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Brett Bonner

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Posted on Tuesday, March 08, 2005 - 11:53 am:   

My MaxIV-600T was purchased for Duck hunting. It's a great vehical. I have used it for:

1. Transportation to and from pits with 4 buddies, gear and dog in people laps,
2. Floating in the trees while the hunters wade and the dog in the Max with some cammo,
3. Custom built collapsable blind and hunting out of the Max. One person and a dog, or two people is about the limit here when floating.

These are the things I have learned:

The issue with a blind is it catches on just about everything. It is better just to keep the blind material in a bag until you get there. To that end, I am just going to build a non collapseable, but convertable, blind next year that when you arrive, you apply the camo. I will also be adding a clamp-on exhaust extension to go below the water line for additional muffling.

For floating, the water has to be deep enough and snag free enough to use the trolling motor. Under the best of circumstances it has at least 18 inches more draft than a small jon boat. This is significant. The worse condition is when you are not quite on the bottom to use the wheels and just shallow enough not to float. If you are bouncing along the bottom, it kind of sucks. In that case, you are making lots of noise with the engine. We do use the engine sometimes as it will get up the ducks (good and bad)!

If you balance it out (heavy guys on the right to offset the engine weight), then it is safe with 3 guys (my opinion only) in slightly moving water). If the water is moving very fast at all, the dog swim, the decoys are floated and towed in the bag, and the EXPERIENCED passengers are kept nice and dry. Under specific conditions - known water and known ingress and egress points, my opinion is it is safe with 4 EXPERIENCED passengers.

My definition of an experienced passenger is one that has been in the max, bobbed it around, and been reassured that it is not going to flip if they don't start moving around. That said, it has flipped once in the water in an overloaded condition, with a panic stricken passenter that when we took on a little water (my fault, the driver, climbing on to shore and slipping off a steep bank). It wasn't the Max's fault in any way - purely the captain's (my) negligence. It definately floats, when capsized, wheels up.

The non-collapsible, convertable blind will serve several purposes. First - as a duck blind. Second, as a decoy carrier. Finally, by flipping the decoy bags under the carrier, it will be used a pontoons. I really don't think I need this, but if I can accomodate it with little effort, I will.

It is REALLY great when the ducks are landing, but not where you are. Pack up and go to where the ducks are!

And one last note. A dog is considerably less utility when you have a Max to retrieve the birds! Easy to fire up and go get the birds!