The annual Byers Media turkey hunt in the Dakotas is always exciting, but just “getting there” was supreme this year thanks to the field test of a 2017 Nissan Titan. I picked up the Titan XD in Denver and drove 500 miles north to the happy hunting grounds surrounded by Badland geography at every turn. The Titan XD is powered by a Cummings V8 Turbo Diesel and contained the Pro-4X 4WD off-road package. My main analytical concerns were the vehicle’s road performance and how it handled on the prairie, where mud, snow, and sloppy conditions are standard.
I want to say early on that I am not an automotive engineer. Hunting is my specialty and I wanted to research the use of the Titan in the hands of an outdoor minded man or woman. The trip from Denver was about half interstate highway and the rest two lane roads, including gravel. With a 75-mph speed limit through Colorado and Nebraska, I quickly felt the amenities the Titan had to offer the interstate driver. First, the Cummins V8 showed plenty of power and cruised like a sports car. My one problem was keeping my speed within limits and the miles seemed to float along. I passed big trucks with ease and enjoyed a very comfortable ride.
The driver’s seat does everting but give a massage. Totally adjustable, it had a power lumbar support and full heating and cooling elements on the seat and the lumbar area. The steering wheel is heated, a great feature for northern climates. My trip had barely begun when I was about to change lanes and found a vehicle completely hidden in my blind spot. Thanks to the dual-range mirrors, the car showed clearly in the wide-angle lower section and avoided a dangerous situation.
The interior upholstery features leather appointed stitching which gives an immediate look of class when entering. The dual front captain chairs were very comfortable. The 60/40 rear flip-up bench seat offered under-seat storage and folded for a flat floor. The center console has 12V outlet inside and 120V outlet on the back of the console. I enjoyed the 6-speaker stereo and satellite radio which kept me informed and entertained as I passed through remote areas. The Navigation feature was easy to use and kept me on track. Additionally, the seven-inch color display provided easy monitoring, especially as the Navigation used split screen to show precise turn information. Backing up has never been easier with a split-screen view of what’s behind and to the side of the truck- like having your own personal satellite.
To the Hunt
Much of the country we hunted was rolling prairie, yet turkeys and deer have an affinity for creek bottoms and deep ravines where they can hide from predators and roost in tall cottonwood trees. One such place really put the Titan to the test as we watched a flock of turkey feeding about a mile away and 1,000 feet down a steep bluff. The ranch owner told us that a narrow road led to the bottom and with a bit of adventurous excitement, I drove down the steep rutted road not sure what I’d find. Without gravel the road bed was soft and heavily rutted, yet the Titan handled it with ease. Getting back up would be the challenge.
The Cummins engine runs so quietly that you quickly forget it’s a diesel which allowed us to drive within 1/4 mile of the flock without spooking them. We bailed from the rig, organized our gear and headed west along the river. Within 10 minutes, we spotted the flock feeding at the edge of a tree line. Using turkey calls and a gobbler decoy, we lured five gobblers within 25 yards. I shot first with my crossbow and Brian followed with his shotgun, catching two gobblers with a single shot. Luckily, our tags allowed for two toms each.
After an enthusiastic celebration, we snapped some pictures and headed back to the Titan. The full-size truck did so well in two-wheel-drive off-road that this was my first test in 4×4. Using the “high” setting, I eased up the steep bank at first and after an affirmative “hold on” worked the ruts and soft earth to zoom to the top.
A Color Comment
During my week as part of the Byers Media Turkey Camp, easily a dozen trucks joined our ranks, yet the Titan was the only one in bright yellow. It’ quickly became affectionately, “the banana” among the less colorful owners. Ironically, the bright color made the vehicle pop in all the photography using it, including drone footage from 400 feet.
Personally, I’m a red or blue guy by color choice, yet an incident on the way home may change my mind. Cruising on the interstate, I noticed a Mercedes sedan speeding toward me easily doing 90 mph. Moving over to allow it to pass, a very attractive young woman in the front seat literally gawked at the truck as she passed. The woman in the back seat did the same, turning in her seat as she looked up. The male driver may have been comfortable with his German engineering, yet the women in the car clearly had the yellow Titan on their minds.
The Nissan Titan XD has so many features, a post can’t begin to cover them. Check out this incredible truck at www.nissanusa/trucks.com You’ll find my bright yellow truck popping up often in turkey hunting action on www.thehuntingpage.com