For Don Werner, hunting has been a part of his life since he passed the hunting safety class as a 13-year-old boy living in Minnesota. After 20-plus years of big-game hunting, Werner has grown into an adept hunter utilizing both rifles and shotguns to bag his trophies. This real-world sportsman, who bagged a 5×5 bull elk in 2006, has never lost sight of his other passion, and that’s off-road recreation. In fact, he moved out to Colorado because he wanted to be closer to the mountains for not only what the Rocky Mountains offered his inner hunter, but also the powersports motorhead he’s also become. You see, Werner, the sales manager at RPM Motorsports, in Lakewood,Colo., rides his Ski-Doo® snowmobiles in the winter, but also scouts and does hunting recon with Can-Am® ATVs and side-by-side vehicles. It’s this double-edged sword of outdoor knowledge that makes Werner the right man for the job when it comes to selling Can-Am off-road vehicles and addressing his customers’ hunting needs.
We spent some time with Werner to get a better idea of how he approaches hunting, not only in the traditional sense, but also from the proven perspective of an off-road recreational rider and to see how this passion translates to the customer.
“The side-by-side market has taken off for this type of use because of its versatility and the ability to take someone with you,” he said. “And the two-up ATV is also very versatile for not only hauling a second passenger, but with the MAX platform, for example, the ability to remove the seat and ride it as a single-rider machine is an added bonus.”
Sometimes there’s a stigma associated with using off-road vehicles as hunting tools, however, but Werner said when used correctly OHVs have proven they belong and have showcased their all-around abilities. “It’s a great tool for recreational use, utility and for the hunting aspects,” he explained. “Sportsmen can use the vehicle for more than one purpose and make it truly a multi-use machine for different aspects of their life.” He went even further when describing the Commander side-by-side. He called the 4×4 machine a “necessity” for those living in the western region of the US and in the Rocky Mountains, specifically, because the vehicle can conquer the rugged terrain, push snow and also handle a wide assortment of utility chores when asked, just some of the reasons it is the most powerful and most versatile side-by-side in the market.
Scouting, Recon & Recovery
Off-road vehicles have proven to be great tools for hauling out the big-game animals like the elk and mule deer his hunting-camp buddies bag annually. In fact, his hunting group consists of 11 members and nine off-road machines, all of which are fully utilized by the camp members. For example, the hunting party used a Commander 1000 XT™ to not only transport two men to an elk recovery location, but also used it to snatch the prized animal up a steep embankment. “We got a pretty decent sized bull down last year in some thick timber down in the pines in the bottom of a deep ravine and it was pretty dark. The Commander has a phenomenal lighting source and headlight package. It proved to be a great tool, even at low speeds, to pull that big bull out of there. It did the job like it was nothing.”
“If you get a big animal out here in the mountain country, big tools like ATVs and side-by-sides are priceless,” said Werner. “But for anybody who is operating an off-road vehicle it is important to remember to stay on the trails.” He said trail systems are designated for these particular vehicles but every user must know the regulations and OHV rules. “InColorado, we have what’s called an OHV permit for your machine and when people take their machine off the trail it can leave a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths and could even lead to shutting down access to riding areas,” he explained. That’s why BRP always encourages correct and proper use of your off-road vehicle.
All off-road vehicle owners who will use their machine as a hunting tool must therefore know the existing rules and regulations. Werner reminded us that it really depends on the state in which you hunt and ride. “It depends in what area you’re in and if the area is designated for the vehicle and as long as you aren’t damaging the underbrush during recovery use.” A good thing to remember is that many new models, like the Can-Am Outlander 1000 XT or Commander 1000 LIMITED includes a factory-installed Warn winch that includes quite a bit of cable to utilize so you can expand your machine’s reach without leaving the trail. “We’ve used the machine’s winch and come-along winches to assist with this recovery process,” he said.
Hunters love camouflage and Werner addressed this topic stating that BRP’s camo inlay on its ATVs and SSVs has been highly sought after. He said the NEXT G1 Vista Camo appeals to some for not only its look, but also for its durability. “It’s a little more rugged inlay on the Can-Am vehicles, for both recreational and hunting uses, and holds up better than the standard colors. The buyer looking for a camouflage unit really seems to like the fit-and-finish and quality of our camouflage and it has been a very good selling product for our store.”
New in the 2012 Can-Am clothing offering is camouflage wear. It’s a good addition to the clothing line to and features the Can-Am logo intermixed with camo design. “It’s a good aspect to have and it’s nice to let the customer be able to add product embedded with the logo to go hand-in-hand with their machine,” Werner added.
Tips For Hunting / Outdoorsmen
Being outdoors, whether for recreation or hunting, Werner said off-road riders must prepare for the environment they’ll visit. “Hunting in the mountains is a lot different than hunting in the flat lands. Hunting in theRocky Mountainswhere we go, the No. 1 thing you always have to take along is a GPS,” he added. “It will get you back to where you started your hunt and get you back to safety if necessary. The new Can-Am Commander 1000 LIMITED with its built-in GPS is a pretty cool and versatile product. The portability is especially important, since it’s illegal to hunt from your machine, so when you go out in the back country it’s a necessity to have a hand-held GPS.” And this integrated mounting system for the GPS is available as an accessory for all 2011 and newer Can-Am Commander side-by-sides.
He has some other must-have items with him on every hunt and ATV expedition.
1. GPS — Forget breadcrumbs!
2. Carry a survival kit — Any good survival kit will include a first aid kit.
3. Tool kit — Not only can it help you make small repairs on the trail, but it could come in handy at hunting camp.
4. Fire starter — In the event you are stranded and have to stay the night, this is a must have item for hunting in the mountains.
5. Communication plan — Share with family and friends your planned hunt so they know your schedule, your location and when you plan to return.
Accessories For ATV and Side-by-Side Owners
1. Tire sealant — He calls this must for rugged and unpredictable terrain.
2. Tire repair kit with CO2 cartridge — Getting you back to hunting camp and adding air while on the trail is ensured with one of these portable, easy-to-store kits.
3. Bow- or gun-mount system —You have to protect your expensive hunting equipment that you fully expect to perform at its best when in the field.
4. Skid plates — In mountain settings and challenging, rocky terrain, skid plates and protective bolt-on parts guard against unexpected wear and tear.
5. Winch — At least one vehicle in every hunting party needs a winch.
6. Spare CVT belt — You don’t want to be caught in rugged terrain with a broken belt.
“With the Can-Am ATV and side-by-side market from BRP, it’s always nice to get that XT package with the WARN winch and roller fairlead and rocker switch. There are a lot of good features that come on both models, but the Dynamic Power Steering on the Outlander is a great feature, too.” said Werner.
Whether it’s for hunting or recreational exploration, the 2012 Can-Am lineup of ATVs and side-by-sides offer the most versatile and consumer-friendly features and accessories ever offered by BRP. Not only is BRP continuing to offer class leading power and performance, but also with further advancements in its parts, accessories and clothing lineup, consumers can customize their machine and get gear to match their specific needs.