs have one big jug it is hard to quiet that without restricting the engine so much it loses significant performance.

Hit the forums and ask the questions specific to your model because every model is unique and in this day and age somebody has definitely tried it and posted about it.

Also be aware to maintain the USFS spark arrestor rating. If and when you get stopped on the trail that is a definite no-forgiveness ticket. I've seen several folks on dirt bikes with exhaust mods get tickets and no amount of being nice or excuses was tolerated.
 
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11boo

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Great pic on the old tote goat Chas!

lots of good info in there too for a new owner like me. Got a Yamaha SxS just last year, very capable, comfortable and quiet. Perfect replacement for the usual Jeep or truck ride to my day hunt location.

I learned the hard way this spring about taking a shovel. Never figured I would stick my machine since I stay on the trail and avoid mud holes, plus I have a winch. On a FS road and found a lot of snow up high. Drove slow thru and high centered. Even with the lockers I couldn’t move, and no anchor points close enough for my winch.

Pulled the lid off the tote box, used a limb as a pick and dug out for an hour to get free. Many lessons learned.

A fire extinguisher and first aid kit were not near enough! I’m seriously considering a spare tire too, just in case I can’t plug and pump. What type of jack should a guy take? My high lift seems like overkill.

B19EC3AF-61D0-4E52-9D70-823E222DE498.jpeg
 

fmyth

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Great pic on the old tote goat Chas!

lots of good info in there too for a new owner like me. Got a Yamaha SxS just last year, very capable, comfortable and quiet. Perfect replacement for the usual Jeep or truck ride to my day hunt location.

I learned the hard way this spring about taking a shovel. Never figured I would stick my machine since I stay on the trail and avoid mud holes, plus I have a winch. On a FS road and found a lot of snow up high. Drove slow thru and high centered. Even with the lockers I couldn’t move, and no anchor points close enough for my winch.

Pulled the lid off the tote box, used a limb as a pick and dug out for an hour to get free. Many lessons learned.

A fire extinguisher and first aid kit were not near enough! I’m seriously considering a spare tire too, just in case I can’t plug and pump. What type of jack should a guy take? My high lift seems like overkill.

View attachment 193422
I have a Tusk ATV Jack on my RZR. It was around $40 with the mounting kit on Ebay. I used it last year to help a couple out of state hunters with a flat tire. They had a spare but no jack and no tools.
 

loggerchas

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As others said - any small jack would be good if you have the room and capacity. Like @Randle stated - we have used a cut pole and a log/rock for a jack the few times we have needed one. and yes - a deep drift is the devil to get through once the aggressive tires chew the slushy snow and high center the rig!

A buddy in Utah had a ground anchor similar to this that saved the day a couple of times: http://offroadatvsite.blogspot.com/2010/05/lewis-winch-ground-anchor.html

I currently don't have a spare, it's on the list for sure, but when I was logging/cruising timber I had several back at the truck so when we would fetch one when needed with another rig and grab a jack right there.

My riding buddy has the exact model I do so we always figured worst case scenario is ride his rig back to the trucks, take one of his tires off and ferry it back into the down vehicle via foot or hopefully another rider in the area.
 

Budda

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Drove out to Idaho two years ago with a Honda pioneer 700 and a CRF150 dirt bike. Great trip. Took a few days to close in on some elk but didn’t get one. Did shoot a lion with a bow tho. We called in 3 lions in 8 days. 2 in the same day and not the same one. Heard wolves and found their tracks. They are possibly the reason we didn’t hear much bugling.
If it wasn’t for both machines, we would of been hunting closer to the road where we didn’t find any sign. When investing that much time and money into going out of state, I want the best chance to get something for the freezer which means being mobile.
 

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