The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds trail riders and hunters alike to wear safety equipment when operating an off-highway vehicle. Whether you’re out for a day of trail riding or headed to the tree stand, a helmet and seatbelt can save your life.
By observing these best practices, hunters and recreational riders can ensure a safe and enjoyable time outdoors:
- Wear a seatbelt and helmet whenever the vehicle is in motion. Many of the fatalities that occur due to slow rollovers on hills could have been prevented had proper safety equipment been worn.
- Ride Sober – Hunt Sober.
- Hunting can mean traversing especially difficult terrain. Always drive at a safe speed & within your abilities.
- Visibility is important. Remember, headlights must always be on.
“Just as you’d wear a tree stand harness for safety while hunting, a seatbelt and helmet while on a UTV will keep you safe for seasons to come,” said Lt. Jacob Holsclaw, DNR Off-highway Vehicle Administrator. “It is especially important to remember your safety equipment on the ride to your stand, not just when you’re in it.”
Thus far in 2023, 24 people have been killed in ATV/UTV crashes. Most of them were not wearing seat belts or helmets. Several incidents also involved alcohol and speed as contributing factors. Choosing to wear the appropriate safety gear and operating responsibly, whether on the trails, routes or private property, greatly reduces the chance of a serious injury or fatal crash.
One of the best things ATV and UTV operators can do to operate safely is take an online safety course. A list of approved safety education classes is available on the DNR Safety Education webpage.
Wisconsin law requires every operator involved in a crash to report the incident without delay to law enforcement officials. Additionally, the operator must submit a written report to the DNR within 10 days of the incident.
For more information on ATV and UTV recreation in Wisconsin, visit the DNR’s ATV/UTV riding in Wisconsin webpage.