I also change filters withou removing the lower cowl plastic. Just reach up there and see if you can hand turn it. Usually I can but now and then I slip a metal strap type wrench over the end of the filter to loosen it. I always screw the new one on by hand, no need for a wrench, just be sure to oil the rubber gasket on the filter. Also it helps if you prefill the filter with oil. You won't be able to completely fill it but if you half fill it and roll it around to wet down all the filter media and then put enough oil in it to just keep it from spilling when you turn the filter horizontal it will reduce the number of times the engine has to turn over to prime it's sytem with oil. Always crank the engine with the kill switch on (if yours will) until the oil light goes out before starting. That puts less wear on the bearings which might be a bit dry. If you have to remove the plastic there's three screws, one on each side and a middle one plus the plastic cover just below the radiator which is held with a couple tabs and two rubber grommets at the top.