Getting carcass out of the woods

In most eastern states, after a deer is field dressed (and property tagged) it is dragged out of the woods to a vehicle, which then takes it to where it will be processed. With the growing popularity of off-road vehicles, an ORV may assist this process.

There are numerous aids commercially available to assist dragging a deer. At a minimum, a stout rope will work fine.  Some hunters find it useful to tie the deer’s front legs to it’s neck, right behind its head and use this attachment point as a handle to grab while dragging.

It may also be useful to tie florescent orange flagging to the deer while it is being dragged for safety purposes.

In many Western hunting areas, the deer is cut up in the field and packed out with horses, ORV or in a backpack.

Care should be taken to make sure that the deer’s cavity is kept as clean and dry as possible during this process. If you know the drag out will entail crossing streams or swamps, it may be a good idea to wait to gut the deer until you have already crossed these obstacles to make sure that the deer’s cavity is not contaminated.

Once the deer is out of the woods, it is a good idea to wash the deer’s cavity out with cold clean water and pat the cavity dry with a clean cloth. Many experienced hunters cut the ribcage and prop it open with a clean stick to aid air circulation in the chest cavity as it waits processing.