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post #1 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-09-2018, 08:33 AM Thread Starter
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Dragging Questions

Wondering if any of you feel like participating in a deer dragging discussion ?

We all know that dragging a deer can be pretty grueling even for the most fit hunters. Just curious how you guys get your deer out of the woods ? Do you have multiple guys who are able to help you ? Do you use a deer cart or are you lucky enough to drive a quad right up to it ? How far is a typical drag for you ? Tons of questions here.

For me personally if I get a deer I almost never have to drag it entirely by myself. Usually I can get anywhere from one to three guys to help me. We use a deer cart and depending on the amount of guys I have helping it can take anywhere from two to four hours to get it out of the woods. I generally hunt pretty far back in without any roads or trails that are close enough to ease the burden.

I have been doing a lot of mountain hunting the last six or seven years and during that time I have found some spots that I want to hunt but the thought of the drag is somewhat holding me back. Guess that's my reason for starting this thread in the first place. Looking for advice.
Also curious what challenges some of you face when getting your deer out of the woods.

Dragging is a big part of deer hunting but it's something I noticed doesn't get discussed on here very often.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.


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Last edited by steelhead125; 03-09-2018 at 01:09 PM.
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post #2 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-09-2018, 09:09 AM
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Up until last season I dragged my deer to where I could get my truck. I found the easiest way to drag is to put a loop around the deer's neck, then stick the front legs through the loop behind the ears and pull the loop tight. It should drag on the sides and the legs will not catch on anything. Last year after 59 years of dragging I bough a used 4wd ATV and hauled my deer from where it fell to where my truck was parked for the first time ever. What caused me to finally buy the machine was there is a ravine about 20 feet from my stand and the last three deer I shot turned around and ran down into the ravine and died. I am not as young as I used to be and dragging those deer alone out of the ravine was not fun. I also put a winch on the ATV so I could winch the deer out of the ravine if need be. I didn't use the winch last year because the deer ran across the ravine and died half way up the other side and I was able to drive around to the other side and load it up after field dressing. Never minded dragging, it is part of the game, but there comes a time in life when brains work better than brawn.

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post #3 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-09-2018, 09:21 AM
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I pulled three deer out this year, all about a mile to mile and a half. My safety harness has a loop on the tailbone and came with a carabiner and rope of the perfect length. It's called a suspension relief system and I believe it's pretty standard on HSS products. Wrap it around the neck, hook up and start pulling. It's wayyyy easier than the typical stick and rope or grabbing by the horns. I would recommend this method to anybody. Buck and bambi came out like this. My buddy did help a little on the buck,mostly just with getting the anlters over obstacles. On the first saturday of rifle me and same buddy doubled up on doe way up the mountain behind private land, we strung em up and packed em out. That was one of my most enjoyable and memorable times in the woods. But until I get a better pack I'll mostly stick to dragging with the harness.

The worst part about the spots I hunted this year is that I'm probably not more than 200-400 yards from the road or a camp lane, but I gotta walk half mile plus parallel to the posters before the state land drops to the road. We hear the commotion of hunters on private land but they don't often venture off of it which can make for pretty decent public hunting if you're willing to go that extra mile.
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post #4 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-09-2018, 09:49 AM
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When I hunt alone I always make sure I have a contact or two I can call if I harvest a deer and need help for them to bring the ATV and help drag it out. When I`m hunting with friends we work on the buddy system and all pitch in to drag it out and on to a ATV or back to camp or the truck...

The one challenge I face and probably most of us who have had to drag a deer here in Pa know. is the drag up the big steep hills here in Pa. If you don`t have help they could become a widow maker. When I shoot one I`m always hoping he runs down hill towards the truck....
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post #5 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-09-2018, 09:51 AM
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I use the same legs near the head that WW described. It works well. What works even better is having a 15 year old son ... LOL. When we hunt in WV (on private land) we usually just drag far enough to where we can get the quad or truck to haul it back to the meat pole. When we're here in PA there's one spot at a camp we've been going to where its a similar drag ... couple hundred yards at most until you run into an atv trail. There's been some places where i've been wanting to hunt closer to home and have for sure thought about "how am i going to get one out of there if i shoot one?" Especially if I'm by myself. But I'll generally have a plan and an idea of where the closest road is that i can drag to & then how i'm going to get back to where i parked etc.
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post #6 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-09-2018, 10:24 AM
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This has kept me from shooting any doe this past archery season. I'm usually a mile or so in on game lands and don't have the desire to drag a doe that far. I did shoot a buck in Montana and dragged it a mile back. I wrapped my rope around the antlers so as I dragged the head was held up and didn't catch on any rocks. I helped a buddy the day before who just wrapped around the neck and the antlers caught every rock along the way.

If I'm on my own property I get the 4 wheeler and go haul it out.
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post #7 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-09-2018, 10:34 AM
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Hunting at camp--- The hunting is all public land most of it pretty darn rough. So the dragging there is never easy and sometimes down right miserable. It took 3 of us 4-5 hours to get a bear I shot roughly 1.5 miles out. For that we use whatever means necessary but usually there are guys to help.

Hunting at home-- Usually more solo hunts or with my dad so I try and do all the dragging. Luckily its all on private land, I can never drive right to the deer but Id say the typical drag is 400-500 yards to where I can get a truck.

No matter where it is I actually want to drag at least a little distance. I don't want to just drive right up and load the deer. It's part of the experience for me to at least put a little sweat into getting it out. As goofy as that may sound.
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post #8 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-09-2018, 10:55 AM
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If on public land, we make use of the game carts. They can make getting a deer out, much easier. If its to steep for a game cart, animal gets boned out and packed out using pack frames. Private land, we can usually get an ATV right up to an animal.
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post #9 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-09-2018, 12:07 PM
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The last two bucks were archery deer that were about 50 yds drags on a slight angle (when you want to drag in a straight line, but the deer wants to go to the left or right because of the downward slope) to the edge of the hill behind my house then another 50 yds holding the deer back while sliding down the hill on my butt...as much as I'd like to...if I just let them slide down the hill...between the trees, rock outcropings, and the creek at the bottom they wouldn't have a rack left.

When I hunt Susquehanna co. I use my deer cart.

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Last edited by whil e kioti; 03-09-2018 at 12:24 PM. Reason: added comment
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post #10 of 103 (permalink) Old 03-09-2018, 12:26 PM
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If the deer drag is more than about a 1/4 mile I use a deer cart. Most my drags are less than that and I just use a deer drag with a harness strap. The older I get the more I appreciate a deer carrier that slips into the receiver for the trailer hitch. Nothing worse for an old man than to have to hoist that deer up into the pick up after a long drag -especially if solo.
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