By Mike Dugan and Red Monkey
Every year about this time hunters all over the South start heading
to the woods in search of their dream buck. Most of the hunters and
outdoorsmen that I know use a four wheel driver truck or SUV for transportation
to and from the hunt. Your vehicle is just as much a part of your
hunting equipment as your rifle, shotgun or bow and it too needs a
little tender loving care before the hunt.
Mike Dugan, the general manager of Sport Trucks, (205) 733-1250, has
First, you get your motor oil and filter changed. And when was the
last time you changed your differential oil? If you have a 4x4 you
will need to change the oil in both front and rear differentials.
And don’t forget your engine coolant. Winter brings freezing
temperatures even here in the south and antifreeze should be replaced
every two or three years to ensure your engine is properly protected.
Second, make sure that all grease fittings are properly lubed. These
fittings can be found on the drive shaft universal joints and on the
upper and lower ball joints of some trucks and SUV’s. If you
need help locating these fittings consult your owners manual or stop
by Sport Trucks. Fresh oil and grease is a LOT cheaper than replacing
parts that have worn out from no lubrication.
Third, make sure that your tires are in good condition, and that they
are inflated to the manufacturer’s suggested pressure. You may
have to travel through mud holes and over rough roads and both will
require good traction from your tires. Now may be the time to invest
in a new set of aggressive ‘mud terrain’ tires.
Fourth, put together an “emergency kit”. Your kit can
be as simple or as elaborate as you want. Some of the things that
need to be included are: extra fuses, a roll of electrical tape, WD-40
or something similar, a flashlight with fresh batteries, a pair of
gloves, a small tool kit or at least a pair of pliers and a couple
of screwdrivers. You may want to include an extra quart of motor oil
and other fluids such as coolant or brake fluid. A tire repair kit
or a can of “fix a flat” may be a handy item to add to
Fifth, if you have a winch on your truck make sure all of the electrical
connections are tight and the winch controller is safely stowed away.
Without a winch controller the winch is all but useless. Check your
winch cable for worn or kinked areas and replace it if necessary.
When using your winch for recovery always use a tree saver when anchoring
to a tree. A chain or a cable around the tree will damage the bark
and may damage your winch cable. A snatch block is an essential part
of any recovery kit. These are used to double your winch’s capacity
or to pull at an angle when a straight pull isn’t the best option.
A nylon tow strap is a handy item to have if you ever need to get
a tow or have to give a buddy tow. Dugan recommends NOT using the
cheap tow straps with the metal hooks on each end. He says the hooks
can become projectiles and smash windows as well as injure bystanders
if they come loose while towing. A safer method is to use a tow strap
with loops at each end and D-rings to attach the strap to the vehicle.
I hope these tips will help you have a more enjoyable and safe hunting