Tested: The Hunter-Friendly 2016 Polaris RzR 1000S

Have you ever been inside an ATV dealership, glimpsed all the hot-rod-looking sporty machines and thought, “Yeah, that looks fun, but I need something geared more for hunting."

by Derrek Sigler


When you can combine riding comfort with go-anywhere power and impressive cargo capacity, outdoorsmen everywhere need to take notice.

polaris-2016-3-600Have you ever been inside an ATV dealership, glimpsed all the hot-rod-looking sporty machines and thought, “Yeah, that looks fun, but I need something geared more for hunting.” Well, I’m here to tell you that looks can be deceiving. If you’re an avid hunter, don’t be so quick to dismiss a sporty-looking machine like the new 2016 Polaris RzR 1000S. My testing has shown there are quite a few scenarios where it would be just as good for hunting as a more “utility-type” machine—and some where it far outshines them.

Don’t overlook the idea of comfort when picking out a side-by-side. And I’m not trying to say that other machines aren’t comfortable—most all of them are. There are, however, a few comfort features that you simply can’t overlook. The RzR has 12.25 inches of suspension travel up front, and 13.2 inches in the back. The FOX performance shocks are riding in dual A-arms and soak up just about any obstacle you’ll find. On a recent ride, we drove these machines over fallen trees, through massive ruts, and across crater-sized holes. The suspension handled it all. Add to the mix some highly bolstered seating, and you’ve got a very comfortable ride.

polaris-2016-2-600 A big reason you’ll appreciate the RzR on a hunting adventure is that the handling and suspension seat won’t wear you out as you traverse rough terrain.

All the comfort means that at the end of the day, you’re not going to be as fatigued. Imagine riding back into the hill country to reach your secret deer hunting spot. When you get to the point where you’re ready to hop off the machine and start hiking the last leg, you don’t want to be feeling physically spent. And with some side-by-sides, it certainly happens. It’s the same reason people pay extra for first class when flying. The extra room and comfort pays in the end, when you still have a long day ahead of you.

A lot of us buy a larger-caliber rifle than we really need. Quite often it’s not because we know we need more firepower at the moment, but rather, it’s because of the gun’s “potential” uses we haven’t yet considered. Not to mention, the wise notion that it’s better to have more gun than you need, rather than not enough when you really do need it.  The same can be said about side-by-side engines. The RzR 1000S’ powerplant is one of the biggest, and most-powerful you can get. It pumps out 100 horsepower and can get you from Point A to Point B so fast your watch will have to catch up. It’s impressive, but here’s the kicker— it’s also one of the most-controllable big-bore engines we’ve tested.

polaris-2016-1-600 Trees, rocks, steeps and more—there’s not much that can stop the 2016 Polaris RzR 1000S. The ability to go just about anywhere makes it a great hunting rig.

Regardless of the terrain, the RzR really shined when it came time to go. By this, we mean that it always had power on tap. There was no “lull” when you gave it gas, the GBC Dirt Commander tires found traction anywhere, and we moved. This included some gnarly, steep, washed-out hills of sand and rock. Imagine riding into your area, only to have a massive hill separating you from the valley where you wanted to pitch base camp. What now? Well, you could hike up that hill, hauling all your gear, or take the time to ride around it on a lesser machine. Or you could simply “gas it and go” on the RzR. Which approach would you take? We’d rather go hunting with the RzR.

An interesting side note to having all this power, is that the RzR’s fuel tank holds 9.5 gallons of gas. After riding for 4 solid hours of fairly non-stop action, we barely used one-tenth of a tank of gas. Just one-tenth gallon. That kind of fuel economy is impressive.

When Polaris first released a RzR 1000, it was a beast. Huge shocks, and a wide stance made it most at home in open terrain. The new S model is narrower, at only 60 inches wide, making it far more trail friendly. The suspension, geometry, tires, and overall design make the RzR comfortable in everything from wide-open western country, to the tight wooded hills and mountains of the east. Deep mud is not a problem either, as we got into some seriously thick bogs that would otherwise have had a person wishing they had a winch and six buddies along to help with the drag-out.

The nearly “go-anywhere” appeal of the 1000 doesn’t just refer to the handling. If you’re wondering if you would ever need to travel at speed over terrain, imagine a pronghorn hunt in a state like Wyoming. Need to get ahead of a herd that was blown out of a valley by another hunter? No sweat. How about cruising down logging roads, heading back to a Upper Peninsula deer camp during a beautiful Michigan autumn? Let her rip, tater chip. It can go most anywhere, fast or slow, in open terrain or tight woods, and get you there without draining any extra energy out of you.

The cargo area is generously sized, with multiple tie-down points. It will haul up to 740 pounds of cargo in the 20.7 inches long by 37 inches wide by 7.9-inch-deep cargo bed. This size bed gives you enough room and capacity to haul enough gear for a decent camp, or a nice day trip. Need more cargo capacity? The RzR 1000S has a 1.25-inch receiver hitch and it can tow up to 1,500 pounds. If you need more stuff than that, it might be time to try a helicopter. That’s about the only other ride that can get you into the places a RzR can go.

Overall, if your hunting or fishing trips are a little on the adventurous side, and/or you desire an extremely capable machine that can get you just about anywhere, take a look at a Polaris RzR.  These machines can get you comfortably into places you’d be hard pressed to get into otherwise, and are plain fun for scouting, and other outdoor expeditions. And as an added bonus, during the off season, you can have a lot of fun simply joy-riding. That might help you swallow the $17,999 price tag, or at least keep you from sleeping on the couch. Quite a few hunters are seeing the advantages of going with a sport-based machine, over a strictly utility model. Find out more info at and decide for yourself. Better yet, go to a local dealership and drive one.



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