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Willy Walleye

Making trails

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Heavy Equip or Light.

Heavy

Skid loader with tracks and start pushing or if mainly small 1" dia or smaller, tractor with a rotary mower on the back.

Light

Weed Whip with a saw blade on the end and a chain saw. 2, 3 or more people. 1 or 2 to cut and others to get brush out of the way. Make sure to due your best to cut brush off close to the ground. Otherwise a person is always tripping over them and it can be dangerous.

Nothing fancy about making trails, just a lot of hard work.

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Or an ATV with a pull behind brush cutter. I am crossing my fingers that I can buy one yet this spring.

Fellow FM'er deadeye has one that he got last year. He raved about the toughness and effectiveness of it.

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Interesting topic, I was out mowing a new trail with my tractor & 6' rotary mower last night. I plan to do a lot more with a buddy tonight, if the rain holds off. My tractor's pretty small (34 hp) & old, but it can still cut a ton of brush & saplings. Pretty much anything I can push or run over's fair game. Watch out for rocks & stumps.

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I bought one of the King Cutters like Fleet Farm sells from our local Fleet Supply store, three years ago. It seems like it was somewhere in the $600-700 range. I don't know what the hp is on the Farmall, but it would probably do it. The mower's really heavy, when it's off the tractor two guys at least of average strength can only move it a few inches. I got the kind that has just one wheel & goes on the 3 point hitch, because I wanted the more maneuverability. I'm not sure if the Farmall has a 3 pt. or not, but you could still get the pull type.

I mowed a couple really nice trails last night, one must have been 300-400 yards long winding through the 8-10' popple regrowth after logging 3 or 4 years ago. It turned out awesome. You could have done all of that with a chainsaw, but it would have taken forever. I guarantee it wouldn't be done as of today. I mowed over one tree that must have been dang near 3" in diameter. I tipped it down with the loader & then mowed it over. Let's just say it made a lot noise going through the mower. I'm not sure I'd reccomend mowing them much over 2". I think it's rated for 1 1/2".

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I had to buy a big tractor type mower to mow the approximately 7 acres of trees I've got planted. There were about 4200 originally, so I made sure I got a mower that would serve some other purposes. If the trees get too big I still have plenty to do with the chainsaw.

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If you have an ATV, the AcrEase Rough Cut Mower by Kunz Engineering is a very impressive piece of equipment. It's also expensive. A chain saw and a straight shaft trimmer with a circular blade is a good, low cost option.

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we use a bushhog with a 11hp engine behind a wheeler. It is a rotart mower with one blade about 3/4" thick. cuts up to 2" saplings like a champ, but after a couple years when it's just grass it doesn't cut real clean. If your only cutting once or twice a year it will go through brush and weeds great.

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Hey, you work with what you've got available. When you get done you pretty much have the same trail, which is the desired result.

I split a lot of wood by hand. I'd rather use a splitter, but I don't have one. I suppose I could buy one if I'd quit buying any hunting & fishing toys for a year or so, but I haven't wanted one that bad yet.

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Cuttting and maintaining trails thru the woods is definatly worth the time, it gives you the ability to take a walk through the woods at any time of the year, if you didn't have the trail, you're not going to pound thru the brush and thorns in mid-summer. What I generally do is mark where I want the trail to go, take a chain saw to anything bigger than two inches, I cut those even with the ground so I can drive over them, then I use a three point mounted bush hog to clear it. The nice thing about a bush hog is that it 'shatters' the stump so the next time you drive thru there it won't poke a hole in the tires.

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Willy Walleye,

Over the past 10 years we have made about 6 miles of trails. The construction ranged from using a machete and hand saw, to chain saw and weed whip, to bobcat, to log skidder and yes, even a D8 caterpillar. Trails were constructed through dense regrowth poplar, through, 10-15 year old poplar, thick brush, and semi open timber.

Trail maintenance ranged from hand cutting, to weed whip, to DR trimmer mower to a Swisher rough-cut mower pulled behind an ATV. Due to accessibility with heavy equipment, the vast majority of the trails were made in winter or just prior to frost out in the spring.

The desired size (length and width) of the trail along with the terrain and what you must go through will dictate the best (easiest and fastest) construction method to use.

We start by walking and marking the general area several times over the course of a year. This gives us a general idea of the best location for the trail avoiding wet spots that occur in spring or after a heavy rain as well as passing near existing stands or potential food plot areas. This step is important because if you are going to spend the time, expense, and effort to make a trail, you better get it in the right place the first time. Once you determine the general path, you want to define the exact route to avoid big trees, stumps, rocks, humps or any other obstruction. Tie flagging tape to trees and brush on one side of the trail always leaving enough room to one side to construct the trail. Note: these flags will remain through out construction and will mark one side of the trail.

Now you are ready to use a chain saw, bobcat or caterpillar to make the trail.

We use the DR trimmer and Swisher mowers to maintain the trails.

Good Luck!

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I could rent you a skid steer and a brush mower that can handle any tree 6" or less and if even bigger but i didn't say that. More of a shredder than a mower. Probabley get alot done in a day but runs about $800 a day or $2400 a week. If you are wondering how much to purchase, $24000 for the mulcher and $55000 for the skiddy. Got your heart pumpin now don't I. Maybe a little over kill for a couple trails. Could prolly get you in something smaller for like 600 a weekend. Let me know but you prolly are laughing.

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I had my trails brushed out by a friend with a JD tractor and a King Kutter on it, worked fabulous! That was a couple years ago and they stay open pretty well except for the thorn vines which seem invincable. I was going to try spraying the trails this spring with a ATV mounted sprayer and small boom. Anyone ever do this? What herbicide would be best? I'm kinda leary of Roundup as I dont want totally mud trails. I'd like to leave some grass but wack the vines, ferns, shrubs ect.

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Use cheap ole 2,4-D from your local farm center. It's cheap and only kills broadleaves/brush. Smells bad after application though. And you want to use in relatively cool weather after everything is all greened up. If it get's about 90 it can volitalize and you may notice some damage on adjacent trees and shrubs.

Craig

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Thanks to everyone who posted on this subject. Many good comments that I will use. While my budget is small I will begin with a chainsaw and start clearing a path. I want to make a trail nice enough so my wife and I can take some walks and see grouse etc. Thanks again.....

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