The hunting world is a hyper-competitive one for residents and nonresident hunters alike. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or an enthusiastic rookie, you’ll find yourself constantly challenged to improve your game. New gear, new strategies, and new tactics—all in the name of bettering your performance. A hunting truck is an important part of that improvement process – and one that many hunters tend to overlook.
A hunting truck will help you get to where you need to go. It’ll also help you get back home, no matter what the conditions. In conjunction with all your other gear, pickup trucks built for the hunting lifestyle are one of the most versatile tools available to you out in the field.
What is a Hunting Truck?
A hunting truck is a concept and philosophy to help you access, acquire, and load up everything from and for big game to waterfowl, upland bird to turkeys, and even varmints and fur-bearers. Avid hunters know that mobility and gear access are everything (next to preference points), and a well-accessorized truck can provide both.
In the field, the hunting truck is the go-to vehicle for hunters who require ultimate functionality and convenience when transporting gear and game. It can be your personal vehicle or one that is used by a hunting group or club. No matter what, its purpose is to solve a problem.
How your Hunting pickup Helps You
Hunting trucks get your further out than other vehicles – closer to the action – and they help provide easy access to your gear before hitting the trail or blind. A pickup truck can handle anywhere from 400 pounds to 2000 pounds of gear and give you the option of a rooftop rack, rooftop tent, Bedslide, and at the same time the comfort of a Cadillac. We all know the joy that the challenge of hunting brings us, but getting there and getting out doesn’t have to be difficult.
Hunting Truck considerations
Let’s not beat around the bush (unless it’s upland birds). If you don’t already have a truck, the most important thing to keep in mind when selecting a pickup for hunting is that you’ll need something that fits your life in the field AND at home – not just a towing package.
Make sure you start by finding a truck that can handle the ‘home game’ at a minimum, before selecting a truck that can help you land that ‘big game.’ Otherwise, your significant other might be serving you with carrots and potatoes in a red-wine reduction.
When you’re hauling all your gear, only you will know what you need to have on-hand. We obviously love pickups here at This Truck Life, and we think that you can find one that’s the perfect balance of navigability and payload for hunting. The most important consideration for your pickup will be determining its versatility. Whether that means large bed, small bed, crew cab, or 4 wheel drive – any will help you in a variety of different hunting situations.
Outfitting Your Hunting Truck
In terms of style and equipment, hunting trucks are a reflection of the man (or woman) behind the wheel. They’re often the most personalized part of your gear, like a pack on wheels. The options you choose to use will be catered to the way you hunt.
Best Tires for Hunting
First up, you’ll want to consider a quality All-Terrain tire or Mud-Terrains. If the majority of your time will be spent in a soft field, Mud-Terrains will absorb the most bumps, help keep the tread clear, give you better traction on loose gravel in mountains, and get you closer to things like waterfowl. For this, consider something like the BFGoodrich KM3 Mud-Terrain.
However, if you’ll spend a fair amount of time on the trails, an All-Terrain, like the Toyo Open Country, can be more versatile. As most elk hunters know, elk season means covering hundreds (if not thousands) of square miles in a matter of days – especially in archery season. The bull elk won’t come to you on the pavement, no matter how good your cow calls are.
Heavy Duty Bumpers
When hunting, heavy duty bumpers can not only protect the front and back of your truck from dings, dents, and scrapes but also help you with recovery as well. When pursuing big game, they can even help protect your passengers from serious accidents in case that buck decides he’d much prefer the front of your pickup to the bow or 6.5 Creedmoor. They are kinda funny like that, so be ready!
If you’re really getting out into the off-road world, don’t forget about the lowest part of your truck. Whether you’re in a Toyota TRD Pro or Ram 1500, your off road capability will greatly vary depending on ground clearance. A skid plate will help protect your pickup’s “vital organs” from mother nature’s broad heads.
Sharp rocks… we’re referring to sharp rocks.
Hunting Gear Storage
Some hunters want a pickup truck with an open bed or low profile tonneau cover to transport bows, firearms, coolers, and hunting gear. Others require a dedicated, mobile hunting truck dog house with a truck cap to keep their Gunner Kennel all covered. A SnugTop or LEER Cap style shell will protect your bird dog, gear, and game. It can also make a great place to escape when the weather gets bad and you’re not ready to get the cab of the truck muddy!
Truck Bed Sliding to You
One of the most versatile options in hunting truck accessories is a BEDSLIDE. These sliding deck systems are platforms fit to the width and length of your truck bed. They make accessing gear in a lifted or covered truck far easier. They pull out, so you can easily access the entire space within your truck bed to maximize utility without reaching or crawling in.
Unlike smaller, more confined drawer systems, a BEDSLIDE offers the full space of your bed and capacity brought right to you. Want to access a generator in the back? How about having the whole dog kennel come out to you? With a BEDSLIDE, you can do that or even just get a convenient, flat work space to set your gun.
Truck Cargo Boxes
Cargo boxes are a vital consideration for the hunting truck, allowing you to cart everything you may need in the bed without it scattering or getting damaged, no matter the trail condition. A Pelican case is great for both rifles and bows, as well as storing general gear. If a cheaper option is what you are looking for, you can even use something like the Husky boxes from any local Home Depot. If small-scale, quick access is what you’re after, consider upgrading to the bed bins made specifically for BEDSLIDE.
Roof Racks or Rooftop Tents
Don’t forget to make use of the storage up on top of your truck, as well as the bed. Ordering your SnugTop or LEER Cap with roof rails to add a rack in the future is a must for any hunter. Rails also making adding a rooftop tent possible, creating a spacious sleeping area so you can stay out on the game trails even longer.
Tips for Hunters using a Truck in the Field
As always, don’t forget to keep food cleaned up and out of reach when you’re hunting. Never leave without backup emergency equipment such as extra water, food, flashlights, clothing, recovery equipment, medical necessities, and ropes. It goes without saying, but it’s a good idea to tell a friend or family member where you’re going – along with your planned route and expected return time.
A good hunting truck is so much more than just a truck. It’s a capable vehicle that can access almost any terrain and make your hunting trip go as smoothly as possible. It adds to your potential as an outdoorsman. As always, enjoy the outdoors, be safe, and enjoy the most of the land and wildlife around you.
Do you have a hunting truck yet?