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packing out blacktail

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  • packing out blacktail

    Ok guys I have a question for ya. I am tring to get an idea of what you all do after the deer has been shot.
    I am from the midwest (only in SE AK for 2 seasons) where after the deer was shot you simply driive the truck up to it and haul it away.
    Seem guy around here do 1 of 2 things. Either carry a larger pack and bone the deer out and haul it out. Which I personally am not crazy about sitting on Admiralty island boning out a deer, esspessially since I will be very slow the first few times.
    The other option seems to be just carring a small pack with food, h2o and safty stuff. Then after field dressing the deer just carry the whole animal out. Which is probly ok for a mile or 2 hunt but I sure dont want to carry a whole deer much farther than that.
    So please everyone share your ideas. Esspessially you Southeasters. Most of my hunts are only day hunts so in theory my "essentials bag" can be pretty small.
    Thanks in advance for any and all ideas.

  • #2
    packing out

    Unless you have a helicopter on call those two options are pretty much it. You can combine the two however. If you get a deer down in an area that makes you nervous about bears, quickly gut it and then move the whole carcass to a place where you can better see a bear coming. Then skin and quarter it and carry it the rest of the way out.

    Also, more simply, don't hunt farther from your vehicle (truck, boat, atv) than you can carry out.


    • #3
      Bone it

      Bone it is a safe place and pack it out, BUT, be sure to leave evidence of sex naturally atached to the meat on the rear ham. Horns are not evidence. And be sure to validate you tag.....something easily forgotten.

      If you put your tag in the same place as you knife just remember to cut a notch before cutting anything else.

      Patriot Life Member NRA
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      Life Member Disabled American Veterans


      • #4
        While I bone out a caribou before packing, you might be able to just quarter a deer and get it in one pack. This will, of course, create unneccesary weight in your pack, but it would be faster. Another option would be to wait for snow (probably not until Dec. in much of Southeast) and then just gut and drag your deer. They slide pretty well on snow, so that would be quick and easy. Other than that, you'll simply have to practice, get faster, and remain wary.



        • #5
          Quarters work

          Since moving you, your gear, or your deer by helicopter would be illegal, you're definitely packing it.

          Good advice above about deer in areas where you can't see bears coming. That's one benefit to hunting them up high. Downside is the longer pack in and out.

          Once you're in a relatively safe place, I'm an advocate of quartering, boning the neck, sawing off the ribs, and hauling it like that. Leaving quarters on the bone makes for easier hanging and gives you something to hold on to while butchering. I also like roasting a leg of venison on the bone, or sawing it up for osso bucco.

          Most bucks here are about the size of a newfoundland dog, so quarters with the bones in just don't weigh that much.

          Oh, and if I remember right, antlers are evidence of sex for SE deer IF you leave the whole head attached to the carcass. I hauled a whole buck (minus viscera) off a mountainside once. That was some work.


          • #6
            Dead Sled

            I use a "Dead Sled", a slick plastic sled that rolls up to about the size of a thin sleeping pad (about 5" dia, and 30" long). It comes with a buckles to strap/wrap the deer and a tow rope. Just cut the legs off at the first joint, so you don't have hooves sticking out, (game bag it if want to keep it cleaner), wrap/strap it to sled and drag. They cost a about $25-30, and a variety of manufacturers make them.


            • #7

              Iv'e only hunted Southcentral. Here the mountains come down close to the water where boat ( or plane pickup) is waiting. We just hook a rope to dears head and drag down. Also snow makes it easier for this.
              Maybe you can find a hill by your truck parking.


              • #8

                The great thing about hunting Sitkas is that, since most of them live on islands or mainland that is accessed by water, you usually hunt up from your access spot. This makes dragging a viable option as it's usually downhill back to your boat. Let gravity work for you. I use a drag a buddy made out of a parachute harness. The drag line comes out from the center of my back. The great thing about it is that for the most part it's hands free dragging, I just lean into it. Of course I use my hands to get around or over obsticals.

                A few helpful hints for dragging....... It's good to know the terrain in the area you hunt so you don't end up in a Hellhole. When possible I stick to ridges and sidehills and avoid steep and brushy ravines. I usually tie the front legs to the antlers or head, and always drag head first as you're going with the grain of the hair that way and they slide much easier than dragging by the hind legs. I don't always drag my deer to where I started the day. I'll get them to water the easiest way I can, then hike back to get the boat to do the pick-up by water. It's definitely easier to drag on snow or even a frosty ground. I've drug two deer at once many times in the snow. Two bucks at the same time is hard though because you get antlers hanging up on things.

                I used to make a pack out of my deer by cutting a slot in the rear legs between the tendon and the shank then putting the front legs through the slots after you cut the front legs at the knee joint. (leave it attached to the deer tho by a wide strip of hide) Then you toggle the cut off part of the leg and you have a nice pack. On smaller deer I would sometimes throw them over my shoulders with the head and front legs over one shoulder and the hind legs over the other.

                I like bringing my deer out whole because generally it's easier to keep the meat clean with the hide on it. When I gut one in the field, I split the belly just enough to get the guts out. I don't split the pelvis at all. This keeps the hams clean until I skin the deer at home. Once I get the deer on the boat, I'll split the ham and remove the anus and let the hams cool more thouroughly. It's hard to skin and bone one in the woods and not get hair, dirt, leaves etc on some of the meat. I like leaving the bone in when hanging and aging the deer and I like having big pieces of meat to deal with and not a bunch of small ones.I can usually get one back to the water in the time it takes to skin and bone one then pack it.

                This is where my deer hunting buddy Tony and I agree to disagree. Although he made the drag I use, he prefers to bone and pack his deer out. I don't care to hunt with a pack on my back though. He doesn't seem to mind. So if we get together after a kill, if he got it, I help him with the butchering and carry his gun and try to troubleshoot the way out for him, and if I got it, he troubleshoots the way out and if I get in a bind with brush or logs, he'll help me out. If we both get one, we make do the best we can. It's good to have a good hunting partner!

                One last tip, if you have to leave a deer overnight for whatever reason, try to hang it high in a spot you can observe from a ways off. (or if you can't hang it, leave it where you can see it from a ways off) I haven't had to in quite a few years, but when I did, I liked to get them a minimum of 15 feet up. I pack a small shot of line in my day pack just in case. If I keep hunting after killing and gutting a deer, I try to get them out in a meadow where I can see them from at least 75 yards away to make sure they haven't lured in a bear.
                An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it.
                - Jef Mallett


                • #9
                  hmmm...thanks so far

                  ya thanks for the replys guys. I guess I just need to get profiecient at quartering or boning. So what kind pack do you usally carry then? just a big day pack? I just hate the idea of having to carry a BIG pack through the woods while trying to be quite. And I really hate the idea of going into debt $400 to afford a Kuifu or badlands nice as im sure they are.
                  I am quite sure the dragging or the sled option are out of the question. cant imagine dragging a deer off a mountain through 3 miles of rock ledges, devils club and blue berries.
                  Anybody have any helpful hints on quartering, or any sites to check out on how to quarter. I have not had to quarter an animal in the field yet. seems easy enough in theory.
                  Thanks again fellas


                  • #10
                    Gettin' Your Deer Out

                    I think 2Dux covered it pretty good.

                    Basically 3 options:

                    1. Drag it out
                    2. Carry it out whole
                    3. Carry/Pack it out quartered or boned out.

                    In my early days (late teens and 20's) I pretty much used method 1 or 2.

                    Now that I'm over 40, method 2 is out and I use either method 1 or 3 depending on the terrain and distance to the beach. Also, the older I get, the less I hunt solo. My boy had been my best hunting pard for the last 3 years. I usually let him do the shootin'.

                    When in bear country I do a couple of things. After gutting, move away from the gut pile aways. Sometimes I even cover it up. Nothin' like the ravens squawking about fresh vittles. I think bears are smart enuff to know when the birds are talkin' about food. Move the deer to a opening where you can see all around you and especially downwind.

                    If field quartering/boning (I do a hyrid method) I can get 'er done in about 1 to 1.5 hours. Some guys can do it faster. Sure you can cut ribs, but the cost (time and effort) vs benefit is very low. Regs say you have to take it (deer ribs suck IMO) so I just slice it off between the ribs.

                    I use the QuikPacker, which is a collapsable frame pack. - it's about $115 delivered from Cross Creek Trading in Wyoming. I've gotten to the point where I just leave it assembled. It takes about 20 minutes to put together. It's a 2/3 to 3/4 sized frame pack. Quiet and comfortable. I put may daypack inside the nylon webbing. It I get a deer, I can wear the day pack on my chest, or give it to my kid to carry. It works as slick as snot on a doorknob.



                    • #11
                      2 pac idea

                      hmmm I like the idea of the the Quik pac. I could just stuff a bigger pack inside my day pack. then only use it if I need to. Of course then I am carrying two packs all day.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Muskegman View Post
                        I use the QuikPacker, which is a collapsable frame pack. MM
                        I use Rocky Mountain pack systems' Rhino Frame. It is a simple, collapsible Packer Nelson type frame and can hold more than I can carry. Collapsed, it is a bundle about 20" long and 6" in diameter and about 2#. I tie it on under my daypack and it doesn't interfere with my movements at all. When it comes time to pack out my kill, it takes about 10 minutes to assemble.

                        I'm over 50 and in most terrain, I can (just) tote one full boned deer and my daypack from the mountain to the beach. Without the quality hip belt on the frame, I certainly couldn't begin to do that.
                        He fears his fate too much or his desserts are small who fears on just one touch to win or lose it all.


                        • #13
                          RupertBear has a pretty good response. I too have been looking at the Rhino frame. I think it would work wonderfully for elk and moose. Now I use a Kifaru Late Season and bone out the deer. My hunting partner uses one of the Kifaru Spike Camp models and has no problem getting a deer into it. I normally do not hunt Admirality by myself and my partner and I take turns standing guard as we bone. A normal size deer only has about 30 or so pounds of meat after it is boned and that is really easy to pack out. It doesn't normally take more than about 30 min to bone a deer.

                          We cut the hide right down the backbone and peal it off. Then we take off the front and rear hams, backstrap, neck and rib meat. You can peal back the last three ribs and remove the loin without getting into the cut sack. Roll it over and do the same thing on the other side. Yes it will take a little time at first but we can do a caribou in about 45 min. This method really comes in handy when you are working on a large animal like a moose. Why get into the gut cavity unless you really have to? Much less chance of spoiling meat that way.

                          We put our meat sack into an OR bag (Outdoor Research - you can get them ar REI, Barneys, etc.) and they keep your pack clean and then off the mountain you go. No bloody trail left behind for mister griz to follow. Hope that helps. Jim


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jdb3 View Post
                            A normal size deer only has about 30 or so pounds of meat after it is boned and that is really easy to pack out. It doesn't normally take more than about 30 min to bone a deer out
                            Don't know what size deer you are shooting. I'd say an average sized SE buck with have rear hams (femur bone in) going about 12-15# each. Add those together and I get25-30#. Add backstraps, front legs, etc. and you're getting a bit more. I've packed out big bucks that have at least 60# pounds of boned out (some bone let in) meat in the sack.

                            Hats off to you if you can get 'er done in 30. I usually time it from when the deer is down, to when I take off on foot. There's usually some other stuff going on inbetween besides skinning, quartering and boning. Like eating, drinking, photos, talking on radio, etc.



                            • #15
                              I would drag it to an open spot where you can see all around you, if thats possible, then quarter it out and pack it back to camp. I did my deer that way when I hunted blacktails on Kodiak.


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