Gone Outdoors

Homemade Deer Cart

by Keith Allen

It can be challenging to bring a big game animal out of the field after a successful hunt. Some hunters utilize mechanized equipment, such as all-terrain vehicles, for this task in areas where vehicles are allowed. Other hunters prefer using their own strength to retrieve their kill. Deer carts are available commercially or can be built in the sportsman's home shop.

Homemade Deer Cart

The basic design of a deer cart is a V shape. The two tops of the V are handles that allow the cart to be pulled or pushed from either end. The bottom of the V is a pair of wheels, often 20-inch bicycle wheels, which the assembly rolls on. A homemade deer cart can be built to any size although commercially available products are about 5 feet long and 20 inches wide. Almost any material can be used to construct a homemade deer cart. Plans exist utilizing conduit or light metal tubing. Assembling a deer cart according to these plans requires metal cutting and welding equipment. Wood framed deer carts require less specialized tools for construction although they will be heavier and possibly less durable than carts constructed of metal. There are some shortcuts available to the builder. Add an extension to the base of a two-wheeled handcart to create the other arm of the V shape. Replacing the small wheels of the handcart with 20-inch bicycle wheels creates a simple but useable deer cart. No matter which design is chosen the homemade deer cart needs to be well constructed. A large game animal can weigh several hundred pounds and the cart will likely be used over rough terrain. A broken cart will not make getting the downed animal to the road any easier. Deer carts also can be used for other outdoor tasks. They can be used by campers and fishermen to move equipment and supplies from the trailhead to the stream, lake or campsite. Moving these items with a deer cart will take fewer trips than utilizing backpacks.