Check out our list of Best Hunting Trucks Under $10,000 for some low-cost options to ensure a high-quality hunting adventure.
Hunting and trucks go together like apples and pie. In fact, pickup trucks were seemingly purpose-made for this pursuit. Whether you’re stalking ducks or deer, it’s hard to beat the convenience of a cargo bed that is easily loaded with gear and game, then just as easily cleaned out with a hose when the day is done. Check out our list of Best Cargo Capacity in Each Class to see who does this best.
Let’s not forget the rough road capabilities that virtually all trucks offer. And of course, the ability to hook up a boat, trailer full of ATVs, or camper to spend the night out in the woods. But there is a tremendous array of pickups to choose from, so what are the best hunting trucks for you?
As awesome as a mammoth 1-ton heavy-duty pickup is, it is not necessarily the best hunting truck for everyone. If you’re out in the wilds of Alaska hunting elk, then yes, bigger is better. But what if you’re an apartment-dwelling urbanite that enjoys a bit of pheasant on your dinner plate? Certainly, there are other more suitable options. Perhaps the biggest factor here is your budget. Pricing on new trucks has become rather inflated, so we’ll look at the used market, specifically at the best hunting trucks under $10,000.
One thing to keep in mind here is that hunting generally translates to extra abuse on your truck of choice. So, it helps to find a pickup that was built in large numbers, ensuring a steady supply of inexpensive parts. Chevy’s Silverado certainly fits that bill with millions built since the Silverado name became a stand-alone nameplate in 1999. The first generation ran until 2006 and comes in a wide variety of cab configurations and bed lengths.
For the purposes of this article, we are going to stick with vehicles that offer the added grip and capability of four driven wheels. With that single filter in mind, you can find piles of used Silverados from this first generation in the listings on CarsForSale.com Look for the Vortec V8 powerplant – ideally the 5.3-liter version – as it was built in spades and promises relatively simple maintenance.
Harder to find, but worth the search, is the Vortec High Output model (option code B4V) that featured a 345-horse 6.0L V8, upgraded Z60 suspension, beefier rear axle, and a Max Trailering package that upped the capacity to 10,800 pounds. This version would be virtually unstoppable on any hunting adventure.
When it comes to the Big Three pickup truck arena, everyone has their favorites, but generally speaking you can’t go wrong with any of them when it comes to hunting. The same can be said of the multitude of F-150 generations Ford has produced over the years. They’re all highly capable and robust making them ideal for hunters, but we’re focused on the 11th-generation model produced between 2004 and 2008.
That’s because the F-150 received a top-to-bottom overhaul for this generation, with an all-new platform that included a fully boxed frame and rear shocks mounted outside that frame for improved handling. Most hunters will spend at least some of the time driving their truck on paved surfaces, so it’s important to consider ride comfort.
Like the Silverado, there is a staggering array of F-150’s to choose from in the sub-$10,000 department however, an FX4 trimline is going to be your best bet when hunting. Along with a standard 5.4L Triton V8, the FX4 was fitted with an electronic shift-on-the-fly dual-range transfer case, specially tuned off-road shocks, a limited-slip rear differential, and host of skid plates.
No Best Hunting Trucks list is complete without a Dodge Ram. In this case, we’re looking at the third-generation model. Built from 2002 to 2009, it featured a new frame and suspension as well as upgraded powertrain options and interior design over the prior generation. These Rams were well loved for their Cummins diesel motor options, a relatively thrifty setup at the pump as we discuss here.
Important to this discussion is that the 2500-series models stuck with solid front axles – versus independent on the 1500s – which is a boon for durability. This is important because the Power Wagon was built on the 2500 chassis and is a serious contender for best hunting truck that costs less than 10 grand. Arriving in 2005, the Power Wagon was an off-road beast, making it ideal for hardcore hunting work. The highlight reel includes a standard 5.7L HEMI V8, locking front and rear differentials, wheels with dual safety beads, a lifted suspension, and full underbody skid plates.
It even boasted a 12,000-lb front winch from the factory and electronically-disconnecting front stabilizer bar that enabled an additional 9-inches of articulation. If your hunting involves getting way off the grid, the Power Wagon is for you.
There’s a reason the Toyota Tundra was named Truck of the Year by Motor Trend magazine in 2000 and 2008. It’s an excellent pickup. Though seeming to play second fiddle to the standard bearers from Chevy, Ford, and Dodge, the Tundra is built in Texas and comes with the reliability that Toyota built their reputation on. Second-gen models, made between 2007 and 2013, arrived with a host of standard features that were aimed at construction workers but are equally beneficial to hunters.
The door handles were made in size XL to make them easier to grip with gloved hands, the deck rail system makes it easy to load pallets of brick or tie down a 10-point buck, and every model came with an integrated tow hitch, limited-slip differential, anti-lock brakes, and tailgate assist.
Be aware, the Rock Warrior trim available on these second-gen Tundras may sound useful for getting outdoors but it is mostly an appearance package aside from the all-terrain rubber. Better to focus on a low-cost model that you can run hard while hunting, knowing the Toyota build-quality can handle it.
Ok, maybe not the most obvious choice to be included on this list of best hunting trucks, but hear me out. The above full-size pickups all offer more than enough capability for the majority of hunters’ needs. Off-road prowess, towing power, and the convenience of an open cargo hold. Stepping down to the mid-size truck category is certainly a valid approach, but for a little more dough, you can find a lot more hunting capability in the big boys. For more on the smaller trucks, take a look at our Best Small Trucks Under $5,000.
However, maybe you’re more of a small-game hunter that doesn’t need to haul around two dogs, a friend, and 1,000 pounds of gear. And let’s not forget all the folks who live in cities that don’t want to – or can’t – park a half-ton pickup.
Enter the Subaru Baja. Strange looking on purpose – it was intended as a tribute to rally race trucks – the Baja was in a category unto itself when new. Only made from 2003 to 2006, this car-based pickup truck was never a big sales hit. But it certainly does offer a number of features that make it hunting and fishing friendly. Standard AWD and over 8-inches of ground clearance make it more than ready to handle light off-road work.
Plus, it came with an integrated bed liner, cargo tie-down hooks, and molded-in recesses to receive two-by-fours that enable custom storage layouts. They have 2,400 pounds of towing capacity – enough for a small aluminum boat – and a trick Switchback feature that created 75-inches of storage length by flipping open the rear bulkhead. Find yourself a turbocharged variant with the manual transmission to combine legit hunting capability with a dose of driving fun.