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Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

How Do You Get That Deer Out of the Woods?

LITTLE ROCK Ė Ready to go deer hunting?

Got your gun, ammunition, orange vest and cap, license, some scent to sprinkle around, horns to rattle, call to blow or shake, snack food? Checked your tree stand and safety harness? Good.

Now give some serious thought to what happens after you pull the trigger, and the deer is on the ground dead. How will you get the deer to your vehicle?

If you can drive the pickup, SUV or even the ATV right up to the deer and wrestle it on board, thatís fine. But what if you are a quarter mile, a half mile or more from the vehicle and by foot is the only way in and out? And maybe are hunting by yourself and have 120 pounds, 140 pounds of dead weight in the ground. You have a problem.

It is fiction, this notion of picking up the deer, throwing it over your shoulder and walking out. Maybe one in a thousand Arkansas hunters is physically capable of this.

Much more logical is a way to (1) drag the deer or (2) wheel the deer.

The quickest and simplest solution, but it still means muscle work, is to take a piece of rope along in a pocket. Ten feet is enough. Clothesline, ski rope, even parachute cord will suffice. When you reach the dead deer, tie one end of the rope to one rear leg, the other to the other rear leg, get the rifle securely slung over a shoulder or across your back, then step into the middle of the rope behind the deer and begin walking. Drag the deer.

If you have a buck, an alternative is to tie the rope ends around antlers and drag it from the front of the deer. The 10-foot length should be enough to keep the deer from banging into your heels.

All sorts of lightweight carts, some of them folding and compact, can be bought. These work, some better than others, especially the ones with bicycle-type wheels. They are handy too for carry your gear to the stand to start the hunt.

You may have a plain old wheelbarrow in the garage or work shed. You wonít have to buy anything; just load the wheelbarrow into the truck or SUV, and youíve got transportation for a deer. Still take some rope or stout cord to tie down the deer after it is on the wheelbarrow.

Some other type of garden cart can be used, preferably a type with large wheels for moving over rough ground. Remember, you are planning to handle a weight of two or three bags of fertilizer, topsoil or compost.

Maybe there is an old Flexible Flyer-type sled stashed way somewhere. That will work for moving a dead deer, perhaps not as easily as a wheeled conveyance. If you donít have a lot of rocks or steep slopes to traverse, the sled is a solution. A sturdy plastic toboggan is usable too.

Also workable is a cheap plastic tarp with grommets to tie a rope. Roll the deer on to the tarp, tie the corners, step into the rope and haul away. Rocky ground may rip the tarp. But it should get over soil, mud, grass and weeds.

Some planning and ingenuity may lead to still other means of getting that deer out of the woods. Think about it. The key is to be ready to get the deer to your vehicle efficiently and without risk of a wrenched back or a hernia.

The hunt will be much more enjoyable.

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