Are Golf Carts Good For Hunting? (Explained)
I used to think that golf carts were for only golfing, not hunting. Until I stumbled across a group of people that do some pretty crazy stuff to their carts to turn them into hunting carts rather than just plain old golf carts.
I was amazed by the lengths some people will go to convert their carts to better fit their needs. And after doing some research about if golf carts were good for hunting, I found the answer:
Typically, a golf cart will require modifications to make it adequate for hunting, such as off-road tires, wheels, motor and suspension.
In this article, I want to show you a few of the modification needed in order to convert your plain old golf cart into a fully functioning off-roading hunting cart.
Can you make a golf cart into a hunting cart?
For those who are serious about hunting, the idea of using or buying a golf cart of all things to help hunt might seem ludicrous. It all depends how you convert one to fulfill your needs. A golf cart by itself will usually NOT perform up to hunting standards.
However, there are ways you can upgrade it.
If you don’t already have a golf cart you can convert, try finding a used one on Craigslist, Facebook or a similar platform. Shopping used and locally will save you thousands of dollars, as opposed to buying a new hunting buggy straight from a store ( it can go up to $10K!). Don’t worry too much if the cart has seen better days, as converting it will require new parts regardless.
The major parts that will need replacement:
- motor and batteries
- wheels and tires
- lift kit
Your vehicle will need to carry more weight than golf carts are designed to hold. Therefore, replace the standard leaf springs with heavier duty ones. Also, experts recommend installing a lift kit as well to allow smoother passage through rugged terrain.
Tires and Wheels
To compliment the suspension upgrades, consider adding mud tires or ones that can handle all-terrain surfaces. The tire size will depend on the lift kit you choose to install. Don’t forget to replace the wheels as well, as your custom hunting cart will need some made of either black powder coated aluminum or steel.
Such tough equipment will require the appropriate power to match. The cart you’re upgrading may only have a standard 3 HP motor. Hunting, especially in uneven areas, needs a motor that favors torque above all else. Even once you replace the motor itself, other components attached to it such as the controller and the forward/reverse switch might also need an upgrade. With more power comes more heat, and those old golf cart parts will easily wear down if used as is.
The batteries will be the most costly parts to replace by far. However, considering the ranges that most hunting carts will go to, these components are the most important to keep in mind. Models such as the Trojan 145 batteries or even the Deka GC45 type can make good replacements.
Last but certainly not least, make room for any accessories that your hunting trips will need. It might be a cooler rack, an ammo carrier, or even a holder for your fishing pole. How many of these things you can add will depend on how much weight your suspension kit can carry.
If you plan a hunting trip that could take hours to a full day, consider adding the cooler rack first, as you’ll need supplies other than ammo like food and water. Don’t spend so much time on your machine that you forget about yourself!
Are golf carts good for off-roading?
Without any upgrades, golf carts wouldn’t handle rough terrain well at all.
This mainly has to do with the wheels and seating. Standard golf cart wheels won’t handle obstacles well, let alone a steep ditch, while the seats are too close to the ground to allow proper off-road riding.
There are, however, ways you can upgrade a golf cart to meet off-road standards.
Many of the steps involve those mentioned earlier in this article when upgrading a cart for hunting. How you convert your cart is ultimately up to you based on your needs and desires, but the basics such as replacing the motor, suspension, tires and wheels, and batteries still apply.
Work from the inside out, and focus on any accessories such as a powerful stereo system as one of the last things you add. The goal here is to make your golf cart able to handle off-road conditions, so make sure it has the power and necessary hardware to do it.
One advantage of converting a golf cart for off-roading is that you could make it street legal!
However, the cart has to meet specific requirements, such as limiting maximum speed and obtaining a license plate. You can read more about that here.
Can I make my golf cart support 4-wheel drive?
You just need a conversion kit to make it so.
However, be aware that these conversion kits are not one-size-fits-all. Most kits that turn a golf cart into a 4-wheel drive vehicle are for electric models only.
However, some gas ones exist.
Whereas the specific parts that go into a gas model remain elusive, as not many have tried it, the electric conversion kits are more spelled out.
Most kits of this kind will include 2 controllers, 2 motors, and a wire harness plus adapter. Depending on the kit you choose to work with, you’ll most likely be adding lots of extra weight to your golf cart, so be mindful about how you’ll use it and what other parts you may need to have it run smoothly.
Should a hunting golf cart be electric or gas powered?
It just depends on what you want out of your hunting experience, and what golf cart model you have available. With that being said, several hunters prefer electric models for their silence and lack of smelly exhaust.
Should you choose electric, always remember more uneven terrain will always require a torque-heavy motor to overcome. The speed won’t be all that noticeable, about 15 to 20mph maximum, but that should be plenty of speed for areas littered with obstacles such as the woods.
Should you go gas-powered, you’ll have some advantages, such as vast amounts of range, extra speed, and extra power to boot. A golf cart that uses gas fuel also has the advantage of being able to sit in storage for long periods of time without needing a charge, whereas an electric one will require constant recharging throughout the year.
The difference between used and new gas carts isn’t that significant, maybe by a few thousand dollars, but it’s much cheaper than buying a hunting-specific buggy by far.
Some can be under $4K, and others exceed well into $7K and up. Electric models are around the same price range. Case in point, buying something used for a hunting cart conversion makes more sense, as standard golf cart parts simply won’t do the job right.