200 Yard Range in the woods with no backhoe

   / 200 Yard Range in the woods with no backhoe #1  


Elite Member
Nov 24, 2012
Near Johannesburg MI but in the middle of nowhere
2019 LS XR4140 HST Cab; 2020 Kawasaki Mule SX; 2021 Bad Boy 54" ZT Elite
I have a 100 yard range setup off the back porch. It is on the trail that runs 135 yards into the woods. This year I planned to use my LS 4140 to extend the range another 80 yards into the woods.

One of neighbors does backhoe work and when I was shopping for a tractor he had advised me not to spend the money on a BH. He charges $125/hr and he said I would never save enough to justify the investment. I had purchased a tree puller last year for the new LS4140. So the plan was to do what I could do safely with the LS and call the neighbor to deal with the larger trees/stumps. I figured the project would take me 3 days with the LS, and 4 hours ($500) of BH work.

The neighbor next to me had a contractor over yesterday to put a 200 yard access trail up to the ridge on his property. When I saw the bulldozer my little pea brain kicked in....

Why not hire this guy?

Two hours later, and $250 poorer I had my range cleared. I need to do some finial grading with my tractor, cut up the trees that are pushed to the side of the trail, and use the grapple to clear the brush/limbs.

Sometimes hiring the work out makes sense.
   / 200 Yard Range in the woods with no backhoe #2  
Absolutely! I just had a track loader clear a long path over an area I couldn't even traverse with my tractor, let alone deal with the small cliff-like dropoff or huge rocks in the way. He built me a berm so high I don't even have the dump clearance to reach the top & won't for a while. Packed it so tight after the real heavy rains we got it's maybe settled/run off a few inches at most. I like to do as much as i can, but in half a day he did what would have taken me weeks (or plain impossible) and with much better results. Big equipment + a great operator = money well spent!

Hard to tell from pics, but the berm is about 6 tandem loads of fill dirt, about 20' wide, 8'+ tall. The cleared part I wish I had a before pic of that spot. Very steep 4' drop off with huge rocks in the way


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   / 200 Yard Range in the woods with no backhoe #3  
I spend about 8 hours on my tractor doing some earth moving last fall. I liked what I was doing so hired a bulldozer to do 10X more in the same amount of time. Well worth the money.
   / 200 Yard Range in the woods with no backhoe #4  
Nice shooterdon we did ours with case 340 skid loader tractor never came out to play waiting on grass to come in pour pad for bench then ready to go
   / 200 Yard Range in the woods with no backhoe
  • Thread Starter
When I was a kid, 50+ years ago, we had a little JD40 bulldozer. I will always remember my astonishment at what even a small dozer can do with a good operator. My Dad was a very good operator. When he hired a contractor to build two acres of ponds my, dad would help out in the tighter places. After the ponds were done, the contactor offered my dad a job.

That little tractor took down a lot of trees, levelled off two hills and put in over a mile of trails on our wooded property. It went in for a clutch and that was the only dealer repair I can recall. Just a 2 cylinder gasser but it did a lot of work. A dozer is an amazing machine.

Anyway, there are times I see guys using tractors for stuff that is more efficiently and safely done with the right equipment. Especially some of the smaller machines we have. That is why I posted the thread. If I had spent a few thousand on a BH, I could have done everything the 550 dozer did clearing trees and stumps but it would have taken me 10 times longer.

For a homesteader that has little money and lots of time, taking 3-4 days to do what a contractor can do in a few hours might make sense. For many of us, it may the pride of accomplishment. But for a pragmatist, doing it yourself can be a poor option.