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Deer cart or quarter deer and carry?


BLACKJACK

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There are a couple of big public hunting areas near me that I've scouted while pheasant hunting, they looks like good spots and just say 'big buck' to me, but I always have the thought 'how do I get them out'?

Even with two guys, dragging a good sized deer for any distance is no fun so I've contemplated getting one of those deer carts - if you have one, how do you like it?? Can one guy load a deer on one and is it any easier to get a deer out?? Most of them are in an L shape, looks to me like it would be tough to even get a deer loaded onto it???

Or is a person better off to just plan on quartering and carrying out a deer??

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I would think a cart would work fine on any public land near you! Its all hardground for the most part. Ive used carts getting does out of the park during doe hunts, and they worked well. Unless its the big cattail swamps your looking at, then a cart would be useless. Then I figure adrenaline is the best bet!

If hes BIG enough BLACKJACK, just call me! I always like helping with the big ones! wink

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We've been forced to use deer carts that past few years where we hunt. They're OK, as long as you have a decent trail to push them down. We have an old logging trail, which makes it easier, but it still takes a long time to push them out.

If you get a deer cart, my only advice would be to spend the money and get a good one. The larger wheels help, but more importantly the longer handle. The first one my dad bought was a cheaper model with a short front handle bar and you basically had to hold it below your knees to get the front high enough off the ground. My back was killing me by the time I got out of the woods.

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If youre hunting thick stuff or swampy areas the cart can be more a pain than it helps. I prefer a quality sled. What I do is cut the legs off below the knee and tie the the upper part of the leg back to the deers body. What you want is the entire deer inside of the sled. It's amazing how well it pulls even without snow. I think part of the difficulty of dragging is the legs and antlers like to hang up on brush.

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The best way to pull a deer out of the woods is to pretend to trip and sprain an ankle and then have your buddy pull the deer for you.

Otherwise a cart can work but terrain will be the limiting factor. I've hunted in areas where a cart would be helpful and other places where the cart would have just made things harder.

Last year I started hunting a spot that is about a mile back from the road with some good elevation change and one small swamp to cross. I didn't harvest a deer from that spot last season but when i do I know I have some work ahead of me.

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Deer carts are amazing if you are on hard ground and have a little room to work with. If it's too thick or wet they will make your job harder.

Sleds are the way to go for the wet stuff and if it gets too thick for a cart.

If you have a super long haul I would think 2-3 guys and quartering him up would be the ticket. I haven't done it myself yet but that is my plan if I am a mile or so from cart territory. Carrying a cape, straps/loins, front shoulders, and hind quarters shouldn't be too much trouble for 2-3 guys or one guy making two trips if needed. A large backpack would certainly help your cause.

Speaking from experince the adrenalin of shooting a nice one is sometimes all you need and it is well worth the trouble to get him out. I do however suggest people shoot does and small bucks closer to a road or trail.

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One person should be able to relatively easily get a deer onto a cart and strapped down. I have done it a few times without much trouble. Like others mentioned, they work great if you have hard ground, it isn't too thick or brushy, you don't have to pull them on a sidehill, and there aren't too many fallen down trees. Any one of the above will make things difficult, and two or more will make it darn near impossible.

I don't plan on ever carting a deer out of where I hunt again. I bought a good internal frame pack to carry with me hunting, and an external pack frame to leave at camp. If I shoot a deer, I should be able to comfortably pack out 50 lbs on the first trip with my hunting pack, and retreive the rest with my pack frame on the second trip. I am 100% certain this will be much easier than the cart, at least where I hunt.

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Cart works great on the hard ground. We had to use in NE last year and hike out a few miles. Most going up hill. I had a friend just clean out the path I was on as we walked out. Pulled out a buck with no problems just had to take your time. The hills were the killer on the legs. Pulliing straight up in places. If you do quarter up make sure to check the game laws. Most times you will have to leave the sex of the deer attached even if you have the head. It needs to be on one of the quarters. I have been checked Elk and deer hunting make sure you have the sex on them. Have family friend tagged on a moose hunt for not having the sex organ on the quarter.

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We have talked about trying a cart a couple times. But then we look at all the brush, windfalls, etc. and realize a cart would probably be more work than dragging. The only cart I ever saw that worked reasonably well was one my uncle built back in the early sixties. It was made a lot like a stretcher and had a single wheelbarrow wheel in the center. Made out of some kind of conduit I think with 6" x 6" wire mesh between the conduits. It took two people (one at each end), but worked fairly well.

Our group still drags. If someone shoots a deer, at least one other person goes to help drag. I did drag out a large doe by myself once, it was just a matter of drag 50', stop and rest, repeat. It took a while and was a lot of work, but for me that's just part of the experience.

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If hes BIG enough BLACKJACK, just call me! I always like helping with the big ones! wink

That would be why I'm hiking in a long ways, to get a chance at a big one. The small ones I can shoot anywhere.

When I'm pheasant hunting, I'm always watching for deer sign, trails, funnels, I've got a couple of spots that just look 'bucky' to me. I'd want to do it with my bow too, slug hunting would be easier, you can cover more ground. But hate hunting public ground during gun season!!!

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for me that's just part of the experience.

You're right, but I drug a small buck the length of an 80 once, I was a lot younger and it was still a lot of work.

The more I think through this, thinking that the cart would be more work than it worth, you'd have to take it with every time you hunt so you're not dead heading all the way back to truck to get it, plus the territory I'm thinking of is rough, gopher mounds, cow bogs, hilly.

Quartering would work, but you'd have to come prepared, game sacks, plastic bags, saw for the legs and pelvis, big enough back pack to make the first trip back productive. Might be tough to keep the meat clean, even if you put it into game bags, you've got the hairy hide and bloody meat.

Thinking that one of those plastic drag sleds and a good should harness type of drag rope might be the way to go. Maybe with a saw so you could cut the legs off at the knees.

Thoughts??

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For years I have toyed with the idea of walking the deer out at gunpoint, but the deer don't seem to like that idea grin

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Blackjack,

Google the "gutless method" of field dressing deer. This is what we did on my moose last fall, and it worked great. Two of us were done in about an hour, and we got every last scrap of meat off that entire animal. I'm heading to Montana this fall for mule deer with a group that hunts there every year. They usually shoot their deer between 1 and 5 miles from the road, and this is what they do.

I figure why carry out the hide, ribcage, and anything else that will just get disposed of anyways. It's just a lot of extra weight. The only thing extra you will need to bring with you hunting are a few game bags (total of a couple ounces), and a very small bone saw. All of the quarters, backstrap, etc can go right into game bags where they will stay very clean. I believe in Minnesota one front shoulder has to stay attached to the head, so that would have to go in a seperate bag and may get some hair on the meat. Everything else should stay completely dirt and hair free.

If you get the right pack it doesn't have to be much bigger than the pack you probably already use. Check out Eberlestock, Badlands, Sitka, etc.... I have the Eberlestock X2 and can barely tell I'm wearing the thing it fits so well.

The sled would probably work well too. I just know I can hike a mile over moderate terrain with 50 pounds on my back and not get winded. Any means of dragging a deer that far and I'd be laying face down sucking dirt I'd be so winded.

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If it's clear enough to roll a cart from the kill site I would get one. I got one for our hunting group that use to drag even down logging roads but for $59 bucks on sale, save a heart attack!!!! laugh

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I'd get the big buck first. The rest will be worth worrying about once you've got him on the ground!

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I use a cart I got from Cabelas and it works fine on hard ground. If the snow is too deep then a sled works better. As for loading and moving a deer on a cart by yourself, I'm 62 and I loaded a buck and wheeled it about a 1/2 mile myself last fall through a clearcut with no problem. Getting the deer into the bed of the truck took longer than moving it from the kill site.

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I'd get the big buck first. The rest will be worth worrying about once you've got him on the ground!

THIS!

Once the buck is down then worry about the best way to get him out. No reason to talk yourself out of hunting a great spot just because you have to pack extra gear or make an extra trip or two.

Most of the time when I go way back I pack pretty light, most of the time you are coming back pretty light too so there isn't much reason to bring everyting imaginable with you.

Few years back I shot one just over a mile back. I was hunting a spot half way there but the wind did a 180 on me so I went for a short walk and posted up in a new spot. Mr Buck came in and I put him down and didn't even have a knife on me. No big deal, head back to camp and change into some lighter clothing, grab my knife/cart/help and head back for the deer. I had to cross a waist high creek in Nov without waders to get him out but it saved me a 400 yard mess of a drag to take the dry route near a beaver dam. I would do it again and again if it meant another nice buck.

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