Any DIY lightweight deer carts?

T3RRY P

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2022
Messages
17
I am thinking about building a lightweight deer cart that will hold a jet sled, and has 26" mountain bike tires to make it easy to push/pull. I was planning to use aluminum tubing and custom build/weld it up. Has anyone done something similar to this for ideas? Thanks!
 

Joebe

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2019
Messages
22
I tried the cart thing and just went with the jet sled. I modified it by putting the rope handle around the entire edge, that let me bunge loads down. Look can look up modifications on Youtube. I found the wheel cart to be to cumbersome, spokes getting hung up not rolling well off any real trail. The sled slides on anything. They do get beat up but when it gets to bad I just throw it out and get another. They are cheap enough
 
OP
T

T3RRY P

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2022
Messages
17
Ok. Good to know. I am doing a backcountry style hunt this fall that is on an island and we will need to haul our whole camp 4-5 miles inland to set up for 7+ days. Temps could be down in the low to mid twenties at night, so we will be bringing a large Tipi and woodstove with us. I thought something with big wheels would help us get all of our gear out there easier.
 

Superdoo

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Feb 21, 2020
Messages
804
Location
ND
I started hunting 7 years ago.
The first year we used rope and a tarp to drag a deer out. It sucked.
Second year we used a sled. It sucked.
Third year we used the crawler cart and gutless method. It sucked.
Fourth year I bought a MR pop up, and the other guys used the crawler (now modified with rifle holders). The cart sucked. the bag was awesome.
We now all run framed packs and absolutely love it.

Moral of the story... Dragging things over the ground sucks. Wheels or no wheels, it sucks.
Still think a cart of some type is going to be great? Walk along side an empty bike for a few miles off trail.

Even the fancy electric one wheeled contraption with saddle bags probably fatigues the arms after a while.
 
OP
T

T3RRY P

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2022
Messages
17
There are fairly established trails that we could use for most of the way, but you definitely bring up a lot of good points. I run a Kifaru tactical frame, and have a couple different bags for it. Maybe I should be focusing on trying to eliminate needing a cart.
 

Vrybusy

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Messages
193
Location
Pennsylvania
I have the jet sled and have used it on dry, wet, and snow covered ground....trails, fields, woods, everywhere...for several years. I too have done the rope modification. Regardless, pulling it by hand is not easy. Even on snow covered ground it will slide easy but go where it wants to go which can be quite an adventure....don't ask. I now only use it when I have the side-by-side or the atv pulling it WITH the hitch device (solid rod connecting the machine to the sled). I would much rather use my pack to bring out any animal. A quality pack can be very comfortable hauling meat. The sled is noisy and you have to consider having that large piece of equipment with you. They do make wear strips for the bottom as an add-on, however I have not used them. As mentioned above, the gutless method, quartered and deboned...carried out in a pack is much less of a hassle.
 

Elkhntr08

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Nov 3, 2016
Messages
934
I used a sled for the first time last year on 3 different deer. Half mile drags on two of them through a creek crossing.
Long story short, I won’t deer hunt without one. After 60, dragging for a bit is better than carrying. B902DE85-2D3C-4F8C-B3D1-BB42B6624BBE.jpeg 1B99BB59-DE9A-4F23-8851-20E45CA01C27.jpeg
 

hh76

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Aug 2, 2021
Messages
159
If you've got a nice trail, then a good cart works well. If you are going to be encountering a lot of steep sections, or downed logs, a sled may be a better option. In snow, toboggans are the way to go.

I'm in the planning stages of building one for my camping set up. Nothing too fancy, but I'm hoping I can make it work as a table at camp, too.
 
OP
T

T3RRY P

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2022
Messages
17
There a pretty well established trails where we are going that we could stay on for the most part to get to our main camp area. I was envisioning a cart that the jet sled fits right inside of with the wheels in the center to balance the weight. That way you aren't lifting the weight of the gear or animal that you are hauling, but it is balanced over the wheels and you just have to propel it forward. Having the jet sled and being able to remove it easily gives me a little more flexibility if needed. Like if a deer dies in the middle of a swamp etc. Once we are at our camp spot for the week, the cart would just get set aside, and I would hunt out of my pack. More than likely though I will be quartering and carrying animals out of the woods on my pack because I could be miles from camp in any direction when I get an opportunity.
 

feanor

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Aug 15, 2018
Messages
327
Location
Colorado
Fabricated by my father in law. All aluminum tubing, brake handles, motorcycle tire, handles fold down. I agree that you have to have the right terrain and kill sight to make it work. But it handles a load REALLY well with two people on either end.
C56F6DBF-2EA8-4DCB-8EEB-D7B57337F4C9.jpeg
 
OP
T

T3RRY P

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2022
Messages
17
Thats pretty close to what I was envisioning, but with two 26" mountain bike tires instead of one tire for extra stability. Thanks!
 
OP
T

T3RRY P

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2022
Messages
17
I used a sled for the first time last year on 3 different deer. Half mile drags on two of them through a creek crossing.
Long story short, I won’t deer hunt without one. After 60, dragging for a bit is better than carrying. View attachment 438135 View attachment 438138

I used a sled for the first time last year on 3 different deer. Half mile drags on two of them through a creek crossing.
Long story short, I won’t deer hunt without one. After 60, dragging for a bit is better than carrying. View attachment 438135 View attachment 438138
Deer in swamp.jpg
I had to float this one out last fall in a my jet sled also. I wish I would have had my son take a picture of me floating it out, but I was more worried about just getting it out of there. The water was about 3' deep.
 

hh76

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Aug 2, 2021
Messages
159
Fabricated by my father in law. All aluminum tubing, brake handles, motorcycle tire, handles fold down. I agree that you have to have the right terrain and kill sight to make it work. But it handles a load REALLY well with two people on either end.
View attachment 438149
We had one similar to that at one time. It really only worked well on level ground, but every time the grade changed or you hit bumps, the two people handling the cart would be fighting each other over handle height. It did work really well for lifting up over logs in the way.
 
Joined
Mar 24, 2016
Messages
70
Location
PA
I built one years ago. Still running it. It is made out of 11 ga. x 1" steel square tubing. Kind of a wagon style with four 12" wheels. We hauled a lot of deer, bear, trapping supplies etc. Never left us down.
The handle is removeable for storage and transport. Also hitches up to the mountain bike. The area we used it in most has service roads and trails but quite a few times we had to make our way through the woods with it 90E9BB62-133B-4C72-8D61-872567E98CE4.jpeg
 

chocolab

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
May 21, 2022
Messages
101
Location
New England
i don't know if it's still around, but there used to be this thing call the Rack Packer. It was a lightweight aluminum frame but instead of big wheels it had a single (or maybe 2) small wheels at one end. that way if you came to a log you would just skid the frame over the log and the little wheel would just skip right over it. it was a neat idea.

I still think the jet sled is the way to go in most instances. I had a drag a couple of years ago after a very heavy frost that was literally easier than pulling the bow string.
 
OP
T

T3RRY P

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2022
Messages
17
i don't know if it's still around, but there used to be this thing call the Rack Packer. It was a lightweight aluminum frame but instead of big wheels it had a single (or maybe 2) small wheels at one end. that way if you came to a log you would just skid the frame over the log and the little wheel would just skip right over it. it was a neat idea.

I still think the jet sled is the way to go in most instances. I had a drag a couple of years ago after a very heavy frost that was literally easier than pulling the bow string.
I think I have seen pictures of these. My concern with that style is having to pick up and support the weight while you move it along. With wheels in the center I think it would balance the weight better. The rack packer would definitely be better for getting over obstacles though!
 

Bump79

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Oct 5, 2020
Messages
377
If you're backcountry hunting, day pack or backpacking, boning or quartering and using a frame is the only way to go.

I absolutely hate carts or dragging. Last year I helped some guys get 2 bulls out and loaded up my pack with a hind and had to still help them pull the cart out. Miserable and slow. I could have done 2 trips in that same timeframe.

Not to be too much of a dick but the intent of this site is for backcountry mountain hunting, not whitetail in the swamps. I hunt in those situations as well but that is not the purpose of this forum and there are other places for that.
 
Last edited:

hh76

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Aug 2, 2021
Messages
159
If you're backcountry hunting, day pack or backpacking, boning or quartering and using a frame is the only way to go.

I absolutely hate carts or dragging. Last year I helped some guys get 2 bulls out and loaded up my pack with a hind and had to still help them pull the cart out. Miserable and slow. I could have done 2 trips in that same timeframe.

Not to be too much of a dick but the intent of this site is for backcountry mountain hunting, not whitetail in the swamps. I hunt in those situations as well but that is not the purpose of this forum and there are other places for that.
If you read the OPs second post, he was talking about bringing camp in to a back country hunt, not dragging a whitetail out. Not sure why it would make any difference, though?
 
Top