For most hunters, the notion of going green isn’t a new concept. After all, we are the original environmentalists. We eat natural meat that was not raised on antibiotics and we understand the connection between the land and wildlife. That is why it’s not surprising that electric all-terrain vehicles are catching on among hunters and other outdoors enthusiasts. Dubbed ETVs, or electric terrain vehicles, machines like Bad Boy Buggies are becoming a standard sight in hunting camps everywhere. They do not use fossil fuels and they don’t emit air pollution.
However, the main reason so many hunters are switching to electric ATVs is the obvious reason. Or at least it becomes obvious when you step on the gas pedal: The machine moves, but the only sound you hear is the sound of gravel crunching under tires. Drive it on a soft dirt trail and you hear absolutely nothing except for a faint whine from the engine and the wind in your ears.
“The amount of game I see on a Bad Boy Buggy is really amazing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven into a field or come around a corner and saw a bunch of deer or turkeys standing there that were completely surprised to see me,” said Tim Herald, marketing director for Bad Boy Buggies.
There’s no telling if deer or any other game actually run at the approaching sound of a gas-powered four-wheeler, but one thing’s for certain: Anybody with reasonable hearing can hear the throaty rumble of a typical all-terrain vehicle a half-mile or more away on a calm day. There’s no question a whitetail or elk can hear it coming from even farther away. Parking it a few hundred yards from a tree stand and then walking to the stand may reduce any risk of spooking deer, but then again, it may not.
Electric ATVs have advanced light-years beyond the days when they were first introduced. Originally designed after a standard electric golf cart, ETVs now have stronger motors, longer battery life and in many cases, four-wheel drive. Most models are side-by-sides, which are becoming the transportation of choice among many hunters. Some manufacturers like EVS are making the straddle-seat versions that were so popular when gas-powered ATVs were first introduced a decade or more ago.
Herald said heavy-duty ETVs have as much power as larger gas-powered ATVs and can do nearly the same work. He’s seen them used to haul loads that weighed hundreds of pounds and he knows Bad Boy Buggy owners who use them to pull food plot equipment. Almost anything an ATV of equal power can do, so can an electric four-wheeler. Bad Boy’s XT model has a maximum of 40 horsepower and 156 foot-pounds of torque.
“They aren’t as fast,” said Herald. “A Bad Boy Buggy tops out at about 25 miles per hour while a gas-powered ATV can go as fast as 45. I can’t really think of any reason to be going that fast in a hunting situation, so to me, 25 miles per hour is plenty fast.”
So what about running out of juice? It’s a primary concern of ETV tire-kickers who fear the batteries will go dead in the field. Herald says running out of electricity is no different than running out of gas in a standard ATV. “Our machines have meters that tell you how much charge you have left in your batteries just like a gas-powered ATV has a gas gauge,” he notes.
In other words, if you run out of juice a mile from camp, you have no one else to blame but yourself.
Bad Boy Buggies: www.badboybuggies.com
Electric Vehicle Systems: www.evtworld.com