Using vehicles outdoors is nothing new, as quads, side-by-side quads, and even golf carts have been used for many years. However, they tend to be noisy or can be quite expensive to purchase.
Bikes have also been used by hunters and wildlife enthusiasts for a long time, but avoiding sweat has always been a challenge for hunters when using them.
Today we have e-bikes, and I had a chance to try one out for a few weeks after a hunting buddy harvested a lifetime deer on his first hunt using it. He did it because the bike allowed him to completely change his pit entry.
Historically it would have a ¾ mile walk from the truck, through several fields, and would end up a couple hundred yards walk through the woods. Even when he dressed minimally, the sweat and knocks feeding the deer in those fields were always going to be a problem.
As he explained, he usually never saw a deer before 8:30 or 9 a.m. in that stand. With the purchase of the bike, this allowed him to ride the roads to a bike path parallel to the river, which he could then follow to his property. From there he could leave the bike right next to the path and walk 60 meters to the pit. The morning he harvested the buck, he had deer walking past him at first light, which has never happened historically. Total round trip was 4.4 miles and did it quietly and odorlessly.
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I have a similar situation in that my entries to the various stalls are long drives on this new farm. The cell cameras let me know where the deer are, where they move all day, and why it’s nearly impossible to get to these areas without hitting the deer. Just like my buddy’s situation, sometimes the best path from point A to point B isn’t a straight line.
If you’re unfamiliar with e-bikes, they look like the bikes we rode as kids (or adults), but they have a throttle button similar to a four-wheeler. The batteries are usually lithium, which drive an electric motor to assist the operator while pedaling. In most cases, you can also just use the throttle to propel the bike. The tires are usually wide (around 4 inches), allowing you to handle different surfaces and conditions on the ground. Most will have a capacity of around 300 pounds, so they can handle a hunter and all the gear without too much trouble. Got it up to 22 mph going down the paved road. Although they are not cheap to buy, they cost only a fraction of the cost of a four-wheeler or side-by-side. Bike ranges vary, but most will allow a minimum of 20 miles of effortless riding.
If you’re not a hunter and just like to see our area’s wildlife or scenery, having a near-silent vehicle allows you to cover miles of terrain with minimal effort, and you can travel our vast network of cycle paths around the Quad-Cities. This could be the key to finding those lesser-known spots to view the true wilderness areas we have so close.
With a rear pull cart or cart, the limits of their use are endless. Either way, e-bikes are opening up areas for people who were once at a distance or limited conditions.
World Outdoors columnist Jeremiah Haas can be reached at [email protected]