How Do Hunters Carry Deer?

There are numerous ways in which hunters carry deer after harvesting it. The most popular ways hunters carry deer is to drag it on the ground, quarter it and put it in a backpack, or carry it on their back to the nearest trail.

Using Tools to Carry a Deer

The most popular way for hunters to carry their quarry out of the woods is on their backs. This especially holds true the further one travels into the woods. 

It’s not practical and, in most places, not possible to get any sort of vehicle deep into the backcountry, so hunters have to manage to harvest a deer and pack it out without the use of machinery.

There are, however, many tools hunters use to aid in getting their quarry to the trailhead, where hopefully they can get a vehicle to take over the task and quickly get the deer cooled down.

Some tools hunters use to help carry deer:


If you are hunting near water, a canoe is an excellent addition to your arsenal. Not only can it help you get to better areas and get there faster, but it really shows its worth when it comes to hauling out a deer. 

Hunters have used waterways as transportation for harvested animals for centuries.

Once the deer is harvest and field-dressed, you can put it in the canoe and float it down to the nearest trail. 

If the canoe is big enough and the water is not too dangerous, you can get in with the deer. Alternatively, you could walk the canoe down the river.


Sleds are becoming quite popular in the hunting industry. Hunters quite often drag their deer to the nearest trail. Not only is this difficult, but it also risks contaminating and damaging the meat.

Using a sled makes the task more manageable, and it’s better for the quality of the meat.

Sleds are particularly useful when there is snow on the ground; it makes packing out a deer a lot easier.

Pack Raft

Pack rafts are similar to use in a canoe but a lot more flexible. Watch any Alaska hunting show for long enough, and you’re bound to see a pack raft.

These handy little rafts are inflatable and can be easily carried in your pack, hence the name pack raft.

Pack rafts are designed for remote areas. Once you get to your hunting area, you can use them to scout, and after the hunt, you can use them to pack the animal back to camp.

Electric Bike

Probably the quickest growth in popularity in the hunting industry is an electric bike.

Hunters love electric bikes for many reasons.

  • They’re quite
  • They’re Quick
  • They leave no scent

You can use electric bikes to make multiple trips from the deer to the trail without exerting too much effort.

How to Carry a Deer on Your Back

How Do Hunters Carry Deer?

If tools are out of the question, there’s always the old-fashioned tried and tested way of just carrying the deer on your back.

Shock Pouch

To do this, it’s best to bone out some of the deer to make it lighter and easier to carry. Essentially you’re going to make a backpack out of the deer.

Step one: Remove the leg bones from the lower part of the deer’s legs. It’s important to leave the hide on to use them as straps. Likewise, it’s also important to leave the dewclaws on to stop the knot from pulling loose.

Step two: Tie each front leg to the opposite back leg. It’s best to use a square knot for this. This makes backpack straps out of the deer’s legs.

Step three: Sit on the ground and put your arms through the straps. Once the deer is sitting comfortably on your back, you can stand up. The leg hide should make comfortable straps and allow you to carry the deer hands-free.


If your deer is particularly large or you’re not up for carrying a whole deer, the most popular way of carrying it is quartering it.

This is the method used for any large game animal bigger than a deer, and it’s the most popular method for deer harvested in the backwoods.

To quarter a deer and pack it out, you’re going to need some game bags, a full field dressing kit, and a quality framed backpack. Although you can get by without the frame, I highly recommend getting a frame if you plan to do this regularly.

Step One: Quater the deer. Quartering the deer makes it fit into the pack and is a lot easier to carry. If the deer is large, you will probably have to make two trips. So when you go with the first two quarters, the other two can hang in a tree.

Step Two: Now that the deer is quartered, you can remove your bag from the frame. This makes it a lot easier to pack in the meat and maneuver it into a comfortable position.

Alternatively, you can start loading the deer onto the frame and pack it out by using just the frame. In order to do this, you need a higher-quality frame backpack.

Step Three: If you are loading it into the bag, put the heavy side of the quarters facing down. This makes the pack a lot more stable.

Tightly secure the pack using the straps. Deer is quite heavy, and after the effort of a hunt, you don’t want it flopping around when trying to pack it out.


Dragging a deer is the most common method if you are close to a vehicle. It’s the quickest and easiest way to get your deer out and doesn’t require any tools.

If you venture further into the woods, it’s worth considering using some tools or, at the very least, a good backpack. 

That way, you can get you can carry your deer out quickly and have it cooled faster.

I like to spend a lot of time in the backcountry, and I find quartering and packing out piece by piece to be the best method to carry out deer.

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