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Early Spring HOWA 2011

UTV simplifies life for retired game warden

Off-road utility vehicle fills a void for Pennsylvania acreage owner

Off-Road utility vehicle fills a void for Pennsylvania acreage owner Richard Shire

Off-Road utility vehicle fills a void for Pennsylvania acreage owner Richard Shire.

Working outdoors has become second nature to Richard Shire, a former game warden with nearly 30 years of public service. The one thing he missed while he was a warden was a rugged off-road vehicle. Today he is making up for lost time with his own Bobcat® 3400 utility vehicle for use on his acreage.

Shire is retired now and lives in northern Pennsylvania near the New York border, outside of Middlebury Center in rural Tioga County. His home is surrounded by 28 acres of woods, nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, providing the perfect backdrop for enjoying rural life and ample opportunities to go hunting. His preferred hunts include bear, deer and turkey. According to Shire, the bear population is so large that he had to "bear-proof" his second-story deck to keep them from climbing up on it and eating his bird food.

Prior to purchasing his Bobcat 3400, Shire was familiar with the Bobcat brand of compact equipment, but not Bobcat utility vehicles. It wasn't until he visited a local Bobcat dealer — Best Line Equipment — near Williamsport, Pa., that he learned about the New Breed of Bobcat utility vehicles. "I've previously owned all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and I wanted to get a utility vehicle; something larger with two seats, a steering wheel and a tilt cargo box," Shire says.

In addition to taking the 3400 on hunting expeditions, Shire puts the vehicle to work on his property. He utilizes the cargo box to haul brush and firewood, making routine chores simpler.

"This is going to be useful for bringing back whatever I should get when I am hunting," he says. "The cargo box is bigger than some of the other ones I looked at. The tilt feature is nice for dumping materials, while the tailgate opens up nicely."

Homeowner Richard Shire built this screen to prevent bears from climbing onto his deck

Homeowner Richard Shire built this screen to prevent bears from climbing onto his deck. Shire says before he put up the screen, a bear climbed on the deck and was standing outside the patio door at his home in northern Pennsylvania.

Shire further customized the vehicle with a gun rack, pouches for storage and a rearview mirror. Next on his list are a front-mounted snow blade and a brush guard.

Among the many differences between the 3400 utility vehicle and ATVs has been the comfort. "I like the way it drives and rides; it's quite comfortable," he says. "The steering wheel is easier for me, easier than using the handlebars on the ATV. And I have three drive modes to choose from: one-wheel, two-wheel and four-wheel drive. I can't wait for the snow to come down and drive it then."

Easy to maintain

Living in a rural area means Shire doesn't care to spend much time taking the vehicle to a dealership for service. Thankfully the new Bobcat utility vehicles have superb access to routine maintenance areas.

"This vehicle is easy for me to maintain," he says. "When I lift the seat I can get to the oil fill and filter. When I tilt the cargo box back, I can get to the canister for the air filter. I won't have to take it somewhere and have someone else do it for me."

Spending time outdoors is much more fun for retired game warden Richard Shire. A customized Bobcat utility vehicle provides the means for Shire to work more efficiently on his acreage and spend more time doing what he likes best — hunting.