A bird hunter's best friends are a shotgun and a dog...and maybe a pickup truck. After all, a truck holds all the gear, keeps the hunting party warm, and gets everyone to the field and back.
While a bone-stock truck is a perfectly adequate bird hunting tool, there are some accessories that can transform a mere pickup into a “mobile bird hunting command center.” Here's what we recommend:
1. A Decent Set of Tires
You might not be an extreme off-roader, but if you want to reach the spots where the birds hang out, you’re going to have to go off the beaten path. The problem is, a lot of the new trucks come with all season tires. All-seasons are great for the pavement (and gas mileage), but they can be surprisingly inadequate in even mild off-road situations. All-terrain tires are an ideal upgrade, as you'll get larger tread blocks and a more aggressive tread design (great for traction in sloppy conditions), but without sacrificing on-road ride quality or performance.
PRO TIP: If you've recently bought a new truck and your factory tires have only a few thousand miles on them, you can probably sell your used tires to your local tire shop or on Craigslist. That will get you more than half-way to a new set of AT tires.
2. Husky Floor Mats and Liners
Muddy, wet boots are inevitable after walking through a field looking for birds for a few hours (or huddling in a blind all morning). While you can certainly change your boots before climbing into the truck, it's a heck of a lot easier to put down a quality Husky floor liner or set of floor mats instead.
With a rugged design, perfect fitment, and an impressive capacity for mud and snow, heavy duty Husky floor mats and liners are all any hunter needs to protect their factory flooring from dirt and damage. Don't change your boots outside – just get in and warm up. Your floor is protected.
3. Dog/Kennel Boxes
There are many different styles of kennel boxes for your bird dog(s) that will help both them and you during travel. This is especially important if your dog is a nervous passenger. Aluminum dog boxes are a popular option, but quite a few dog owners prefer plastic crates, as they can be carried inside the truck to keep your dog out of the cold or rain.
There's a huge variety of options when it comes to dog boxes, so many that you owe it to yourself to check out the selection of a specialty dog box retailer (like GunDogSupply.com) to learn more.
4. Seat Covers
Bird dogs are usually pretty dirty by the end of a hunting trip, and understandably they want to climb up on a seat in your truck and take a rest. While some bird hunters have strict rules against dogs riding in cabs (some dog breeds don't respond well to “the good life” and lose their hunting edge), others are OK with Fido riding shotgun.
What's more, if you've got kids hunting with you, or if you've been known to fall face first into the mud, there's a good chance you'll want something to protect your truck's seats. A set of seat covers from Airies Offroad or Covercraft are good options, as they're affordable and protect your trucks interior from more than just hunting trips. Coffee stains, fading, and normal wear are all reduced with a good set of covers.
5. Truck Seat Storage
The best hunting trips are the trips where everyone brings the right gear. No one forgets their gloves, their vest, or their hearing protection. Dogs don't range ahead because someone forgot their electronic collar. Ammo isn't in short supply because someone brought the wrong loads. Etc.
While seat storage can't solve all these problems, it can help reduce the odds of these things happening (it's a lot harder to forget your vest or your upland game ammo if you keep it in the truck). The GearBox is a great place to stash your stuff and offers a variety of high quality seat storage systems for trucks and SUVs, all of which can haul 90% of your hunting gear. You just load the box with all your gear, then put the box behind the seat before you leave the house. Simple.