Off-road recovery businesses staying busy going into the spring

Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 6:00 PM CST
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HAZELHURST, Wis. (WSAW) - It was a Northwoods rescue mission. Luckily no humans were being rescued, just a Bobcat that fell through the ice in a Hazelhurst lake.

“A company was working on the shoreline, they came across a bad spot and dropped it through the ice,” Bull Dog Off-Road Recovery Service Owner Tom Quandt said.

Tom says his business has been pretty steady this winter. The Bobcat is now added to a long list of other vehicles he’s saved.

“I think I pulled out 12-13 snowmobiles this year, two trucks that went through the ice, and a side-by-side,” Quandt said.

The Bobcat that was pulled out of the ice could weigh up to 10,000 pounds. But Tom has pulled some other heavy vehicles.

“Winnebago campers, I’ve pulled out John Deere tractors, snowmobiles, cars, trucks. I’ve pulled out tow trucks. We pull out a lot of different things,” Quandt said.

Tom has been in the removal business his entire life. He says his favorite part is how different every job is and the challenges that come with it.

“It all depends on what the lake conditions are like if you got stumps you’re dealing with. If it’s all the way down I have to hire a diver. They’re all a challenge and they all can be different,” Quandt said.

It took a few hours to get the Bobcat safely on Tom’s flatbed. But minutes after that happened, the phone was already ringing.

“We pulled numerous trucks that were stuck out on the lakes. Matter of fact, after I’m done with this I have another guy stuck out on a lake that I have to retrieve and get off the lake,” Quandt said.

Tom warns people who go out on a frozen lake during the early and late winter, and to look out for ice conditions. If the ice is porous, or “honeycombed,” it could be dangerous to bring a vehicle onto.

“It’s usually the first of the year, on first ice., then it’s spring o when the ice starts getting bad. It’s no good ice, it’s honeycombed. A foot of honeycombed ice is no good,” Quandt said.

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