I am a Mud Buddy Man. Bought one (Longtail) 7 years ago, and have done nothing but change the oil, Plug, and keep a clean air filter in it. Oh Yeah, gone through a few props. Rest asure their is no one, and I mean No One that puts their mud rigger through tougher terrain than me. We jumps Beaver Dams, Sand bars, Gravel Spots in rivers.
I do the same type hunting that you are talking about, but I am a believer in getting back to where other people will not push their equipment. I hate hunting with others around to scare off the ducks. This is getting harder and harder to do, with everone going to the Mud Motors.
http://www.gatortraxboats.com/Duck%20Hu ... %20New.htm
Here is the rig I would be looking at if I were buying a New Rig. This boat does not have floatation, but can be added for a couple huntdred dollars. I would ask to see what was the largest Hyper-Drive that the boat you pick could handle, and buy it. You can never have to much HP (torgue). These boat are all smooth bottoms for sideing over hidden objects, and the one that aren't hidden, but we are going over anyway.
I have seen all the Mud Motors except the Gator Tail. And here is my opinion on all of them.
Long-Tail - Go-Devil & Mud Buddy are far and away the better motors. They all use the same engines, but Beaver-Tail is made much lighter, not near as stout as Go-Devil & Mud-Buddy. But I bought Mud Buddy for the fact that the tail would seing around and lock down in the boat, not stick out the back like a scorpion. But I have friends with the Go-Devils and they are Quality Motors. Just not as many options.
Short -Tail - Pro-Drive & Mud Buddy are about a toss up. Both are very nice motors. I have dealt with both companies and service is top shelf. The Go-Devil that I have heard, left a little to be desired. It sounds like they just built one to get in the market, but Coco's heart is with the Long-Tails.
For the hunting you are talking about, you will be miles ahead by going with a Mud Rig. It will take you places that other can't get with regular rigs. I have had guys tell me that they could do anything aI could do and faster, so it was just a invite to play follow the leader.
Yep, they didn't last till the Whiskey got hot. And Then, when you really learn how to work it, it will take you farther than that, and will take a couple years to get to that point. You will think you are putting the rig through ALL it will do, and then in 2-3 years, you will see what I am talking about.
Should be able to get a Very Nice Mud Rig for the money you are talking. But Again, Get ALL the motor that your boat will handle. cooter