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By Addison Edmonds, Founder, GUNNER

Ive been fortunate to spend a lot of time outside duck hunting and have managed to turn this passion into a career through GUNNER. Im always looking for an opportunity to make the time I spend hunting more fun, more accessible and figure out ways to be more efficient so Im spending less time hauling gear around and more time hunting. This year, I teamed up with Can-Am, Ducks Unlimited and a few amazing partners to put a Can-Am Defender to work. We are accessorizing the vehicle to turn it into the ultimate waterfowl machine, and the best part about it, one lucky hunter will be able to win this fully accessorized vehicle at the Duck Unlimited Expo in 2021.

When waterfowl hunting, there is a fine line between bringing all of the gear you need without bringing too much. Using a Can-Am Defender for waterfowling this season has been a crucial tool giving me enough room to bring all of the decoys, dog stands, dog kennels, guns, blind bags, brush, etc. I usually find myself duck hunting in groups of three to six people and using a Defender versus using a traditional four-wheeler saves critical time before daylight by eliminating multiple trips from the truck to the blind to haul everybody and their gear along with bringing a dog or two.

Where we hunt in Mississippi, ducks don't like to land on easily accessible, hard-dry ground they like water and with water comes mud. There is simply no way around it, you are typically not killing ducks if you are not making a trip through some pretty muddy, icy or rough terrain. The Can-Am Defender is big enough and powerful enough to haul your mud boat behind you so you can get to that extra secret spot that will give you an advantage over other hunters.

Safety is number one when I am out hunting, and I feel that using something like a Defender over an ATV provides a safer mode of passage to and from a hunting spot. Four-wheelers can roll over and dont have seat belts or doors to help keep everybody secure. Not to mention you can strap a Gunner kennel in the back of a Defender, so your retriever is safe too. The safety features are especially important when taking kids to duck hunt. Seatbelts and doors give me the confidence that our kids are being transported to and from the blind in the safest manner possible. It also doesnt hurt to have a windshield to keep you warm on those extra cold days.

With a four-wheeler, I typically wouldnt drive in the actual flooded fields with all of my gear, I would park on the levee and drag all of the gear a couple of hundred yards to the blind. With the Can-Am, I drive straight out into what typically is around two to three feet of water so I can unload my gear (and kids) safely without wearing myself out. It also helps with breaking up ice or muddying the water to look like an actively used hole, you can cover significantly more ground in the Can-Am.

Perhaps best of all, Im able to get to new locations with confidence that I wont get stuck and stranded in the middle of nowhere when scouting and exploring for new spots. The front and back winch gives me the confidence that as long as I have enough fuel, we are not walking back to the trucks.

I think the biggest take away from using the Can-Am is that it is 100 percent more fun. Maybe because of the convenience it brings or maybe because I remember how much more work it would be when using an ATV or walking to spots but cranking up the radio behind a windshield on our way out and back from a hunt always makes it a better time.

With side-by-sides youre able to customize them to meet your needs, this year weve been working with some great partners in addition to Can-Am accessories to outfit this vehicle into a dedicated waterfowl hunting machine. Here are just a few to get you started:

  • Storage Quack Racks on the front, top roof basket, and rear. When you can haul more gear, that gives you a huge advantage, being able to strap all of the gear and decoys down makes it a huge pain relief.
  • Lighting Stingray LED has decked out the rig with some of the highest quality LED lights in the industry. When I pull up to our spot and turn on all of the LEDs on the sides of the racks and the light that points at the bed of the Defender, you dont even need a flashlight or headlamp, it lights up everything.
  • Off-Road Performance A good quality set of tires and wheels, we are using Fuel UTV wheels with 32 EFX MotoVator Tires. A nice set of oversized tires will give you that extra ground clearance to keep you moving. Additionally, these tires impressed me by how well they performed in mud while still providing a smooth and stable ride riding at higher speeds on gravel roads
  • Rescue I made sure to have the S3 Front and Rear Bumpers from Can-Am with winches installed. You never know when you get too deep and need to winch yourself out of a hairy situation, having a front and rear winch means you can (usually) make it out of those situations.
  • Hunting I duck hunt. A lot. Lifetime Decoys have become an integral part of my spread, so four dozen mallard decoys are part and parcel with the build. Pro tip: these decoys make a great trailer block if you find yourself needing to swap trucks with a buddy while hauling this Can-Am in the middle of nowhere.
  • Dog Safety Weve included the best kennel on the market so your four-legged hunting companion can travel in overbuilt, Made in the USA safety: a Mossy Oak edition G1Intermediate kennel and tie-down straps. And since inclement weather is a guarantee in the pursuit of waterfowl, we also included our All-Weather Kit in Mossy Oak Bottomland.
  • Details Can-Am Half Doors custom dipped in Mossy Oak DU Bottomland. As mentioned above, the added safety and confidence these doors provide while driving at higher speeds down county roads cant be understated. Pair that with a phenomenal and nostalgic camo pattern like Original Bottomland, and youve got the best-looking rig out there.
    • Oversized Can-Am fender flares, without these, your rig and all of your decoys will all be uniformly brown by the time you get to your spot. You need to protect your gear from the mud with an oversized set of fender flares
    • Glass windshield with windshield wiper, this one is overlooked but I have never duck hunted in any UTV without usually needing to stop and clean off the windshield. If you are following another vehicle, they will cover your windshield with mud but even just driving in the rain or fog, a set of windshield wipers are worth their weight in gold.
    • Rearview mirrors when youre loaded down with four to five hunters and all the gear to hunt these are crucial for backing up without the hassle of a buddy waving you back. Not to mention the added road safety for dirt and county roads.
    • Soundbar yeah, its the ultimate waterfowl rig, but for the rest of the year, a Can-Am is an integral part of our familys access to the outdoors. Music makes these times all the more fun.

Follow along through Ducks Unlimited to see how we keep adding to this vehicle and for an opportunity to win this machine through the Ducks Unlimited Expo at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, June 25-27.

Photos courtesy of Aaron Davis and GUNNER

This content is brought to you by Can-Am as part of a Sponsored Content program. Ducks Unlimited played no role in the creation of this content.