ATV, UTV, and compact tractors

I Don't really have the money for either right now, but will be in the market soon, or if the right deal comes along. I'm in on two leases this year that have some areas that really need one to access, or at least retrieve deer, plus help with some small plots.

No question a small tractor would be best value and best for small plotting.
ATV most economical and easiest to transport, but how do those belt driven trannies really hold up to pulling small implements?
UTV seems most practical but also most expensive, but I hear most of them are belt drive?

Just thought I'd hit up the experienced knowledge base here for any feedback or recommendations
My 2 cents worth. A tractor for plotting and an ATV/UTV for the other needs. Now, that said, I don't own an ATV/UTV - don't need one, don't want one. My little 790JD with an FEL will get me to most places I need to go and I just flop the deer in the bucket and away we go. I can't imagine a tractor without an FEL (front end loader). Now, I am sure my land is very different from yours. My place is flat with 2/3 of it being open crop I don't have too many tight spaces to be concerned with and I don't have to contend with many deep ravines or steep grades to retrieve deer from either. Regarding plotting, traction and weight are your friend, especially with ground engaging equipment like plows and discs and the like - that is where a tractor will shine for you if you need that. Lots of folks plot without a tractor, then you have folks like me that can take my tractor virtually anywhere on my property and don;t need an ATV/UTV. It's about selecting the right tool for the job....and then it costs what it costs. For hunting I walk to all my stands. All just my opinion. I will warn you that which ever you get....the added gadgets that go on it or are used with it.....those add up as there seems to be an endless need for attachments.
I think j-bird hit it on the head...agree with everything said.
If you need something to access remote areas and retrieve deer sounds to me like you need a 4 wheeler. You might look at renting a tractor if your needs are minimal.
Thanks everyone for the great ideas!

The one farm is 2/3 fields but the woods part is tight and steep. The other one isn't as tight but the sloped field edges get sloppy when wet. Have to go a along way through or around big fields to get to hunting areas.

I've been spoiled because my old spot while it had steep spots, could always get my truck within 100 yards of a deer at least.

Renting the tractor when needed sounds like a good plan.

I really think an ATV/UTV will serve my needs until I can get both that and a tractor, mainly was just wondering if any had particular problems or good luck with specific ones.

My old Suzuki 500 was always hot, the guy I traded off too I think ended up doing some transmission work after pulling a plot master some.

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Get a Honda foreman 500. No belt drive so no worries there. Plenty of power to pull a disc around and small trailers. Honda makes great machines that are very reliable. They don't have the power and size that most other brands do, but what they do make, run forever. I wish I kept my Honda foreman but needed something with more power for play time. If I didn't go on long trail rides with friends and just needed an atv to work, and use around the farm/home, I'd be back on a Honda in a heartbeat.
You need an ATV just to get around if you have a lot of acres. A UTV is going to cost you more, so for the same price as a UTV get a good ATV and a reliable old farm tractor like a Massey 35, easy to fix, and can be bought for cheap.
The UTV is overpriced for what it is; however it is a wonderful accessory to have. i can't see myself ever being without one. And most importantly--my wife loves it also.
I have an ATV and a compact tractor (JD4110). I wish I had a bigger tractor. I don't know ow if they UTV or bigger tractor is next. Both are high the wish list but low in priorities. All bring told though could do almost everything I do with my ATV if I were to buy a pull behind brush hog. I got a pull behind dusk for free from a guy who never used it since he had a large tractor. I've only used it twice. Now I throw and mow. My cultivator sits on a pallet not being used very often. The last time I used it as a rake to get the pine straw of a road I was planting.
My personal belief is that you should use a tractor for tractor work and a 4 wheeler for access and hauling deer out. They make some pretty powerful 4 wheelers these days but they are not designed for the work that a tractor does. I'll bet you could get a descent used ATV and an old Ford 8n for less than 5K. No FEL on those 8n's but they are little work horses!
Personal thoughts from experience:
1) Nothing will beat a tractor for doing plots, once you use a tiller on one you will NEVER go back. Tractors 30+hp aren't cheap but don't lose a ton of value either over time. HOWEVER if your area has standing water or bad spots the tractor is worthless cause you'll be digging it out more than using it. You can always find a place to rent one (this will be your best bet for the first few years)
2) If your buying an ATV get a Foreman. Honda reliability, no belts to slip, hold their value, Plus it a solid axle not IRS in rear. Doing plots with an atv...well it may work but by time you find a disc setup that actually does what it says you could have rented a tractor for 3 plus seasons of plotting. They are excellent for spreading fertilizer/pel lime and just overall help around the property. UTV's seem nice don't get me wrong but how are you going to maneuver that in a tight woods plus your still stuck with atv quality dirt equipment which isn't very efficient unless you spend the big bucks on equipment. I have had ppl say well you can haul more or use a bigger sprayer with utv etc but is the extra few 1000 worth that I mean a 20 gallon will do 1 acre.

My thoughts buy the atv, and rent the tractor. If the plots are small or extremely secluded you may be better off renting a rear tine tiller (yes it sucks but it might be the only way..make sure you have sunlight on these plots). The nice thing about renting is you can maybe try a few different brands out over the years and see what you like and don't like. Good luck on your search
I have tractors ranging from 25hp all the way up to 300hp and the 120hp FEL gets used by far the most. Not that one that size is needed but just saying a good loader is hard to beat. With that said, I probably still use my grizzly 700 for most day to day stuff on the farm and plan on trading it for a utv one of these days.
I have several ATV'S but instead of a UTV I have a lifted Yamaha golf cart, gas motor with roof, rear seat, rear gun rack, lights, and a front rack.I really like this machine, number one it is very quiet for hunting, quick- hop on and push the pedal and go, is very trouble-free, simple to fix,much leaner on fuel than an atv. I bought it in good used condition, six years old for $4000. IMO ATVs are to loud for hunting purposes.boys.jpg
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Thank you all for the feedback! It's all very helpful. It's really helped me realize an ATV is most practical. Like the idea of a pull behind brush mower and throw and mow for the level I'd be doing to start, from there starting with tractor rental.
KyDeer, we use a Polaris ranger for everything. Bought a 2008 used for $5k about 4 years ago. We pull a bush hog, a 5ft disc, a 9ft sprayer. We can get to our plots up the steep hill in the woods.

I'd like to have a tractor. But if you can only have one, UTV can do it all. Maybe it had been said, but how big are your plots?

We do all our small plots 1/4-1acre. And do a little work on the bigger ones 2-3 acres. We spray, mow, etc.

We have a local farmer plant them and he just charges us for seed.

It's worked so far.

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I have an ATV and a tractor. I typically hunt with a friend, but I usually work alone. The tractor, front end loader, and old but trusty cab on it are a life saver. I installed a grapple on the front end loader for grabbing stuff and OMG it's amazing.

Since I got the tractor two years ago, I've put maybe a few miles on the ATV. I don't use the ATV anymore. If you do get an ATV, don't get a belt driven one (I have a Can-Am outlander and it's starting to go downhill and EVERYTHING that could wear out with it is). The Honda line is the work horse. The Pioneer 500 UTV isn't bad either.

You can find a good John Deere 855 4wd hydrostatic tractor with front end loader and cab typically around 7-10k with pretty low hours and attachments.

I would check out a tractor first and see what you think. Test drive them all. Tractor, UTV, ATV.

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All of the help has been great! Plot size for now would be small, 1/2 acre or less, and just helping with that. I would love to have a tractor first or both, but right now, my heavier needs are hunting access and retrieval. One spot I learned on the first visit easy transport is high on the list, as it has several access points beyond riding between, so a ramp trailer and easy load will be a huge bonus, which if I go anything besides ATV, I will need a bigger trailer anyway.

I'm also looking bigger picture in the long term dream is either a better more permanent lease, or buy a smaller place someday, what will help me there without pushing that goal out even further!

Given all that, my priority is a good deal/value, with a preference for a Polaris Ranger UTV Full Size, or a Honda Foreman ATV. I just learned about the Polaris Full Size; for now tight trails aren't an issue, but *MY* size is, so that is desirable. I've seen some ridiculously overpriced used ones, and some surprisingly reasonable deals on new, enough to be tempting.
I bought my property about a year ago. It's been great fun and lots of hard work, which is part of the fun. We've had some success hunting and lots of time spent on "The Island". One decision I had to make was compact tractor or ATV. Mostly it's a storage issue. I really only have room for one or the other. I Went with the ATV, bought a five foot tow behind disc, a four foot cultipacker and a couple bag spreaders and off we went. Our food plot trails couldn't have turned out better for the first year. Just recently bought a DR Pro 26 walk behind brush mower. I love it - my best purchase by far. But...if I had one do over I'd have bought the tractor instead of the ATV. The tractor is being budgeted for next year. Don't get me wrong. The ATV is great and we use it a lot. A friend of mine and a neighbor have both helped out with compact tractors and the fact is It's just that the tractor with a bucket would have been so much better for working. The ATV is better for light duty stuff and driving around. It's more like a tractor wanna be.
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I got by, very successfully, for years with a Honda Foreman 450 and a Yamaha Grizzly 660 and ATV implements. Have a 55HP Kubota tractor now and all the typical implements, but still use the Grizzly for certain foodplot tasks (spraying, spreading and sometimes cultipacking...not to mention remote hidey-hole foodplots). I also have a 6 seater Polaris Ranger that I love, but could easily do without it. In fact, even with the spacious UTV bed I still use a $39 plastic deer sled pulled behind one of the smaller machines to yank deer out. My advice, get a water cooled four wheeler in the highest HP you can afford.

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I got by, very successfully, for years with a Honda Foreman 450 and a Yamaha Grizzly 660 and ATV implements. Have a 55HP Kubota tractor now and all the typical implements, but still use the Grizzly for certain foodplot tasks (spraying, spreading and sometimes cultipacking...not to mention remote hidey-hole foodplots). I also have a 6 seater Polaris Ranger that I love, but could easily do without it. In fact, even with the spacious UTV bed I still use a $39 plastic deer sled pulled behind one of the smaller machines to yank deer out. My advice, get a water cooled four wheeler in the highest HP you can afford.

One thing I've heard about going for big size is going slow under load like plotting, or as I know first hand with ATV or Jeeps long hill climbs, the bigger the size, the easier to run hot. Anyone had heat issues with ATV or UTV?