Utilizing a UTV For Deer Food Plots
September 14, 2015
To attract and keep deer on our land, we tilled and planted about 5 acres of our 400-acre property. We used a Bad Boy Buggy Ambush iS 4X4 and a Plotmaster Hunter 300 plow-seeder to change grassy fields to rich forage for does, fawns and hopefully bucks.
The BBB (MSRP, $14,699) is a hybrid gas-electric UTV. The two-passenger model we tried out has a 28hp 720cc air-cooled V-Twin gas powertrain on the rear axle and a 48-volt AC electric drivetrain on the front axle. You can use them independently for two-wheel-drive or together to send power to all four wheels.
This good-looking vehicle has a 1,200-pound tow rating and had no problem towing the 616-pound Plotmaster, plus 50 pounds of seed. The Plotmaster has no power-take-off (PTO) so it depends on the horsepower and torque of the towing vehicle to help its two rows of discs dig in and turn soil.
A few weeks earlier, we had cut and spread glyphosate on our food plots, but we waited a week or two too long, and grasses were beginning to grow again. So it was a tough row to hoe, literally, for both the vehicle and the Plotmaster.
If we had not cut and killed the grasses, we're not sure the BBB would have had enough power or torque to drag that Plotmaster around while it dug deep into the ground.
See Dr. James Kroll explain why planting cool season food plots is vital to success
You can really waste a lot of time on a food plot if you have to keep going over the same ground to get your soil ready for seed. Luckily, both the BBB and Plotmaster got it done.
In the past, we've tried various UTV implements on our property with various levels of success. But the Plotmaster (MSRP $4,499) performed above our expectations. This model is the smallest of their products: just 38 inches wide.
It's made for a UTV of at least 300cc. It's built tough with heavy gauge steel tubing. It needs only a one-point hitch, and has an electric seeder system, electric lift, and cultipacker.
We have some very rocky soil and this implement took a beating without failing in any way. Part of that could be the quality steel of the discs, and also the fact that there are two gangs of discs rather than one lineup.
In the end, where we thought we could never have a plot because of hard, rocky soil, we now have lush clover and brassicas, ready for bucks.
After we put away the Plotmaster for the season, we continued to use the Bad Boy Buggy for carrying and setting stands, checking trail cams, and bringing hunters to and from setups.
We found that we really liked the electric mode: It truly was quiet, yet retained power, speed and torque. The gas mode did not have nearly the power of the electric mode, which surprised us. It goes without saying that we creeped and cruised almost exclusively in electric mode.
One very cool aspect of the Ambush iS is that you can run it in electric mode and then switch to gas on the fly and recharge while you ride. That was a big selling point for us, because we liked the idea of running all day in electric yet knowing that we could always recharge anywhere and not slow down.
However, charging the batteries took a lot longer than we had anticipated, so we ended up using the louder gas mode often after a long day working or hunting.
But all in all, the Ambush impressed us with its quiet operation and powerful electric mode.
We all loved the convertible bed. It goes from a wide, flat cargo bed (9.6 cubic feet) to a two-passenger bench by just folding the seats up or down. If you are carrying hunters to the stand, you can transport as many as five with this vehicle.
Or, if you're ready to carry a field-dressed buck to bring back to camp, fold up the seats and load up the deer. That's an invaluable option to have in the field.
From plowing and seeding to bringing game to the campfire, the Plotmaster and Ambush iS did what we needed them to do, and that's saying a lot.