Dozer or Skid/Track Steer


Active Member
Interested to hear this one out. Been on my mind past few years of is it time to finally break down and get one or the other and take some tasks off the tractor. Would i get more use out of skid steer or dozer for hunting land. I'm hoping for really some counter arguments against a skid/track steer, as i almost have myself convinced it is the better route, as they are simply so versatile and powerful that dozer all it has on a steer is just more grunt in front of the blade.

Possible Work - breaking new food plot grounds, picking rocks on ag fields, clearing stumps, plowing snow, trail maintenance, moving logs, putting up perm stands, grading road, moving brush, digging small ponds.
I love the idea of a good track loader/skid steer primarily because of the optional equipment they can be fitted with. From a 4 way bucket to an auger or a grapple/root rake even a subsoiler is now available for them. A dozer has it's place, but really how much dozer work are you going to be doing for the next ten years? Buy a track loader and rent a dozer if you need one.
I love the idea of a good track loader/skid steer primarily because of the optional equipment they can be fitted with. From a 4 way bucket to an auger or a grapple/root rake even a subsoiler is now available for them. A dozer has it's place, but really how much dozer work are you going to be doing for the next ten years? Buy a track loader and rent a dozer if you need one.

^^^^^ This, would be my vote!
Another thing to consider a Track loader can be moved to and from for service work. Most Dozers not so much, a lot will depend on the Dozer size and your truck/trailer, just a thought.

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I have a friend with an excavating business. Every time I find a good deal on a dozer he talks me out of it. They are terribly expensive to repair. Even getting one to a repair shop is going to hurt. One trip to the mechanic and you'll never see a ROI. The advice given to me is to hire vs rent as a good operator is much more efficient and money well spent.
I would personally go a different route. Because I already have a root grapple for my tractor, if I were going to drop coin on more equipment, I’d pick up a 45 or so hp excavator with a thumb. That, with what I already have, would make the most sense for me. Having said that, it makes more sense for me to rent for a week each year than buy if use is limited to my acreage. Just my .02.
I don't own any power equipment larger than a chainsaw at the moment but I think I'd get more use out of a track loader than a tractor on my place. Maintaining roads and fire brakes is something that will require more hours than food plot work. It may be hard to justify buying over renting though, I'm not sure how many hours I'd need one each year.
Both are good pieces of equipment. I bought a dozer because it made more sense to me due to the size stuff I have to clear...there is no way you would clear what I have cleared with my dozer with a tracked skid steer...and my next piece of equipment would be a track hoe or backhoe with a hydraulic thumb. After that a dump truck and then finally a skid steer. If you are clearing for roads, fence rows, fire breaks, ponds, or food plots out of forest it’s hard to beat a dozer...

This photo was taken after I had already cleared some.

This photo was after clearing more today...

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To grade roads, clear brush and small trees, dig water holes, make trails through the woods, and install water bars a skid loader on tracks, commonly called a CTL, is the perfect machine. To dig ponds, clear larger trees, and move big piles of dirt, a bulldozer is the machine for the job. To dig ditches, load fill piles on dump trucks, pull big stumps, and channel water, an excavator is the ideal machine. To save money and do none of these well, a skidloader on wheels is better than nothing. I myself prefer a CTL for the ease of trailering, ease of use; something that the average person can run well after several days practice, and the bigger amount of work they are capable of doing in a day with a lighter machine. I hire a dozer and an operator every now and then for my big projects.
Son runs a JD 323 CTL, JD 333 CTL, and a Cat 305 excavator in his biz. The 333 is a beast of a machine at 12,000 lbs. I've bought a few implements for use at the farm for his track loaders. Pretty amazing what those things can do in such a short period of time. Opening up clearings, raking roots, grading, road maintenance, water holes, water bars, putting in and maintaining fire breaks, and extreme brush cutting are the primary uses at the farm. Implements are endless. We've been running a Brushmaster brush cutter on the farm since 2011. Shreds saplings up to about 4 inches. I just ordered an extreme brush cutter with carbide teeth on the bottom of the blade carrier for extreme brush cutting that takes small trees down to ground level. I'll post up some pics when we put that piece of equipment to work in a few weeks.
Here's a pretty good example of what you can do with fire breaks and taking out trees in short order. This is along our west property line and was so overgrown you couldn't ride a side-by-side thru it. Used the brush cutter to open it up then removed roots and graded with the bucket. Also put in 3 water holes in same day while clearing the fire break.

skid steer Property line fire break before.JPG

skid steer fire break after.jpg

Water holeSkid Steer Water Hole I 6.35.31 PM.JPG
Use of tree axe back in 2012 when we cut an access rd thru the planted pines. Took out a 300 yd row of pines at ground level. Takes down trees up to 14" in diameter. At the time he was running an open cab low flow track loader.
Skid Steer Tree Axe.jpg Skid steer tree axe II.jpg
skid stter tree axe III.jpg
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In these oak and hickory woods gotta go well below ground level...waterholes in 20 minutes. Fishing ponds a different ballgame.
A lot of this exactly what i was looking to hear. i should've said i'm not even hardly considering a skid steer, would be a CTL for sure. sooner or later you will be stuck in mud with wheels or my neck of woods snow from Nov to End March. Part of me thinks i can do 80% of my tasks moderately to extremely efficient with CTL and then dozer work when necessary thankfully have "buddies" that can come to rescue if needed. I'm just stuck on the multitude of uses with CTL, if ever need a certain one off attachment can easily rent for ~$200/day, whatever the project is their is most likely an attachment on CTL, where a dozer is limited to its task of grading dirt and big stumps.
I'm partial to a skid steer with tracks, but I don't have a dozer to compare with. Remember that a a skid steer can have steel tracks added that go over the tires. That might be cheaper option and they work great for traction. You won't want to drive on pavement or your yard with the steel tracks though as they tear the hell out of stuff.
I think it's going to depend on the tool you actually need. A dozer is great for larger projects and moving large amounts of material....where a skid-steer will be for smaller jobs and like was mentioned you can accessorize it a lot easier. I hired one over the summer to pull my 30 hp tractor out of the creek.....a dozer would have worked, but it would have been far more difficult getting it to the site and would have been far more than I needed. A small track-hoe/back-hoe would be a handy tool as well. You simply have to justify how much you can actually use these things.....sometimes you just bite the bullet and hire a job for a day or so and move on....vs having that money tied up in equipment that just sits there. Also keep in can put a skid-steer on a trailer.....a dozer....well, that doesn't transport as well.
I would recommend a CTL. I am blessed to also have a D6 and 16 ton excavator with thumb. Even the D6 has a work out removing large oak stumps. I prefer to use excavator to dig them up before I use the dozer, It is just easier on the machines. If you look at a property thread I have "Hillbilly farming" I have some pics of all the different uses I have done with various equipment. If I all ready had a tractor and was looking at next thing to buy I would say CTL with tooth bucket, Grapple rock bucket and a Dansur Tree puller. I just upgraded my Cat 259d for a new 299d3. wow, it is like a small dozer. My D6 took me about 150 hours of seat time to call myself some what of an operator so I think it is the hardest learning curve of anything I've ever sat on. I have cleared standing timber with my CTL and tree puller, gets the job done and when that was all I had I thought I was on top of the world. I now can do it 3 times faster but I spent 6 times the money too. Bang for the buck CTL is hard to beat. Cost of operation and maintance is often over looked when buying. Pay or pay later. Either on machine parts or your time when old machine breaks down in middle of long weekend work project. Trust me I enjoy all my habitat work, actually I can not even call it work, it is too much fun and I try really hard to manual out of my work. I could hire to work done cheaper but I can do it my plan, my way,on my time line. Which is priceless.
I just upgraded my Cat 259d for a new 299d3. wow, it is like a small dozer.

My son ran a JD323 for years and still uses it a lot. He added a JD333 to his arsenal about 9 months ago and holy cow! It's as you running a small dozer compared to the 323. Can't wait to try out the new brush cutter on that thing.