Re: [MV] Work mule

From: Steve Grammont (
Date: Sun Feb 23 2003 - 12:00:35 PST

Hi Keith,

>Parts availability and price, you're right. He has looked at them, not
>enough ground clearance.

As you say, it is a glorified Golf Cart :-)

>I would use the Polaris Ranger or try to find a small 4x4 tractor. There
>used to be a small tracked log skidder used in swamps of southeast. I
>believe it was built by Bombardier (sp ?), similar to the muskeg tractor.
>That would be my pick, anybody know where is one?

About 20 yards from me :-) I have a Bombardier Muskeg which is outfitted
for logging, with my own humble modifications (log arch, 9000# winch).
 As far as I know they did not have a different name for ones with the
rollbars and ones with cabs because they were the same vehicle. In fact,
mine came with the cab as well, although some farmer welded my rollbar to
the chassis so that makes swapping rather difficult!

> He pulls his tree planter with a large 4x4 tractor, over the same area that
>he will be spraying later. I failed to ask why he don't use that. He saw my
>mule and thought that is what he needed. I told him I'd try to help him out,
>so I am.

I own a decent amount of woodland and am active with various forest
stewardship organizations and individuals up here. My guess is why the
tractor isn't a good pick...

the 4x4 tractors have two significant disadvantages. One is that they
have poor ground pressure and therefore pack down the soil. This is not
a good thing. They also stink if the ground is soft and/or wet. They
might not get stuck, but they will churn up the ground. And if they do
get stuck, much harder to get them unstuck without getting in a bigger
piece of equipment, which also means damage to the ground from that one
as well. This is not generally a problem on well laid out skidding
trails (twitch trails), but when one is trying to move around and spray
off the trails... different set of requirements and issues.

The Mule should make a pretty good platform for a sprayer. It is not as
safe to operate as a modern ATV in some ways (sorry Mule folks, wheel
slippage is important), but not seeing the terrain he is operating on I
can't say how much of an issue this might be. Clearcut and fairly flat
without a lot of slash and hidden stumps shouldn't present much in the
way of problems for the Mule. But lots of uneven ground, slopes, and
crap all over the place... I would feel better in an ATV I think.

A Bombi might be a good pick. They generally cost less than a Mule if
you can find one, that is. They are also a piece of cake to work on and
find parts for. They also offer far more protection to the driver than a
Mule, yet the size isn't significantly bigger. The downside, in my
opinion, is the lack of a low range. If you want to creep along over any
terrain in any condition, my Weasel beats it hands down. The Mule also
has a similar advantage over it. The weight of a Bombi is about 3,500#
which makes it much heavier than a Mule, but any car trailer and 1/2 ton
pickup can handle it.

I don't know what else to recommend besides either a large shaft driven
ATV (which isn't cheap!), Bombi, or a Mule. I might see a forester for
one of the big land owners in two weeks so I can ask what they used
before ATVs were viable and when aerial spraying wasn't an option.


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