Bikes And Bows
Mountain bikes grow in popularity for hunter transport
By: Michael Roberts Photography: Stephen Ironside
For Fayetteville deer and turkey hunter Richie Lamb, using a mountain bike to navigate the old logging roads and forest paths ubiquitous to the region just makes good sense. “I mainly hunt on land where there are roads but no ATVs are allowed,” he says. “And even if motor vehicles were allowed, the bike is still an easier and more accessible option.”
Richie started using his bike to scout for hunting spots about three years ago, and when he discovered how quickly and quietly he could move through the woods on two wheels, he incorporated the bike into his main hunts. “I hunt about 100 days a year, and using the bike has allowed me to cover more ground very efficiently. It takes less effort and time to get where I’m going, which leaves me with more hours to actually hunt.”
In addition to the speed factor of biking versus being on foot, Richie discovered another added bonus: less time moving from spot to spot means less sweat, which not only leaves him refreshed and alert for tracking game, it also cuts down on sweat, meaning less scent to alert prey to his presence. “It’s especially useful for hunting turkeys,” says Richie. “With deer hunting, you’re often in the same spot for hours, but with turkeys, a bike lets me go to where the birds are moving.” And unlike vehicles with loud motors, the relative silence of biking allows his ears to remain attuned to the sounds of the woods, making it easier to locate the notoriously elusive birds.
Transporting rifles, bows or other hunting equipment is something that many hunters might consider an obstacle when using a mountain bike for hunting, but potential bike hunters shouldn’t let that stop them, Richie says. “Cogburn Outdoors is a company that builds racks for bikes for all your hunting equipment. They even build bikes designed specifically for hunters, so you can either modify your existing bike or start off with a complete kit.”
But what’s a hunter to do to get harvested animals out of the woods? Richie admits this can be an issue, especially when it comes to larger animals like deer. “With turkeys, it’s not as much of a problem. I’m looking into buying a bike trailer for deer, which will make things easier. The other option is to simply field dress the animal and take back the meat, head and hide. That cuts down on what you have to carry. For now, I have a push cart that I keep on my truck. I get the deer back to the road, walk to get the cart, then push everything back to where I parked.”
As cycling continues to grow in popularity here in Arkansas, expect to see more people like Richie Lamb incorporate their bikes into new areas like hunting. From a conservation standpoint, bicycles make a far smaller impact on the environment than ATVs, keeping shared-use lands in better shape for everyone in the Natural State who is interested in enjoying our outdoor bounty. We live in a time where bikes can be custom-designed to suit nearly any need—which means there’s something on two wheels for you, no matter what game you’re chasing.