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Dragging or Packing?


Cedar+Canvas
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I have always dragged out no matter in the Dacks or around home, except on some private where you can get an ATV. I have dragged deer for up to 8 hours to get out. To tell you the truth to cut one up and pack out and go back in and out again might not be a whole heck of a lot less work lol.

 

I really do not want to open up all that meat to contamination if I do not have to. The trips out West I have been on we could always get a vehicle near where an animal was downed or horses.

 

We have one spot that we use a cart because you walk in over a mile just on a gravel road. I would not want to try using one in the woods though. And around my place I use the ATV.

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3 hours ago, Padre86 said:

The rope and drag method will not work in the remote areas of the Northern Zone, especially for a solo hunt.  

I have to respectfully disagree.  Our tent is 7 miles in and we will sometimes drag 2-3 miles just to get to the tent.  The one last year was 3+ hours, a couple years before almost 5 hours.  Hence the "until your balls fall off". ;)   It isn't easy, but if it was, everyone would do it.

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I have to respectfully disagree.  Our tent is 7 miles in and we will sometimes drag 2-3 miles just to get to the tent.  The one last year was 3+ hours, a couple years before almost 5 hours.  Hence the "until your balls fall off".    It isn't easy, but if it was, everyone would do it.


The big difference is you say “we” I’m assuming that means you have others helping you drag? I don’t like hunting with others so most of the time I’m on my own. I am 30yrs old a little over 6ft and about 225lbs I would consider myself in pretty darn good shape but I’m man enough to admit that dragging a 180+ pound deer for anything over a couple miles isn’t something I’m ever going to do again. I have packed enough out to know that it’s much easier. Walking out with 80-100lbs of meat and a head and cape is so much nicer than dragging!

That being said I still would much rather drag them because I enjoy having a whole deer hanging on the meat pole to admire until I cut it up. But sometimes that’s just not in the cards.


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  I interpret that to mean vast tracts of wilderness (either public or private) where road access is limited or prohibited.  

 

 

Meat Eater Podcast

 

That was my initial thought, guys that hunt “backcountry” sections multiple miles from roads/trails/vehicles etc. That said, I’m always down to see cool camp and farm toys! Haha.

 

 

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18 hours ago, Buckmaster7600 said:

 

 


The big difference is you say “we” I’m assuming that means you have others helping you drag? I don’t like hunting with others so most of the time I’m on my own. I am 30yrs old a little over 6ft and about 225lbs I would consider myself in pretty darn good shape but I’m man enough to admit that dragging a 180+ pound deer for anything over a couple miles isn’t something I’m ever going to do again. I have packed enough out to know that it’s much easier. Walking out with 80-100lbs of meat and a head and cape is so much nicer than dragging!

That being said I still would much rather drag them because I enjoy having a whole deer hanging on the meat pole to admire until I cut it up. But sometimes that’s just not in the cards.


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"We" was in reference to our camp.  Sometimes there's one, mostly two, but not always hunting together.  We only have 5 guys and rarely are they all in at once.  It sure is nice when there is at least one extra set of hands to muckle on with you though. :) 

Fun?  No.  But also not impossible.

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22 hours ago, covert said:

I have to respectfully disagree.  Our tent is 7 miles in and we will sometimes drag 2-3 miles just to get to the tent.  The one last year was 3+ hours, a couple years before almost 5 hours.  Hence the "until your balls fall off". ;)   It isn't easy, but if it was, everyone would do it.

Okay, but again I think different people have different understanding of what true backcountry hunting entails.

If you have an established tent camp or primitive cabin that is road-accessible with potentially helping hands there, yes a drag may work and may even been viable because you have a safety net to fall back on, so to speak.

If you're hunting out of a lean-to or small tent and you're alone, 5 or more miles away from the nearest dirt road, a drag that takes several hours or more may not be viable.  In fact, I'd argue it wouldn't be safe too seeing as if you get too exhausted, hypothermic or hurt, you have no one to come help you.  There is plenty of terrain I've seen up in the ADK's through which I would have no desire to drag a 180lb deer by myself...just too much work with a whole lot of risk.

Drags work until they don't, and if you're unprepared to parcel up that animal in the deep woods, you can quickly find yourself up sh#t creek without a paddle.

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Okay, but again I think different people have different understanding of what true backcountry hunting entails.

If you have an established tent camp or primitive cabin that is road-accessible with potentially helping hands there, yes a drag may work and may even been viable because you have a safety net to fall back on, so to speak.

If you're hunting out of a lean-to or small tent and you're alone, 5 or more miles away from the nearest dirt road, a drag that takes several hours or more may not be viable.  In fact, I'd argue it wouldn't be safe too seeing as if you get too exhausted, hypothermic or hurt, you have no one to come help you.  There is plenty of terrain I've seen up in the ADK's through which I would have no desire to drag a 180lb deer by myself...just too much work with a whole lot of risk.

Drags work until they don't, and if you're unprepared to parcel up that animal in the deep woods, you can quickly find yourself up sh#t creek without a paddle.

Haha, I have to imagine that anyone that shoots a buck 5+ miles from a road has their sh!t together way before the shot is fired. I’m willing to bet that the first mile from the road separates 95+% of the hunters.

 

I’m curious to know how many deer you have killed more than a mile from a road?

 

In all my long drags I’ve been worried about a lot of things, hypothermia has never been one!

 

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1 hour ago, Buckmaster7600 said:

Haha, I have to imagine that anyone that shoots a buck 5+ miles from a road has their sh!t together way before the shot is fired. I’m willing to bet that the first mile from the road separates 95+% of the hunters.

 

I’m curious to know how many deer you have killed more than a mile from a road?

 

In all my long drags I’ve been worried about a lot of things, hypothermia has never been one!

 

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The typical hunting season up there is prime weather for hypothermia.  You're fine if you keep moving, if for whatever reason you have to stop and you're unprepared to deal with the cold, you can quickly find yourself in a rough spot.  

If hypothermia isn't even on your radar while hunting up there, I'm not so sure you should be hunting up there to begin with.

 

Also, I've been agreeing with almost everything you've said up until this point, so I don't know why you feel like deriding my opinion.

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I would go along with the "safety net" deal.  If you are up there alone and have no one to back you up, then packing them out makes sense on one pushing 200 pounds, more than 5 miles from the road.  However, I don't know of many places in the Adirondacks, that far off the road, with enough food to get them that big. Especially in those vast tracts that have not allowed any logging for more than a century.   Those that you do find in such areas are more likely to be thin, easily-dragged "bark-eaters".  

My own experience up there is limited to two bucks and two does that were all taken within 2 miles of a main highway, and all had access to rich agricultural areas near the edge of the park.   It would certainly have been a struggle for me to drag the biggest one (photo below) much more than the half mile or so that I needed to out of the swamp.   There is no way it would have got that heavy (check out the rump) on a diet of bark however, and it surely would not have tasted as good.    

I don't know what it weighed, but I weighed about 200 at the time and could lift myself off the ground on the other side end of that rope and still not get that fat rump all the way off the ground.  We had to hook up my father-in-laws atv in order to get it up there.  There had to be some friction in the pulley, but it must have been closer to 200 than 150.  I wish I would have measured the chest girth at least, but that was before g-man provided us with that handy PA chart.      

post-5805-0-20269400-1447026846.jpg

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The typical hunting season up there is prime weather for hypothermia.  You're fine if you keep moving, if for whatever reason you have to stop and you're unprepared to deal with the cold, you can quickly find yourself in a rough spot.  
If hypothermia isn't even on your radar while hunting up there, I'm not so sure you should be hunting up there to begin with.
 
Also, I've been agreeing with almost everything you've said up until this point, so I don't know why you feel like deriding my opinion.

Didn’t mean to come across as “deriding” however I stand by my point of not worrying about hypothermia while dragging, usually just the opposite I’m usually worried about overheating and dehydration. Proper dragging clothes and hunting clothes differ greatly. Usually I’m dragging in a T shirt or undershirt or no shirt at all.

I’m very considerate and well prepared for hypothermia as I always have 3 forms of fire starting and space blanket on me.

I am still curious how many deer you have killed in the big woods and if your input comes from experience or ideas?


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I would go along with the "safety net" deal.  If you are up there alone and have no one to back you up, then packing them out makes sense on one pushing 200 pounds, more than 5 miles from the road.  However, I don't know of many places in the Adirondacks, that far off the road, with enough food to get them that big. Especially in those vast tracts that have not allowed any logging for more than a century.   Those that you do find in such areas are more likely to be thin, easily-dragged "bark-eaters".  
My own experience up there is limited to two bucks and two does that were all taken within 2 miles of a main highway, and all had access to rich agricultural areas near the edge of the park.   It would certainly have been a struggle for me to drag the biggest one (photo below) much more than the half mile or so that I needed to out of the swamp.   There is no way it would have got that heavy (check out the rump) on a diet of bark however, and it surely would not have tasted as good.    
I don't know what it weighed, but I weighed about 200 at the time and could lift myself off the ground on the other side end of that rope and still not get that fat rump all the way off the ground.  We had to hook up my father-in-laws atv in order to get it up there.  There had to be some friction in the pulley, but it must have been closer to 200 than 150.  I wish I would have measured the chest girth at least, but that was before g-man provided us with that handy PA chart.      
post-5805-0-20269400-1447026846.jpg

I would agree with you on the tasting better part but disagree with you on your theory of bucks being unable to get to 200lbs on the bark and prickles diet. Of my 5 200+lb adk bucks all of them came a long long ways from any agriculture and everyone was shot more than 5 miles from a paved road.

Time of year has a lot more to do with shooting one 200lbs than diet. Most 200lb adk bucks are shot in October before the rut starts. All of mine have been shot after the 15th of November and my 10 was shot in December the last weekend of rifle. d3e3c9e23492a840431629dd12654cc7.jpg8pt weighed 207 shot on nov 20b26ba8a2392660f80674ffcd290b255e.jpg 10pt weighed 203 shot dec3rd479e5ddedde39a784ca935a8586f6f52.jpg8pt killed nov 17 weighed 209
59b70ddb1c50d7263c1d0879067c0f8e.jpgtop right rack is a 10pt I shot nov 24 weighed 213
0fbf598ad824a0636a4041cb6b9ee0c7.jpgbottom right 8 weighed 227 shot nov 18.


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the deer in my profile pic weighed atlest 200 lbs when we got back to the house and hung him in the tree it bent over [which easily hold 2 does]  we couldn't hang him so  we put him on top of my car [that took almost an hour no kidding w/ 2 guys] its no fun dealing with dead weight flopping all over the place it took me 4 hrs to drag him 1/2 mile. I heard of guys having heart attacks dragging deer. It was hell he got caught up on trees snagged on rocks and even when I got to the trail it still took time slow and easy I didn't want to get  sweated up and raise my heart rate so then they would have to drag me and the deer out

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Buckmaster : "Time of year has a lot more to do with shooting one 200lbs than diet. Most 200lb adk bucks are shot in October before the rut starts. All of mine have been shot after the 15th of November and my 10 was shot in December the last weekend of rifle."

 

You have found some heavy ones, way off the road, but no doubt that took many hours and passes of loads of lighter ones.  I do not agree with you on the weight loss thru the rut up there, at least in the areas where I hunt on the North-West corner of the park.  Up there, I see about (6) antlerless deer per every antlered buck, so there is not a lot of competition for the does.  The bucks do not have to run themselves ragged while in competition for a hot one.   Each of my bucks up there was killed after Thanksgiving, and there were no signs of weight-loss on them.   Both had stomachs that were filled to capacity with corn or nuts.   You can clearly see, by the weight carried in the hind quarters of the one in my photo, that he was anything but run-down.

Where I hunt at home in the southern zone, it is exactly as you say however.  Here, the area farmers hammer the  does with their nuisance permits, starting in early summer.  That leads to significantly more buck sightings than doe sightings, by the time archery season opens.  I see about (4) antlered deer per every antlerless here, and have not had much trouble filling my buck tag during archery season.  It has been many years since I was able to fill a DMP here during archery season, even though they hand them out like candy (4 per hunter per year).  With the bucks,  there is intense competition for the surviving does.   It is rare to find one without a busted up rack, or much weight left on his rear, by the time gun season rolls around.   

    

 

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Buckmaster : "Time of year has a lot more to do with shooting one 200lbs than diet. Most 200lb adk bucks are shot in October before the rut starts. All of mine have been shot after the 15th of November and my 10 was shot in December the last weekend of rifle."
 
You have found some heavy ones, way off the road, but no doubt that took many hours and passes of loads of lighter ones.  I do not agree with you on the weight loss thru the rut up there, at least in the areas where I hunt on the North-West corner of the park.  Up there, I see about (6) antlerless deer per every antlered buck, so there is not a lot of competition for the does.  The bucks do not have to run themselves ragged while in competition for a hot one.   Each of my bucks up there was killed after Thanksgiving, and there were no signs of weight-loss on them.   Both had stomachs that were filled to capacity with corn or nuts.   You can clearly see, by the weight carried in the hind quarters of the one in my photo, that he was anything but run-down.
Where I hunt at home in the southern zone, it is exactly as you say however.  Here, the area farmers hammer the  does with their nuisance permits, starting in early summer.  That leads to significantly more buck sightings than doe sightings, by the time archery season opens.  I see about (4) antlered deer per every antlerless here, and have not had much trouble filling my buck tag during archery season.  It has been many years since I was able to fill a DMP here during archery season, even though they hand them out like candy (4 per hunter per year).  With the bucks,  there is intense competition for the surviving does.   It is rare to find one without a busted up rack, or much weight left on his rear, by the time gun season rolls around.   
    
 

The area of “big woods” you hunt is vastly different from any big woods hunting I’ve done. Never shot a buck in the adk’s that had corn in them.

My heaviest adk buck you could count every rib on and his hind end was skin and bone.


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1 hour ago, Buckmaster7600 said:


The area of “big woods” you hunt is vastly different from any big woods hunting I’ve done. Never shot a buck in the adk’s that had corn in them.

My heaviest adk buck you could count every rib on and his hind end was skin and bone.


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I guess you can find just about anything on 6.5 million acres.  Both of my bucks up there were in the park, but just inside the edge on the NW corner.   One of my does was a stones throw out of the park, on the same corner and the other was about 5 miles farther off the edge.  All were in WMU 6C, but I incorrectly tagged the first buck as 6F due to a little confusion on the dividing line.  It sounds like you must spend most of your time down near the center or opposite diagonal (SE) corner of the park.   Only my last buck was full of corn, while the prior was full of nuts.   

I don't remember what was in the doe's stomachs, but the one that I killed further out of the park was leading her group up onto a white-oak ridge when I took her out with my ML.  Back on topic, she was narrowly bested by the other doe for the easiest recovery.  She fell down a cliff, after taking the double-lunger, expiring right on the gravel road to the off-the-grid cabin that my in-laws use to rent back then.  My sister in law still gives me crap about having to jog past the gut pile later that morning.   The other one ran right back towards my in-laws new lake-house, after I popped her behind the shoulder about 100 yards away.  She expired less than 20 yards from their pole-barn (where that buck is hanging in the earlier photo).  There is enough does up there, that it don't make a lot of sense to kill them where packing them out is an issue. 

As far as packing out bucks goes, I can't imagine any situation, on this side of the Mississippi,  where I would want or need to do it now.   Maybe in a few years, when I am old and feeble, I would give it some consideration.  More likely I would just hunt a little closer to the road, where help and an ATV were readily available.   Getting a bear out would be a different matter altogether though.   I would ONLY shoot one of those, where I could get an ATV to it, after listening to your horror stories.          

Edited by wolc123
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No horror stories of dragging bucks from in the deep woods, were talking about being miles off the roadway and no trails except a few snowmobile trails in the area. It's hard work and I know several guys who have carried out deer. I have a hard frame pack set up for such a need and in case I harvest a bear back in. 

My family and I have spent the better parts of a day and into dark dragging deer from miles back in the woods. There are no agricultural area any where within miles and maybe a few old apple trees from homesteads gone long ago. Where I hunt if one gets fouled up and lost you could travel 75 miles before you cross anything recent and maybe a abandoned log road. I can go all season and never cross a human track or see another hunter unless I venture onto the snowmobile trail system where they cross the state highway.

 

  

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Cedar, Buckmaster and I all hunt remote Hamilton County areas and in our terms that's "big woods".

The deer are living off what forage they can find and not any agricultural crops and if a deer had corn in it's digestive system then it was bait..... There is no way to mechanically transport an animal from the woods.

We have two basic options, a drag or carry the buck out.....

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No horror stories of dragging bucks from in the deep woods, were talking about being miles off the roadway and no trails except a few snowmobile trails in the area. It's hard work and I know several guys who have carried out deer. I have a hard frame pack set up for such a need and in case I harvest a bear back in. 
My family and I have spent the better parts of a day and into dark dragging deer from miles back in the woods. There are no agricultural area any where within miles and maybe a few old apple trees from homesteads gone long ago. Where I hunt if one gets fouled up and lost you could travel 75 miles before you cross anything recent and maybe a abandoned log road. I can go all season and never cross a human track or see another hunter unless I venture onto the snowmobile trail system where they cross the state highway.
 
  

And that is exactly why we love it!!


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On 8/30/2018 at 5:57 PM, wolc123 said:

I would go along with the "safety net" deal.  If you are up there alone and have no one to back you up, then packing them out makes sense on one pushing 200 pounds, more than 5 miles from the road.  However, I don't know of many places in the Adirondacks, that far off the road, with enough food to get them that big. 

There are plenty of areas that are 5 or miles away from a road, dirt or paved.  There are many roads also listed on maps that are either closed off to the public or no longer active at all.

Also, traveling 5 miles, or less, of off-trail terrain can easily take a half day depending on the type of terrain.

On 8/30/2018 at 6:35 PM, Buckmaster7600 said:


I would agree with you on the tasting better part but disagree with you on your theory of bucks being unable to get to 200lbs on the bark and prickles diet. Of my 5 200+lb adk bucks all of them came a long long ways from any agriculture and everyone was shot more than 5 miles from a paved road.

 

How many miles from a dirt road?  It seems like you're playing with the semantics there.

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This is how I came across this website,doing research on packing out deer in the ADK's.I bought a badlands pack designed for packing out game.The problem with it is i'm short[5'5"] there packs and most other company's are designed for people 5'7" or better.The damn thing rested on my hips no matter what I did.Luckly there a great company and helped me out even though I ended up with another company's pack fram.

I haven't had the opportunity to use it,but I think i'm ready gear and plan wise.If time allows i'm going to debone bag up and pack out.If time is tight i'm going to debone the front half and pack out the back legs whole.Sounds good on paper but remains to be done.Hopefully this year!!!

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