The hunt doesn’t end when you let the arrow fly. In fact, the real work begins when your arrow finds its mark and success comes your way. The work of getting your deer out of the woods can be tough. It is very strenuous on the body. You need to be in good shape to physically haul a deer out of the woods. But it also helps to have the right tools to make the job easier.
Here’s a look at some of the tools that can simplify the process of recovering and getting your deer out of the woods this season.
Reflective Tape and Tacks
Every hunting pack needs space in it reserved for a roll of flagging tape or box of trail marking tacks. I’m especially fond of reflective tape for tracking wounded deer at night, but also knowing the path back out. I don’t skimp when using this tape, either. I mark the spot where I find first blood, and usually every few yards after that. Whether you use tape or tacks, just be sure to collect them all after the trailing job is complete and dispose of them properly.
A good headlamp is worth its weight in gold when hauling a deer out at night. I carry a headlamp that can be switched from a floodlight to a spotlight, and I can’t emphasize enough the importance of a bright light. And don’t forget to pack a spare set of batteries. Headlamps from Cyclops and Black Diamond are some of our favorites for lighting things up on the hunt.
Don’t forget to carry a spare light on every after-hours recovery as well. If you aren’t prepared, you can find yourself in a mess when the sun goes down. Always carry a backup lighting option.
Smart Phone Apps
Don’t forget about your smart phone! It can be used for just about everything these days – including making the best routes to get in and out with your deer after recovery. Apps such as HuntStand and onX Hunt offer mapping features that can be extremely valuable in this process. First, the maps are a great way to learn the terrain features around you so you’re not walking blind, but also how to make any shortcuts to the quickest route to the road with your deer.
These apps also offer tracking software that shows where you have already walked. When trailing a deer, it’s easy to get turned around and lose track of your exact whereabouts, but it can also be deceiving in terms of distance. Many times, I’ve felt like I’ve followed a blood trail a lot farther than I have, and checking the app on my phone helps put that distance in perspective.
Deer Hauling Backpack
Does your backpack allow you to haul more than just your hunting tools? Some of the better packs on the market allow you to expand the pack and haul out meat at the end of the day. These expanding, convertible packs can haul some pretty heavy loads when stashed full of meat, or even a hole quarter strapped down. A couple great pack options for hauling deer include Eberlestock X2 pack and the Mystery Ranch Pop Up 28.
A quality game cart can be a lifesaver when it comes to hauling your deer out after a long, hard track job. Better carts fold down nice and compact to easily be tucked away in your vehicle until you need it. Setup is quick and easy on most of these cart, allowing you to be ready to roll in minutes.
Dragging a deer across the ground can be brutal. Make the job easier with a wheeled cart.
One great way to get all your gear in, as well as your deer back out of the woods, is a sled. These can be used to lighten the load on your back and make the job sliding your deer back to the truck much easier.
They are built from tough plastic and work great, whether pulling across dry leaves, water, or snow and ice.
When you’re hunting near water access, there’s no better way to get your deer out of the woods than by boat. Loading-hauling kayaks are the perfect option as they allow you to get into some of the tightest hunting spots, via shallow water entry, yet can haul some impressive loads.
The Nucanoe Unlimited and Nucanoe Frontier 12 can handle loads over 600 pounds, easily floating you and your gear, as well as a deer – or two.
Electric Bike & Trailer
When you’re hunting in a location with adequate trail access, an electric bike and trailer can make short work of getting your deer out of the woods.
They are the perfect tools for backcountry hunts where you want to leave the crowds behind and quietly slip into some unpressured ground. The eBike makes accessing such places much more enjoyable.
The Rogue Ridge RF750 is a folding eBike that has a 45 mile range, travels travels up to 20 mph, has a 2.5 hour recharge time, and weighs in at just 55 pounds.
Add a trailer to the mix and you’ll lighten the load on your back as well. These trailers were designed to haul all your tools and gear – and a dead buck too! They are the perfect option for hauling your hunting camp when you’re going in deep.
Few things are as frustrating as not having the right tools for the job. Don’t get caught off guard this season. Be sure to plan for success. Make sure you have easy access to the tools you need to get your deer out of the woods.