A Bike Hunting Q & A
Hunting with a mountain bike is gaining popularity. It is a very quiet way to travel through the woods. But people have Questions. Here are Answers.
Q. I have a mountain bike that I use outside of hunting. Is it really necessary to paint it up and make it camouflage or can I leave the finish alone?
A. It’s OK to leave the finish alone. While some hunters do paint their bikes camouflage and others sand them down to dull the shine; you can always camouflage the bike the old-fashioned way by tucking it under brush, or drape limbs around the frame, or cover the bike with camo fabric.
Q. Should I buy a Fat Bike?
A. You can hunt with any bike that you can pedal in the terrain where you hunt. One major benefit of using a bike is achieving a silent approach to your stand site as well as traveling around the area. A bike definitely increases the area that you can cover and it will get you into the backcountry where ATVs and vehicles may be forbidden. A Fat Bike makes all that easier.
Here’s how Outside magazine puts it: “There are hunters who’ve used bikes for decades, but the rise of the Fat Bike—effectively a human-powered ATV—is making using a bike easier. The broad tire contact patch and low gearing of the bike enable these rigs to crawl over loose, rugged, unconsolidated land.”
Q. Can you buy bow and gun racks for bikes?
A. Most hunters who documented their bike-rigging trips make their own racks or buy bow/gun holders designed to mount on an ATV rack or handlebars. Manufactured holders work just as well on bikes as on ATVs.
Biking can get you well off the main thoroughfares, past gates and away from hunters requiring roads and big trails. Photo Credit: John Hafner
Q. Are bike lights necessary or overkill?
A. Lights are helpful. And when you’re navigating a forest in the predawn, well before you approach areas that require optimum stealth, you’d hate to wipe out on a tree root. But bike lights aren’t a must. Wear a headlamp or strap a light to the center of your handlebars.
Q. Can I hunt near bike trails on state and federal lands?
A. Always check with officials who manage the land you plan to hunt. Some areas allow hunting the woodlands surrounding bike trails, while others do not.