Towable Brush Cutter


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herkyguy
April 16, 2013, 10:48 AM
Howdy,

So i'm the proud new owner of a Polaris Sportsman 500. It has a hitch and I'm in the market for a brush cutter that i could tow behind for clearing my hunting land.

Here are my concerns:

My land is marshy in spots and uneven. I need something that can run over bumps and beefy enough to be dragged through some muddy spots.

I want to be able to keep trails clear enough for me and the lady walking and for having a clear unobstructed shot at game. I don't want a finish mower, I am only interested in keeping brush down to about 6-8 inches.

I have cleared out thick stuff already, but there are some random stumps of about 1-3" in diameter about 4 inches off the ground or so.

Does anyone have anything they could recommend? I have looked at Swisher, DR, and some others. I don't need electric start or anything too fancy, but i do want something that will stand up to hard use.

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Art Eatman
April 16, 2013, 10:55 AM
I don't recall whether it was in a Harbor Freight or Northern Tool catalog, but I saw a self-powered tow-behind shredder in one of them.

ApacheCoTodd
April 16, 2013, 11:53 AM
16 horse, three blades and adjusts up to 7 inches height:

http://safarmequipment.com/

herkyguy
April 16, 2013, 03:48 PM
16 horse, three blades and adjusts up to 7 inches height:

http://safarmequipment.com/
Do you have any experience with this one? I was looking at the Swisher brand as it seems to get good reviews.

The SA looks more compact....maybe even less expensive.

95XL883
April 16, 2013, 04:09 PM
I have the same goal, some walking/stalking trails, for my ground.

I'd see if you can rent one first, or watch Craigslist and pick up a lightly use one. I first bought a self propelled 16hp Billy Goat to do the same thing. While I have fun using it, I quickly decided it wasn't enough for the job. (As an aside, pull starting a 16hp motor isn't particularly easy.) I have to sharpen the blade about every three hours. I've got a lot of brambles and briars that dull it. A 1" diameter bush is about its limit. Anything larger and I take a chainsaw to it first. When the blade is sharp, it does a good job but it is slow.

If you have access to a tractor and brush hog that will be much faster but you will have to watch the diameter of what you try to cut. Which makes me realize, my brush hog can really throw crap. I'm not sure I'd want to be sitting at atv height if that pull behind has any real power. Certainly don't have anybody within a couple of hundred feet when you are using it. Maybe you can rent a tractor and brush hog.

Good luck.

ApacheCoTodd
April 16, 2013, 11:15 PM
"Do you have any experience with this one? "


I'm not certain who made the yard sale one I had but it looks to be very much the same with the exception that I believe mine was a 12 horse and pull start only.
I loved the simplicity of the old flat-head engines and single belt drive for the blades.
The blades were standard off the shelf and from time to time I had to buy them slightly longer from fleet-farm and cut them rather than order the stumpy ones needed.
Mine got drug over kudzu, saplings and a couple of unseen fence posts behind a Cub Cadet and munched everything though sometimes needing a couple different height passes.
If you look at this one you can see it can be utilized a little more aggressively by backing over the really tough stuff.
If mine kicked butt with a tired 12 horse I can imagine a 16 horse with the starter remoted to a quad would be the pooh!
Also - filled my tube type tires with "Slime" and NEVER got a flat.

Patocazador
April 17, 2013, 10:49 AM
You have to be careful. Those tow behind cutters used with 4-wheelers will bend the crankshaft/driveshaft easily if you hit a big oak root, rock or whatever. It happened on our hunting lease.
An ATV is NOT a tractor and a pull-behind "lawn mower" is NOT a Bush Hog.

MCgunner
April 17, 2013, 02:38 PM
An ATV is NOT a tractor and a pull-behind "lawn mower" is NOT a Bush Hog.

Nor does it cost as much to fix. Of course, I made a living for a while as a small engine mechanic, but I'd tend to not want to spend 40K on a tractor with a brush hog just to cut trails. :D You can tear up a brush hog, too.

Rifleman1st
April 17, 2013, 03:35 PM
I have the Swisher. It works ok but goes thru a ton of belts. If you get into too thick grass or brush it burns the belt up. Don't mount the blade engagement lever on the quad like it says in the instructions. If your hitch pin comes loose you pull all the wires out of the mower. (that took a few hours to fix) My buddy has the DR and while I haven't used it it's built one heck of alot stouter. Thicker steel etc....

ApacheCoTodd
April 17, 2013, 03:38 PM
You have to be careful. Those tow behind cutters used with 4-wheelers will bend the crankshaft/driveshaft easily if you hit a big oak root, rock or whatever. It happened on our hunting lease.
An ATV is NOT a tractor and a pull-behind "lawn mower" is NOT a Bush Hog.
Careful for sure. That's one of the things I liked about the one that I had which very closely resembled the SA Farm example I posted: one can easily adjust slip into the belt drive for the first passes as I did in the case of concealed old fence posts and what-not.

But you're right Patocazador, it is a mower to be sure and first passes over uncertain ground need to be approached with care.

My only real concern were I to use one behind a quad would be to restrain my desire to speed up too much.

DM~
April 17, 2013, 11:13 PM
Howdy,

So i'm the proud new owner of a Polaris Sportsman 500. It has a hitch and I'm in the market for a brush cutter that i could tow behind for clearing my hunting land.

Here are my concerns:

I have cleared out thick stuff already, but there are some random stumps of about 1-3" in diameter about 4 inches off the ground or so.


Stumps and rocks don't mix with those small cutters, you WILL be fixing it!

Why would you need a 40K tractor??? A decent used tractor and rotary cutter can be bought for 4 or 5K or even less. I'll sell you a nice 4wd 50hp orchard tractor (read small in size) right now, that's in nice shape, ready to go to work for $3,500.00.

Bottom line is, ax out the stumps, clear the rocks ect., or have plenty of spare parts for the light duty cutter. AND, they are all light duty no matter the brand, because you are wanting to do something they weren't designed for.

DM

alsaqr
April 18, 2013, 09:32 AM
Why would you need a 40K tractor??? A decent used tractor and rotary cutter can be bought for 4 or 5K or even less

Very true.
i bought this 18 horsepower tractor in 2003 for $3,000. It came with a new 4' made in the USA brush hog. The brush hog got beat up from cutting 3" trees.

http://s290.photobucket.com/user/alsaqr/media/Farm031Small.jpg.html?sort=3&o=59#/user/alsaqr/media/Farm031Small.jpg.html?sort=3&o=59&_suid=1366288264836047944485385476837

herkyguy
April 18, 2013, 01:08 PM
Very much appreciate all the input. I have 50 acres, but only 1 main trail through it that runs about half a mile in length and about 15-20 feet wide. i have a few smaller trails I've cut with my Stihl FS brush cutter. The hand held brush cutter is all I've used so far and I can maintain my trails with it, but it is a ton of work and I spend the majority of my time maintaining rather than making progress. Luckily I don't have rocks to deal with (eastern NC), but there are 2-3" sapling trunks every now and then from stuff i've cut down.

My problem with a tractor is that while my piece of dirt is relatively flat, it is fairly uneven from step to step and after a rain, it can be downright boggy. Like I said, i just got the ATV so my wife is still recovering from that one. the tow-behind likely won't happen any time soon, but it seems like a good option.

If anyone else has experience dealing with this, I'd appreciate your thoughts.

For the price, it's good to know the DR brand is built stout.

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