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Setter58

Hunting Rig- SUV vs Truck?

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Cheesy

I will never be without a truck, currently an F250 and a Tundra. Buying 2 yards of mulch or mushroom compost at a time or dragging a skid steer around requires a truck. So by default, they’re what I hunt out of. Access to coolers and 5 gallon water jugs for the dogs is easy. Dog boxes full of straw keep them warm. They go nuts when they see the boxes loaded and jump in without being commanded to. Crew cab allows for storage of guns and other valuables. 
 

I’ve duck hunted out of my wife’s SUV when we are in Texas visiting her family, previously a Yukon, currently an Infiniti QX80. The week inevitably ends with her being pissed about the sand in the carpets and smell of foul muck from the ponds on my waders. We do have one of those rooftop mushroom carriers as well as a receiver hitch carrier.  They’re both good for carrying stuff from point a to point b. Accessibility is lacking.
 

On top it’s just a pain getting in and out of. Nothing I’d want to do a couple times a day. For purely stashing and going it is fine. 

 

The receiver carrier is ok.  Can’t open back gate of SUV with it loaded (Yukon allowed top window to open up, so it was kind of accessible... Infiniti requires entire end gate to open, so it is blocked). I bought a heavy plastic trunk that I strap to the carrier. It keeps things dry and protected, but requires straps to be undone each time to access. 

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RMH

I have also had both. Since I no longer hunt deer and all the kids are on their own I have little need for a truck. Small SUV's are fine for me as a bird hunting vehicle. The dog rides where he wants in side. Some dislike that but that is how I do it. Anyone riding with me that does not like it can find their own ride.

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Greg Hartman
1 minute ago, RMH said:

I have also had both. Since I no longer hunt deer and all the kids are on their own I have little need for a truck. Small SUV's are fine for me as a bird hunting vehicle. The dog rides where he wants in side. Some dislike that but that is how I do it. Anyone riding with me that does not like it can find their own ride.

 I agree.  Mine ride in the back seat.

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Dogwood
On 5/2/2020 at 6:58 AM, Setter58 said:

Since I got such great feedback on my first post.  Thought it might be worthwhile to hear thoughts on a hunting rig.  Kinda general question and realize this might not be the typical question on here so apologies if this is the wrong place to post...

 

Currently running a 4 door 4wd ford truck, keep the dog in back seat in kennel.  In the past I have liked having the bed for deer hunting/hauling dirty stuff but in reality it sits empty on most days.  My brother wants to buy my truck which most likely means I take my wifes AWD ford explorer and she gets something new.  Would be smarter for my daily commuter and I think I can prob make it work for my hunting rig since I plan to be focused on birds primarily this fall. 

 

I guess I could get one of those hitch platforms for hauling extra/dirty stuff behind the SUV.  Does anyone on here use one of those and how does it work for them?  I can just imagine something important falling off.

 

Any thoughts on preferences for a SUV or truck?  What am I not thinking about?

So whats the verdict?

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406dn

I've had all sorts of 4x4 rigs over the last 35 years. 

 

85 K5 Chevy Blazer. It was the most unreliable rig ever,, but if you chained up all 4 wheels, there weren't many places you could not go. At the time, I was into big game hunting. IT was great at it's job, but the engine was a dog and it needed one repair or another often.

 

95 Chevy Suburban I had shifted to bird hunting. It was to my mind as close to a perfect bird hunting rig as anyone could ask for.

 

05 K3500 Chevy Duramax. It did not take many times towing a horse trailer with a half ton Suburban to convince me to get something that could handle towing horses. I still have this truck and it has been a great truck for hauling horse, slide in camper and all that entails. Now it is in semiretirement. 

 

17 K3500 Chevy Duramax. Anything nice I could say about the 05 can be said in spades with the 17. This time I got a crew cab, so I can't turn around in a tight spot like the old Blazer. But the back seat area hold two kennels easily, without removing the rear seat. Hauling three horses with a slide in camper in the bed is child's play for the truck. It should take me to the finish line if it holds up like the 05.

 

If I was totally a bird hunter, I'd go Suburban. For a mixture of big game, field trials, bird hunting, and horses,, a diesel pick up is an easy decision.  

 

 

I forgot to mention the 83 Subaru Wagon that was a great car. I hauled a cow elk home in it. Just folded down the back seat in slid her in.

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Dakota Dogman

For purely a hunting rig, the IH Scout was the best! Still is in my book. 

 

But I am in the dog rides shotgun crowd. 

 

Had plenty of deer and speed goats tied on top over the years. That would be trickier with a 200lb deer, but the Black hills bucks never get that big. 

 

I am part of the SUV crowd.

 

God bless,

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Setter58

Verdict- probably going to go with the SUV if my brother and I can figure out a fair price. If we can't then it was not meant to be...

 

thanks all

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Setter58

One specific question I have- I am supposed to be in the Maine northwoods (first time) in Oct.  How bad are the roads?  With a AWD ford explorer do ok?  Wondering if the low profile of the SUV will be an issue...

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dogrunner
6 minutes ago, Setter58 said:

One specific question I have- I am supposed to be in the Maine northwoods (first time) in Oct.  How bad are the roads?  With a AWD ford explorer do ok?  Wondering if the low profile of the SUV will be an issue...

Get good tires. 

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UplandHntr

Hercules Terra Trac II A/T - LT Tires

Great tires for me on my Suburban

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steveziv

Since I don't want to pay for, insure and store a dedicated hunting rig I need one vehicle that does it all.  Since 95%+ of "it all" is not hunting I chose the comfort, economy and reliability of a modern SUV (Subaru Ascent).  Compared to a pick-up the Ascent gives me third row seating, a conditioned space for the dogs & cargo, better fuel economy, a smaller footprint for parking and a smaller price tag.  Aside from that big open bed a pick up doesn't appeal to me.

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bigjohnsd

USC90HOT011A021001.jpg

I think a man needs a pickup truck. I've been driving pickups since 1982, I've had mini-trucks, Taco's, Nissans, Dodge, Chevy Ford and Ridgelines.

Back in 07, I needed a replacement for a Dodge Durango which was beginning to act like a Lemon.
I drove lots of trucks and had settled on another Chevy when SWMBO pointed out an 06 Ridgeline on a friend's lot. I had truthfully never considered a Ridgeline before that moment of illumination. I went and drove it and found that it met my needs. The 06 had only 29,000 miles on it had all the bells and whistles I wanted plus a sunroof I could have cared less about. I loved the Trunk under the bed. The back seat was big enough to fit a full-size person, something the King Cab pickups I'd had in the past really weren't good at doing. My friend cut me a hell of a deal and I bought it.

Fast Forward - after many trips to California to assist my aging parents my Ridgeline was approaching 200,000 miles and needed Timing Belt Replacement #2. My friend once again came to my rescue, this time he had an 07 Ridgeline with only 36,000 miles. It also had all the bells and whistles, being familiar with the truck, in general, I had no problem buying another, it just fit my needs. Somewhere around this time, I re-discovered motorcycling, I soon learned that my Roadstar Warrior would go into the back if I put it in cockeyed and strengthened the tailgate retention mechanism.  I Later I discovered that my FJR would also go into the truck as well using the same mechanism.

About this time, 2013, I bought a 24' travel trailer weighing 3700# dry. The Ridgeline is rated to tow 5000#, it towed the trailer fine but worked pretty hard to maintain speed (4500-5000 rpm) to maintain 55-60 mph going uphill. By this time Ridgeline #2 had 110,000 miles and needed to have tires and a new timing belt/water pump ($1,500+).

I had driven a Ford F-150 with the 3.5 Ecoboost V6 and really loved it so I bought one brand new at the end of the '13 model year (they switched from steel to aluminum bodies in 14) really cheap. I loved the F150, fast powerful, SuperCrew cab plenty roomy, a better tow vehicle but it just wasn't the Ridgeline. Three years and 65,000 miles later I traded the F150 for a used '17 F150 with 12,000 miles, same basic truck but equipped with a 10-speed auto instead of the 4-speed auto in the first F150. Did everything the first F150 did but even better and got an honest average 20mpg when not towing. The front differential began making noise and the dealer discovered that it had never been filled with oil at the factory, Ford fixed it. As I approached 50,000 miles, nearing the end of the powertrain warranty, the front end was again making noise. I put a lot of miles on F150 #2 going back and forth to Sioux Falls SD for SWMBO Breast Cancer treatments in 2018, SWMBO didn't like either of the F150's as she thought they were intimidating to drive, too tall, too big, too much hood made her uncomfortable.

I liked the look of the second-generation Ridgeline, looked more "trucklike", had some powertrain improvements, towed better, and my friend with the car dealership had a '19 Ridgeline with only 7,200 miles. So, F150 #2 became Ridgeline #3.

The Gen 2 Ridgeline is about half-car/half-truck, rides like a Honda Accord, the Under-the-bed -trunk just swallows a ton of stuff. The AWD works well, I pulled a big 4WD F350 diesel out of a mudhole last fall, then drove through the mudhole while he watched in amazement. It sits a little lower than the Gen 1 Ridgeline but goes everywhere I have any business going. Best of all the fuel mileage is in the low to mid 20's, an improvement over the Gen 1 Ridgelines of about 4-6 mpg and an improvement over F150#2 of about 4 mpg. The Gen2 Ridgeline does tow better than the Gen 1, I attribute this to the better 6-speed transmission and 10 more horsepower. I know it will go 200,000 miles and as I'm not making frequent trips to California any more it should last a long time. I guess it just suits my needs at the moment. And, my BMW fits in the rear with my new auxiliary tailgate support mechanism. 

Truth be told, my dog usually rides upfront in the rear seat on a pad.  I always carry his kennel, two large kennels fit side by side in the back with room for a cooler and a water jug in front of the kennels.  The unique side opening or fold down tailgate is very convenient. I load all my hunting stuff in the under-the-bed Trunk in September and i'm always ready to go.

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Ol'Forester

If you use a SUV how do you handle hot weather concerning the dogs in the vehicle while you are in restaurant, store etc? I keep my truck locked (windows up) due to guns, gps, etc.

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Talon1

I had a 05 Ford Expedition. Great vehicle, but felt really limited on the amount of space needed for dogs, gear, camping gear, etc.

I gave it to my daughter and bought a 08 F150. I put an ARE camper shell on it. I built a platform out of plywood in the bed. I put my dog crates on top of that (I can get three in there by turning them sideways, and  I keep masonry tubs underneath to store my gear. I can also sleep in the back of my truck pretty comfortably. I also have the side windows one the ARE, so I can reach things easily throughout the back of the truck.

I like the truck much better. When it's hot weather, it's tough to keep the dogs cool in the SUV (when you are parked), but in the truck, I can find shade, and open both of the side windows on the truck cap and keep the dogs pretty comfortable.

I also like the fact that the bad smells (wet dogs, wet waders, , dog farts, etc.) are in the back of the truck, and not in the back of the SUV. The Expedition got pretty smelly over time. 

Also, most of the newer SUVs are pretty much luxury cars with 4WD. I rented a new Suburban recently, and while it was a great ride, it was not offroad ready. 

 

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Curt

I've owned and used both suv's and pickup's for hunting and for my money I'll take the truck.  To me the truck is a much more versatile vehicle even if your dog never gets sick or skunked while out hunting or training.

Generally a lot more usable space as well unless you're driving a suburban.

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