Physical fitness is a key component to any successful hunt, regardless of the species you are pursuing. Not only do rabbit dogs need to be fit for the field but so do their human counterparts. That means getting and staying in the best shape possible for each of our bodies. Ultimately, the fitter you are the easier it will be to move about in the field for extended periods of time, equating to a good day with minimal or preferably no physical struggles to get around.
Although fitness is vital to the hunter and hunter's dogs, the bottom line is that sometimes it can be hard to get and stay fit. It can also be hard to just get around during the course of a normal day, let alone when hunting. It could be that you've been injured in an accident or arthritis has set in, slowing you down both in and out of the field. Since none of us want to be sidelined due to issues such as this, it may be necessary to purchase some equipment to help work around any physical limitations with which we may be faced.
If your legs or back are giving you problems, a logical go-to is the ATV. All-terrain vehicles are excellent for moving about in the woods without a doubt. They are able to carry gear for you as well as allowing you to get around comfortably without putting pressure on aching joints. For these reasons, it is common to see hunters utilizing ATVs, but these great machines are not without issues of their own. For one, they emit odors that are unnatural and may cause animals to flee. The same can be said for the noise they create; ATVs can be louder than even a regular car or truck engine, which is also enough to panic rabbits and send them on a mad dash away from the source of the sound.
Photo: Quiet Kat
When you combine the need to get around quietly with the need to incorporate a mechanism of travel, another option that presents itself is the battery operated Quiet Kat hunting scooter. This machine is a quiet one that is created from high-end mountain-bike components. It has tires with serious tread for handling harsh terrain, climbing grades up to 20 with plenty of ground clearance to keep you from getting stuck and front and rear hydraulic disc brakes to stop you as needed. However, if you do encounter something you cannot ride over, simply getting off and lifting the machine over is an option. Speaking of lifting, this is actually a vehicle that many people can be load and unload from a truck bed with or even without minimal help as it weighs only 100 lbs. Since it is light enough to load in your truck, there is no need for the additional purchase of a trailer as with many four wheeled ATVs.
Though the Quiet Kat doesn't come cheap with a price tag around $5,000, its ability to keep you hunting is priceless. This machine has a 300 lb capacity and can tow another 250lbs if you wish. Since it is battery operated, it makes virtually no noise beyond the natural sound of leaf litter crackling which is going to be a sound you would make on foot as well. Plus, being silent will make acclimation easier on rabbit dogs. It emits no odors as it moves about yet allows you to cover as many as 25 miles on a single battery charge at speeds of up to 19 miles per hour. Additional batteries can be added as needed and the required charging period for a full battery is overnight. It also comes with accessories such as a gun/bow rack, waterproof dry bag, handlebar bag, and a pannier rack system for storage.
Adding such an expensive tool to your rabbit hunting gear is a decision we as individuals may sometimes have to make in line with what is best for us and suits our needs. No one wants to be sidelined by illness or injury, but these things happen. If you're able to take advantage of another means of travel to get into the woods without sending rabbits scurrying, then the investment may very well be worthwhile in the end.
How do you currently hunt when you're not in top form? Do you employ ATVs or take time off instead? Let us know in the comments.