The Mobile Waterfowler

A lineup of the latest vehicles, boats, and motors for hunters on the go

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Photo © GaryKramer.net

 

By Gary Koehler

Whether by land or water, modern waterfowlers have the opportunity to venture almost anywhere with confidence and in relative comfort thanks to the wide variety of vehicles, boats, motors, and other equipment available today. Our sporting forefathers never had it so good. Increased power, durability, and reliability are the hallmarks of today's hunting machines. With all the choices available you're sure to find whatever you need, whether you simply want to transport decoys to the blind or have an itch to explore wild places. There's also an option to fit nearly any budget, if you do your homework.

To help you get started, here's a handy guide to many of the latest models from the industry's most trusted brands. Whether you acquire a vehicle or boat, always make safety your number-one priority. Give your new equipment a test run before opening day and make sure you are comfortable with its operation. And have fun out there.


UTILITY VEHICLES

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a. Yamaha Viking VI EPS

New from Yamaha, a promotional partner of Ducks Unlimited, is the Viking VI EPS. This side-by-side comfortably seats six. The Viking VI is powered by a 686cc liquid-cooled, fuel-injected engine. Other features include an Ultramatic transmission with dual-range drive and reverse, a three-position on-command four-wheel-drive system that allows for quick transfer from two- to four-wheel drive, and a fully locked differential four-wheel drive. The rear cargo storage area accommodates loads of up to 600 pounds. www.yamahamotorsports.com

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b. Polaris Ranger XP 1000 EPS

Polaris's Ranger XP 1000 side-by-sides are some of the hardest-working UTVs on the market today. The top-of-the-line Ranger XP 1000 EPS is available in a premium Hunter Edition, which features Polaris Pursuit camouflage. This fine ride is powered by a 999cc electronic-fuel-injected twin-cylinder engine. With Polaris's on-demand all-wheel-drive system, all four wheels engage almost instantly when the vehicle needs more forward traction—and when it doesn't, the system reverts back to two-wheel drive. The chassis and suspension are also built for demanding sport and utility use. www.polaris.com

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c. Honda Pioneer 1000

Honda's popular Pioneer 1000 side-by-side lineup has received several major upgrades this year. These versatile utility vehicles are powered by a 999cc parallel-twin engine and feature the beltless Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), which can be shifted through its six speeds either automatically or manually. The flagship 2018 Pioneer 1000 Limited Edition touts an I-4WD brake traction-control system and automatic DCT. Meanwhile, the adaptable Pioneer 700 remains a great value, with the Deluxe version offering a fully automatic transmission with steering-column-mounted paddle shifters that provide the option of manual shifting. powersports.honda.com

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d. Textron Off Road Stampede

The road less traveled is now manageable with the Stampede series side-by-sides from Textron Off Road. The Stampede 4x4 EPS has an extended cab with 24 cubic feet of storage. This vehicle also features an 80hp EFI engine, on-demand all-wheel drive, and four-wheel double A-arm suspension. Those seeking an electric side-by-side may want to check out Textron's Recoil 4x4, which has a 72-volt electric drivetrain, optional four-wheel independent suspension, and full-time four-wheel drive. www.textronoffroad.com

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e. Can-Am Defender

The roster of specialized vehicles just got longer at Can-Am. The company recently launched its Can-Am Defender Mossy Oak Hunting Edition. This side-by-side features Mossy Oak Break-Up Country camo, a 72hp engine, double Kolpin Stronghold gun boots, tool holders, a windshield, a full underbody skid plate, and more. The package is impressive for those seeking a high-end, do-it-all machine. can-am.brp.com

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f. John Deere Gator XUV825i

Built for advanced off-road performance and all-day riding comfort, the John Deere Gator XUV825i offers superior terrain capability for the outdoorsman. Its precision-engineered drivetrain system fully utilizes engine power, optimizing acceleration, hauling, towing, and hill-climbing capabilities. This Gator is powered by a 50hp three-cylinder, liquid-cooled, four-cycle gasoline engine. The low center of gravity enhances stability and handling at higher speeds. This vehicle also features an on-demand four-wheel-drive system and deluxe cargo box. www.deere.com


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Photo © Bill Konway

Clam Outdoors Decoy Trailers

Having a difficult time hauling large numbers of decoys with your ATV? Clam Outdoors provides a solution with its line of trailers that can be hitched to the back of a variety of vehicles. The HD 1500 TA, for example, has a 1,500-pound load capacity. The tub is made of high-impact polyethylene on a tubular steel frame. A number of models are available in either single- or tandem-axle designs. www.clamoutdoors.com


BOATS

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a. War Eagle Boats

The official aluminum boat partner of Ducks Unlimited, War Eagle Boats continues to produce a wide variety of all-welded boats built tough enough to withstand the rigors of waterfowl hunting. Among the newest additions to War Eagle's lineup is the 750 Gladiator. This 17-foot boat is 50 inches wide across the bottom and is designed specifically to be paired with a mud motor. The Gladiator features a special "duckbill" bow, extra rear flotation, front storage, Mossy Oak Bottomland camo, and a variety of other custom options. Another option is War Eagle's 961 Blackhawk, which is built on an 18-degree V-hull and measures more than 19 feet in length. The Blackhawk can handle various outboard sizes and is available with either a center or side console. Keep in mind, too, that War Eagle can customize their boats with a wide range of accessories, from livewells to gun boxes. www.wareagleboats.com

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b. Tracker Grizzly Utility Boats

Tracker Grizzly utility boats, available at Bass Pro Shops, range from basic to completely tricked out. The standard models feature a traditional forest-green powder-coat finish and welded-in, foam-filled interior side walls for a quiet ride and structural strength. The compact versions are ideal for small lakes and rivers. These johnboats are available in step-up sizes with all-welded modified V-hulls to serve multiple purposes. There are plenty of options available—from camouflage finishes and console steering to gun boxes, lighting, and much more—for those seeking a more customized ride. www.basspro.com 

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c. Xpress Boats Hunting Series

The Hunting Series from Xpress Boats continues to grow. The Tactical lineup features 16- and 18-foot models. The larger model is rated for outboards up to 60hp and the smaller version accommodates outboards up to 50hp. The company also offers the Bayou, DBX, and the original HD Duck Boat in various lengths. All boats are made of welded aluminum and constructed to take on difficult conditions. Xpress camo paint with Xtreme coat liner is available on each model. www.xpressboats.com 

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d. Hobie Mirage Outback Camo Package

The Hobie Mirage Outback Camo Package has everything a waterfowler could want in a kayak. This stealthy, pedal-driven boat offers hands-free propulsion in both forward and reverse and has an adjustable reclining seat with three height options. Made of rotomolded polyethylene, this 12-foot kayak weighs 99 pounds fully rigged, making it easily transportable. Better still, it's available in a camo paint scheme. www.hobiefishing.com

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e. MoMarsh Fat Back 7.5

MoMarsh has filled out its duck boat roster with the addition of the Fat Back 7.5. Measuring 13 feet long, this layout boat can accommodate a hunter, dog, and gear. The company widened the stern to create improved stability and flotation, which means you'll remain steady while poling or paddling to your favorite hot spot. The Fat Back is rated for a 7.5hp motor and features a removable transom that also reverses if desired. The shallow draft allows for deployment in marshy areas. www.momarsh.com

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f. Diamondback Airboats

In general, airboats are big, powerful, and capable of going just about anywhere, regardless of water depth. Diamondback Airboats offers a complete line of watercraft that fit the needs of waterfowlers and fishermen alike. Camouflage paint schemes are available, as well as a variety of engine sizes and seating arrangements. These boats also come with a host of additional options, including custom lighting, GPS, marine radios, storage systems, and more. www.diamondbackairboats.com

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g. Lowe Roughneck 17 DT

The Lowe Roughneck 17 DT is built for duck hunting. This boat features all-welded aluminum construction. The spacious floor plan, which includes a winged rear bench seat and extended front deck, provides plenty of room for passengers, decoys, and other gear. The Roughneck is rated for outboards of up to 60hp and is available in Mossy Oak Break-Up and Mossy Oak Shadow Grass camouflage finishes. Those interested in dual-purpose boats should note that an 18-gallon aerated livewell is a standard feature. www.loweboats.com


OUTBOARD AND MUD MOTORS

a. Suzuki Marine DF 2.5

Not everyone needs a massive outboard to pursue waterfowl. Suzuki Marine recently unveiled this diminutive 2.5hp four-stroke engine that will provide power for your watercraft on small bodies of water. This motor is currently available with a 15-inch shaft. The DF 2.5 is a single-cylinder engine with a forward/neutral gear shift and 360-degree steering. Weighing just 29 pounds, it's easy to carry. www.suzukimarine.com

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b. Honda Marine BF20

Those who own 12- to 16-foot boats may want to give Honda Marine's new 20hp outboard a look. At just over 100 pounds, this four-stroke engine is among the lightest outboards in its class. The unit is equipped with an electric start, power tilt, and either a 15- or 20-inch shaft. A PGM ignition and long tiller handle are standard features. marine.honda.com

c. Mercury Marine 115 Command

Thrust FourStroke Waterfowlers who regularly hunt on big water are often in need of plenty of outboard horsepower to safely ply treacherous seas. Mercury Marine recently unveiled a whopper with its 115 Command Thrust FourStroke engine. This 115hp unit is packed with incredible power but weighs less (359 pounds) than competitors in its class. Features include a compact four-cylinder single overhead cam engine. Power tilt and trim are standard and both 20- and 25-inch shafts are available. www.mercurymarine.com

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d. Evinrude E-TEC Jet Series

Not all outboards are capable of traversing shallow water. Throw rocks and stumps into the mix and propeller problems are likely imminent. Evinrude may have an answer with its E-TEC Jet series of outboards, including 40hp, 60hp, and 105hp models. The 60hp provides shallow-water performance and substantial power for appropriately sized watercraft. This unit features electric start, Trac-1 power trim and tilt, and a 20-inch shaft. www.evinrude.com

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e. Gator-Tail GTR XD 37HP EFI

The official mud motor partner of Ducks Unlimited, Gator-Tail boasts a strong lineup of belt-driven surface-drive engines capable of conquering the toughest conditions. Mud, weeds, stumps—they're no problem for a Gator-Tail. The newest model is the GTR XD 37HP EFI, featuring electronic shift technology. Powered by a 37hp Vanguard marine engine, this powerhouse was built with high-end performance in mind. Standard features are many, including a smooth ride tiller, tachometer, easy-access control box, 5,000-pound power trim actuator, and planetary reverse transmission. This is the complete package, built for performance, handling, and safety. www.gator-tail.com

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f. Go-Devil 6.5hp Vanguard IntekPro Longtail

Founded 40 years ago by Warren Coco, an avid Louisiana waterfowl hunter, Go-Devil turned the duck hunting world on its ear with its innovative means of propulsion—the original mud motor. The company's offerings are far-reaching in terms of motor size, whether surface-drive (four models) or longtail (nine models) designs. These motors are compatible with many different boat sizes and all are capable of traveling to hard-to-reach places. For example, those looking for lots of power in a small package should check out Go-Devil's 6.5hp Vanguard IntekPro Longtail, one of the lightest and most dependable small mud motors available. www.godevil.com

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g. Yamaha Marine F25

Among its eight new outboards for 2017, Yamaha Marine counts a totally revamped midrange 25hp engine that may be an ideal match for your duck hunting or fishing needs. The basic F25 comes with a pull-start and features no-battery-required electronic fuel injection and an all-new single overhead camshaft two-cylinder powerhead. Electronic start kits are optional. Yamaha reduced the weight of its previous engine of this size by 25 percent, with this version weighing 126 pounds, making it the lightest 25hp outboard on the water. Features include power tilt and trim and an external oil draining system. www.yamahaoutboards.com