Once the critter is down, now what? Trophy critters require assistance when getting them from the field to your rig. Back in the pioneer days, a horse, wagon, or mule may have been handy. Today, we need to consider other options.
Years ago, I traveled to the top of the mountain early one morning. Opening day meant big crowds and moving deer. I picked a spot well above the hunters and waited for the morning drive. Sure enough, dozens of deer were pushed uphill, right into my lap. One well placed shot and my tag was in place. Now it was time to drag my big whitetail back to the truck, 4 miles away.
The path was rugged and covered with blowdowns and rockpiles. I used an old looped safety strap around the buck’s neck, and over my shoulder. The dressed deer weighed 142 lbs. It gained weight with every step. By the time it was back to camp, there was no hair left on its sides. It looked like a hairless cat. Even though the hair was gone, the hide protected the meat. Surely there had to be a better way.
Over the years, we tried roll out plastic sleds, poles, quartering, two-man carts, travois, and anything we could think of to get the critters out. Today, we are blessed with a menu of special rigs, carts, sleds, and gear to make this task easier. If you hunt on private land, a wheeler, truck, or farm equipment will do the trick. Public land discourages vehicle use.
You can’t beat a sled in the snow. Sturdy plastic tuff sleds come in all sizes and can later double up as ice fishing sleds. Wheeled carts come in all kinds of configurations. Some have hand brakes. The wider the wheelbase, the better. Narrow rigs tend to dump over. Lower center of gravity carts works best. Fold up carts allow easier mobility.
Having some gloves, and extra cord to secure the meat, are also handy. The best thing to have are some strong hunting partners. The more muscle, the easier the haul. Share the meat with whoever helps.
Hunt hard, hunt harder!
For more Montana Grant, haul him in at www.montanagrantfishing.com.