More and more over the last couple years, our Wildlife Management Areas have become a huge draw for off-roading enthusiasts. Now, I’m not an off-roader, so to speak, myself. When I take to the woods, I have a purpose for being there which goes far beyond trying to tear up the trails and a vehicle. I’m usually either hunting or scouting new hunting spots and am out in the forests very often and lately, I’m having many opportunities to meet folks because they keep getting stuck or broken down and need me to pull them out.
I find them walking out onto the main grade and always offer to give them a ride back to whichever mud or sand pit they’re hung up on before pulling them free with my old Chevy. So, I thought I’d put a bit of advice here for anyone who may be contemplating a bit of off-road driving.
Get a shovel: This can be any kind of shovel that won’t break when you need to dig out mud, sand, snow, or rocks from around your truck. You’d be surprised just how much work a good shovel will save you.
Bring along a Hi-Lift jack: No matter what type of rig you have, it is too heavy for you to move when you get it stuck. A Hi-Lift will give you the mechanical advantage you need to push, pull, or lift your truck back onto the trail. No other single tool is as versatile and valuable as a Hi-Lift Jack and I won’t leave the pavement without it.
And surely, you’ll want a tow strap: These things are like jumper cables as you’ll need someone else’s vehicle to make them work. But, you stand a much better chance of getting someone to help you if you offer to supply your own. Don’t waste your money on cheap no-name straps, and don’t take chances with old frayed ones either. Go ahead and spend the extra few dollars for quality.
Obviously, it’s best not to get stuck to begin with, so try to avoid driving through ruts made by someone with taller tires or risk getting your frame bedded nicely and you’ll be in for a good long dig. Don’t stop forward progress once committed, as driving through mud is part traction and part propulsion, so keep wheel speeds high.
Sawing the steering wheel left and right while applying the throttle will clean mud from your tires and often allow you to get a better grip, just know that this same technique is also great for snapping U-joints. Once stuck, In some cases it may be easier to jack up the truck and stuff friction-adding material such as logs or rocks under the tires.
And another suggestion, buy a Wildlife Management Area Stamp. Hunters are the only ones legally required to possess a stamp to use the public lands, but purchase one anyway and give us a hand in affording the upkeep on our beautiful properties.
As always, if you have any feedback, suggestions or even just want to share a good hunting story, give me a shout at [email protected] God bless and good hunting!