This guest post and photos are by Hansi Johnson, Midwest Regional Director for the International Mountain Bicycling Association. Hansi lives up in Thomson, MN, a small town outside Duluth with quick access to heavenly pristine natural areas.
Two years ago however my father was invited to join a hunt at a family farm in Winona. He attended and this year asked if my brother and I could attend. We did and it was amazing. Not only were the folks involved super, super fun and cool, the property was off the charts. The perfect deer zone. Lots of space, lots of terrain, lots of spots and of course a ton of deer.
Briggs Outdoors is a 600 acre farm in Winona, MN managed for world-class Whitetail hunting. Steve Briggs has 30 plus stands spread across the varied and dynamic terrain of the farm. Everything from streams, to ponds to food plots to bluffs, you name it, there is a stand there and the deer to shoot too.
In the past we have whizzed around via ATV and that is also how Steve has placed his clients in their stands in the wee hours of the morning. Many of the stands though are just a bit too far to walk but a bit to close to take the time to use an ATV. That said, the CB4 was the perfect tool to access them. Boom! You hop on the bike and 4-5 minutes later you arrive scent free at the stand and with zero noise. It was such a joy. I also hauled my Pug as well and added the Scabbard and Steve and I were able to ride together and then sit our own spots.
While I didn’t get a deer for muzzle loader season, this year the big news was how fun and effective the Cogburn CB4 was to use at the farm. I have tried all manner of bikes in the woods and the fat bike is by far the best. Its quiet, its forgiving on rough terrain and its stable to ride on. I had moved on to a Pugsley for hunting years ago from a hard tailed mountain bike because it was just plain more fun to hunt off of.
The CB4 just takes it one step better with integrated racks, low-slung top tube, kickstand plate, a scabbard round it out, and the camo seals the deal.
The Cogburn’s low slung top tube is key when you have the scabbard. I had no idea how much I roll off the back of a bike when I dismount. However when your gun is sticking up off the back, that movement is not an option. You must go over the top tube, and with a game vest on, big hunting boots and jeans, I really appreciated the low top-tube.
We pretty much beat the hell out of the bikes. Rain, mud, snow and extreme cold conspired to try and destroy the bikes.. They worked awesome, although freeze up made for some interesting mechanicals at one point.
I think that the most important point in the whole thing is that there is a brand called Cogburn that understands that there is a person out there in the hunting (and fishing) world that uses a bicycle to gain human-powered access to the backcountry. Whether that is because of philosophy or because it is mandated by law due to land management limited access in Wildlife Management Areas, or Federal areas where motorized vehicles are restricted, it doesn’t matter. Cogburn is dedicated to giving the person who is willing to work harder, who is willing to grab another tool that allows them to go further into the bush, further into the area where the average hunter can’t go.
I love the CB4 and what it means for future tools that allow me to more easily hunt off of a bike. It is my hope that means more innovative scabbards and gun racks and trailers. As well as frame bags and panniers created with the idea of hunting in mind.
Cogburn Outdoors have started something and it will be fun to see what all the hunters out there do with this machine – how they manipulate it and bend it to make it serviceable and how those innovations will come back to benefit us all.
So, go get on your bike, bring your gun and meet me in the woods.