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11 Best Deer Carts For Packing Out Game

Hauling a deer out of the deep wilderness can be a staggering challenge depending on the size of the animal and the terrain you must traverse. While certain external frame hunting backpacks are helpful at meat extraction, utilizing a deer cart will make a tremendous difference when it comes to the exertion required to pack out your deer, and is sometimes the only realistic way to move your kill from the woods to the game station.

Our list of the best deer carts has compiled the top options for successfully extracting the game you shoot out of the wilderness so it ends up in your freezer ASAP.

Price: $ – $
11 Listed Items

Choosing The Right Tool To Haul Out Game

There are a lot of different style deer carts, sleds, and drag systems to choose from when it comes to hauling your harvested deer. There are a few main details to consider when selecting the right tool for the job.

Drag, sled, pack or roll?: What's the terrain like where you hunt? If it's more or less open landscape with a firm ground type, then a rolling cart is likely your best option. More difficult to traverse ground types or snow might call for a sled or drag system, while tight woodlands and uneven ground might require an external frame pack or freighter frame.

Make sure to really picture yourself hauling out your deer wherever it is that you hunt before making a purchase. 

Ground clearance: If going with a cart, make sure to think about how much ground clearance you need to pass over stumps, logs, rocks and other wilderness obstacles. The ground clearance of a cart is more or less determined by the diameter of its wheels.

Covers vs. bare frame: Some hunters prefer having a mesh, or canvas cover over the frame of their cart to help nest the animal being transported. This can be advantageous, but it's also more to clean up! 

Portability: Perhaps the most important detail when selecting a deer cart is its inherent portability. Make sure you can realistically get the cart in question out into your hunting grounds for effective deer retrieval. Vehicle transport of your cart, as well as off-season storage, should also be considered.

Reliable Hunting Boots

Don't underestimate the importance of your hunting boots when it comes to hauling out the game you harvest. Proper footwear is of course direly important in the field for all sorts of reasons, but when you're exerting yourself like a linebacker pulling a 100+ pound cart through the wilderness, you'll be DAM GLAD you've got some solid traction and ankle support underfoot.

Deer Sleds

Oftentimes it's easier to slide your harvested deer out of the hunting grounds than to roll it on a more cumbersome cart. Utilizing a deer sled is ideal when you need to move your kill through wet or muddy ground, or over snow cover. Deer sleds are furthermore much lighter and easier to transport for those hunters venturing deep into the wilderness. 

Some of our favorite deer sled options include:

Deer Drag Methods

Sometimes you're unable to utilize a full-size deer cart or sled due to the terrain, or can't realistically get the devices out into the field with you. There are minimalist deer drag systems that can fit in your pocket that will get the job done - just be prepared to really put your back into it and go home sore! If you have an ATV or snowmobile, then oftentimes these devices are at least compatible for towing; if you don't then try utilizing a chest harness 

Some of our favorite deer drag systems include:

External Frame Backpacks & Freighter Frames

Sometimes it's just not realistic to drag, slide or roll your deer out of the wilderness. Densely forested woodlands and mountainous terrain with a whole lot of up and down are two scenarios that just don't really allow for extracting your kill with the aforementioned tactics.

An external frame backpack or freighter frame is the go-to in this scenario. You can field dress your deer, and then load it up onto your person in order to hike out your meat on your person. It's a lot of work, but oftentimes it's the only way to fill the freezer!

Some of our favorite options for packing out your deer on your person include:

Ice Fishing Sleds

Just like deer sleds, ice fishing sleds work wonderfully for moving deer over snow, ice, mud and frozen ground, and are oftentimes less expensive.

If you anticipate conditions that are conducive to sliding, rather than rolling out your deer than you oughta check out our top list of ice fishing sleds in case anything there catches your eye!

Other Tools For Packing Out Game

When it comes to packing out your deer or other game, there are definitely a few other details you should be thinking about aside from the logistics of a deer cart, sled or drag system. We've listed a few of the most pivotal practices/pieces of gear below for your consideration:

Devices for Cell Service:

Let's be honest here - the very best tool for hauling out a heavy harvested animal is a friend. Teamwork makes the dream work, so you should have a tool on hand for calling in back-up, no matter where you are in the wilderness.

Devices like the Spot X 2-Way Satellite Messenger, Somewear Global Hotspot, and Garmin inReach Explorer+  allow you to utilize satellite communication so you have service anywhere on the globe! Yes, you read that correctly. 

These devices can also pinpoint your location, so you and your harvested animal will be easy to find out there in no-man's land!

GPS Devices/Transmitters:

Whether or not you need the ability to communicate or call in back-up while deep in the backcountry, it is absolutely helpful to know the actual lay of the land and determine the best route out of the wilderness. A reliable GPS device with topography features will be of massive assistance when it comes to locating the path of least resistance, especially in low light conditions. Some top-reviewed units include:

A location transmitter can also be an invaluable tool when packing out game. If you can only pack out half of the animal after shooting an elk for example, then you'll need to be able to locate the carcass again the following day. A location transmitter like the  BREADCRUMB Mini Portable Bluetooth Location Marker will make finding your kill again, a piece of cake - and it's much more affordable than a GPS device. It even has a light beacon and speaker alert for when you get close and need some help pinpointing where the transmitter is!

Field Dressing Equipment & Know-How

It's not always realistic hauling out the entire animal depending on where you shoot it. If you need to partially process game while in the wilderness, known as field dressing, you'll need the proper tools and knowledge to do so.

The Hunting Field Dressing Kit by Mossy Oak is a top-reviewed toolset that you can pick and choose your required instruments from, while The Pocket Guide To Field Dressing Game by Steve Gilbert will help you to learn the best and most efficient methods!

Reliable Cordage

Don't neglect bringing some reliable cordage or strapping on your hunts regardless of your haul-out system. It's oftentimes super helpful to bind the legs of deer and other animals before dragging, or to more tightly secure the carcass to a cart. Trust us, you'll be glad you brought some cordage along!

These CAM Utility Lashing Straps by SECURE IT QUICK and this 550-pound paracord roll by BENGKU will both prove to be invaluable tools!