MT Private Land Doe Slayers: Talk About Guaranteed

ajricketts

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Sep 19, 2016
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East TN
@ajricketts how did you keep the meat while hunting? coolers and dry ice or did you go the freezer route?
It hung in the cold shop for about a day and half. Then we processed it down to quarters, loins, and scrap and put it into game bags and left it on the concrete floor of the shop until the night before we pulled out of town. Then all the meat went into coolers with bagged ice on the bottom and top. All the ice was left in the bags and the bags on the bottom left room for ice/water to drain without soaking the meat.

We drained the excess water from the coolers at the hotel in Sioux Falls and Mt. Vernon and still had plenty of ice when we pulled into Maryville and we did final processing. We got home on Wednesday and it all stayed in the coolers in the garage until Friday morning* when we started final processing for the freezer. The cooler with the doe in it had just a little bit of smell because we forgot to drain on Thursday. But no meat was actually sitting in water and there was certainly no spoilage.

We did dry ice last year with a longer drive but didn't feel like it was really worth it due to the higher price and the amount we needed for the size of the coolers we had. The dry ice was like $25/block and we were using two, 160 quart, igloo coolers. Plus it just didn't seem to last any better than wet ice.

*Thursday was a day at Dollywood for my youngest daughter's birthday. Her nana, my mom, flew up to meet us and spend Thursday - Saturday before she and my dad flew back home. My wife let me know if no uncertain terms that the Dollywood trip was a non-negotiable lol.
 

mtmiller

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Montana
I'll never drag another deer again even if it falls 10' from the truck. With CWD and lymes disease carrying ticks these days I'd rather leave everything except the meat and a clean skull cap exactly where it dropped. Not to mention, dragging deer sucks.
This year's deer was an easy pack out. I even left bone in, made two trips and enjoyed the day. Dragging would have killed me.

Meat stayed clean and Slash joined me on the second trip (he has to put up with the a'hole).
dead deer-1.jpg
 

wllm1313

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Boston
*Thursday was a day at Dollywood for my youngest daughter's birthday. Her nana, my mom, flew up to meet us and spend Thursday - Saturday before she and my dad flew back home. My wife let me know if no uncertain terms that the Dollywood trip was a non-negotiable lol.
Talk about a harrowing experience... I would have lead with that...
 

MTTW

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Apr 1, 2016
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Montana
I would never apologize for dragging a deer. I have dragged quite a few, some 2 or 3 miles. It depends on conditions but sometimes it is the easiest way.
For years we hunted without a pack and often it was easier to drag them out than sacrifice another day for a return trip. It can also save a thousand feet vertical climb on a return trip. Or twice that.
I have dragged several elk out whole and several more split lengthwise in halves.
It doesn't make for great pictures, but it still today is nowhere as rare as the internet would lead you to believe.
 

OntarioHunter

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Sep 11, 2020
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Game cart for when we are required to get out whole, but breaking it down and packing it out is still the easiest. View attachment 204854
Interesting way of packaging that buck. Keeps the front legs from getting caught on stuff. If I have to leave an elk or moose overnight to be pulled out by ATV or snow machine, I put the front legs up behind the ears to give the carcass a torpedo shape. Don't wait till tomorrow because the carcass will be stiff and legs won't bend.

Since I'm getting on in years I have been considering acquiring a sled or cart. I have used both to help same fella who owned the stuff get his deer out. It worked okay but there were two of us handling the cart. A sidehill operation by necessity. I don't think it would have went well solo. This guy has an amazing propensity for shooting does in gawdawful places and he's in no shape to handle getting them out. Nice fella but I try to avoid hunting with him. I mean it's just a doe! Keep driving till you see one standing in the ditch. You won't have to wait long.
 

JEL

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May 20, 2013
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Helena, MT
Always enjoy your trip to Havre write-ups. Thanks for sharing.

As for dragging, I am 59 and grew up dragging everything. Never had much of a pack on when we hunted. A small one with a knife and rope. Just the way it was. Now I am in the camp of never dragging anything again. Heck, my son shot one this fall on a place we could have walked out, went and got the side by side and retrieved it that way and we still decided just to break it down and pack it out.
 

BAKPAKR

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May 16, 2018
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Up a Holler
Wonderful "Father n Son" adventure! Enjoyed your recap and pics....but....deer dragging??
I thought deer dragging was mainly an Eastern thing but I found where someone had dragged a deer quite a ways in North Idaho this year. Of course, I guess it could have been a NR from the East.
 

ajricketts

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Sep 19, 2016
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East TN
I thought deer dragging was mainly an Eastern thing but I found where someone had dragged a deer quite a ways in North Idaho this year. Of course, I guess it could have been a NR from the East.
I grew up in western WA where we hunted blacktails in the thick woods. Dragging one of those little things is very different than dragging a muley buck lol.
 

ajricketts

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Sep 19, 2016
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East TN
. . .

We felt confident that we had a reasonable plan based on our experiences last year. We were heading to an area where we saw deer consistently, and missed some bucks last year (https://www.hunttalk.com/threads/fl-to-mt-2020.302464/page-2#post-3090014). However, in our excitement, we neglected to realize that a whole bunch of the CRP had been cut this year due to emergency status brought on by Covid and significant drought. I'm embarrassed to admit that we were probably a quarter mile into our hike by the time dad looked at me and said, "Hey, wasn't this a lot longer last year?" Basically the whole area where we'd seen the most and largest bucks was cut down this year and hardly saw anything there except for some does and a young buck cruising right through rather than hanging out.
. . .
OH man, I forgot to mention this. After we missed those bucks last year, and agonizing over the details, we both came to the conclusion that we shot over their backs. Despite getting multiple hits on the rangefinder at +/- 300 yards, we still felt that was the case (and part of my insistence of holding dead on this trip) and that maybe the snow was messing is up.

Being back in this area with no snow, we pulled out the range finder again and got a consistent +/- 220 yards over, and over, and over . . .
 

Redman

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Mar 31, 2017
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1,164
Location
Indiana
Interesting way of packaging that buck. Keeps the front legs from getting caught on stuff. If I have to leave an elk or moose overnight to be pulled out by ATV or snow machine, I put the front legs up behind the ears to give the carcass a torpedo shape. Don't wait till tomorrow because the carcass will be stiff and legs won't bend.

Since I'm getting on in years I have been considering acquiring a sled or cart. I have used both to help same fella who owned the stuff get his deer out. It worked okay but there were two of us handling the cart. A sidehill operation by necessity. I don't think it would have went well solo. This guy has an amazing propensity for shooting does in gawdawful places and he's in no shape to handle getting them out. Nice fella but I try to avoid hunting with him. I mean it's just a doe! Keep driving till you see one standing in the ditch. You won't have to wait long.
Yep hills are still a problem with a cart or sled...that gravity issue sucks!
 

tristan1127

New member
Joined
Dec 4, 2016
Messages
8
Exercise - It's cheaper than a sled, cart, four wheeler or a side by side but still helps get game out every time and everywhere.

ajricketts congrats on the successful trip!
 

JustJosh

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Joined
Jan 13, 2022
Messages
17
Location
Minnesota
Day 5 - The last day

We basically figured either I kill a doe in the morning or not at all. We got out of the door late, but were seeing a bunch of deer on the way out to the property which gave us hope.

As as get to the property we notice that there are deer by the pond again, a group of six consisting of two young bucks and four does. The same four does that we'd see there before and elsewhere around the area. The same group of does that I missed a couple days prior. I get set up for a shot, hold dead on as we hadn't ranged it, and BOOM!

When I come back down the doe is gone down the other side of a hill and all her buddies are staring down there. Dad says it looks like I knocked her backward off the hill so we pack up and head over there to take a look. As we get close the rest of the group bumps out but doesn't head too far away which later proved to be good. We searched and searched and found no deer, no evidence of a hit, nothing. Of course, now I'm doubting my rifle even more as I felt really solid with the shot. We later went back and ranged the shot and it was over 400 yards. Clearly a clean miss for a rifle sighted in at 100 yards. How I didn't realize the distance is something I unable to explain or excuse. But again, glad for a clean miss at this point.

As I said previously, the group of deer has stayed in the general area and appeared to be working their way south of us, further into the property. After confirming no hit from the first shot, I scrambled to get in their path again. The deer worked their from the west to the east, on the southside of us, and I was able to get a shot at a mature doe. This time I was leaning on an old fence post and again felt good about the shot based on how I was holding and her reaction.

Long rodeo short, the hit was far back, we bumped her, she made her way to another property, we had to get ahold of our friend to get permission to finish her off, and even that wasn't clean. At least we were able to get the job done in the end. She presented the perfect opportunity to practice the gutless method. Thankfully that went relatively smoothly and we're planning to utilize that more often. No more dragging deer for sure.

View attachment 204605

I'm not proud of how I performed on this hunt recognize that my failure to prepare adequately was the single greatest contribution to those failure. I even stopped to check my rifle again before we headed home and was able to confirm it was pretty well on. There was definitely wind when I shot (probably 10-15 mph cross), and I think I underestimated the distance again. But those are all things I should have considered when I was getting ready to pull the trigger.

The day ended up with all meat in coolers, all bags packed, and the truck loaded to hit the road first thing in the morning. The drive home was uneventful again, this time going from Havre to Sioux Falls in day one, then Sioux Falls to Mt. Vernon, IL on day two, and then home to Maryville on day three.
Wow. A father/son hunt is one of those that is always to be cherished. Congrats to the both of you on your deer.
 
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