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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some people like to travel light or do other things out of doors while lugging as little stuff as possible. Have you ever hunted deer or any other species but wished you had something else in the field you didn't like a pair of binoculars, a thermos full of coffee or an extra change of socks?

Up until now, all my deer hunts have been guided so a small backpack, my rifle, my cartridge holder on my belt, my hat, my orange vest, my pants, my Pendelton shirt in the fall, my watch, my Swiss army knife and my hiking boots were all that I needed to walk in the field with. My guide and his hands did the rest. I had ice chests and plastic bags at my truck to keep the quartered deer from spoiling on the way back home and to the processor or butcher.

I'm lately interested in trying a deer hunt without a guide so I figure I will need some more equipment both in my truck and in the field, maybe, while hunting. All my deer hunting has been the walking kind; no blinds or stands. No game calls and no scent killers to boot.

Here I am some years ago late morning following a successful guided early morning hunt on a gentleman's private ranch. I look dressed kind of old-fashioned, I know. The only other thing I had, not shown, in the picture while walking in the woods with my guide was a small pack on back. It was sunny, cool early morning and not rainy in October and I got lucky it didn't rain because I had no poncho in my pack. I am shown near my guide's ranch house in the pictures. My guide, Mr. Rourke, took the photos with my camera and I took the yearling buck. He and his two adult sons did the gutting/skinning/quartering. His wife made nice country meals. Mr. Rourke drove his 4x4 Dodge up into his hilly woods on his spread to recover my deer. We only had to drag him about 100 feet to the truck. It's nice when you can get a vehicle up close to recover your game. The attached deer tag is hiding behind the hand holding the left forked horn in the photos. I had forgotten to bring a piece of wire or something to attach the tag so I had to cut a piece of my boot lace with my knife. Field expedient. The little buck is a Colombian blacktail, related to mule deer, as you can see the dark patch on his scalp and the long ears. There was a gun season, at least for private property, as early as October years ago. This hunt was in CA's B-2 zone.

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I go very light when hunting on my own place and when I have gone somewhere else out of state I have also chose to go light. Knife, shells and binoculars. I will over dress because I can always take something off if I get warm. If you get cold and don't have anything extra to put on you just stay cold.
I'm amazed at some of the people I see on hunting shows who have a backpack that looks big enough to contain a weeks worth of clothes and enough extras to pull the motor out of a 36 passenger Bluebird bus or more gadgets than McGuiver could come up with. I got enough extra weight around my waist and belly that I don't need any more hanging off my shoulders and back.
If I was up where Bullbuster is and going out to areas in conditions like he experienced while setting up bait stations I would need/want some extra items with me.

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I stick a spare mag in the pocket and a knife to field dress along with wipes and a bottle of water to clean up with.
Never far away from the rest of the essentials stored in the truck.

 

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I’ve always packed way tooooooooo much stuff along it seems and will be adding even more now. This past fall & spring I had some close calls in the woods that left me wishing I’d had this or that along that could have spared me some serious heartaches.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Dennis, looks like you need a another vehicle to pull that buck up on the truck. Is that an 8-pointer? The reason I'm now interested in does is not only because they are easier to drag and load, they taste better. My little buck in the pics above wasn't tough to get in the truck from the hillside depression he lay dead in but he wasn't too good tasting. The butcher I used wasn't a wild game processor, he did an occasional deer but that wasn't his core business. He didn't want my venison to get his meat grinder dirty when I asked him about it. My venison should have also had 10% beef tallow for flavor if it would have otherwise been ground.

There was another guy at his rural butcher shop that same fall 1996 morning with a muley buck in the back of his pickup. CA has no whitetail or moose. Just muley, black-tail and Roosevelt elk. I think the buck in that guy's truck had points that were 4x4 or a 4-pointer. Westerners have an odd way of scoring buck's racks. I don't believe western deer/muleys eye guards are counted.
 

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Dennis, looks like you need a another vehicle to pull that buck up on the truck. Is that an 8-pointer? The reason I'm now interested in does is not only because they are easier to drag and load, they taste better. My little buck in the pics above wasn't tough to get in the truck from the hillside depression he lay dead in but he wasn't too good tasting. The butcher I used wasn't a wild game processor, he did an occasional deer but that wasn't his core business. He didn't want my venison to get his meat grinder dirty when I asked him about it. My venison should have also had 10% beef tallow for flavor if it would have otherwise been ground.

There was another guy at his rural butcher shop that same fall 1996 morning with a muley buck in the back of his pickup. CA has no whitetail or moose. Just muley, black-tail and Roosevelt elk. I think the buck in that guy's truck had points that were 4x4 or a 4-pointer. Westerners have an odd way of scoring buck's racks. I don't believe western deer/muleys eye guards are counted.
That was an 11 point. No need for another vehicle. The winch line from the atv with a snatch block in the truck bed worked just fine.
 

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When I go hunting I always keep an extra set of clothes, shoes,gloves, hat and a towel in the truck in case I need them. During duck season I pack a sleeping bag. But while I'm hunting I travel light as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
That was an 11 point. No need for another vehicle. The winch line from the atv with a snatch block in the truck bed worked just fine.
I was thinking the ATV itself was a second vehicle aside from the truck the deer was loaded in. If somebody else had a pickup truck or other highway vehicle as the rope-pulling vehicle, perhaps a snatch block could also be rigged up. Suffice it to say, it looks like loading your buck required some expensive and bulky equipment like the ATV and other stuff. Harvesting and recovering heavy and bulky game takes more equipment and money invested (or a lot of handy human buddies with helping hands and elbow grease) is the lesson I got from that picture. So, it seems the size and weight of one's downed quarry as well as the number of people in the hunting party will have much to do with how the hunter is equipped. In the army when I didn't have equipment to help me move something heavy, I had the buddy system. I'm sure many a hunter in parties with buddies help each other out too."John Doe" help's me load my deer and I help "John" load his deer if "John" and I are so lucky to get a deer each! :p

PS - Years ago I knew a landscaper who even brought his tractor on a trailer out elk hunting in Idaho. He told me he used the tractor to hoist the cow up to hang for gutting in the field and he used his 1953 Ford farm tractor with various implements and a bucket loader to load the animal carcass onto his truck.
 

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I think we need to divide hunters and their gear into two categories: Travellers and locals. I'm local 8n the sense that I hunt my own place, so I carry the absolute minimum. To me that is my rifle (if gun season), range finder, pistol, knife, seat cushion, and cell phone. I'm only going to be a 600 yard walk or so from the house, and I keep the necessary equipment for dressing deer in my Ranger.

I only take the amount of ammo my rifle will hold, so 5 rounds of rifle ammo...or ill take a two shot speed tube setup for my muzzle loader. Some may boo me for that, but I'm pretty picky about my shooting and I've been fine so far.

When I hunted out of state, I'd carry a backpack with canteen, rubber gloves, an ammo pouch, and an extra warming layer. I also had my bicycle in the bed of the truck.

There are so many great gadgets that make hunting more comfortable and easy...yet there is always the tradeoff...weight. After a couple of Iraq tours and the 42lbs of PPE I had to wear, I have forever sworn off carrying anything heavy. I'd rather have to squint through sun or adjust my seating position every 30 minutes than work up a sweat looking like a foot merchant going to a stand.
 

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Man, you guys are smart. I'm still here, picking them up and lifting them unaided into the bed of my Ranger.

If you aren't going to be smart, you have to be strong.
I wrecked my back doing that. Innovation is my mantra now since I hunt alone. So every task has to be completed by myself alone.
If the ATV isn’t handy, the hydraulic lift is.

 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I believe one might keep their gear requirements for deer down by simply limiting one's hunting to smaller, lighter specimens of game. The average man, strong enough to deer hunt in the first place, should be able to lift a gutted doe or yearling buck of any lesser North American deer species (whitetail, mule, blacktail) onto a truck or maybe use a piece of wood as a ramp to slide or pull it up by hand with a rope. Yes, some physically-handicapped hunters may need the help of other people or power equipment. Some guys can carry their deer out of the woods or field over their shoulder, others can drag with a rope and others might use a wheelbarrow or a deer cart. If you can get your truck close to the downed game, that's really super. I'm not yet sure how much restriction WMA's and OLAP's generally place on the use of a road vehicle (truck) to recover game in the field. There may be no motor vehicle access for game recovery allowed in some parts. Speaking of trucks, is a 4x4 truck often needed in Oklahoma to drive over terrain or dirt trails to recover downed deer if one doesn't have use of an ATV?

The hunter on his own private land may need carry the least equipment on his person. A guided hunter on a private ranch doesn't need a whole lot of baggage. A DIY hunter on land other than his own probably needs the most stuff. Somebody hunting on public land near home may not need so much if he is a day hunter (no overnight camping). I stayed overnight at a motel on one guided ranch hunt about 450 miles from home. You could probably camp overnight with a tent or RV if the public land allows it or stay at a motel at the nearest town if a long drive from home. A wilderness hunter probably needs stuff for camping. An expensive guided wilderness hunt like for moose, bear, sheep or elk will provide transportation for you and your personal stuff as a bush plane, helicopter, 4x4 vehicles, power boat or pack animals like mules and horses. You are not paying thousands, or tens of thousands, of dollars to hump and sweat gear like an infantry soldier in the field.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Just for fun I YouTubed "loading a deer on a truck" and found this:


and this method if you have an anchor point:



this method might not work for a doe or a truck with a shell on it:
 

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Equipment is something that you learn from experience. I try to go as light as possible, saw, knives, water, snacks, cammo netting and warm clothes if the weather calls for it in a back pack along with ammo and the flinger of the ammo. But I'm hunting close to the truck and not far from my house.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Equipment is something that you learn from experience. I try to go as light as possible, saw, knives, water, snacks, cammo netting and warm clothes if the weather calls for it in a back pack along with ammo and the flinger of the ammo. But I'm hunting close to the truck and not far from my house.
The Game Handlers look most promising to me for one-man truck loading onto tailgate. I have only the lighter does in mind anyway and I would have a shell on my truck. A ramp is a big clunky thing to take up space.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
You could have just dug a hole in the ground and put a post in it as an anchor point unless there was a tree or a telephone pole nearby. Much cheaper than buying an ATV.
 

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I take the cables off my tailgate so it hangs down a bit like a ramp. But the board would work as well. Always felt sorry for those guys with the 6" lift kit trying to do anything with the bed of their truck.
 
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