Mountain Bike Hunters - A few questions


New member
May 9, 2014
After posting this in another thread, and seeing that someone else was highly interested in the reply (cowboystl1) I figured I'd not hijack and post this up. I'd suspect it'd make a good article for this site or even Extreeme Elk Magazine (hint, hint) as I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering these things once you figure out which type of bike would suit you best:

Fat bike eh? I'm more of a road biker than MTB but had been thinking of a hard tail bike for accessing locations a little faster than with my two horses (left one and right one.)
For those of you that hunt with a MTB, I've got a couple of questions:

1. What's the average approach distance you ride to get to where you start hiking/hunting?

2. Do you ever make decisions on where to follow game based on the fact that you don't want to get too far away from your bike location?

3. How have you managed getting all sweaty and nappy just prior to starting your hunt by biking into a location?

Thanks to any who care to reply. Very interested in knowing your thoughts.

i would love to know i am very interested i even have a few ideas on making a trailer that would be of great use on a hunt like this.
I have never used a mountain bike to access hunting areas but I have thought about it. I would imagine it is entirely dependent on the situation and the terrain.

In certain situations it would probably lengthen the distance you could go in as it would save a lot of time, granted the terrain wasn't to steep and not too thick.  Like for logging road access.

I wouldn't want the bike to be a factor in my decisions on whether or not to move.  But you could always say to hell with the bike.  Set a gps point and go back for it later.

I would think it also might actually keep you from getting sweaty and stinky if you weren't doing a lot of uphill climbing.
i would even think on a good pack trail one would come in handy i know a lot of logged areas access is limited to foot or bike traffic only. most places with a good trail and no motors allowed would work i would think but im spitballing here i have no real experience with it but have been places where it would work. vs back packing 
Last year I took my MTN bike out hunting and was able to ride right up on them a couple of times. They don't seem to pick up on the noise like they do with foot steps. I would really like to see your plans for a trailer cowboystl1 Pics s[/size]o I can copy your design, if that is cool with you.
AWHunt CDA said:
Last year I took my MTN bike out hunting and was able to ride right up on them a couple of times. They don't seem to pick up on the noise like they do with foot steps. I would really like to see your plans for a trailer cowboystl1 Pics so I can copy your design, if that is cool with you.

Its still in the development phase lol  but ill see what i can do i just had happened to have an old baby bike wagon to tear apart to start with but im confident that i could get an elk out on the bone two trips with what i have in mind.
I have gone to multiple thrift stores and have seen the kid carriers, in fact the first and only elk I shot got hauled out on one and I still use for my 2 year old. I will be looking for one of those to tear down.

That carrier handled the whole elk bone-in along with the head and came out with a bent wheel, which is still bent because it still rolls.
1. Anywhere from 3-12 miles.
2. No, elk encounters are too precious.
3. No secret other than only moving downhill in the heat of the day.  You go up you will sweat.  If there is even a realitively steep grade you will sweat even in cool morning temps.  If there is good water around you can do the spit bath and have fresh clothes to get into, but you have to have a good water source at the end of your ride.
i have also considered building one out of a kids bike cutting it down and adding a rack to haul gear attaching it at the seat post like other rigs 
Mountain bikes are a huge benefit in certain situations.  I rarely bother with a bike if I know I'll be strictly riding single track, but I use my hard tail and trailer every year to travel up old fire trails.
I have a spot at the top of a ridge line bordering wilderness area that is 6 miles from the nearest road allowing motorized vehicles.  So my bike saves me a ton of work hauling meat and gear.  I load my pack on the trailer and ride up in shorts and a t-shirt in the afternoon, then wash up and change before heading out for an evening hunt.  So find a spot to drop your bike near water if you can (which is a bonus when you need to stage your meat in a cool spot as you pack it all out to your trailer).
Sometimes I'll jump on my bike during a hunt if I think I can use it to move quickly and get ahead of the elk and setup, but it usually stays in my day camp and I hunt on foot all day.
As far as trailer designs go, I've got quite a bit of experience trying different options.  I've used most common commercially available styles and they all failed in some way.  The bob single track and child bike trailers didn't meet my requirements for weight capacity and stability under load.  I ending up building several diy trailers and I'll provide some input:
1)  keep it as light as possible
2)  i prefer a trailer mount as low on the seat post as possible (moving downhill with a heavy rear axle mount trailer will tend to push the bike and make the front brake nearly worthless, where a heavy seat post mount loads down the bike and allows for better speed control using front and rear brakes.
3)  make sure your trailer axle/tire position is far enough back to apply weight to the bike for braking.
4)  use mountain bike tires for the trailer (they roll smoother and you have an emergency backup wheel if you have a catastrophic wheel/tire failure on your bike and want to ride back to the truck)
5)  make sure you have adequate ground clearance to go where you want to
6)  keep it as light as possible...but strong enough to haul everything you'd ever want
7)  make sure the hitch is strong and secure (but some shock absorbing movement built into your design is a bonus)

My current trailer is made from 3/4" EMT with a basket made out of chicken wire.  By untwisting the edges of the chicken wire and wrapping it around the frame and twisting it back up I was able to create a basket that weights almost nothing and I wouldn't hesitate to put 400 lbs in it.  I'm still amazed how tough that stuff is.  I've loaded it with 250 lbs and it performed like a dream, and my trailer probably only weights around 12 lbs.
WOW!! Wapiti_Will thats great input thanks . personally id love to see a pic of that trailer if you dont mind. if you do mind i understand thanks for the heads up can i ask what state you mostly hunt?

You are welcome.  Do all my hunting in Colorado. 
Here's a couple pics of the trailer.  It's hard to see the wire basket shape in the picture, but it gets deeper toward the front so it maintains about 8 inches of ground clearance across the length of the basket.  There's just enough space between the wheels and frame to attach bungees and rope to lash everything down.  The wheels easily detach and the basket can be pressed flat, so it doesn't take up much space in my truck or trailer.
The main outer frame tubes are a single piece with bends, rather than the weaker alternative of angle cuts and welds.  I also left them open front to back so I can run cables and add some auxiliary trailer braking, but haven't figured out the engineering for my trailer brake controller yet (thinking about using a shift lever that I can click up/down to increase/decrease a fixed braking power).
Let me know if you have any other questions cowboystl1.


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cowboystl1 said:
good work like it alot i am now rethinking my idea  mine would have been way heavier

First one I built was designed around function/features and it ended up weighing about 30 pounds....moved it to the scrap pile after one use. 
I can lift this new one with a finger and I'm amazed at the strength of two layers of chicken wire.  I looked at using cargo nets as well, but like the way the chicken wire holds its shape enough to keep the basket from swaying around...and it's cheap!
1.  I've ridden my bike in anywhere from 1 to 3 miles before I get off and start hunting on foot.
2.  No, I go where the elk are regardless of where I left my bike or truck, those can be retrieved or repositioned later.
3.  Head out early and take your time.  Even better if you are travelling downhill to your hunt area.

I have been using a kid trailer for the last 5 years with success.  It works great and is capable of hauling a whole deer, bear or half and elk.  So far I've hauled 4 deer, 2 elk and bearwith mine.  I plan to make some adjustments to the design before this season though.  The two wheel design only gets in the way if the trail narrows or the ruts are too deep.  Even so I have never had much trouble.  I would like more clearance.  My trailer connects at the rear bike axle and I will try to change that to a seat post connection, I'll also stregthen the trialer axle since it began to bow under the weight of the last elk.
I like Wapiti's design, definetly lighter than my trailer and has be thinking of additional modifications.  If I were to use chinken wire like Wapiti I would make sure I had a tarp to place under my load so that mud and water don't splash onto my meat.

Wapiti, How is your trailer connected to the seat post?  Can we see a close up picture of how it works?
I always have a roll of a few lawn trash bags with me, so I use one to cover everything (top and bottom) in my trailer.  A small tarp or tent ground cover would do the trick as well.

Here is a picture of my hitch (it's not pretty but it's tough).  I took a beefy tie rod end and welded it to a steel plate.  Then welded on some split ring pipe clamps (added a layer of rubber between them and the seat post).  I also have some rubber bushings that go above and below where the trailer (1/4 inch plate with a hole drilled near the end) attaches to the tie rod.  The tie rod end allows the trailer to rotate and articulate in any direction needed, but provides enough resistance that it absorbs some of that back and forth jerking feeling you can get when dragging a heavy trailer over rough terrain.

I also have a straight handle that connects to the trailer when it's off the bike so I can use it as a heavy duty, off-road game cart.



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