This deer season at my mid-Georgia hunting lease property I was selected to test drive a John Deere Gator XUV 855M S4 model year 2021. I’ve been deer hunting for over 30 years and my Crystal Pig Hunt Club buddies and I have test driven a number of vehicles. I have to say I got most excited about them when we moved from 4-wheelers to utility vehicles. This is the second Gator we’ve used and it’s a beauty. Our local dealer, Blanchard Equipment, delivered the unit which had brush guards and front/back windows attached. Those are very handy for the amount of weeds and vines we have to run through. This is also the first diesel I’ve tested too.
So, let’s get started with a little bit about what’s new on this model that I was most impressed with. This includes improvements to the transmission controls, digital displays, gear positions and power steering. The power steering is huge when you’ve got very tight turns that come up fast!
Some of the key uses for a Gator for us include hauling corn to fill feeders, getting to and from stands and hauling a harvested deer back to camp which also includes driving a little off trail in the woods to get to it. The standard lights package also provides more visibility at night than any vehicle I’ve driven and that’s great for those end of the day hunts.
Likes: Power, hey it’s a diesel. Two seats for comfort and back seat flips into a table with storage compartments below that. Digital display to see what gear we’re in along with speed, fuel level and messaging. One touch 4-wheel drive. Super responsive power steering. Much more comfortable suspension for rugged trails. Very easy cargo bed dump control.
Suggestions: Cup holders need to move away from transmission stick. I know this sounds minor but you can’t put a full size tumbler there. Seat side rails need some cushion. Very easy to catch on them sitting down onto the seat, especially a big body. If you’re hunting, a gun rack accessory is a must. I also think a winch is too. Too many times over the years they have been more than worth it.
In the video you can see some footage of the Gator in action and I end with a recap on location before the unit was returned to John Deere.
I want to thank John Deere for allowing me and my hunt camp members to use one of the newest Gator models. We have had a very successful season and using a Gator made it very enjoyable. Hope we can do it all again next year.
If you would like to see some photos of the Gator in the field you can find lots of them here: John Deere Gator Hunt Photo Album