By: Ted Karr
Nearly every hunter aspires to own an ATV. They are great for scouting, useful for navigating rough roads, and a luxury for retrieving game. This was my year to buy an ATV…yes, it finally made it to the top of the list…so I dove in and spent more time that I would like to admit researching which ATV would be best for hunting. Because an ATV is a big investment, I decided I would look at the newest ATVs on the market to make sure I could take advantage of the latest technology and features. For 3 of the 4 ATVs on this list I was able to review the 2020 model. The Polaris 2020 was not yet available at the time I prepared this review so I focused my review on the 2019 model. What I found during my review was there are tons of ATVs that will do the job and each ATV manufacturer is focused on slightly different features and factors.
The factors we used for this review included:
- Sounds (i.e. Not too Loud)
- Towing Capability
I settled on four utility/hunting ATVs that checked most of the boxes for me in the following order:
- Can-Am Outlander Mossy Oak Edition (650)
- Yamaha Grizzly 700 EPS Realtree Camo
- Polaris Sportsman 570 SP Hunter Edition
- Honda FourTrax Rincon
Can-Am Outlander Mossy Oak Edition (650): Best Hunting ATV for 2020 – Our Top Shelf Pick
Why we picked the Can-Am Outlander Mossy Oak (650) as the Best Hunting ATV for 2020: The Can-Am is a beautiful ATV with tons of features ideal for hunting. It is also one of the most powerful ATVs in its class. The Can-Am comes with a 2 inch hitch receiver, excellent ground clearance, best in class towing capacity and is the sportiest looking utility ATV on the market. It is an impressive machine. The Mossy Oak Edition comes standard with an industry leading wench, a front grill brush guard, and wind deflectors. The ground clearance is best in class and this ATV is now 2 inches wider than its predecessor making for a much more stable (and arguably safer) ride. The only downside I could find is price and the fact that it is still slightly more difficult to get parts for these ATVs and replacement parts are reported to be fairly expensive.
Here’s how the Can-Am Outlander stacks up:
- Reliability: The reliability of the Can-Am continues to improve and the Can-Am is now on par with the ATVs from Japan. They are not as known for reliability as Honda and Yamaha, but they are gaining ground. With that said, it is important to note that parts are more expensive for the Can-Am and there are fewer Can-Am dealers in the remote country where we all love to hunt so getting your Can-Am repaired while on a hunt may be difficult.
- Quality: Can-Am quality is easy to see when you approach the vehicle and when sitting on the seat. The Can-Am is considered an industry leader in terms of quality for an ATV.
- Sound (i.e. Not too Loud): The Can-Am is actually a little quieter than its competition, or at least it sounded quieter when idling.
- Comfort: This ATV is very comfortable to sit on and just as comfortable to ride.
- Power and Performance: Best in class.
- Horsepower: 62 (Rotax)
- Fuel Capacity: 5.4 gallons
- Tire Size: 26 inch
- Ground Clearance: 12 inches
- Downhill Braking: engine braking system
- Steering: Tri-mode dynamic adjustable power steering (3 levels: min, mid, max)
- Suspension: new suspension in 2019
- Stability: 2 inches wider in 2019; very stable in corners
- Payload Back Rack: 200 lbs
- Specs: 50.5” height; 49.5” width; 88” length; 51” wheelbase
- Towing Capability: can tow 1,650 pounds which is industry leading.
- Winch: Warn Provantage 3000 lb winch…Top Shelf winch…I would prefer a nylon strap over the metal braided cable, but both do the job and most ATVs use the metal braided cable so Can-Am is on par.
- Features/Accessories: standard mode, sport mode and work mode; Can-Am offers numerous options which I recommend: skid plates, back seat rest, front rack bag, gun carrier (if you are a rifle hunter) and heated grips/throttle.
- Style: The Can-Am is a beautiful ATV; the honeycomb grill looks awesome; arguably the most stylish looking ATV on the market; I think this might be where Can-Am shines the most
- Price: The Can-Am is priced a bit higher than the competition; perhaps it is the Canadian heritage…
Yamaha Grizzly 700 EPS Realtree Camo: Runner-Up for Best Hunting ATV for 2020
Why we picked the 2020 Yamaha Grizzly 700 as our Top Shelf hunting ATV: The Yamaha Grizzly is the hunting ATV against which all other ATVs are often compared. The Grizzly is built for hunting and is arguably the most reliable ATV on the market. When you use an ATV for hunting you want enough power to climb hills and to tow or winch heavy items, and you want an ATV that is not going to leave you stranded five miles from camp. The Grizzly checks all the boxes and would be our top pick but the Can-Am offers slightly higher quality finishes, more power and a wider, more stable platform.
Here’s how the Yamaha Grizzly stacks up:
- Reliability: Yamaha is top shelf in this category! Alongside Honda, you will not find a more reliable ATV.
- Quality: Yamaha builds arguably the highest quality ATV on the market today.
- Sound (i.e. Not too Loud): Yamaha engines are powerful, efficient, yet noticeably quiet.
- Comfort: I have to give them 9 out of 10 for comfort…because the Can Am felt more comfortable to me.
- Power and Performance: Plenty! The 700 is technically considered a big bore ATV but Yamaha seems to have geared the Grizzly for the outdoorsperson! This ATV packs plenty power for the outdoorsman and can perform in tough situations where all four wheels are needed, when climbing a steep hill, towing a tree out of the trail, or carefully navigating downhill.
- Horsepower: 686CC (TBD)
- Fuel Capacity: TBD
- Tire Size: 26 inches
- Ground Clearance: 11.3 Inches
- Downhill Braking: excellent
- Steering: class-leading
- Payload Back Rack: 198 lbs
- Specs: 49.3” height; 48.4” width; 81.5” length; 51” wheelbase
- Towing Capability: can tow 1,300 pounds, which is more than sufficient for an ATV.
- Winch: 2500 lb warn winch…great set up…I would prefer a nylon strap over the metal braided cable, but both do the job and most ATVs use the metal braided cable so Yamaha is on par.
- Accessories: Yamaha offers numerous options, which I recommend: skid plates, a front brush guard, back seat rest, front rack bag, gun carrier (if you are a rifle hunter). They also offer a number of other options.
- Style: The Yamaha Grizzly is a sweet looking ATV, not quite a stylish as the Can-Am and Polaris, but definitely will turn eyes, especially if you add the brush guard.
Polaris Sportsman 570 EPS – Stylish performance
Why we picked the Polaris Sportsman 570 as a notable ATV for hunting:
The Polaris Sportsman is powerful and looks stylishly sporty. In addition, it is one of the best value ATVs on the market today. It is priced very reasonable for a feature rich ATV.
Here’s how the Polaris Sportsman 570 stacks up:
- Reliability: To compete in this market you have to make a reliable ATV and Polaris is no exception here; they make a reliable machine.
- Quality: The Polaris is a value machine; the quality is on par with the price point and Polaris riders are happy with the quality; some have reported issues with the batteries and electrical system but those appear to be exceptions.
- Sound (i.e. Not too Loud): on par with other ATVs in this class.
- Comfort: the Polaris is comfortable to ride though some have reported overly sensitive braking.
- Power and Performance:
- Horsepower: 44
- Fuel Capacity:
- Tire Size: 25 inch
- Ground Clearance: 11 inches
- Downhill Braking: engine braking system with descent control
- Steering: Electronic Power Steering
- Suspension: Independent rear suspension
- Stability: the wider platform provides a more stable ride
- Payload Back Rack: 180 lbs
- Specs: 48” height; 48” width; 86” length; 56” wheelbase
- Towing Capability: can tow 1,225 pounds which is more than sufficient for an ATV, but the hitch receiver is only 1.25 inch.
- Winch: various winch options are available through Polaris or aftermarket.
- Accessories: Polaris offers a wide variety of accessories that fit the Sportsman 570 including LED lighting, handwarmers, hand guards, gun racks, etc.
- Style: The Polaris ATV is stylish and looks great, especially with mud tires.
- Price: The Polaris is one of the more affordable ATVs in this class.
2020 Honda FourTrax Rincon 680: Comfortable and Affordable Quality
Why we picked the Honda FourTrax Rincon 680:
Honda has demonstrated reliability in their engines and comfort in their ride and design. They have withstood the test of time. In fact, they are confident enough in their quality and reliability to offer an industry leading one-year warranty. You can’t go wrong with a Honda! However, the Honda does not offer near the towing or payload capacity of the other ATVs in this review, the ground clearance is less, and the fuel tank is smaller.
Here’s how the Honda FourTrax Rincon stacks up:
- Reliability: Honda is known for its reliability and is right up there with Yamaha.
- Quality: this is a quality built ATV, but Honda does not seem to be adding the finer touches that you see in the Can-Am and Yamaha; they keep to the basics and do that extremely well.
- Sound (i.e. Not too Loud): The Honda is on par with most ATVs but we have read some reports that they might be a little louder than the competition.
- Comfort: Honda ATVs sit a bit lower to the ground and they are easy to ride; when using the Rincon for hunting, this ATV will be plenty comfortable; Honda is known for its “all day comfort” ride.
- Power and Performance:
- Horsepower: 675cc (uncertain as to HP)
- Fuel Capacity: 4.4 Gallons
- Tire Size: 25 inch
- Ground Clearance: 9.1 inches
- Downhill Braking: on par with others
- Steering: on par with others
- Suspension: independent rear suspension
- Stability: on par with others; not as wide as the Can-Am and not as stable as the Yamaha Grizzly
- Payload Back Rack: 133 lbs
- Specs: 47.5” height; 46.58 width; 83.2” length; 50.8” wheelbase
- Towing Capability: 850 lbs towing capability with trailer hitch kit (accessory).
- Winch: N/A
- Accessories: skid plates, front brush guard, storage bags, trailer hitch kit.
- Style: modest; function over form.
- Price: The Honda is one of the more affordable ATVs in this class.
In the near future we will post a review of the top side by side for hunting…we are waiting for all of the 2020 models to hit the floor.