Sitka Mountain Gear
ATV vs Tractor
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
silent assassin 04-Apr-12
Keef 04-Apr-12
sundowner 04-Apr-12
Pat Lefemine 04-Apr-12
buskill 04-Apr-12
Schmitty78 04-Apr-12
badlander 04-Apr-12
Shedhead 05-Apr-12
CAS_HNTR 05-Apr-12
John Ryan 05-Apr-12
woodguy65 05-Apr-12
silent assassin 05-Apr-12
guidermd 05-Apr-12
woodguy65 05-Apr-12
kellyharris 05-Apr-12
glacier 05-Apr-12
silent assassin 05-Apr-12
StrutNut 05-Apr-12
Elkhuntr 05-Apr-12
Tractor Guy 05-Apr-12
Pat Lefemine 08-Apr-12
badlander 08-Apr-12
great white 09-Apr-12
LKH 11-Apr-12
blue line 13-Apr-12
cobson 16-Apr-12
chris_hood1 16-Apr-12
Bow Crazy 17-Apr-12
How much acreage is too much for an atv to care for? How much in planted trees and/or what size food plot is just too big for an atv?

Cost and other uses (general 4 wheeling, including hunting out west) have me thinking atv is the way to go for me but I'm looking at caring for 15 acres of seedlings, about five acres of fruit and mast producers, and maybe 2 plots totaling 10 acres. Also, making trails, hauling stands, dead deer, firewood, etc. Am I going to be killing myself with a 4 wheeler and this much work?

From: Keef
If you don't you'll at least get a head start on killing yourself.

From: sundowner
You need a tractor, man.

From: Pat Lefemine
Seriously, you will burn out 5 ATVs doing all that work and could have bought an ATV and a Tractor for the same money!

From: buskill
Tractor for used, plenty of good ones out there including the implements you will need.

From: Schmitty78
Definitely tractor! Burnt up my Polaris trying to care for similar acreage.

From: badlander

ATVs just were not built for that. You'll trash it in very short order.

From: Shedhead
same question- i have 2-3 acres of plots 3 acres of seedlings and 11 acres of mature timber which requires stand thinning on occasion. 1/4 mile driveway to snowplow and about 1/2 mile of trails to mow. Those new polaris 800 side by sides look to me to be just the ticket for something this size. the model i looked at is 10k without implements. by the time im done with a mower, disc, spreader/seededer/planter and plow attachement will be in that 17k range. what does everyone think of that?

Buy and old Ford tractor....or if you have the cash buy a new McCormick or something of that type....much better machine for any type of actual work.

I think of an ATV as a vehicle to get from A to wouldn't hook up a plow to the bumper of your daily driver would ya? Tractors were designed to do the things required with field/property maintenance.

From: John Ryan
Shed, I really would get a small used tractor to work with, and an ATV to hunt and play with. I have a used JD that I gave 5K for and a Kawasaki Mule that I bought for 10K new. For the heavy duty stuff I use the tractor. For lighter duty, I use the Mule. The tractor is bullet proof and the Mule is pretty tough too. They will goth last a lot longer that way. I think you'll wear out an ATV pretty quick.

From: woodguy65
shedhead - for 17k you can buy both. I have a Kawasaki mule, paid 6k, and had a Kubota 43 horse 4wd w/loader I paid 11k. I bought both used on ebay several years ago. I still have the mule and just sold the tractor (for 9k-going to upgrade).

Before I bought the tractor I tried using the mule for everything - I pulled a disc with it, harrow, and cultipacker. I snapped the rear axle pulling the disc.

I got the mule fixed (they said never seen that before, I hear that alot). I would not want to be without either, the mule is incredibly handy, has a hydrolic dump bed, and winch on front.

But if I had to be without one - I would have to give up the mule.

Don't settle for one of the old ford tractors, you can pick them up really cheap. Guys will tell you how well they work and you can get by with one... but avoid it, put money in a modern, quality tractor 4wd w/loader, preferably hydrostat transmission, and you can do it with that budget.

We are talking about a lot of moola here. Unfortunately for me I live in town and my land does not have any structures on it. I would be looking at a few thousand for putting up a building (thereby increasing my property taxes as well) and spending the dough on a tractor and implements. I guess it isn't an option for me.

I could definitely rent or borrow a tractor and tree planter for planting trees and initial discing of food plots, but how much and how often am I going to need a tractor after that? Would it be counter productive for me to try to rent a tractor once or twice a year? Is that even enough? Does anybody do it that way?

From: guidermd
you might want to just buy an atv for the routine jobs that don't require heavy work on the machine. tilling/discing is fine if you have VERY small food plot, but not for tilling any kind of acreage. you might manage to get thru the job, but atvs, belts, etc were not built for serious work like that. yes, they can do "ok" for some, but unless you are a good atv mechanic, you'll be destroying the machine. since an atc would be easier to take home at the end of the day, why not just do that. you can hire out the tractor work for tilling/discing and then spread seed/lime with the atv and do your pruning. my buddy bought a terex new this year, and it constantly overheats because tilling cuts the airflow so much by going slow, it can't cool down. even in low range, it will destroy his machine before long. side by sides and atvs are very useful, but tilling/discing requires a tractor, especially the size plots you mentioned. tractors are built with steel gears, atvs with belts just simply can't handle that. good luck

From: woodguy65
How much total acreage is your farm?

From: kellyharris
Buy a atv and pay a guy with a tractor to disk and cultivate you ten acres of food plot

From: glacier
I think for what you are describing, renting or making a deal with a neighbor to borrow/lease a tractor is more realistic. Think about it this way... You can rent a nice tractor for a week each year, spend a little money on rental and have no cost in buildings, repairs, maintenence, etc. You can also use rentals to 'test drive' different tractors and get a better idea of how much tractor you really need. If you find yourself wanting to rent a tractor once a month, it might be time to buy one. If you need it a few days a couple of times a year, just keep renting. I definitely would NOT try to use an ATV or UTV as a tractor.

Total acreage is only 65 acres. I posted a thread earlier with a picture of the property which includes a 25 acres hay field that I'd like to make more beneficial to deer (pines, mast and fruit trees, and food plots) so that I could benefit from food plots now and my infant son and future children will benefit from the rest down the road.

I think Kellyharris has the plan if I can get away with using the tractor only once or twice a year. If it is just for tilling then that would only be once a year. I could also get a pull behind brush hog for a atv for mowing clover plots and keeping trails open.

Perhaps I need to think about smaller food plots as well and do something different- focus more on fruit trees or something like that for a food source.

From: StrutNut
We had a similar set up. We bought an old Massey Ferguson tractor and left in on the property. The old coffee can on the exhaust trick works. Fut to see that can go flying when you start it up. It is amazing how often you use the tractor over the ATV when you have it. Easy to get what you need to work the land and pretty cheap. They things just keep running. Easy to fix if needed but what repairs we did where very few and far between and very minimal. We have left the property as we just couldnt keep there deer there. Too many wolves and the food plots likely just made it easier for the wolves to find the deer. You know its bad when you see more wolf sign then deer sign.

Both if possible, tractor if only one.

BTW, many here talk of the expense of buying a tractor, but look how well they keep their resale value. It is more fun and convenient to do it with your own equipment, and if properly maintained should not hurt your checkbook in the long run-too much.

From: Elkhuntr
"Would it be counter productive for me to try to rent a tractor once or twice a year? Is that even enough? Does anybody do it that way?"

I do. I rent a tractor when I need it. I can pull it with my 3/4 ton diesel.

I do not own an ATV.

I cannot see tying up $25K or more on a new tractor, and having it sit other then the few times I need it. Buying used is a good option. I have tried, but even at $10-$15K with implements, and maintenance, etc., renting is still the better option for me imo.

From: Tractor Guy
Tractor is going to do a lot more for any food plot work, regardless of size. The power and the PTO are what enable that. Whether or not you go new or used, once you go with a tractor, the ATV goes back to what they were first designed to do; get you from one place to another in all sorts of terrain. Unless you have lots of large plots where you are always doing core food plot tasks, you should think about other applications to justify your investment. If you own property, you may need to dig post holes, move large rocks & boulders, blow or move snow, use a cutter or finish mower, level and grade dirt roads, plant trees, haul brush...on and on. A backhoe is awesome; from the time we were kids, we love digging holes, we just don't like doing it with our arms and shovels. Whether you go new or used, big or small, the decision process is like anything else where we have to decide how to best manage a limited amount of money. Fortunately there are a lot of good used options, and you can add 3 point attachments from many different sources over time knowing that generally, they will be compatible. Or, you can buy a tractor and a whole package of attachments new and roll it all into a single loan or cash purchase. Regardless of what route works best for your needs and your means, if you can get a tractor, you won't regret it. Good luck all.

From: Pat Lefemine
Just got back from spending the weekend working our land. In the last two weeks here is what I was able to do with my 55hp McCormick.

1. Spread 20 tons of lime (6 tons at a clip) 2. cut down 200 trees, used the bucket loader to move the wood from the cut site to a loading site. 3. Skidded out about 10 entire trees. 4. leveled a road. 5. Moved boulders 6. Ground stumps.

None of this can be done with an ATV. I am using my tractor for just about everything on our land, not just food plots.

But cost is a factor, no doubt.

From: badlander
You are getting good advice here. Buy as much tractor as you can afford. We have a 1960ish Allis Chalmers WD45 2wd tractor with the draw bar converted to a 3 pt. Those tractors are worth in the $2-3k range. There is often some wrenching to do, but we only use it to maintain about 10 ac of food plots and 20ac of tree plantings so it doesn't get beat up too badly.

Even a 30hp tractor would be better than an ATV, and a 30hp tractor could be pulled on a pretty small trailer if storage on site is an issue.

We just returned from our farm today. Used our 45HP to auger 3' holes, spread 1K lbs of fertilizer and brush hogged 3 acres. I was smiling the entire time:)

From: great white
Go to craigs list postings for your area find a good guy with a tractor for when you need him my guy wanted 30.00 ab hr he mows discs rotovates does it all and we tip him well for the rest I have a old lawn tractor with atv tires on the back it pulls a cart a 4 ft rake and a chain link fence drag to finish plots really works ouy well


Habitat for Wildlife's DeerBuilder embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's DeerBuilder embedded Photo

No ATV capable of this-chisel plow on a NH 2420 4WD, 60 HP ag tires. Go play in the dirt baby!

From: LKH
Last year I paid for all the tilling, seeding, fertilizer for 20 acres of hay barley.

Farmer charged me just under $1400. While that seems like a lot, it's cheaper than owning all the equipment.

From: blue line
I have an atv and I am picking up my new John Deere 1026r tomorrow. It may not be as big as I want but I also need it for mowing my lawn. Im not a big fan of 3 point finish mowers. I have a list a mile long of all the projects I plan on doing. I think my atv will be collecting dust once I have a tractor.

From: cobson

cobson's DeerBuilder embedded Photo
cobson's DeerBuilder embedded Photo

I started with a 1947 Ford 9N tractor - got a lot more done with it than I could with my atv - which is a 300cc engine... after 2 years I sold it and moved up to a 1964 Ford 2000 series. Bought new tractor for $2,900.00 with a 6 ft bushog - sold old tractor for $1,500.00 (what I paid for it)so no loss there.

I know my 4 wheeler is on the smaller side for these things but I had my tractor rolling for 4 1/2 hours nonstop yesterday helping a friend put in his soybeans.

I can pull it easily on an 18ft trailer with a standard Chevy Silverado pickup.

A lot of fun and no worries about blowing up 4 wheeler. Truthfully no reason to own even a 300cc atv now since all it is used for is to get from point a to b.

Would look strongly at a tractor. In all honesty though I must confess I had to tell my minister that it is not right to love a material possession as much as I love my tractor!

From: chris_hood1

chris_hood1's embedded Photo
chris_hood1's embedded Photo
This is what you need. You can do any size of seed you can row plant with it and notill drill with it. It is ground driven so seed always comes out even. You can hook it up to 3pt on tractor or pin up the receiver hitch attachment and pull it wit 2inch balle. Here is a facebook link

From: Bow Crazy
You need both, an ATV for out west and a tractor for your food plots. Buy used. I have a 1996 Sportsman ATV I bought used 6 years ago or so for $3200 and a 1951 Ford 8N I bought for around $1500. Both serve me very well. Impliments for the tractor are easy to find and not that expensive. I'm not a mechanic but can easily fix the 8N when needed. There is so much help on the internet for them its not even funny. BC

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