Well yesterday was the first day of duck hunting and as I now have been adopted by a gun dog it was time to go duck hunting. I love water, boats and hunting ducks but always felt you needed a good gun dog if you were chasing ducks. Well off we went at first light with the new Argo cat (not new, but new to me) no problem going down the muddy bank into the river. Kobe dived in for a swim, so as soon as he was aboard I was soaking wet. Turned the engine off, switched on the trolling motor just enought throttle to get steerage, going with the current. Dead calm, The mist was gently rising, spotted the first ducks, cut the motor, loaded the 870 drifted in and as the ducks lifted off I opened fire, missed with my first rd and then dropped one. Life was good, this was the pattern for the morning.
First problem was after 1 1/2 hours I realized that my batteries were fading, the two new large tractor batters were fading fast, I had best save what power was left for retrieving ducks if need be. Question: Would deep cycle marine batteries do better? I have no experance with them. No problem I had all day, the sun was coming up, I wish I had packed a flask of coffee. Kobe was all smiles as he snuggled his wet shoulder against my knee, I pulled out the paddle and just made the occasional stroke to keep us in the main channel. Now it was getting hot, I wish I was wearing shorts but I had never gone duck hunting in shorts.
Second problem: this was serious and I am looking for imput please. My Argo cat couldn't climb out of the river, with no outboard motor she just wouldn,t get a grip on the bank. I passed the best spot and my failing batteries would not keep me going against the current. Oh, I also forgot the mention by this time I was bailing every 20 mins, good job I threw in a pail.
The irony of all of this is that I was never more than 1000 m from my house but completely out of sight. Nearly capsized retrieving a duck as we got tangled in a dead fall, the trolling motor was just about dead and the wheels really didn't cut it against the current.
Found another landing spot, time to try plan B, I jumped ashore with a rope. I disappearing in the mud up to my knees, so much for trying out the winch, Kobe was struggling in the mud! I lost my boots, eventually I dug them out, lept on board, bailed like crazy, got Kobe on board and we drifted away.
The situation was not looking good, Kobe was enjoying himself but now at 1.30 pm I knew Pat would be getting concerned.
My last chance was on the outside of a bend, dam it the current would be strong but I had to get ashore here witha line. I put on my life jacket, not a good sign I thought. Jumped ashore, the Argo got caught in a submerged tree, I couldn't get up the steep bank, Kobe decided to help and got caught in the line, hell, could nothing go right. Eventually I got the line round a large tree, got Kobe untangled and got the nose of the Argo on the bank. I now sank into the mud up to my knees and lost my rubber boots again, to bad. I got the winch cable out round a tree and sucked her out of the river, only just in time, as I winched her up the bank the water inside her was almost ready to run out the back. Some where in there was a fleece, a coffee mug, some shells, some wrenches, a dog leash and my 870. I got to the top of the bank, I was exhausted, what a "fun day" now I would have to walk 2 miles home to get the chain saw so I could reach the road.
Question for any Argo Cat owners what are the best tyres for getting out of deep water up a muddy river bank? And yes I think Iwill purchase a bilge pump.
As I write this we are looking at the bones of two duck, one of the best suppers ever!
I hope you all had as much fun this week end?
J-wheels mite do the trick thay add quite a bit of flowtashion to Argos or quod good in mud water but not so good in deep snow
Ive had five Argos over the years, and currently have an 8x8, they are great machines, but they still have their limitations. Also gaining some experience using them over time helps a lot.
The best tires Ive found for maneuvering in water are the Argo tires. I also use a 9.9 on the back and it helps but is still pretty slow, about 4.5 mph on my machine. Getting out of the water is tricky as you found out, unless you have a very gradual bank, thats the norm. Try to stay away from water with any current to it, especially without an outboard on it.
And do get a bilge pump, I have two on mine. If your taking on a lot of water you may have some bad wheel seals and bearings, keep them greased, as this helps keeping out water.
Also check that the body isn't cracked underneath. Sometimes water can get in through the vents in the front of the machine, I tape them up with duct tape when I'm hunting in the fall to keep the water out. Mine will take on about a gallon an hour usually, with a bad wheel seal that jumps to a gallon every few minutes.
Also when your winching, make sure you leave your motor running, those winches will suck all the juice out of your battery quickly.
If you have any more questions, just ask.
Couple of thoughts:
Yes, deep cycle batteries are more suitable for the long slow drain of a trolling motor, But Argos have the hull design of a HiPoint slide, and as such use a lot of energy just to maintain steerage. A small 2 stroke outboard would probably serve better.
Argos are really nose-heavy, which makes them steer better, but screws with you when you're trying to climb out of the water. I've found lots and lots of banks I couldn't climb with mine, but very few I couldn't *back* up. At least you get the right Angle to get a purchase with the rear wheels, like a wedge, as oppsed to the front wheels just scrabbling at the edge, and not really doing anything but digging a hole.
And yeah, bilge-pumps are your friend. They do leak, no ways about it, but that sounds extreme.
But they are a ton of fun, and amazing what they will do. Tracks are amazing on gross ground and snow, but provide Zero drive in the water... Found out the hard way.... :D
Carlisle is making the current Argo tires, they have a good paddle on them for water use, and they are available ONLY through Argo dealers, If you have a long shaft outboard, that is the best, it gets the prop a little deeper beneath the hull, and gives better control.
They used to make a 30gpm mountable, hand powered bilge pump called the "Gusher". I had one in my 27' sailboat. This would not be overkill if you decide to get one. You could clear several gallons from your bilge with just a few strokes of the pump handle then get back to your navigating, or whatever. A bucket is better than nothing,, almost .
"When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, 'Who is destroying the world?' You are." - Ayn Rand
Backing out is fine except I would have to lift up the outboard motor before i back up and then I have to rely on the wheels only, that will not work in the current in my river. Also my winch is on the front only. Hunting by myself does not give me the luxury of having some one else on the bank to secure my winch cable, I need to be able to at least drive on to the bank and "stick" there while I secure a winch line, then at least I can relax.