3 Ways Yamaha Can Improve Your Hunting In 2016

Cover more ground faster. Carry more gear. Hunt more efficiently than ever. For 2016 Yamaha is offering several new vehicles that can help you achieve your hunt goals.

by Mark Melotik

HuntStand Pro Contributor MORE FROM Mark

From hauling big groups in comfort and style, to ensuring ultimate mobility for your next solo hunt adventure, Yamaha has the machines and accessories aimed at making some epic 2016 hunt memories.

RickWolvMY16006 600Cover more ground faster. Carry more gear. Hunt more efficiently than ever. For 2016 Yamaha is offering several new vehicles that can help you achieve your hunt goals on the lands you frequent, but this progressive company has also developed machines to fit very specific individual needs.

Using an ATV for hunting is something all outdoorsmen should consider, and if your recreational budget has prevented you from making the leap in the past, more good news looms. Yamaha has some new price points this year aimed at conserving your hard-earned cash, but this company is all about delivering big value for the buck. Practicality rules. There’s no denying that the smaller footprint of an ATV (in comparison to pickups and full-size SUVs) allows you to navigate both tighter trails, and the rougher sections of your hunt grounds. None of us is getting any younger, and these vehicles will also allow you to haul downed game and gear more easily and safely. ATVs can also be the answer for regular property patrols that can thwart trespassers, or maybe, be the catalyst for quickly and easily developing helpful access paths on brand-new leases.

RickKodiakMY16-Extra 600When outdoorsmen need trustworthy, safe mobility, few things can deliver like a quality ATV. Here are three good reasons Yamaha can positively impact your hunting success this season.

RickKodiakMY1601 600YAMAHA KODIAK
Yamaha has many versatile vehicles in its 2016 lineup but few offer more bang for your discretionary hunting buck than the Kodiak 700. Not only is this Kodiak a tough 4WD fuel-injected machine, but it also uses the very same 708cc gas engine as its more-expensive sporty utility sibling, the Yamaha Grizzly. The Kodiak, however, has been “detuned” a bit to soften the burst of power that hunters do not particularly need, for effectively traversing active hunting land. Still, the Kodiak 700 does pack an impressive 1,300-pound towing ability, with plenty of low- to mid-range grunt. And because it sports both useful front and rear racks, outdoorsmen will find this unit’s onboard carry capacity is maximized. Carrying more gear is more better. 

RickKodiakMY1602 600The Kodiak 700 is offered in a base as well as more-expensive packages that include power steering and a variety of decorative extras. Two key features that make the Kodiak different from the Grizzly are the Kodiak’s lower seat (for easier on and off) as well as lower handlebars, as more working riders will prefer a sitting position as opposed to standing when riding. The Kodiak’s bars are also swept back towards the rider for even more comfort when spending long stretches in the saddle. Repeatedly getting on and off the ATV to operate gates, or check feeders or trail cameras, can definitely influence your workload stress, and this is where the Kodiak’s two main features will shine. 

RickKodiakMY1603 600The value price point of the base Kodiak is $6,999, with the comparable Grizzly coming in at $8,899. If you want to supe up your Kodiak by adding power steering as well as a third handlebar-mounted headlight and a digital gauge cluster, these upgrades will set you back about an additional $1,300—still under the price of the Grizzly. Power steering is not a “must- have” on the Kodiak, as my testing has shown it does quite well without it, but given this choice with any machine, the ease of steering and stress relief the EPS model adds is very desirable. The Kodiak delivers a stable ride on many types of trail from rough to hard pack. For those times when the weather or terrain get really bad, Yamaha has included a lever-actuated 4WD engagement on the left side of the bars. This feature is not only very simple to use, but the solid mechanical design (versus a more-expensive servo operated system) helps keep the Kodiak’s bottom line in the black.

RickWolvMY16-001 600WOLVERINE R-SPEC
Exploration can be a key ingredient of most any hunting adventure, and Yamaha has built a vehicle specifically for finding (or blazing) new trails. The Wolverine R-Spec is built for getting into the type of tight or difficult terrain that calls to many adventurous hunters. The powerful 708cc fuel-injected four-stroke engine, coupled with lower overall CG profile of this machine, allow it to go many places where typical UTVs and their higher center of gravity, tend to struggle. The high-clearance Wide-Arc suspension arms of the Wolverine create a “cavity” beneath the machine that allows it to dodge larger terrain obstacles (such as huge mountain stone and deep ruts). Also helpful are the full skid plates mounted beneath the Wolverine that allow this smartly built unit to literally glide over obstacles that would pose problems for lesser machines. 

RickWolvMY16002 600

Speaking of rough terrain, the Yamaha Wolverine features a long travel suspension to help absorb the hard hits on the trail, a design that drops out farther than any other comparable model. This allows all four wheels to stay in touch with the terrain for just that much more of a confidence-inspiring ride; it’s tough to describe unless you experience it. Yamaha’s On-Command 4WD system also keeps the wheels turning in typical wet or muddy conditions, as well as those times when climbing through very rocky or root-filled terrain may be the only way through your property. Through it all the Wolverine’s 26-inch Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires deliver positive grip and traction in the harshest of conditions; this is the tire of choice for many who need the most-dependable tread for their machines. 

RickWolvMY16003 600

Even the briefest of glances at the Yamaha Wolverine showcases its well-thought-out bodylines and eye-catching tubular Exo-Skeletal chassis. The unique chassis is designed to protect the plastics and other more-sensitive areas of the machine, which makes it an even more rugged hunter. The bed of the Wolverine is tapered from front to rear to help navigate those seriously tight areas and off-camber trails. With this smart design, even when side-hilling through tight trees you will be less likely to scrub the bodywork off of your investment. More smart additions include comfortable high-back bolstered seating, complete with three-point seat belts designed to keep you and your passenger safe on off-road adventures.RickVikingMY16001 600YAMAHA VIKING & VIKING VI
For veteran outdoorsmen who might be searching for an “all-around” hunting and utility machine, Yamaha’s Viking and Viking VI are both worth a strong look. The 2016 Viking seats three across its single row, with three-point safety harnesses as well as head rests and molded individual seating for all passengers. It’s obvious that comfort was a key goal of the Viking; Yamaha took the center seat and smartly positioned it rearward enough to allow the shoulders of that seat’s passenger to ride behind the others. The result is plenty of elbow room in the cab for everyone. Also, passing through the cabin from either side of the vehicle is a smooth and easy process, with low flooring that also provides plenty of room for the largest pac boots. Shoulder bolsters for the driver and right-side passenger add protection during the ride.

RickVikingMY1602 600With a large dump bed capable of handling 600 pounds, and towing capacities in the 1,500-pound range, the Viking can make easy work of hauling even the largest of game animals, or maybe, as shown above, pulling a weighty fencing trailer. Yamaha’s 696cc fuel-injected engine is the heart of the Viking, and this engine uses Yamaha’s Ultramatic V-belt transmission with all-wheel engine braking to effectively put the power to the ground. Add in the dual hydraulic disc brakes on the Viking both front and rear, and stopping those heavy loads gets much easier as well. Carrying other critical smaller cargo such as hunting accessories, or snacks for the stand, is handled by the Viking’s roomy glove box. There are also smart accessories like gun scabbards and cargo boxes for the bed, to haul and protect more-sensitive gear. 

RickVikingVIMY16003 600The Yamaha Viking VI utilizes all of the aforementioned features of the original Viking, yet is a real people mover that offers outfitters or family hunt camps a way to haul a half-dozen full-size hunters to the woods comfortably and efficiently. Seating on the Viking VI’s second row is elevated “stadium style” for a clear view, and more smart details include the hollowed head rests and rear passenger grab bars that offer increased safety and peace of mind in rough terrain. The load capacity is the same as the Viking at 600 pounds for the steel cargo box, and a hefty 1,500 pounds of towing capability. The 9.7-gallon fuel tank allows the Viking VI to run for many miles loaded with hunters, making this versatile vehicle a smart investment for hunting camps of all sizes, even when the goal is mobilizing the crew for planting food plots or other habitat improvement.



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