by Steve Hickoff

If you're a hardcore waterfowl hunter, taking care of your decoys, gun, calls and, most important, your all-terrain vehicle is a necessity. Here are 10 tips for getting the most out of your ATV investment before, during and after the season.

  1. Keep that battery charged and store it in a place with moderate temperatures. Maine waterfowlers and Mississippi duck hunters face different challenges and should respond accordingly.

  2. During downtime, store your ATV in a storage shed or garage to protect it from dust and moisture. Most of all keeping it out of the elements it's exposed to this enough during the season.

  3. Remember that used oil is your ATV's enemy. Change oil when recommended, along with installing a new filter. Another helpful tip is to allow your engine to run for a little while after you do your maintenance. Your ATV will purr at you for it.

  4. Check all larger hardware parts on your four-wheeled machine slowly and surely. Does anything need to be replaced? Be methodical, like a doctor giving a patient an exam.

  5. Inspect smaller essentials such as the lights, switches, brake levers and especially the spark plug.

  6. Clean moving parts, removing the marsh mud, trail dirt, duck feathers and retriever hair from them, along with lubricating each one.

  7. Turn off the fuel valve and/or drain the fuel tank in the off-season. Don't forget to run the engine to get fuel out of the carburetor.

  8. Consider spraying the brakes and suspension with water dispersant, especially in northern areas where highway salt can do some damage over the hunting season as you travel to and from hunting locations and blinds.

  9. Inspect all nuts and bolts, brake system, drive chain, carburetor idle and throttle every month during use.

  10. Hose down and dry off your ATV after each waterfowl hunt.

Final note: Print this article out and nail it to your garage wall. Take care of your ATV.