Hunting season is quickly approaching and getting close to the game means it is time to finally purchase your hunting buggy. You load up and head to your local Bass Pro Shop and Camping World ready to seal the deal. The problem is that in order to head out into the woods with the hunting buggy or ATV of your dreams, you will be dropping about $10K. That sounds crazy and no one's wife will allow that. So, what are your options?
Building Your Own Customized Hunting Buggy
It may sound ridiculous, but it is easier and less expensive than you may think. Hunters are increasingly using golf cart conversions and are highly impressed with the results. The benefits to converting an old golf cart into a hunting cart are endless and the most popular ones are:
- Used golf carts are inexpensive.
- Electric hunting carts are quiet...much quieter than gas counterparts.
- They are fully customizable and powerful.
Find A Golf Cart
If you do not yet own a golf cart to use for the conversion, search your local Craigslist for one. We recommend an older Club Car DS golf cart because they are constructed of aluminum, not steel, so there will be no rust issues. We also find that the older ones are easier and less expensive to customize. The older DS model golf carts are equipped with series motors, which have fewer electrical issues and can be switched out with ease. If you own an EZGO TXT and prefer to use one for the conversion, that is fine, also. Be sure to check the underside thoroughly for rust before making any upgrades.
Consider purchasing a golf cart with older batteries that need replacement. When using your golf cart as a converted hunting cart, you will want to have the confidence that the batteries have been well maintained and will offer the range that you expect. Getting stuck in the woods with dead batteries is not a good time.
Once you have your golf cart, it is time for the transformation. You have several options and can even perform the conversion in stages, depending on your budget and time frame.
It's Conversion Time
- Evaluate the electric motor. The first step will be to replace your standard 3 HP electric motor with one that will meet the needs of the terrain. If you are hunting an area with steep hills, you will want a motor that favors torque over speed. If the terrain is fairly flat, but expansive, you may be more interested in a higher speed motor. Electric Motor Products offers an amazing two speed motor that we recommend and that we have installed in many carts that can switch between speed and torque on the fly. Depending on your choice of motor, the controller may need to be upgraded. The forward/reverse switch, cables and solenoid should be upgraded as well for optimum performance and to avoid possible overheating.
- Replace the batteries. All hunting buggies need to have maximum range. The batteries will be the most expensive part of the conversion, but also the most important. Look for batteries that offer a ton of run time, like the Deka GC45 batteries or the Trojan 145 batteries. If your cart has 8V batteries, you will want to opt for the Trojan Rangers. Once you install your batteries, maintaining them will optimize their run time and their longevity. A well maintained set of golf cart batteries should last 5-6 years.
- Upgrade the suspension. Standard leaf springs should be replaced with heavy duty leaf springs in order to support additional weight of passengers (dead or alive), coolers and supplies. Adding a rear seat kit with a cargo conversion option is highly favored among hunters and the weight of the kit will demand upgraded suspension. Many hunters use their carts to transport feed to distant feeders, so the upgraded suspension will support heavy loads of feed. A lift kit is recommended in order to allow for clearance through woody terrain. Whether you prefer a 3", 6", 8" or even a 10" is a matter of preference.
- Install new wheels and tires. Again, depending on the terrain, you may opt for all-terrain tires, very aggressive mud tires or tires that are more suitable for rocky, unstable surfaces. The size of the tire will be determined by the size of the lift kit that is installed. You may be tempted to install some fancy wheels, but we recommend sticking to either steel wheels or black powder coated aluminum wheels. Remember that this cart looks cool, but is ultimately going to be your work horse.
- Add accessories. Depending on your hunting needs, there are endless accessories from which to choose. If you will be hunting and fishing, you may choose to install a hitch that comes with a cooler rack and fishing pole holder. Coolers are a must and one that also doubles as an ammo carrier is always a great accessory to have. Brush guards, fender flares, roof storage systems and heaters are a few other hunting accessories to consider. Some hunters even use a camo enclosure to cover their hunting cart and turn it into an actual blind.
Whether you are on a photographic mission, a run to the feeder or the annual big hunting trip, your newly converted hunting cart will prove to be invaluable. Saving money by converting the cart yourself, avoiding expensive gas and maintenance expenses and having a silent approach will make you glad that you opted for a golf cart conversion.
And for extended hunting excursions, stock up for your camping trip with exclusive discounts at Camping World.