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Thread: Best Snowmachine for Hunting?

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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Question Best Snowmachine for Hunting?

    What is the best make & model of snowmachine for big game hunting (include optional equipment if applicable)

    Don't care about any other uses, just hunting: moose, caribou, bison, muskox in winter, and maybe bears in the early spring.

    Carry a hunter & equipment over long distances, through deep snow, around/over common obstacles (trees, overflow, etc)
    in order to access areas where these critters spend their snowy months, and then haul everything back out.

    Thanx, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    Skidoo Skandic Super Wide track with the 503 fan cooled motor or a Yamaha Bravo. Neither are made new anymore.

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    The Best..........SkiDoo Skandic Super Wide Track with 503 Fan Cooled Engine. Second best SkiDoo Skandic WIDE TRACK with the 503 fan cooled engine........

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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Thanx Guys!

    But, among the sleds that are still being manufactured . . . . is the Skandic SWT with the 900 ACE motor still the best hunting rig?
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    Member akiceman25's Avatar
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    I'll be ordering the Ski Doo Expedition SE w/900 ACE very soon. The SWT was my 2nd choice though.

    My deciding factors include;
    1. 4 year warranty when spring ordering
    2. Wider ski stance on expy
    3. A-arm front suspension expy vs. SWT pogo stick front shocks which appear weak to me
    4. Air ride suspension (cuz why not?)
    5. Winch

    My $0.02.
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    Now sure if they still make them but I have a Scandic 440 LT. Light enough I can pick up one end at a time. Narrow and fits between trees. I put a sheet of 1/4"UMLV under the front so driving over alders and small spruce not an issue. Uses little gas, nice big rack. Tows a ton of firewood. Has been a great utility machine.

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  7. #7
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Skwentna & AGL,

    I understand your preference for a fan-cooled-engine, but currently, the 550F is only offered on the Skandic WT, not the SWT. Which would you rather have: fan-cooling or a 4" wider track? Also, the new 4-stroke 600/900 ACE motored Skandics have a fan-cooled radiator. Would that help sway your opinion?

    iceman,

    I've looked at the Expedition SE, too, and for some of the same reasons that you've listed. Although I like the clean look of the LTS "pogo-stick" front suspension on the Skandics. I noticed that the Expy it's also available with the 1200 4TEC motor, which for 2016 will have iTC (throttle by wire Sport, Standard & ECO modes + learner key & switch to finger throttle, just like the ACE's). Have you considered going with the big-block motor? The Expedition's style of 2-Up seating sure does look more comfortable, too.

    But, I guess the biggest difference between the SWT and any other sled is the flotation. I took a tape-measure with me to the dealership and calculated the footprint of the wider SWT track with the larger 10" ski skins to those on the other sleds: the Skandic SWT has approximately 2124 square-inches touching the snow, versus 1680 sq-in for both the Skandic WT and the Expedition. That's 26% more floatation (or traction)!

    Gotta admit that sitting on a SWT in the parking lot sure felt a lot "wider" between the knees. I've ridden a WT and felt very comfortable, but, some folks report that riding a SWT all day, can be less so?

    Thanx for all the replies so far, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    I would choose the Wide Track with the 550 fan........the reason being that you can and will get "Stuck" with any machine, including the SWT. Getting stuck.........sucks......it sucks real bad, but it is something a rider can deal with, it may require a lot of sweat and suffering. But with a come'along and rope can be solved and avoid a very long walk out on snowshoes.

    The 503F is the most reliable engine system (In my opinion). Speaking just for me, if hunting alone and twenty or thirty mile walk out, if the machine fails to function, I want a simple and reliable engine system. However if another rider & machine are on "ALL" hunts, then things change as far as the engine choice.

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    Member SusitnaAk's Avatar
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    The 440,s 503 and 488 Polaris all good stuff as mentioned, not made anymore. Some of us that has driven these things for 50 years always will have our favorites .And new machines that comes along, will always be compared too them . That brings us to, today. You wanted to pull Supplies long distance and deep snow.I would go around the trees none of them hop trees well and like it In my opinion the SWT is the king. For me it is all trade off it, is a huge machine. and wider, a long day on one and you will feel it.You will get used to it,Sit side saddle, stand up so forth, It can be a mule in the woods and the trees,A good rider can over come this, lots body English. If your not going to make the turn ,just stop back and up a little. This is where the SWT flotation is king, It can back up little ways in waist deep snow where others models can't. The pogo front end is good, less parts hanging out in the woods that could grab a hidden stump. There is no machine that can match a 24 wide track. I have and do own them all , My still favorite, is a Polaris Widetrac LX .I still have it Over 20,000 mile on it. and still makes everytrip.They don't make them anymore either . I love the SWT That what I choose to replace the LX for main machine. My is the v-800 and they don't make it anymore either. Went to 600 hundred ace and etec, and now this year to 900. If I where un supported in the woods I would lean toward the etec,I can be started with rope start,For x more dollars .option. The ace,s 600 or 900 you lose a batt and you walk. They all good on gas compared to 550. I choose v-8oo but am supported by a Cabin and shop, with heat.Those are going to be trouble to start -30 below ,They say the 900 been good. go spend some time over here in this forms lotta good stuff there .
    http://www.dootalk.com/forums/forum/...ic-expedition/

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    I have the 600 ace in 20'' wt have a could of friends that have the 24'' wt track and they were not real happy with. Mainly they said if the 20'' would of been out they would of preferred having that one. I have been very happy with my 600 wt but I would have to say it is a bit top heavy and once you get used to that then you are good to go. Always have a good battery in it.

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  11. #11
    Member The German's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluNosDav View Post
    What is the best make & model of snowmachine for big game hunting (include optional equipment if applicable)

    Don't care about any other uses, just hunting: moose, caribou, bison, muskox in winter, and maybe bears in the early spring.

    Carry a hunter & equipment over long distances, through deep snow, around/over common obstacles (trees, overflow, etc)
    in order to access areas where these critters spend their snowy months, and then haul everything back out.

    Thanx, Dave.
    Hey there Dave, FWIW, any and all machines mentioned here, are all good, but the "Key-Ingredient" for me anyway, is "The Air-Cooled Engine" pick your flavor or manufacture, and if you have the where-with-all, to do work and replace parts in the bush as they "Wear-Out", then you can ride that machine just about all-year long, I know guy's down on the peninsula, that do just that.

    "TG"

    Dave, I was typing and then saw your post, as long as you have the Fan for cooling, whether Cooling said Engine, or the Radiator, that works, now you've got the same operating characteristic's as a 4-wheeler. That "Works" for me.
    "TG"
    One More thing, having a back-up Recoil-Starting system, is pretty hard to beat.
    Last edited by The German; 03-15-2015 at 14:25. Reason: Added Comments
    [ Retired and Living the "Dream" in Alaska, Semper-Fi ]

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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Thanx German!

    You know, when I first saw that you had replied to my thread, but, before I actually read what you wrote, I thought . . . . The German is going to recommend that I get an Argo with tracks as the best winter hunting machine. Care to expound upon that idea?

    Are two tracks better than one, when it comes to finding and hauling critters out of the snowy winter woods? Also noticed that Argo has been moving toward more liquid-cooled 4-stroke motors over the years, too, and hardy any pull-cords left in the line-up. Or do only snowmachines need a back-up?

    Thanx again, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BluNosDav View Post
    Thanx German!

    You know, when I first saw that you had replied to my thread, but, before I actually read what you wrote, I thought . . . . The German is going to recommend that I get an Argo with tracks as the best winter hunting machine. Care to expound upon that idea?

    Are two tracks better than one, when it comes to finding and hauling critters out of the snowy winter woods? Also noticed that Argo has been moving toward more liquid-cooled 4-stroke motors over the years, too, and hardy any pull-cords left in the line-up. Or do only snowmachines need a back-up?

    Thanx again, Dave.

    Hey there Dave,,,,, Well, where to start,,, Yea, I'll expound alittle for ya, I've been messing around with Argo's since the early 70's, when I got back from Nam, in 71, my Uncle had just bought an Argo, I had never seen one before, and this was also the 1st year they offered an 8-Wheel Version, the original's were 6-wheeler's, it had a 2-Stroke Kohler 440 Engine, I ran the piss-out-that thing, over the years I've had several other Argo models, all 8-Wheel though, and then I was off to the Cushman Trackster, 2-cycle OMC Engine,,,, well we haven't got enough time, or "Adjectives" and or 4-Letter Words too describe those days,,,,, and then there were Single Track Toat-Goats, several Rokons 2-Stroke Chrysler Marine, the Rokon was actually a pretty "Good" Rig, once you learned to ride it, it would climb a tree, if you stay on it. And then a few 4-Wheeler's, and Snow Machines of course, but you know there called "Snow-Mobiles" in the lower-48, Montana and Idaho anyway, that's where my experience comes from, and my druthers for an Air-Cooled Fan Design, as hunting Lion and Bear in the snow, and using what we call a "Strike-Box", basically a flat-topped Dog box, with a carpeted/rugged surface strapped on a sled being pulled by your Snow-Machine, the object here is your moving along "pretty slow" trying Strike a Fresh-Track and the "Sent" that accompany's that Track, and when that happens, "All-Hell" Breaks Loose, if your working with an older Dog, he or she will "Bail-Off" the box, and were off the Races, if it's a younger Dog, you'll have to Un-Snap the holding chain hook, and let em go.
    So,,,,, what I'm trying to give you is that type of slow operation, much like a freighter set-up, in that pulling a heavy load at slow speeds, you just can't get enough snow up in the tunnel, to cool the engine. And also Hunting those swing season times, when the snow is hit and miss, and or rotten, my choice is and will always be an Air-Cooled Fan Machine. And as far as pull cords/ropes, or maybe an extra battery "Fully-Charged-up" are all good things to have with you, But I've always got my Survival-Gear/Pack freshly stocked contents, checked and double checked,,,,,, And Most Of All my Trekking Poles, and "Snow-Shoes" don't leave home with out them, even if I'm going to the Beach.!!!

    Now, back to the Argo, my current machine is a 2010 HDI 750, with the "Admiral Tranny", which is a very nice option that Argo started to make available, along with the Fuel-Injected 31HP Kohler 2-cylinder Liquid Cooled Engine, add the 18" Rubber Tracks w/Ice Cleats, an Enclosed Top, Heater and De-Froster, Onboard Color GPS, OH,,, and did I mention the 2-cup Holders for Refreshments at hand.
    Quite frankly, other than a Super-Cub, you can't do much better.
    Thats my Story, and I'm Sticking to it.

    "TG"
    [ Retired and Living the "Dream" in Alaska, Semper-Fi ]

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    Member mit's Avatar
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    Bearcat 570XT
    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    The Best..........SkiDoo Skandic Super Wide Track with 503 Fan Cooled Engine. Second best SkiDoo Skandic WIDE TRACK with the 503 fan cooled engine........
    You mean one of these...?? Not my ad, just found it ironic to find one for sale since this thread started.

    http://fairbanks.craigslist.org/snw/4899360950.html

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    Ive had alot of different sleds thought out my life, from elans to swts and in between! currently have a 2005 swt 550 with 14000 miles on it, one rebuild around 10000 miles and recently a tranny which costed way more than the rebuild! If u end up buying a used swt i highly recommend checking the transmission condition, jmo

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    Buddy of mine has a V-800 right down the road from me. Tranny costs $2500.00. Don't know why though. He SWEARS by the SWT. I would prefer fan-cooled too. And forget the 4-strokes if you are looking for ultimate reliability. I towed one guy off this river about a month ago. Sitting with his almost new Yamaha that had some sort of electrical problem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by maritasea&ski View Post
    2015 Polaris 550 Fan cooled Voyageur 155 $7,414
    Agreed that the Voyageur looks pretty sweet for a hunting machine. That would have been my choice had it been closer in price to the Bearcat 570.

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    Roughly what does a BEARCAT 570 cost these days..........???


    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    Agreed that the Voyageur looks pretty sweet for a hunting machine. That would have been my choice had it been closer in price to the Bearcat 570.

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