cfilesJanuary 29, 2010 at 6:24 pmPost count: 20
The primary reason I decided to jump into bow hunting is to combine my love for backpacking, my need to put food on the table, and the simplicity of the bow and arrow. Here is Arkansas there are large patches of land that can be used for public hunting, many of these areas are designated wilderness; which means foot traffic only. Many of these wilderness areas, and a large portion of all the wild life management areas, are archery only. This is fantastic on multiple levels because it means harder to reach (i.e. more and bigger) game and less competition from other less willing hunters. I am planning my first excursion for next October. The problem is, I have piles of questions I do not know the answer to. I would appreciate any help from somebody that has some experience.
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[*] What is the best way to transport a deer out of the backcountry? I will likely be by myself, and at least three miles from a trail and another 10 from a vehicle. The average field dressed deer from this area is about 120 pounds.
[*] On a 60 degree day, how long do I have before I need to get the meat on ice?
[*] There are bears in the area where I am going. Do I need to plan on making the kill and getting out in the same day? If not, what might I need to do to keep bears and critters from taking my deer over night?
[*] Are there any detailed books/magazine articles on the subject of backpack hunting?
I am sure I will have more questions but that is a start. Any other tips would be most helpful, thanks.
Stick n StringMemberJanuary 29, 2010 at 9:53 pmPost count: 16
If you hunt from a fixed stand or at least a specific area within the wilderness area, you can take a good pack frame and game bags with you into the field. Leave the pack frame somewhere you can find it before heading back to the trail head, along with all the butchering materials you need – including game bags and plenty of rope. When you have a deer down, do you best to field dress than animal ASAP. If it is cool enough, bone out the two hind quarters and bring the two front quarters out whole. The other cuts should easily fit onto the pack frame along with the boned-out hams and front shoulders. Off you go!
cfilesFebruary 2, 2010 at 7:40 pmPost count: 20
I plan on hiking in mid day on the first day to set up a base camp. Then I am going to hike out of there everyday to get to where I am hunting.
It sounds like it may not be possible to get it all out in one load, from what you are saying. I was really hoping I could take the deer, get all the meat off of the bones, and fashion a sled out of small trees to drag behind me. Thanks for the info.
DAbersoldMarch 11, 2010 at 6:41 amPost count: 111
I tried the “sled” thing. It didn’t work for me…AT ALL!
I have got my deer out several different ways. Keep in mind, I’m hunting blacktails. They seldom weigh over #100 dressed.
First, bone them out. I do it a bit different than Stick and String. I’ll leave the bone in the two rear legs, and de-bone the front legs and the rest of it. The femur bone is the only bone I pack out. (and the skull plate)
Second, if I’m only a few miles from the trail head, and the buck isn’t too heavy (most of mine aren’t, they’re young stupid ones) I’ll pack all my gear back to the truck, unload it, and hike back in with an empty pack and carry the buck out whole. (Not the prefered method, but it has worked for me in the past)
Or, lastly, one of the easiest pack outs I’ve had, was actually dragging it out with all my gear on my back. I know it sounds crazy, but I shot the buck close to the trail and it was all down hill and fairly steep. I just hiked back to camp, loaded everything up and picked him up on the way out. I made it to the truck without ever breaking a sweat.
So, it just depends on the situation. If you bone out a #120 deer (dressed weight) you will end up with about #60-#70 of meat. So, if you pack in light, you should be able to pack everything out on one trip.
Hope this helps.
BertMarch 11, 2010 at 9:21 pmPost count: 164
What a great photo! What a monster! Query- is he carting both deer over to a more convenient field-dressing location?! Man, if you break a leg in the boonies, that’s the guy you want as your hunting partner- probably just stick you on top of the deer!
David PetersenMemberMarch 11, 2010 at 11:59 pmPost count: 2749
Right on, Bert! In fact they were both field-dressed, but even so weighed in at 340lbs!!! 😯 Mike — star of the best hunting video ever made (my op): Primal Dreams, and author of One with the Wilderness — Mike readily admits it was done as a joke and he didn’t carry those two honkers “much farther than what it took for my brother to get the picture.” Still, he DID pick ’em both up and cart ’em a ways. He’s the guy you want on your side in a pending bar fight — not only because he could throw the bad guys through the wall two at a time, but because he’s so mellow that he’d diffuse the need to do that. When I saw him recently at UPI banquet and commented that he appeared to have been lifting weights a lot lately, looking good, he came back “Naw, that’s just winter fat. As soon as antler-shed season gets here I’ll be walking 15 miles a day to burn it off.” :?:lol:8):P:lol:
mittenmMemberMarch 12, 2010 at 2:01 pmPost count: 54
Seriously Guys- I do a lot of solo hunting even for whitetails. Two-week hunts camped out in a tent in mid-November has been some of my most brutal. I had to deal with wet weather as well as temperatures dropping to single digits. It is very tough to stay dry and warm in your treestand all day on hunts like this. I’ve pack out many deer in the Midwest by simply cutting the big buck’s in half and simply putting on a pack frame and carry out each 100-pound half. The thing about deer for us is we all want to bring them out whole so everyone can see them and pay respects. Ha! If I was way back in there like you guys out west, I wouldn’t hesitate for a minute to bone them out and bring them out that way. I am kind of tall with long legs, so I do not do well bent-over dragging something. I would much prefer to get under the load by putting it on my back and carry it more upright.
The last bear I took in Manitoba I just skinned it and boned it out where it fell. Packing meat is much easier than carrying the carcass back to camp. Yes there were bugs on me while skinning in the bush, but at least they didn’t ALL follow me back to camp. Ha! Mike
BertMarch 12, 2010 at 4:51 pmPost count: 164
Welcome to the site, Mike Mitten!It’s all Dave’s fault, isn’t it?
You stated”…SIMPLY cutting the big bucks in half and SIMPLY putting on a pack frame and carry out each 100 POUND half.” Emphasis mine. I’m 5’10” and 150lbs dripping wet, with heavy boots, so I would seriously be blowing wind with a load like that. Being sixty probably doesn’t help, along with a life’s accumulation of bad habits! Fortunately, the blacktails around here in the PNW are rather dainty compared to those Midwest giants so, when, God willing, I manage to harvest one this year we’ll see how she goes. Thanks for the tips guys.
There was a fellow I met years ago, from Colorado I think, the most natural strong guy- slapping his back was like hitting concrete!(most big guys are mellow-don’t have anything to prove- unless they’re Samoan!).He was a bowhunter and Grizzly’s were his totem animal and so one spring he’s out scouting, sees a bear casually, with one paw
lift up a huge boulder, peer underneath for something tasty. Finding nothing, Old Ephraim moved on while this fellow goes over to the boulder, squats down, hands underneath and with all his tremendous strength, heaves- and can’t even budge, much less lift, this huge rock! Said it gave him a hands-on appreciation of a Grizzly’s inate strength!
Thanks for the post, Mike and look forward to more- going to have to get your book and DVD ASAP.
mittenmMemberMarch 12, 2010 at 6:11 pmPost count: 54
For most animals If you bone them out in the field you will be left with a little less that half of live weight in meat. A 1600# moose should yield about 700# of meat. But if you are claiming the hide/cape and antlers, I would count on 2 extra trips. So when you get your blacktail that weighs about 150 pounds, your meat load should be about 65 to 70 pounds.
In Alaska my meat loads usually run about 100# , but elk hunting in the mountains I don’t pack meat over 80#.
Getting in shape
Chad SivertsenMarch 12, 2010 at 7:45 pmPost count: 84
Some good advice and information here. I’ve had the pleasure of removing large animals from the back country.
Every circumstance is different, size of the animal, size of the guy trying to carry the animal, where it drops, weather, terrain, etc.
If you backpacked in you will most likely be packing out the meat on your back also. You will need to allow for one extra trip to get your gear out unless you go very light. A couple of years ago I shot a good buck and it took one trip to get my gear out and get my meat pack frame. Then two trips with meat, hide and head. I boned the carcass and took the legs with bones in. The last trip I loaded the pack and also drug/carried a game bag with the last of the meat.
Backpacking and bowhunting make a perfect combination and is the way I started both…..together.
purehunterMarch 13, 2010 at 1:36 amPost count: 63
Gotta agree with most of you. I backpack hunt mule deer and elk and carry two canvas quarter bags for the game. I try to cool the meat in a tree unless there is time to pack out. I generally pack my gear out last. Unless it’s a trophy I want to mount, I dont take the head and hide. Just the skull with antlers. Generally speaking, my pack weighs about 45-55 pounds depending on how much cold weather gear I have to pack. I don’t think I’ve carried anything over 80-90 pounds in one trip. Of course, I haven’t done any backcountry solo trips either.
I take pictures before quartering out the animal so that I have some memories to relive later and show friends/family. Some of my partners have now started to video our hunts, although my wife is not too sure that’s a good idea.:lol:
But I must say, as some of you have, there is nothing like being “way out there”, hunting with what you have on your back and in your hand.
DAbersoldMarch 13, 2010 at 4:30 amPost count: 111
purehunter – I agree 100%! Without bragging, and without an answer, I feel more safe alone in the wilderness than I do walking down a city street. A lot of that has to do with growing up in a small town, but more has to do with the fact that now days there’s a lot less to worry about out there than on the street.
Sorry – I’ll try to keep this post on track.
Bone it out, and make as many trips a you have to.:)
rayborbonMarch 16, 2010 at 4:33 amPost count: 298
It’s can be tough (and even harder than that depending on terrain). My general rule of thumb – never shoot a bear or deer bigger then 250 lbs running solo in the mountains until late september. Even then – consider my options and location. It’s just too damn hot earlier in the season. Down lower in elevation where it’s warmer it’s also usually closer to the car. I always have an ice chest in the car and even if I spend 2-3 nights out it will have some left to cool meat until I get to the closest supply of ice. I’m not as big as that football player in the pictures above. I had a hard time hauling out a 300 lb bear out of this mountain hole last fall. It took me a week to recover and my back bone was in pain. I showed the spot to my friend a couple of weeks later and he remarked where I bear hunt is just like mountain goat hunting. I’d never shoot an elk up there without help close at hand. For the most part a deer can be chopped up and layed into creeks if need be to keep meat cool. I have done that before.
BertMarch 21, 2010 at 6:36 pmPost count: 164
Ray- That is one very D..E..A..D looking and huge bear- nice shot! The mountains pictured not only look like goat country but look like you could certainly use a helicopter- hey, Byron Ferguson luckily had one nearby(film crew) to haul out a humongous moose from some swamp in Canada. Any trad pilots in the PNW?
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