An ATV turns the drudgery of getting your deer out of the woods into a breeze.
When dragging a deer, try to enlist help. Wear a harness, and always wear orange.
By Bob Humphrey
The main reason deer hunters go a field is to bring home the game. That’s a multi-step process. First you have to find a deer, then reduce it to possession. The elation of success soon fades however with the realization that you still have to get the great beast out of the woods and back to your home or camp. As the saying goes: that’s when the real work begins.
Obviously, that chore can be made a lot easier with the enlistment of an ATV. Side-by-Side vehicles have a slight advantage over four-wheelers because of the extra cargo space. Still, either will work just fine.
The first step is getting your ATV to the deer, or vice versa. If you can’t drive all the way to the deer, get as close as you can. You may have to drag the deer to the nearest trail or accessible area. Try to enlist help to lighten the load. Bucks are easier to drag because they come with handles. Either way, it’s easier to pull a deer using a harness, like your full-body treestand harness, than just a length of rope. Take your time and don’t overexert yourself.
Next, you’ve got to load the deer onto, or into the ATV. Don’t drag the deer with the ATV unless it’s only for a very short distance. You may damage the cap, meat or rack. Here again, try to enlist help. If you’re alone, try to locate an elevated area that you can back up to. Drag the deer up onto it, then slide it over onto the ATV.
When using a Rhino, you can simply put the deer in the bed, close the tailgate and head for camp. Still, it’s not a bad idea to secure it in the bed especially if traveling over steep terrain or rough ground. You may also want to cushion the rack, especially if you intend to mount the buck.
When using a four-wheeler, it’s best to load the deer onto the front rack, not the back. This allows you better center of gravity, weight distribution and steering control. Tie it down securely to the rack, being careful that head and/or legs do not dangle off to the sides. Drive very slowly and avoid steep slopes as much as possible, even if you have to go some distance out of your way.