“Do I really need a winch?” You say.
My reply would be, “if your 4×4 ever leaves the asphalt, how can you not.” Sure, the list of excuses include, “I never go 4’wheel’n alone” Or “I don’t go off-roading, I just hunt or fish” another good one is, ‘I have a hi-lift jack and could use that if I get stuck.” (have you ever tried that one) And my favorite, “my truck is awesome, it doesn’t get stuck”.
The importance of a winch again became very clear to me this weekend on a turkey hunt and fishing camping trip. The trip was not a “wheel’n” trip. But, as often is the case, a simple morning hunt came with a twist. By having a winch on my truck, I spent ten minutes winching my truck instead of hours of muddy digging to extract the truck or walking three miles in search of help.
Just driving to my turkey hunting spot
Rain had fallen Friday evening. The sound on the tent was very soothing and I rather enjoy falling asleep to the tapping of a light rain on the tent. In the morning, after a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs, I went off in search of old Tom turkey.
Driving down the dirt road toward the ridge I planned to hunt, I was halted by several downed trees from the winter storms. Instead of spending my morning cutting branches and trees, I retreated. In the process of turning the truck around, the back tires found soft mud and the front tires slid into tire ruts. The tire rut was the perfect size to work as tire chucks and the slippery clay provided no traction. In an instant, the truck was stuck not moving an inch forward or reverse. The picture doesn’t look like much of a stuck and that is the point, given the right conditions, anyone can get stuck when you least expect it. I was simply driving down a trail I have driven many times.
I just smiled at my luck, and chalked it off as just another story to tell. With minimal effort and in less than 15 minutes, I was once again on my way searching for turkeys. In the back of my truck in the tool box I carry a short tree strap and clevis. I retrieved the required equipment, including a pair of leather gloves to protect my hands from a possible fray in the winch cable and began the extraction. A sturdy tree was close at hand. With the strap around the tree, I tighten the winch cable, jumped in the truck, put it in low 1st gear and let it idle while the winch pulled the truck free.
A quick side note on choosing a tree in which to winch from. A larger tree stood next to the one I choose to use. Looking up at the two trees, I noticed the larger one was dead. It is important to look up and inspect the tree before hooking up the winch. It would have been a real bummer to have the top of the tree break off or have the whole tree fall and land on the truck.
Seeing how the day had started, I placed the strap, clevis and winch controller on the floor of the truck on the passenger side, figuring I just might need it again before the weekend was over. My day and weekend could have been easily ruined in the first few hours, but instead, the event of getting stuck just held me up not much longer than it takes to heat some water for a cup of tea.
If you are a fisherman, hunter or anyone who drives their truck off the pavement, the possibilities of getting stuck while traveling are real. When I think back to the times I have used my winch, I know the tow bills would have cost a whole lot more than what I paid for the winch. A winch is a worthy investment providing peace of mind and in the long run saves wear and tear on the truck, time and money in your wallet.